Texas Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Ports from Lawsuits

May 29, 2007

The Texas Legislature unanimously passed House Bill 1602, by Rep. Corbin Van Arsdale (Tomball). The legislation is designed to protect Texas ports against frivolous lawsuits that threaten the state’s economy, according to Rep. Van Arsdale.

“Texas ports and maritime traffic are essential to the state and the national economies,” Rep. Van Arsdale said. “This legislation ensures that these ports will remain open for business.”

A loophole in the Texas civil practices statutes has led to numerous frivolous lawsuits against the dredging companies that keep Texas ports operational. Besides being economic drivers themselves, these ports are critical to the state’s economy because Texas has no natural deep water ports. The lawsuits were causing dredging contracts to be cancelled due to a fear of litigation costs.

“When the plaintiffs’ attorneys and business community agree that a litigation loophole needs to be closed, you know the legislation is greatly needed,” Speaker Tom Craddick (Midland) said. “With the guidance of House Civil Practices Chair, Byron Cook (Corsicana), the legislation was negotiated and agreed to by both the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and the business community. I applaud Chairman Cook and Rep. Van Arsdale for their work on this critical legislation.”

Source: Texas House of Representatives

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