Texas Supreme Court Justices Heavily Biased In Favor of Insurance Companies and Big Businesses

The Dallas Morning News reported today that our Supreme Court justices usually rule in favor of big insurance companies and other major economic concerns and do not give individuals and small businesses a fair hearing. They have already made up their minds ahead of time which side they want to win.

Noone can possibly think this is fair.

So why is this happening?

Here are excerpts from the article:

…What the (nine current appointments to the Supreme Court) have in common, critics say, is a strong enough leaning toward corporate interests that it’s nearly impossible for individuals to win cases against large corporations.

“Over the last decade, the Texas Supreme Court has become a safe haven for big insurance companies and corporate wrongdoers and has developed a well-earned reputation as results-oriented,” said Alex Winslow, director of Texas Watch.

Statistics show recent court decisions favor insurance firms, oil companies, and other big businesses. A report by Texas Watch found that since 2000, consumers have won 22 percent of cases in the high court, while defendants have won 75 percent.

Among the cases critics point to is Entergy vs. Summers, in which the court’s unanimous ruling allows businesses to escape legal and financial liability for contract employee injuries that happen on their property — even if the company’s actions are what led to injury or even death.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, a conservative Republican, has gone up against the high court in several cases, notably a case where Exxon Mobil plugged the wells of property owners in such a way that the wells couldn’t be re-entered. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision that had ordered compensation for the family and held that the family had waited too long to bring their case, so the claim was essentially moot.

“We have an activist court on this case,” Patterson said. “Clearly this was a decision that was tailored to reach a pre-conceived outcome that just didn’t make sense.”

Willett has been regarded skeptically by some because he was never a courtroom lawyer or a lower court judge.

“You’re clearly not appointing the best legal scholar when you’re appointing someone who has never had courtroom experience,” said Paula Sweeney, attorney and past president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

“If Rick Perry plans to use the same low standard for judicial appointments that he has used in Texas, then the results will be devastating,” Winslow said.

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