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  H.B. No. 1711
 
 
 
 
AN ACT
  relating to barratry.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Section 82.065(b), Government Code, is amended
  to read as follows:
         (b)  Any contract for legal services is voidable by the
  client if it is procured as a result of conduct violating Section
  38.12(a) or (b), Penal Code, [the laws of this state] or Rule 7.03
  of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the
  State Bar of Texas, regarding barratry by attorneys or other
  persons.
         SECTION 2.  Section 82.0651, Government Code, is amended by
  amending Subsections (a), (b), and (c) and adding Subsection (g) to
  read as follows:
         (a)  A client may bring an action to void a contract for legal
  services that was procured as a result of conduct violating Section
  38.12(a) or (b), Penal Code, [the laws of this state] or Rule 7.03
  of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the
  State Bar of Texas, regarding barratry by attorneys or other
  persons, and to recover any amount that may be awarded under
  Subsection (b). A client who enters into a contract described by
  this subsection may bring an action to recover any amount that may
  be awarded under Subsection (b) even if the contract is voided
  voluntarily.
         (b)  A client who prevails in an action under Subsection (a)
  shall recover from any person who committed barratry:
               (1)  all fees and expenses paid to that person under the
  contract;
               (2)  the balance of any fees and expenses paid to any
  other person under the contract, after deducting fees and expenses
  awarded based on a quantum meruit theory as provided by Section
  82.065(c);
               (3)  actual damages caused by the prohibited conduct;
  [and]
               (4)  a penalty in the amount of $10,000; and
               (5)  reasonable and necessary attorney's fees.
         (c)  A person who was solicited by conduct violating Section
  38.12(a) or (b), Penal Code, [the laws of this state] or Rule 7.03
  of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the
  State Bar of Texas, regarding barratry by attorneys or other
  persons, but who did not enter into a contract as a result of that
  conduct, may file a civil action against any person who committed
  barratry.
         (g)  The expedited actions process created by Rule 169, Texas
  Rules of Civil Procedure, does not apply to an action under this
  section.
         SECTION 3.  Sections 38.12(d) and (e), Penal Code, are
  amended to read as follows:
         (d)  A person commits an offense if the person:
               (1)  is an attorney, chiropractor, physician, surgeon,
  or private investigator licensed to practice in this state or any
  person licensed, certified, or registered by a health care
  regulatory agency of this state; and
               (2)  with the intent to obtain professional employment
  for the person or for another, provides or knowingly permits to be
  provided to an individual who has not sought the person's
  employment, legal representation, advice, or care a written
  communication or a solicitation, including a solicitation in person
  or by telephone, that:
                     (A)  concerns an action for personal injury or
  wrongful death or otherwise relates to an accident or disaster
  involving the person to whom the communication or solicitation is
  provided or a relative of that person and that was provided before
  the 31st day after the date on which the accident or disaster
  occurred;
                     (B)  concerns a specific matter and relates to
  legal representation and the person knows or reasonably should know
  that the person to whom the communication or solicitation is
  directed is represented by a lawyer in the matter;
                     (C)  [concerns an arrest of or issuance of a
  summons to the person to whom the communication or solicitation is
  provided or a relative of that person and that was provided before
  the 31st day after the date on which the arrest or issuance of the
  summons occurred;
                     [(D)]  concerns a lawsuit of any kind, including
  an action for divorce, in which the person to whom the communication
  or solicitation is provided is a defendant or a relative of that
  person, unless the lawsuit in which the person is named as a
  defendant has been on file for more than 31 days before the date on
  which the communication or solicitation was provided;
                     (D) [(E)]  is provided or permitted to be provided
  by a person who knows or reasonably should know that the injured
  person or relative of the injured person has indicated a desire not
  to be contacted by or receive communications or solicitations
  concerning employment;
                     (E) [(F)]  involves coercion, duress, fraud,
  overreaching, harassment, intimidation, or undue influence; or
                     (F) [(G)]  contains a false, fraudulent,
  misleading, deceptive, or unfair statement or claim.
         (e)  For purposes of Subsection (d)(2)(D) [(d)(2)(E)], a
  desire not to be contacted is presumed if an accident report
  reflects that such an indication has been made by an injured person
  or that person's relative.
         SECTION 4.  (a)  Section 82.065(b), Government Code, as
  amended by this Act, applies only to a contract procured as a result
  of conduct described by that subsection, as amended by this Act,
  occurring on or after the effective date of this Act. A contract
  procured as a result of conduct occurring before the effective date
  of this Act is governed by the law applicable to the contract
  immediately before the effective date of this Act, and that law is
  continued in effect for that purpose.
         (b)  Except as provided by this section, Section 82.0651,
  Government Code, as amended by this Act, applies only to an action
  concerning a contract procured as a result of conduct described by
  Section 82.0651(a), Government Code, as amended by this Act, that
  occurs on or after the effective date of this Act. An action
  concerning a contract procured as a result of conduct that occurred
  before the effective date of this Act is governed by the law
  applicable to the contract immediately before the effective date of
  this Act, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         (c)  Section 82.0651(g), Government Code, as added by this
  Act, applies to an action:
               (1)  commenced on or after the effective date of this
  Act; or
               (2)  pending on the effective date of this Act and in
  which the trial, or any new trial or retrial following motion,
  appeal, or otherwise, begins on or after the effective date of this
  Act.
         SECTION 5.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2013.
 
 
  ______________________________ ______________________________
     President of the Senate Speaker of the House     
 
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1711 was passed by the House on April
  11, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 140, Nays 4, 2 present, not
  voting; and that the House concurred in Senate amendments to H.B.
  No. 1711 on May 16, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 141, Nays 0,
  2 present, not voting.
 
  ______________________________
  Chief Clerk of the House   
 
         I certify that H.B. No. 1711 was passed by the Senate, with
  amendments, on May 15, 2013, by the following vote:  Yeas 31, Nays
  0.
 
  ______________________________
  Secretary of the Senate   
  APPROVED: __________________
                  Date       
   
           __________________
                Governor