Bill to control lawsuit lenders passes first test

By The SE Texas Record | May 14, 2013

Some people are way too helpful. 

That “friend” in high school, for instance. The one with the drug connections who let you try stuff for free and didn’t charge for anything, until you found something you liked and really needed it.

That “friend” you played poker with, who had the incredible winning streak. He cleaned you out, but out of the kindness of his heart volunteered to accept your markers so you could keep playing -- and now owns your Harley.

That “friend” you went into business with, who put up your share of the investment and then wanted you to “take care” of somebody for him, permanent-like.

That lawyer “friend” who convinced you to file a personal injury suit and lent you some money to tide you over until the settlement came in, only the settlement didn’t quite cover what you owed him after he deducted all his expenses.

If you have friends like these, you might want to consider migrating to other social circles.

In the meantime, though, you’ll be glad to know that our state legislators are trying to do something about that last false friend.

Last month, the Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee approved a proposed bill to regulate lawsuit lending in Texas. House Bill 1595 would also impose caps on fees and interest charged to debtor-clients by creditor-attorneys.

“Lawsuit lenders prey on people when they are at their most vulnerable,” said a spokesman for Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, which supports the bill.

“They offer quick cash but often leave their customers with nothing following lengthy litigation or, worse, in debt to the lawsuit lender. They claim they are filling a consumer need, but, by charging fees and interest that are excessive by any standards, the only clear thing they are filling is their own pocketbooks.”

Which is pretty much what you would expect from a friend like that.

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