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When our civil justice system works correctly, it’s a fair forum to settle disputes and appropriately compensate those who have been legitimately harmed. At its worst, it can be a system rife for abuse that costs us all.

Texas knows a thing or two about both sides of the civil justice spectrum. While we continue to see evidence of abusive lawsuits and questionable legal practices, over the past three decades, Texas has gone from the epicenter of lawsuit abuse to a beacon for smart reforms.

Thirty years ago, Texas was known as the “courthouse to the world,” and our civil justice system was called a Wild West embarrassment. We seemed to regularly make the American Tort Reform Foundation’s list of the country’s worst “Judicial Hellholes.” Even when the suits had no connection to Texas, personal injury lawyers were almost guaranteed to win big in our courts.

By the mid-1990s, Texans united in demanding reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits and outlandish court awards. Texas leaders took note, and over the years, legislators have enacted important lawsuit reforms to support a system that allows for justice, not greed.

Yet, lawsuit abuse continues to cost us in many ways. A national study found that the “tort tax” or lawsuit tax is about $1,500 for each and every one of us in Texas.

There’s clearly still work to be done.

For instance, we urge legislators to take steps to stop public nuisance lawsuit abuse in Texas. Public nuisance lawsuits were typically filed to address private conduct that interfered with the use of public property, such as lakes, rivers and even roadways. However, some personal injury lawyers have expanded its use to address a range of alleged harms involving varied industries and products, including lead paint, opioids and even climate change-related issues.

In many cases, the Legislature—not the courts—is the best place to address issues raised by public nuisance lawsuits. It’s time to rein in this improper expansion of public nuisance claims while ensuring other legal avenues remain to address issues that impact the general public. Let’s also ensure the alleged harm is clearly defined, and that these lawsuits truly serve the public interest, not just a payday for the trial bar.

We know reform works. Now let’s continue to work for reform.