If you have no proof, don't go to court

The SE Texas Record Jul. 28, 2015, 8:03am


Ever wonder how much time you waste doing things that don't need to be done?

Think of the paperwork you have to provide to get permission for something you shouldn't need permission for in the first place, the personal information you have to provide to complete strangers for no apparent reason, the hoops you have to jump through that really have no bearing on the goal you're aiming for, etc.

How many times, at school or on the job, have you had to do something that seemed pointless and didn't really accomplish anything?

How much time and money would we save if we stopped doing needless things?

Sometimes, ironically, the best way to stop or discourage needless and unproductive activity is to require more paperwork.

Ten years ago, we Texans identified something that didn't need to be done and took steps to end this needless, wasteful activity.

People without any evidence of illness were filing asbestos and silica lawsuits, clogging up our courts, and causing substantial amounts of time and money to be wasted in the adjudication of unsupported claims.

In 2005, state legislators approved a bill requiring asbestos and silica plaintiffs to provide medical reports validating claims. Tens of thousands of dubious lawsuits were frozen in their tracks as a result.

Thus abated, the suits nevertheless remained on the books, and so in 2013 the legislature passed a law allowing for the mass dismissal of such cases.

So far, Judge Mark Davidson of the multidistrict litigation asbestos court in Harris County has dismissed roughly 30,000 of these formerly frozen cases. They can be filed again, of course, with the necessary documentation, but odds are that the vast majority of them are gone for good.

All the time and money that would have been wasted on them can now be turned to more pressing and productive matters: like finding other needless things to stop doing.

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