When a lawsuit is said and done, there is usually one winner, one loser, and sometimes a rather hefty legal bill.  Every country seems to have a different take on who should pay for legal fees of the parties involved in the lawsuit, for example, in England, the loser of a lawsuit will generally pay the winner’s attorneys fees.  However, in the United States, both parties will generally have to pay their own attorneys.  That might change if Texas has its way.

Texas Pushes Forward “Loser Pays” Bill

The Texas House recently passed a “loser pays” provision which would allow defendants in breach of contract claims to collect their legal fees if they prevail.  The bill passed in a 96-49 vote in the middle of an emergency legislature session.  The proponents of the law argue that this will help to cut down on frivolous lawsuits, since people may be more afraid to bring a lawsuit if they fear they might have to pay a huge legal cost.  Additionally, this could help to push people for early settlements.  However, others think that people underestimate the potentially severe legal bills that some might face for bringing an ordinary lawsuit. Thomas M. Melsheimer, a Dallas litigator said, “it’s really hard to imagine there being much grass-roots support for it once people understand that it could make the ordinary citizen suing Wal-Mart pay for Wal-Mart’s legal fees if they lose.”  These legal fees could far outweigh the potential amount of money a person might win for a breach of contract dispute.

What do you think?  Is this fair? Should a person be responsible to pay for legal fees that outweigh their original lawsuit in court?