The Texas Senate has passed a bill aimed at curbing the surging trend of mass lawsuits filed after a hailstorm strike.
Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, introduced SB 1628 in March. Before passing on a 21-10 vote on Thursday, April 30, the bill was amended a dozen times in an attempt to pacify all interested parties, including trial lawyers.
The bill seeks to put in place a two-year statute on claims; stop plaintiffs from naming adjusters in their suit; and require plaintiffs to give notice of their storm damages when filing suit.
SB 1628 has not only garnered the attention of trial lawyers, but tort reform groups also.
The day prior to the Senate vote, Texans for Lawsuit Reform issued a statement saying the bill is critical to stopping the lawsuit abuse being perpetrated by storm-chasing trial lawyers.
“Sen. Larry Taylor’s hailstorm lawsuit bill will stop the latest wave of lawsuit abuse in Texas – storm-chasing trial lawyers who go from hailstorm to hailstorm manufacturing lawsuits for attorney fees,” said TLR spokesperson Sherry Sylvester.
In the last week of April alone, 300 hailstorm lawsuits were filed in 25 Texas counties -- suits demanding ten to twenty times as much as the original homeowner’s claim.
“This lawsuit explosion will produce higher deductibles and higher premiums for Texas homeowners. In some areas of Texas and for some types of properties, coverage for homeowners has already been severely reduced and even eliminated,” said Sylvester.
The bill also seeks to stop adjusters from soliciting clients for lawyers following a hailstorm.