Power Top Ten (Texas) #4: Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s Dick Weekley

Power Top Ten (Texas) #4: Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s Dick Weekley

Image: Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s Founder and Chairman Dick Weekley.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Houston, December 20 – Businessman Dick Weekley of Houston, who co-founded David Weekley Homes and a major national development company, is #4 of the Power Top Ten people in Texas. Weekley struck the hot fire of “tort reform” in the 1990s, when in 1994 he founded Texans for Lawsuit Reform, the major pro-business and anti-tort special interest group in Texas.

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Texas. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Texas necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political, business, or policy goals. In other words, she or he can get things done in Texas. 

So far, The Golden Hammer has named six other people in the Power Top Ten:

#5, State Representative Dustin Burrows of Lubbock

#6, Podcaster Joe Rogan

#7, Businessman Tilman Fertitta

#8, State Senator Bryan Hughes, Republican of Mineola

#9, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

#10, Tesla and SpaceX Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.

#4: Texans for Lawsuit Reform’s Dick Weekley

No single individual has greater influence on two of the three Branches of the State of Texas government than Dick Weekley, the Chairman of Texans for Lawsuit Reform (TLR). Texas Governor Greg Abbott rarely makes any political move without consulting Weekley or Dick Trabulsi, TLR’s Political Director, who works for Weekley.

Weekley’s greatest influence is with the Judicial Branch of the Texas government. Abbott clears every judicial appointment with Weekley and TLR before he makes them. Other than in the most liberal counties, such as Harris, Dallas, and Travis, TLR has profound influence on contested judicial elections.

In Harris County, TLR has enormous influence in determining the victors in Republican primaries for legislative positions as well, because, without Weekley’s approval, Governor Abbott won’t endorse a candidate either. An example of such a legislative race where Weekley’s support and Abbott’s endorsement made a crucial difference in the outcome was in the 2020 campaign to replace retiring State Representative Duane Bohac in House District 138, which Lacey Hull won after getting both the TLR and Governor Abbott endorsements over her two opponents in the Republican Primary Election.

If you’ve wondered why Governor Abbott won’t call a special session to address vaccine mandates, look no farther than Weekley, who vehemently opposes such a session, because he fears it would do nothing but create liability for Texas businesses in dealing with their employees and customers.  With Governor Abbott’s closest advisor opposing a special session, it won’t happen.

Weekley and TLR continue to raise millions of dollars for their cause. They use those funds to endorse and financially support the campaigns of Republican candidates who will stand with them for tort reform legislation. Sadly, most tort reform legislation nowadays focuses more on protecting certain industries than on promoting real reform of the tort system. (As an attorney wrote in a amicus curiae brief in the Arthur Andersen & Co. versus Perry Equipment Company Corporation, “if Texans were to bring about real tort reform, they would disallow contingent fee contracts for plaintiff’s attorneys and require contingent fee contracts for defense lawyers. But that’s a true reform even the insurance companies don’t want.”)

Although tort reform is no longer the hot issue it was back in the 1990s, the hard work, persistence, and constant vigilance of Weekley and his team at TLR have maintained their political influence long past the waning of the specific set of legislative issues which helped them rise to influence.

Dick Weekley gets the job done in the sense of promoting and selecting judicial candidates and legislative candidates far more effectively than does any other person or interest group in Texas. Other than Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, no one has the ear of Governor Abbott more than does Weekley.

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