83(R) - 2013
Relating to the dismissal of certain actions arising from exposure to asbestos and silica.
No significant fiscal impact is expected on the State or local governments.
Summary: Texas is one of the busiest states for asbestos and silica related lawsuits. In 2005, SB 15, which addressed tort reform regarding asbestos and silica, was signed into law. One of the reforms required a physician report confirming an asbestos or silica related illness to accompany a related lawsuit. HB 1325 would dismiss certain asbestos and silica claims that do not meet the new standards implemented by the 2005 law. HB 1325:
- Clarifies that a defendant can file a motion to dismiss asbestos or silica related action filed on or after September 1, 2005 if a claimant fails to timely serve a physician report or the physician report does not comply with the standards.
- Clarifies that a Multidistrict litigation pre-trial court may not remand action pending on August 31, 2005 and still pending unless the claimant serves a physician report, fails to serve a physician report, or the court has ruled on the physician report.
- Requires a MDL pre-trial court to dismiss action pending on August 31, 2005 unless a physician report was served on or after September 1, 2013. This bill requires these actions to be dismissed on or before August 31, 2015.
- Includes a provision that enables claimants to re-file dismissed lawsuit without prejudice.
- Requires a re-filed lawsuit to not be considered dismissed but rather remained pending until the claimant served a physician report.
- Allows claimants whose lawsuits were dismissed to serve petitions or citations via mail to a defendant involved in the dismissed action.
Analysis: HB 1325 attempts to clean up congested pre-trial court dockets which would alleviate stress on the Texas court system. Cleaning up dockets would assist in making the Texas court system more efficient and potentially less costly. Additionally, cleaning the pre-trial court dockets of actions that do not meet the standards enacted in 2005 would potentially clear some of the frivolous lawsuits. Legitimate lawsuits supportable by physician reports would be able to be re-filed and processed according to the current standards. We encourage legislators to vote in favor of HB 1325.