Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  April 23, 2014

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Upcoming Online CLE


Medicare Secondary Payer Act -- Guidelines and Forthcoming Enforcement in Personal Injury Cases


Trial by Human: Building and Presenting the Non-Economic Damages Case at Trial


Jury Selection in a Medical Malpractice Case


Everything You Need to Know to Second Chair at Trial


Med School for Lawyers: Spinal Injuries




TTLA Webinar: Effective Use of Social Media for Trial Lawyers

TTLA and Let America Know are hosting a FREE Spreecast on Thursday, April 24, starting at noon. Mitch Jackson, a successful California trial lawyer and social media champion, along with several special guests, will share their secrets with you in a LIVE interactive video experience. Click on the headline for more information and to RSVP.  



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.  





Traffic Fatalities Still on the Rise in West Texas as Drilling Surges

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According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the oil-booming Permian Basin saw a 13 percent increase in roadside deaths from 2012-2013. Last week, a victims’ rights coalition in Midland held a panel discussion on how to deal with the region’s increasingly dangerous roads. Organizers of the event say most of those wrecks stem from the “3 D’s” – drugs, drinking and distracted driving. But the oil and gas boom in the Basin is compounding those dangers. Mdland County Sheriff Gary Painter says it’s hard to keep the roads safe because of the number of inexperienced drivers getting behind the wheels of big trucks.
Tom Michael, KXWT - StateImpact Texas, Texas Tribune 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Lax Oversight Cited as Factor in Deadly Blast at Texas Plant

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Federal investigators have determined that a lack of oversight and regulations at the local, state and federal levels contributed to the deadly fertilizer plant explosion that devastated West, Texas last year. The US Chemical Safety Board released the preliminary findings of its investigation. Officials with the agency highlighted a series of shortcomings, both in how the West Fertilizer Company handled the ammonium nitrate that touched off the explosion and in how various agencies oversaw the company’s operations and storage of the chemical. Rafael Moure-Eraso, the chairman of the Chemical Safety Board, told reporters. “It should never have occurred. It resulted from the failure of a company to take the necessary steps to avert a preventable fire and explosion and from the inability of federal, state and local regulatory agencies to identify a serious hazard and correct it.”
MANNY FERNANDEZ, The New York Times 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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A Half-Million in Texas Without Workplace Insurance

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At least a half-million Texas workers have no occupational insurance coverage, either from a state-approved workers' compensation plan or from a private equivalent, state insurance officials said Tuesday. The figures, provided by the TDI, provoked impassioned debate at a legislative hearing about policy solutions in the only state in the country where the decision to carry workers' compensation insurance or a private equivalent is voluntary for companies of any size. Though people who suffer workplace accidents can sue employers who have no workers' compensation insurance, in many cases there is no one to sue and no money to recover.
Jay Root, Texas Tribune 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Exxon CEO Tillerson Withdraws From Lawsuit Over Water Tower

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Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson’s participation in a highly publicized lawsuit to block construction of a 160-foot-tall water tower near his Denton County ranch is over. Tillerson and his wife have withdrawn their complaint, which they had brought as owners of Bar RR Ranches, according to court records. The suit attracted media attention in February after The Wall Street Journal tied Tillerson’s involvement to complaints that Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp.’s tower could be used to supply water for hydraulic fracturing. Exxon along with other energy companies, commonly use hydraulic fracturing in oil and gas production, prompting outrage at what was perceived as hypocrisy.
Jim Fuquay, Star Telegram 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Proposed Settlement Reached Between TSA and Mother

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A tentative settlement has been reached between a California mother and the Transportation Security Administration over an incident at a Phoenix airport. Four years ago, the plaintiff asked that TSA agents provide an alternate form of screening which would not include radiation for her infant son's breast milk. According to the plaintiff, she was held for 40 minutes in a glass enclosure while she was "frequently harassed and abused by the TSA agents." Under the terms of the proposed settlement, TSA will revise their procedure for screening breast milk and will pay $75,000, which the plaintiff says she plans to donate to a breastfeeding advocacy group.
Brian Sumers, Contra Costa Times 04/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Lawsuit Blames Welders for Boston Apartment Fire

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The owner of a Boston apartment building that was destroyed in a recent fire has filed a lawsuit against the welding company it alleges is responsible for the fire. The lawsuit alleges that the welding company failed to obtain a permit to work on the railing of a building next to the one that burned down. The permit would have required that the welding company have outside supervision to ensure the work was done safely. The building caught fire when strong winds sent sparks from the welding project onto the roof. While the negligence lawsuit does not specify an amount of damages, the city has assessed the property’s value at $1,628,500.
Maria Cramer and John R. Ellement, Boston Globe 04/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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High Court Rules Child Pornographers Should Pay Victims

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The Supreme Court ruled today that people who peddle in child pornography must help pay for their victims' pain and suffering – within reason. In a 5-4 decision, the justices struck a compromise in the case of "Amy," whose images — taken by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old — have become some of the most popular on the Internet for traffickers in child pornography. Rather than holding one man liable for up to $3.4 million in restitution, as the woman's lawyers urged, the court said trial judges should determine the fair amount. Three justices dissented and said the defendant can't be liable at all; a fourth said he should be liable for the full amount.
Richard Wolf, USA Today 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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FedEx Sued Over Deadly California Bus Crash

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The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire. Dozens escaped through windows before the bus exploded into towering flames, but five students, three adult chaperones and both drivers died. Some witnesses reported that the FedEx truck was on fire before the crash, and the lawsuit alleges that FedEx trucks have a history of catching fire from mechanical problems, driver error or improper cargo loading.
Associated Press, Yahoo News 04/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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