Legislation expanding standards of quality and transparency in private attorney contracting to cities and counties has passed a key legislative hurdle in Texas. HB 2826 passed out of the state House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee earlier this week, following supportive testimony from Texans for Lawsuit Reform and despite the opposition of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.
According to Texas Lawyer, the bill would implement a broad range of measures designed to ensure that when Texas municipalities wish to contract with outside contingency fee lawyers, they must first disclose the proposed contract to the public and submit it for review and approval to the Texas attorney general. Any contract approved thereafter would be subject to contingency fee caps and additional transparency requirements. These measures, among others, would help to curb duplicative municipality lawsuits, prevent lawyers from taking advantage of municipalities to charge outsized contingency fees, and preserve the authority of the state attorney general.