When the Texas House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence held a hearing seven years ago to discuss barratry in our state, Steve Mostyn agreed with those present that it was a problem and recommended prosecution of “swindlers.”
What a kidder!
His sense of humor is shared by members of his firm, apparently. Head of litigation Rene Sigman told members of the Texas House Insurance Committee at a recent hearing on the hailstorm lawsuit abuse bill that even her colleagues at Mostyn Law dislike storm-chasing attorneys.
Funny as it was when she delivered it, that line became even funnier when Sigman filed 19 hailstorm suits in Bexar County on May 3, the day before state representatives voted to approve the bill that elicited her comic quip.
Firm colleague Gregory Cox filed 12 hail suits that same day, and Mostyn filed one.
All told, the Mostyn firm accounted for three fourths of the 42 hail suits filed in a frenzy in Bexar County to beat the bill's stricter standards.
“We saw a dramatic increase . . . in lawsuit filings all across the state by various hail lawyers,” reports Dallas commercial insurance attorney Steven Badger. “Obviously, they were concerned that HB 1774 would receive a two-thirds majority vote and become effective immediately.
“The hail lawyers clearly want their lawsuits governed by existing law and not the amended law,” Badger explains. “They know that HB 1774 will require them to give pre-suit notice supported by a real damages estimate, otherwise they risk not being able to recover attorneys fees at trial. That is a dramatic change from their current business model.”
Badger believes that the bill will “help weed out those claims that do not have merit and, more importantly, help promptly resolve those claims that do have merit without the need for litigation.”
That's bad news for some jokers at Mostyn Law, but good news for the rest of us.