COMING SOON…TTLA’S 2014 ANNUAL CONFERENCE!
Join your colleagues June 11-13th in Austin, Texas to enhance your practice with three days of networking, CLE and Texas-sized celebrations. In addition to the annual meetings and get-togethers, the CLE Committee presents The Jury Bias Model™ - From Car Wrecks to the Complex Case with Greg Cusimano & David Wenner, along with speeches from some of TTLA’s great in-the-trenches trial lawyers. Click on the headline to register.
Study: Most Texans Drive and Talk; Many Text
Three out of four Texans at least occasionally speak on a cellphone while driving and nearly half sometimes read or text while driving, according to a study released Monday of 3,000 drivers by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The institute surveyed drivers in April and May of 2013 at 12 state driver's license offices around the state about their driving habits. Senior research scientist Katie Womack, who led the study, called the sample “a reasonable reflection of Texas
Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune 04/22/2014
Read Article: Texas Tribune
Falkenberg: Surgeon's Cases Show How Tort Laws Fall Short
Patients have accused Dr.Christopher Duntsch, who was recruited to the Dallas area in 2011, in part by Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, of operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, butchering spines and slicing through arteries according to lawsuits. Nearly as horrific are the allegations made in lawsuits that Baylor let Duntsch continue in the operating room even after administrators were made aware of the danger he posed to patients. Lawsuits against Baylor Regional Medical Center have run up against a Texas tort statute intended to protect hospitals and doctors, and limit patient rights. This one narrows the definition of "malice" so drastically that proving gross negligence isn't good enough. Patients' lawyers would have to basically prove that the hospital itself was out for blood, that its officials were not only aware of the danger Duntsch posed, but that they intentionally put patients in harm's way. The Texas AG's office has chosen to intervene in some lawsuits against Baylor to defend the constitutionality of the tort reform-era statute. Some attorneys don't understand why. Abbott isn't required to. And they say there are plenty of constitutional challenges on which his office remains silent.
Lisa Falkenberg, Houston Chronicle 04/22/2014
Read Article: Houston Chronicle
A Year After West Blast, Support for Chemical Safety Reform Isn’t Certain
A year after the West Fertilizer explosion, the nation is taking its first steps to repair the failed system for preventing chemical accidents. But whether the fixes will work, or even become reality, remains to be seen. Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Senate environment and public works committee, noted the disaster’s first anniversary with a call for action. However, it’s unclear whether the West explosion, which killed 15 people and injured hundreds more, has spurred a broader political demand for chemical safety reform. That was one lesson from the first congressional discussions of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed budget for fiscal 2015.
RANDY LEE LOFTIS, The Dallas Morning News 04/22/2014
Read Article: The Dallas Morning News
General Mills Backtracks on Legal Policy
General Mills has reversed a recent change to its online legal policy after an outcry by consumers. The policy had been quietly updated last week to include terms under which any dispute with the company would have to be decided through arbitration. Critics and legal experts said the new terms could cost consumers their right to sue in court if they merely "liked" General Mills' social media pages, downloaded coupons from its website, or entered any company-sponsored contests. In a weekend blog post, the company apologized for the change.
Wire Reports, Houston Chronicle 04/22/2014
Read Article: Houston Chronicle
Texas Oil Company Faces Overtime Pay Lawsuit
A recently filed lawsuit alleges that an oil-field services company in Texas owes over 90 of its employees overtime pay. The lawsuit contends that the company violated the Fair Labor and Standards Act by failing to pay equipment and crane operators as well as support personnel for their overtime hours, which amounted between 50 to 100 hours per week. Under consideration is whether or not the Motor Vehicle Carriers Act applies to the company, which grants them an exemption from overtime pay.
Jessica Priest, Victoria Advocate 04/17/2014
Read Article: Victoria Advocate
Man Files Lawsuit Over Wrongful Murder Conviction
An Illinois man who was convicted of killing his girlfriend before DNA evidence cleared him of the crime 13 years later has filed a lawsuit accusing authorities of framing him. The plaintiff was convicted in 1993 of the strangulation death of his girlfriend but the conviction was reversed in 2008 when DNA evidence proved he did not commit the murder. The lawsuit accuses the city of Normal, Ill. and three ex-police officers of focusing their investigation on the plaintiff and failing to investigate other suspects.
