Tort reform groups in Texas have declared July and August as the "Small Business Summer," and have launched a campaign to highlight the negative impact lawsuit abuse can have on small businesses.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) organizations kicked off the local campaigns as part of the national "Create Jobs, Not Lawsuits" project to bring attention to lawsuit abuse.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and a single abusive lawsuit could put many of them out of business and their employees out of a job,” said Garry Bradford, chairman of Bay Area CALA. “While we’ve passed meaningful reforms in Texas, ‘Small Business Summer’ is a reminder that we must work to protect these reforms to ensure a successful future for the small businesses that drive our economy.”
CALA is distributing legal consumer guides geared toward small businesses and flyers explaining how lawsuit abuse hurts small businesses and their customers. They will also show businesses how to sign up as a "Small Business Partner" in the "Create Jobs, Not Lawsuits" movement.
Texas has more than 350,000 small businesses employing 2.9 million Texans. The state enacted sweeping reforms a decade ago, and reformers claim it has helped the Texas economy and stimulated job growth. But the "Create Jobs, Not Lawsuits" program seeks to raise awareness on a national level.
“In Texas, we’ve led the way, continuing to build on the smart, successful lawsuit reforms we’ve passed," said Jennifer Harris of CALA of Central Texas. "It’s time our leaders in Washington step up to the plate and embrace legal reforms that will help small businesses across the country– and the consumers and the families that depend on them. We need more jobs, not more lawsuits.”
According to a survey by the U.S. Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, more than one-third of the small businesses surveyed said they have been sued. More than 60 percent said the costs of protecting themselves from litigation makes their products and services more expensive. The Southeast Texas Record is owned by ILR.
“Fighting a lawsuit can destroy a small business – even if the lawsuit is unwarranted – because many business owners don’t have the resources to fight a junk lawsuit in court,” said Febe Zepeda, Executive Director, Rio Grande Valley CALA. “However, armed with the right information, business owners can take steps to protect themselves from abusive lawsuits, and that’s a message we want to spread during our Small Business Summer activities.”