Texans for Lawsuit Reform is a lobbying group which advocates for tort reform and limiting lawsuits.
Leo Linbeck, Hugh Kelly, Dick Trabulsi and Richard Weekley founded the organization in 1993 and initially struggled to find support within the Legislature. After supporting several winning challengers in 1994, and with the election of George W. Bush as governor, they gained prominence at the Capitol. They succeeded in lobbying for tighter limits on punitive damages.
TLR saw more policy goals accomplished in 2003, the year Republicans gained a majority in the Texas House of Representatives. The tort reform bill that passed set a $250,000 cap on medical malpractice suits and limited contingency fees.
According to TLR’s website: “TLR's objective is to restore litigation to its traditional and appropriate role in our society.” The group has been a vocal advocate for limiting the ability to sue, positioning itself in opposition to the state’s trial lawyer groups.
TLR's PAC has helped fund political candidates at all levels and in both parties. Texans for Public Justice reports that TLR spent $13.3 million on races between 1996 and 2006.
TLR's legislative goals come with considerable controversy, and the group has frequently come under fire from critics. Texans for Public Justice has accused TLR of buying influence through its PAC. A 2005 Texas Monthly article stated: "With the courts closed and the Legislature supine, the good people of TLR will have remade the world in their image, one in which there is no recourse for wrongdoing, one in which the powerful simply get their way." TLR has actively refuted such criticisms, saying the organization is simply trying to prevent frivoluous lawsuits.