Leo Linbeck Jr., the Houston construction magnate who co-founded Texans for Lawsuit Reform to transform the state’s tort laws, died Saturday morning, according to his son, Leo Linbeck III. Born in Dallas in August 1934, he was 78.
Linbeck was one of several Houston businessmen who started TLR in the mid-1990s to limit the scope and profitability of civil lawsuits in the state and the U.S. The group became a major force in Texas politics at the same time, generally but not exclusively favoring Republican candidates for statewide and legislative offices and, more recently, branching into other issues like public education. In 2011, Linbeck described TLR’s inception in a speech uploaded to the group’s website.
He was also involved — as co-founder and CEO — in Americans for Fair Taxation, a group that promotes a national sales tax to replace the current personal income tax system that helps fund the federal government.
The privately held Linbeck Corp. was founded by Linbeck’s father, Leo Linbeck Sr., in 1938, and grew into one of the southwest’s biggest construction firms, building office buildings, hospitals, museums, parking garages, shopping centers and the like. Linbeck Jr. was the company's chairman and CEO for years and more recently has been senior chairman of Aquinas Companies, a family-held business.
Some of his business affiliations are listed in his official bio: “Linbeck is past chairman and director, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas-Houston Branch. He is a former director of The Bionomics Institute, Daniel Industries, Inc., GeoQuest International Holdings, Inc., International Systems & Controls, John Hancock Advisers, Inc., MorningStar Foods Inc., and The Southland Corporation. Linbeck has served as chairman and member of the Advisory Council for the College of Engineering, University of Notre Dame, and is a former member of the Institutional Initiatives Committee of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Linbeck also served as Chairman, Special Commission on the 1999 Bonfire, Texas A & M University.”
Services are pending.
[Editor's note: An earlier version of this story misstated Linbeck's age.]