Three of Texas’ top legal experts on civil justice issues have agreed to join the TCJL Pandemic Task Force in advisory roles: former State Senator and Texas Tech Chancellor Bob Duncan, a prime architect of civil justice reforms in 1995, 2003, and 2005; former Chief Justice of the Texas Supreme Court Tom Phillips, currently a partner at Baker & Botts in Austin; and longtime TCJL advisor and veteran litigator Shannon Ratliff, now a partner in the Austin office of the Midland-based law firm Davis, Gerald & Cremer.
“We cannot express the depth of our gratitude to Senator Duncan, Chief Justice Phillips, and Shannon Ratliff for their willingness to assist TCJL with this critically important effort,” said Carol Sims, TCJL’s Executive Director. “All told, they bring more than a century of legal, judicial, and legislative experience to the table. This is just what Texas needs as we begin to build a legal structure in which businesses, health care providers, educational institutions, non-profits, and local governments can operate safely and with confidence in the current crisis, and, if necessary, in future pandemics.”
The TCJL Pandemic Task Force has begun work on the complex task of identifying the potential legal ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic and possible legislative approaches for the 2021 regular session. “We are concerned that the uncertainty surrounding liability exposure in the current environment will impede the our economic recovery, adversely impact the health care system, and make it harder for our schools and universities to bring students back to campus,” said Lisa Kaufman, TCJL General Counsel. “We’re in an unprecedented situation with a lot of unknowns, but Senator Duncan, Chief Justice Phillips, and Shannon Ratliff will help us ask the right questions and direct us to the best answers.”