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New Texas Barratry Law Passed

susan_harr5 years ago

The new barratry law passed in Texas is bad news for ambulance chasers. Barratry, also known as ambulance chasing and case running, is a form of illegal solicitation. It has always been a felony in the state of Texas, but the new barratry law now creates a civil cause of action: this means victims of illegal case solicitation who do not sign a contract can now sue for up to $10,000 plus attorneys fees.

S.B. 1716

  • Signed by Gov. Rick Perry May 19, 2011
  • Goes into effect September 1, 2011
  • Bill would create a $10,000 civil penalty for violating barratry laws

Important Sections

SECTION 2.  Subchapter C, Chapter 82, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 82.0651 to read as follows:

For Those Who Signed a Contract

(a)  A client may bring an action to void a contract for legal services that was procured as a result of conduct violating the laws of this state or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas regarding barratry by attorneys or other persons. (b)  A client who prevails in an action under Subsection (a) shall recover from any person who committed barratry:

  1. all fees and expenses paid to that person under the contract;
  2. the balance of any fees and expenses paid to any other person under the contract, after deducting fees and expenses awarded based on a quantum meruit theory as provided by Section 82.065(c);
  3. actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct; and
  4. reasonable and necessary attorney's fees.

For those Who Did Not sign a Contract

(c) A person who was solicited by conduct violating the laws of this state or the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas regarding barratry by attorneys or other persons, but who did not enter into a contract as a result of that conduct, may file a civil action against any person who committed barratry. (d) A person who prevails in an action under Subsection (c) shall recover from each person who engaged in barratry:

  1. a penalty in the amount of $10,000;
  2. actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct; and
  3. reasonable and necessary attorney's fees.
A Breakdown of the Bill
  • The current law provides for voiding only contingent-fee contracts, but S.B.1716 allows for voiding of any type of contract for legal services.
  • If you are illegally approached by a lawyer and you sign a representation contract, you can sue to void the contract and for damages and attorney’s fees.
  • If you are illegally approached by a lawyer and you do not sign a representation contract, you can sue for the $10,000 civil penalty, plus damages and attorney’s fees.
Contact an Experienced Barratry Attorney

A lawyer, service provider, or health care provider who is willing to break the law by committing a felony or misdemeanor is also willing to ruin your case or take your money. Whether your case has settled or not, contact Thomas J. Henry to understand your legal rights.

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