Just a few months after ruling that successful claimants in uninsured/underinsured motorist litigation can’t recover attorneys’ fees from insurance companies when the claimants prevail in a suit, Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht is now lobbying for legislation that would award him attorneys’ fees for his own successful lawsuit, according to an article in the Austin American Statesman.
According to the article, Justice Hecht received an ethics rebuke from the State Commission of Judicial Conduct for his public comments surrounding Harriet Miers’ nomination for the US Supreme Court. Hecht challenged the rebuke and claims to have incurred attorneys’ fees in excess of $350,000.00 in the process (which seems excessive to us, but that’s another issue).
Two bills introduced in the Texas House and Senate would require the State of Texas to reimburse judges for any attorneys’ fees they incur in any successful challenges to similar rebukes from the State Commission of Judicial Conduct. Again, according to the article, the bills each contain a provision making the bills retroactive so that the only past claims they apply to are those of Justice Hecht.
Also pending in the legislature is House Bill 2013, which would undo the Supreme Court’s opinion and allow consumers to recover attorneys’ fees when they have to hire lawyers to sue their insurance companies for uninsured/underinsured motorist claims. Given Justice Hecht’s newfound interest in making sure that litigants are reimbursed attorneys’ fees when they are successful in their claims, we’re sure that Justice Hecht is also fervently lobbying the legislature to get this bill passed too.
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