On June 12, 2014 the Attorney General issued a revised opinion about filing consumer lawsuits on behalf of the consumers of the State of Texas for the “public good.” This evening I met with a client who had no remedy through the District Attorney or a private lawsuit to remedy a terrible injustice she experienced over several transactions for tens of thousands of dollars. Many times clients come in and want to be heard and hope that there can be some way to bring a lawsuit or criminal case for damages or restitution. The first thing I usually hear is that “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.” It is rewarding when there is an answer to the clients question when there is the possibility of filing something that will allow them a chance at restitution or a damages award. In many cases there may not be such a possibility. Filing your complaint at the Attorney General’s Office starts the process into the Attorney General’s investigation into a company’s business practices.
More specifically the Attorney General Opinion provides that:
“Lawsuits are filed on behalf of the state of Texas and the public good. This agency cannot represent individual consumers. Nevertheless, some legal actions do produce restitution for individual consumers.”
At ShawLaw we spend a fair amount of time educating our clients and friends about various avenues to resolve complex disputes. Part of the time people are less frustrated when they can get guidance that leads to someone being held accountable even if it does not mean money in their pocket. Most businesses and professionals have boards and associations that they belong to that also police inappropriate conduct. Go to the Texas Attorney General’s Website or Hotline for help or look at professional associations’ websites for their consumer inquiry section. If part of your mission is to “not have it happen again,” these watchdogs are generally a good place to start.