HBA-DMH, MSH H.B. 792 77(R) BILL ANALYSIS Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 792 By: Wolens Civil Practices 3/11/2001 Introduced BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE Currently, a grievance may be filed against an attorney with the State Bar of Texas. The grievance system is designed to sanction attorneys for misconduct, but does not provide for the award of damages or civil or criminal remedies. The grievances are investigated for a violation of the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. If a violation of professional misconduct is not proven, the matter is classified as an inquiry and dismissed. House Bill 792 establishes the liability of the State Bar of Texas for its or its employees' conduct, requires stricter compliance with the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, and prohibits disclosure of certain information protected under attorney-client privilege. RULEMAKING AUTHORITY It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state officer, department, agency, or institution. ANALYSIS House Bill 792 amends the Government Code to provide that the State Bar of Texas and an employee of the state bar are liable for certain damages that arise from the employee's conduct as an attorney representing the state bar in a disciplinary proceeding, and authorizes a claimant to bring an action against the state bar for damages, including exemplary damages. An employee of the state bar waives any immunity to suit or from liability for damages that arises from the employee's conduct as an attorney representing the state bar in disciplinary proceedings. The bill requires the state bar to ensure strict compliance with the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. The bill prohibits the state bar or a court from requiring an attorney against whom a disciplinary action has been brought to disclose information protected by the attorney-client privilege if the client did not initiate the complaint that is the subject of the action. The bill requires that, on the filing of a notice of appeal of an order or judgment of disbarment or suspension, the order or judgment be superseded during the pendency of the appeal. EFFECTIVE DATE September 1, 2001.