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Fact Check: Abbott Denied Texans The Same Justice He Received

Wendy Davis' latest TV ad, "Justice," turned heads this weekend for its direct, honest portrayal of Abbott's blatant hypocrisy in denying other Texans the same justice he received.

The ad highlights that while Abbott will receive up to $10 million in his life for the tree that fell on him, he's denied justice to other Texans - including a woman with an ampuated leg Abbott ruled was not "disabled", a young mother raped by a sexual predator, and hospital victims maimed or killed by a surgeon high on cocaine.

Texas journalists have examined Abbott's potential hypocrisy by investigating whether or not someone today could receive the same kind of justice Greg Abbott received years ago.

The answer comes back a pretty clear no.

  1. "Justice system wouldn't be there for Abbott today" by Lisa Falkenberg of the Houston Chronicle features the attorney who represented Greg Abbott in his case, who now says, "Today, a claimant would not have the same benefits" of the law because "now it's very complicated" to get the same kind of defense Abbott received.

    Additionally, as Falkenberg writes:

    Abbott collected from both a homeowner and a tree company that had examined the tree before it fell. But the Texas law governing "joint and several liability" was changed three times for all tort lawsuits in ways that made it harder for victims to recover from multiple wrongdoers...
  2. "Abbott Faces Questions on Turnabout and Fair Play" by Jay Root of the Texas Tribune looks further at Abbott's case. He highlights that Abbott benefits from being awarded noneconomic damages that other Texans - like those featured in Davis' ad - would not receive if they went to court for justice. Root writes that:
    In 1995, the Legislature capped punitive damages stemming from noneconomic losses at $750,000. Lawmakers also erected hurdles for plaintiffs who try to collect from multiple defendants. Meanwhile, the conservative Texas Supreme Court, on which Abbott served from 1996 to 2001, began adopting tighter standards for losses that involved pain and suffering and mental anguish.

In the final three weeks of the campaign, Greg Abbott remains on the defensive as Wendy Davis - and his record - catch up to him.