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According to provision 171.210 of SB.8, Texas residents may sue the defendant in the plaintiff's county of residence. So what would the procedure be if multiple suits are filed for the same incident & defendant in multiple counties (by various "competing" plaintiffs)? Would these suits proceed independently? Be joined on appeal? I think it's interesting because the law limits statutory damages more or less to the first winner. (I say "more or less" because actual proof of payment is required to preclude a judge from awarding statutory damages, so theoretically multiple county judges can legally award these, as long as it happens before there is proof of payment for any of them.)

This is what the section says:

Sec. 171.210. CIVIL LIABILITY: VENUE.
(a) Notwithstanding any other law, including Section 15.002, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a civil action brought under Section 171.208 shall be brought in: (1) the county in which all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred; (2) the county of residence for any one of the natural person defendants at the time the cause of action accrued; (3) the county of the principal office in this state of any one of the defendants that is not a natural person; or (4) the county of residence for the claimant if the claimant is a natural person residing in this state. (b) If a civil action is brought under Section 171.208 in any one of the venues described by Subsection (a), the action may not be transferred to a different venue without the written consent of all parties.

Given the "or" before (4) I take it the plaintiff has choice of venue between the variants listed, if more than one would apply.

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  • Can you clarify what provision 171.210 of SB.8 actually says and what area of law does it pertain to?
    – hszmv
    Sep 14, 2021 at 13:39
  • @hsmv See legiscan.com/TX/text/SB8/id/2395961 where 171.210 is the definitions section. it is part of Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, which SB8 amended to insert the4 new law. Dec 15, 2021 at 19:23

1 Answer 1

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Multiple Suits Seem to be Allowed Under SB8

It appears that only a previously completed suit for which the full $10,000 damages has been paid bars a further suit. (This is specified by 171.208(c).) As far as I can see, SB8 contemplates and permits multiple suits fer the same act provided that no one has been completed and paid in full. That seems to be by design.

So far as I know there has not yet been an actual case where multiple suits have been filed for the same action, so there is no way to know how a court would in fact address such a situation.

Excerpts from SB8

Part of SB8 is section 171.208, which provides:

Sec. 171.208. CIVIL LIABILITY FOR VIOLATION OR AIDING OR ABETTING VIOLATION. (a) Any person, other than an officer or employee of a state or local governmental entity in this state, may bring a civil action against any person who:
(1) performs or induces an abortion in violation of this subchapter;
(2) knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, ...

...

(c) Notwithstanding Subsection (b), a court may not award relief under this section in response to a violation of Subsection (a)(1) or (2) if the defendant demonstrates that the defendant previously paid the full amount of statutory damages under Subsection (b)(2) in a previous action for that particular abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, or for the particular conduct that aided or abetted an abortion performed or induced in violation of this subchapter.

Section 171.210 provides:

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, including Section 15.002, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a civil action brought under Section 171.208 shall be brought in:
(1) the county in which all or a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred;
(2) the county of residence for any one of the natural person defendants at the time the cause of action accrued;
(3) the county of the principal office in this state of any one of the defendants that is not a natural person; or (4) the county of residence for the claimant if the claimant is a natural person residing in this state.
(b) If a civil action is brought under Section 171.208 in any one of the venues described by Subsection (a), the action may not be transferred to a different venue without the written consent of all parties.

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