Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  June 18, 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




The Dark Side of the Oil Boom


Communities throughout the U.S. and Canada are waking up to the dark side of North America’s energy boom: Trains hauling crude oil are crashing, exploding and spilling in record numbers as a fast-growing industry outpaces the federal government’s oversight.A POLITICO analysis of federal data from more than 400 oil-train incidents since 1971 shows that a once-uncommon threat has escalated dramatically in the past five years: This year has already shattered the record for property damage from U.S. oil-train accidents, with a toll exceeding $10 million through mid-May — nearly triple the damage for all of 2013. The number of incidents so far this year — 70 — is also on pace to set a record.
KATHRYN A. WOLFE and BOB KING , Politico  06/18/2014  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Investigation: Safety Last - Hidden Defects Linked to Small-Aircraft Crashes Over Five Decades

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Nearly 45,000 people have been killed over the past five decades in private planes and helicopters — almost nine times the number that have died in airline crashes — and federal investigators have cited pilots as causing or contributing to 86% of private crashes. But a USA TODAY investigation shows repeated instances in which crashes, deaths and injuries were caused by defective parts and dangerous designs, casting doubt on the government's official rulings and revealing the inner workings of an industry hit so hard by legal claims that it sought and won liability protection from Congress.
Thomas Frank, USA Today 06/18/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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TX Railroad Commission Releases Azle Injection Well Data


The Texas Railroad Commission said it has posted information online about injection wells in the Azle area where a series of small earthquakes rocked residents last year. The agency did not interpret the data, which was provided by five of the seven operators of injection wells in the area. Officials in 3 states have linked earthquakes with nearby wastewater injection wells, but TX and Ok regulators have not established such a link. Researchers at the UT at Austin have also concluded that there were possible links between injection wells and seismic activity at D/FW Airport and around Cleburne in 2009-2010.
Jim Fuquay, Star Telegram  06/18/2014  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Pipeline Companies Paying More to Cross Private Land

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A natural gas pipeline company (Peregrine Pipeline Co) argued earlier this year that it should pay about $80,000 for the right to lay pipe across a mile of vacant land south of Fort Worth. The landowner countered, and a Johnson County jury agreed. The jury awarded about $1.6M, plus interest, to the landowner. The award, which Peregrine has said it will appeal, is the latest in a series of recent jury verdicts in eminent domain cases that experts say reflect an upward trend in the cost of building oil and gas pipelines in Texas.
Gilad Edelman, Texas Tribune 06/18/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Shale Boom: Drillers Try to Apply Forced Pooling Laws

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Forced pooling laws are little known but on the books in 39 states. They compel holdout landowners to join gas-leasing agreements when enough of their neighbors have already signed on. Many of the laws were enacted for conventional oil and gas drilling, long before fracking existed in most states. The premise was simple: Since oil and natural gas tend to accumulate in “pools” that likely flow beneath several properties, a petroleum well on one property would probably drain oil from beneath neighboring properties as well. The law was intended to make sure that if your gas was drained, you got paid—even if you didn’t want your gas drained in the first place. Now, the nearly nationwide shale boom has prompted drillers to try to apply forced pooling laws to hydraulic fracturing.
Zoë Schlanger , Newsweek 06/18/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Federal Appeals Court Revives Shooting Lawsuit

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A federal appeals court in Houston, Texas has decided that a lawsuit filed by the son of former major league outfielder/first baseman Bobby Tolan, who was shot by a police officer in 2008, will be heard in court. The man was sitting on his porch in Bellaire, Texas when he was shot by a local police officer. A three judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled on Tuesday that the case would be sent back to federal court in Houston, after the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the lawsuit last month.
Wire Report, The Sacramento Bee 06/17/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Lawsuit says GM Recalls Damaged Brand

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A new lawsuit says General Motors Co should compensate millions of car and truck owners for lost resale value, potentially exceeding $10 billion, because a slew of recalls and a deadly delay in recalling cars with defective ignition switches has damaged its brand. According to a complaint filed on Wednesday with the federal court in Riverside, California, GM hurt customers by concealing known defects and valuing cost-cutting over safety, leading to roughly 40 recalls covering more than 20 million vehicles this year alone.
Jessica Dye and Jonathan Stempel, Reuters 06/18/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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US Supreme Court Rules Against Homeowners in CTS Case

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Residents and activists who have fought for 15 years for a cleanup of the CTS site say a Supreme Court ruling issued Monday morning is a "devastating" development that favors corporations to the detriment of residents and homeowners. The Supreme Court said a group of Asheville-area homeowners can't sue the company that contaminated their drinking water, CTS Corp., because a state deadline has lapsed. The case centered around a state law that established a "period of repose" for pursuing legal action in a pollution case.
John Boyle, Asheville Citizen-Times 06/18/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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