Effective for all lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2011, the legislature amended the responsible third-party statute, located at Chapter 33 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code.
The amendment removed a controversial provision which permitted plaintiffs to join defendants to law suits even after the applicable statute of limitations had expired. The new provision, however, prohibits defendants from naming any responsible third parties that the defendant has not timely disclosed to the plaintiff.
The new statute therefore imposes on the defendant the responsibility to identify, potentially early in the litigation, parties who may be liable to the plaintiff; failure to comply will preclude the defendant from submitting to the jury the comparative fault of any potentially responsible third parties.
Construction participants who have been sued on or after September 1, 2011 should discuss with their attorneys practices and procedures for timely disclosing any responsible or potentially-responsible third parties.