Texas Trial Lawyers Association

This service sponsored by Trialsmith

  June 17, 2014

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Upcoming Online CLE


The Top 10 Rules of Jury Selection


Effective Use of Powerpoint Presentations in Trial


Da Vinci Robot Litigation


Preparation of Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses


Power Tips and Tricks for Using Your List Server


Litigating an Auto Case: From Investigation to Trial




In NC hamlet, Residents Worry Over Coal Ash Ponds

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For more than 80 years, the Thomas family has lived on a farm that abuts three open-air pits containing 6.1Mn tons of ash from the coal-fired boilers of Duke Energy's Buck Steam Station. Since 2011, Duke and NC environmental regulators have known that groundwater samples taken from monitoring wells near the Thomases' home and others in Dukeville contained substances — some that can be toxic — exceeding state standards. The state could have required Duke to implement a cleanup plan to prevent spreading contamination. That never happened, state regulators said, because they weren't certain whether coal ash production was to blame or if the substances were naturally occurring. Those living near the plant were never warned and continued using their well water. Now the Thomases and their neighbors wonder not only what's in their water, but whether it's harmed them or their children.
MICHAEL BIESECKER and MITCH WEISS, AP, Yahoo News 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Truckers Resist Rules on Sleep, Despite Risks of Drowsy Driving

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For decades, federal authorities have tried to ensure that truck drivers get adequate rest. But in a business that lives by the clock, miles mean money. Commercial truck operators have resisted, arguing, in effect, that Washington cannot regulate sleep. Drowsy driving is a leading cause of crashes and highway fatalities, according to federal officials. Just this month, driver fatigue has been cited in deadly accidents in Madison County, Ohio; Austin, Tex.; and Marseilles, Ill. In all, more than 30,000 people die on highways annually in the United States; crashes involving large trucks are responsible for one in seven of those deaths.
JAD MOUAWAD and ELIZABETH A. HARRIS, The New York Times 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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What Will Hundreds of Water Tests Reveal About Drilling in Texas?

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A project hopes to determine if drilling for oil and gas and burying chemical waste generated by the work is contaminating groundwater. The project is not sponsored by TX regulators nor the oil and gas industry but rather by UT Arlington. UT’s Bureau of Economic Geology is also involved. Results from an expected total of 550 well water samples won’t be made public until this fall.
Dave Fehling, StateImpact Texas, Texas Tribune 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Miss. Files Suit Against Credit Reporting Company

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The state of Mississippi has filed a lawsuit against Experian, the world's largest credit-reporting firm, alleging that the company made numerous data errors and violated consumer protection laws. The lawsuit was filed last month in a Biloxi state courthouse and transferred to Mississippi federal court late last week. The state accuses the company of jeopardizing their customer's ability to get loans and pass job-related background checks because of the data errors. The credit reporting industry is currently under investigation by 32 states.
Jeff Horwitz, US News and World Report 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Spokane, Wash. Faces Lawsuit Over Ticket Collection

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The city of Spokane, Wash. is facing a lawsuit over traffic ticket money that was wrongfully collected using red-light cameras. The lawsuit, which involves potentially thousands of drivers, asks the city to repay two-and-a-half years' worth of tickets, which could total $2.1 million. The traffic tickets, worth $124 each, were given to drivers caught on camera running red lights or not coming to a complete stop before turning. According to the lawsuit filed last week, the city is still trying to collect ticket money from drivers who have not yet paid.
Daniel Moore, The Spokesman-Review 06/16/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Reports: Apple Settlement in E-Book Lawsuit

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Apple has reportedly settled an antitrust dispute with federal and state governments and consumers over electronic books. Several outlets including Bloomberg report Apple faced as much as $840M in damages from the class action lawsuits stemming from claims Apple conspired with book publishers to inflate e-book prices. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Brett Molina, USA Today 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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State Sues Fort Worth Assisted Living Facility Over Faulty Sprinkler System

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The Texas attorney general’s office is suing Westchester Plaza, an assisted-living facility, along with its management company and Brian Jeffrey Bryant, president of Phoenix Health Resources Inc., alleging that false information was provided to the state consumer protection division and that management ignored a fire marshal’s tag stating that the fire safety pumps were broken.
Elizabeth Campbell, Star Telegram 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Fluor Corp. Lawsuit Accuses BP of Breaking Spill Cleanup Contract

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Fluor Corp. is suing BP over millions of dollars in workers’ compensation claims related to cleanup efforts after the Gulf oil spill in 2010. Fluor says BP has violated a contractual agreement by failing to repay litigation costs that Fluor incurred from the claims. A subsidiary of the Irving, Texas-based engineering firm agreed to help BP clean up the oil-polluted Gulf of Mexico in 2010 by training unemployed Florida and Alabama residents to restore the beaches, along with other services. Its condition: That BP agree to protect it against legal costs, Fluor said in court documents filed in a Harris County district court Friday.
Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Showdown for Surgical Tool

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In April, the FDA discouraged gynecologists from using a power morcellator, estimating that 1 in 350 women undergoing the procedure have a hidden cancer that can be spread by the instrument. The debate about the tool will come to a head at the Washington-area hearing, where a FDA advisory panel will weigh whether to ban the device—a drastic move the agency has made only once before. Morcellators are used in an estimated 50,000 minimally invasive hysterectomies a year in the U.S. to remove often-painful growths called fibroids. The tools slice up the tissue so it can be extracted through tiny incisions.
Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal - $$ Subscription Required 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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G.M. Recalls 3 Million More Defective Cars

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GM said on Monday that it would recall 3.36 million defective cars worldwide. Again, the problem had to do with keys that could suddenly turn off engines and deactivate air bags — a problem similar to the deadly defect that G.M. failed to address for more than a decade before it began recalling 2.6 million small cars. G.M. said it was aware of eight accidents and six injuries related to the defect.
BILL VLASIC and DANIELLE IVORY, The New York Times 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Justice Dept. Takes Hard Look at G.M.’s Handling of Issues

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The Justice Department is taking a hard look at who should be held accountable when it comes to the GM debacle. Prosecutors, along with the SEC, are looking more broadly at the G.M.’s disclosures to regulators as well as the conduct of individuals who were involved in the flawed ignition switch that led to at least 13 deaths.
PETER J. HENNING , The New York Times 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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