Anyone can file a lawsuit, regardless of whether they were harmed.
Legal experts have said the law is a “radical expansion” of reputation, which is the legal concept that determines whether one person can sue another, usually to obtain compensation for some type of injury or damage. The new abortion law does not require this relationship with the case to be entitled.
It is a very unusual measure in criminal law, which is generally used to provide resources to people who have suffered harm. Adriana Piñon, a senior staff lawyer and political advisor to the Texas ACLU, said the law “leaves the door of the courtroom open in Texas.”
Legal experts have said the concept of expanding is part of an emerging trend in Republican-dominated state governments that have difficulty constitutionally banning actions they don’t like. Instead, these governments authorize civilians to sue for civil remedies.
Anti-abortion groups argue that the Texas legislature can legitimately give anyone standing. State courts are likely to find out if the Texas Constitution requires someone to have suffered an injury to initiate a lawsuit, or if, in fact, the legislature’s permission is sufficient to allow people to sue what attorneys call. ” generalized grievances ”or damages that have not been committed against them personally.
Patients cannot be sued, but anyone who performs or assists with abortion does.
This section describes who can be sued under the law, which includes anyone who performs an abortion in Texas who does not adhere to state rules, who assists in this abortion, or who intends to perform or assist with this abortion. .
The law may not sue the patient who receives this abortion, but it can be everyone who helps him or her, including, for example, his or her doctor, driver, or family member who helps pay for the procedure.
Both Uber and Lyft have said they will cover all legal fees from any of their drivers who are sued under the new law.
The state awards a $ 10,000 “reward” for successful lawsuits.
If the plaintiff wins, he or she will be awarded at least $ 10,000, as well as attorney’s costs and fees.
Normally, according to legal experts, a language would be included in the law to describe the relief the plaintiff needs for the harm caused to them. As the plaintiffs are not directly involved or harmed by the abortion performed, no harm relief is included.
Instead, the court will award the plaintiff $ 10,000, attorney’s fees and fees to the plaintiff, and a deterrent that the court deems acceptable to prevent future misdemeanors, such as fining the defendant in the event of future violations of the law.
Critics, including President Joe Biden, have said this section clearly encourages plaintiffs to sue. Sotomayor wrote in his dissent that the cash reward “effectively replaced the citizens of the state as bounty hunters.”
The same abortion can be done in court several times, but can only be paid once.
A court cannot pick up the achievement of the same defendant for the same abortion more than once. For example, ten different plaintiffs could sue an abortion provider for a single abortion, but only one could claim damages.
The law does not protect the accused from having to fight several lawsuits for the same abortion and being forced to defend himself (costing time and money) as each case progresses.
Plaintiffs have four years to sue.
A lawsuit must be filed within four years of the abortion. It is normal in Texas to be allowed to sue a plaintiff for four years for felony, according to Texas attorneys.
The law seeks to limit defenses to restrict legal challenges.
The law limits the arguments the defendant can use in court. Defenses are prohibited, including ignorance, the belief that the law is unconstitutional, whether the provider had the patient’s consent to perform the abortion, and whether the lawsuit violates the patient’s constitutional rights.
Legal experts said trying to prevent the defense from arguing that the law is unconstitutional will likely be difficult to enforce.
Serial plaintiffs are protected from litigating each of their cases.
If a plaintiff files hundreds of lawsuits against different Texas clinics with the same complaints and loses the first case, other providers who have been sued by the same plaintiff by the same plaintiff cannot rely on that first case to stop the litigation. Protection is known as “non-mutual issuance or exclusion of claims” and eliminates another possible defense of defendants.
“All cases are a fresh start under this statute,” said David Coale, a Texas attorney.
“He tilts the field and who knows how much, but like a lot of this statute, if you put enough fingers on the scales, he suddenly bows,” he said.
The burden of proving that the abortion was intended to be lawful rests with the defendant.
This section details the arguments that defendants may use, including that they reasonably believed that the physician performing or inducing the abortion had complied or would comply with the law.
The responsibility for proving that they reasonably believed that the abortion was lawful rests with the defendant.
The defendant can never recover his costs or attorney’s fees.
This prevents the court from awarding attorney’s expenses or fees to the defendant, even if the defendant successfully wins the lawsuit.
Many legal experts have pointed out how this clearly tilts the law in favor of the plaintiff, as if the plaintiff wins, he will be guaranteed to recover the lawyer’s costs and fees, in addition to the cash reward.
One rapist cannot sue, but another person can sue for an abortion to a rape survivor.
This section prevents rapists of a patient from reporting to providers or people who help with abortion. If the patient was raped, sexually assaulted, or a victim of incest, the perpetrator cannot sue for the abortion performed.
However, the law does not prevent other people from suing for this particular abortion, even if the pregnancy occurred due to rape, sexual assault, or incest.
It also allows the person who impregnated the patient to sue if the sex that occurred was legal. “An angry ex-boyfriend is clearly a suitable plaintiff under this law,” said Coale, the appellate attorney.
The law seeks to limit suppliers from using Roe against Wade as a defense.
This section seeks to prevent defendants from arguing that enforcing the law through lawsuits effectively prevents patients from having an abortion, which is a violation of patients ’constitutionally protected right to abortion.
The defendant, in accordance with state law, cannot claim that the patient’s right to abortion is a defense to perform it unless the Supreme Court says otherwise. Legal experts said this section is a way to try to narrowly clarify what arguments Roe v. Wade may use on defendants.
There are some exceptions when Roe v. Wade could be a defense, as long as the ruling is not overturned by the Supreme Court.
Providers could argue that they protect the rights of patients to seek an abortion if it relates to the “relief” granted by the court. If the relief granted by the court prevented people from having an abortion, it could be a valid defense.
Of course, the law also states that such a defense would not be valid if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey, both of which protect the constitutional right to abortion.
Plaintiffs have full power over the litigation of the claim.
This section allows plaintiffs to sue the county where they reside, which could be anywhere in the state (since anyone has the right to sue someone who provides or assists with an illegal abortion under this law).
It also prevents defendants from attempting to transfer the location of the lawsuit to a different court unless the plaintiff accepts the move. Several opponents of the abortion law say this could lead to significant defense costs if lawyers have to travel and discuss various cases statewide, rather than asking the court to move the site to a centralized place or at the place where the abortion was performed. .
Legal experts said that this section is essentially a limit on the court’s ability to grant a change of location, another unusual mechanism that tilts the case in favor of the plaintiff.
Outreach: Lyft and Planned Parenthood have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit news organization funded in part by donations from members, foundations, and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters have no role in Tribune journalism. Here is a complete list.
Join us September 20-25 at Texas Tribune Festival 2021. Tickets are on sale now for this celebration of several days of great, bold ideas about politics, public policy, and news of the day, curated by the winners journalists from The Texas Tribune. Learn more.