Wire Report, San Francisco Chronicle 04/17/2014
Read Article: San Francisco Chronicle
Former CEO Settles Cancer Discrimination Lawsuit
A settlement has been reached between Tuesday Morning Corp. and its former CEO who alleged in a lawsuit that she was wrongfully terminated after she revealed that she had breast cancer. The plaintiff filed the lawsuit last May, alleging that she was fired just months after informing the company that she had cancer. Though the terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, according to court documents, a Dallas County judge officially dismissed the lawsuit last Thursday.
Wire Report, The Washington Post 04/21/2014
Read Article: The Washington Post
Airline Settles Partially Paralyzed Man's Lawsuit
A settlement has been reached between Delta Air Lines and a partially paralyzed man who claimed airline workers forced him to crawl on and off flights in 2012. His lawsuit alleged that Delta did not provide him with a wheelchair or any other form of assistance during two flights in 2012. The lawsuit accused the airline "of negligence and of noncompliance with the Airline Carrier Access Act because the airline didn't provide an aisle seat, a lift to get him up and down the stairs or any assistance to get him from the plane to his wheelchair." The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
Wire Report, Honolulu Advertiser 04/22/2014
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U.S. Judge Declines to Order 'Park it Now' Notices for GM Cars
A federal judge on Thursday rejected a bid to compel General Motors Co to tell customers to stop driving millions of cars that have been recalled for defective ignition switches. U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi, Texas, denied the request in a ruling on Thursday, saying that she would defer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal agency that oversees auto safety.
Jessica Dye, Reuters 04/22/2014
Read Article: Reuters
GM Seeks U.S. Court Protection Against Ignition Lawsuits
General Motors Co filed a motion in a U.S. court to enforce a bar on lawsuits stemming from ignition defects in cars sold before its 2009 bankruptcy as it fights proposed class action litigation that seeks to set aside the restriction. The faulty ignition switch has been linked to at least 13 deaths and the recall of 2.6 million GM vehicles. GM emerged from bankruptcy protection in 2009 as a different legal entity from the so-called old GM. Under those terms, the "new GM" shed liability for incidents predating its exit from bankruptcy, and any lawsuit involving pre-bankruptcy issues must be brought against what remains of old GM.
Reuters, Reuters 04/22/2014
Read Article: Reuters
$14M Awarded in Lawsuit Linking Birth Control Pill Yasmin to Stroke
A jury has awarded $14 million to a suburban Chicago woman who said in a lawsuit that she suffered a debilitating stroke after taking the birth control drug Yasmin. Lawyers for Mariola Zapalski say the stroke occurred 13 days after she began taking the drug, paralyzing her left side and causing permanent brain injury. A $2.5 million settlement in the same matter was reached a month ago with the hospital, Resurrection Medical Center. Drug maker Bayer has also faced lawsuits from women claiming the contraceptive caused blood clots that led to serious health consequences.
Associated Press, FOX6 News 04/22/2014
Read Article: FOX6 News
Insurance Company Calls Victim's Weight Pre-Existing Condition
The KSAT 12 Defenders uncovered a little-known fact that insurance companies consider a person’s weight when awarding settlement monies for accident claims. Maria Vasquez was in a wreck caused by the other driver in May 2013 and found out State Farm is considering her weight while deciding how much to award her in damages, Vasquez is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. In settling the case her lawyer found out the insurance company was offering to settle with her for less money because her weight was a factor and said the claims adjuster was holding back a few thousand dollars and he was trying to figure out why. A letter from State Farm confirmed that. Claim Representative Janet Lorenz-Floyd wrote: “Ms. Vasquez’s pre-existing condition, including her height and weight, was considered in our evaluation.
Brian Mylar, KSAT.com 04/22/2014
Read Article: KSAT.com