Texas Trial Lawyers Association

This service sponsored by Trialsmith

  June 25, 2014

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Upcoming Online CLE


Effective Use of Powerpoint Presentations in Trial


Da Vinci Robot Litigation


Private Outside Counsel for State Attorney Generals in Major Civil Litigation Cases


Preparation of Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses


Power Tips and Tricks for Using Your List Server


Litigating an Auto Case: From Investigation to Trial


Hip Settlements: Past, Present and Future




Central Texas Derailment Caused Chemical Leak

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Eight Union Pacific cars overturned in Central Texas and at least one tanker leaked a hazardous chemical (diethanolamine)used in natural gas processing. The Grimes County Sheriff’s Office says nobody was hurt in the June 23 derailment near Navasota. Authorities are trying to determine what caused the derailment in an area about 65 miles northwest of Houston.
Staff, Insurance Journal 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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20% of West Viictims Who Sought Emergency Care had Brain Injuries

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One in 5 people who sought emergency care after last year’s fertilizer plant explosion in West suffered traumatic brain injury, accordong to a report by public health officials in McLennan County and the state health department. But it does not capture the full scope of suffering in West. As The Dallas Morning News reported in April, researchers did not contact private medical practices that treated blast victims. Nor did they track problems that can surface later, such as brain injuries without immediate symptoms, hearing loss and mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorders or depression.
SUE AMBROSE, The Dallas Morning News 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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$5.4 Million Verdict Awarded to Amputee Motorcyclist

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A U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of California has rendered a $5.4 million verdict against the United States Government in favor of a motorcyclist whose leg was amputated after a collision with a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The personal injury lawsuit was filed five years ago after the accident in Aug. 2009. The accident took place when a U.S. Border Patrol agent, driving a government issued vehicle, sped around a blind 90-degree turn, colliding with the oncoming motorcyclist. The plaintiff, whose leg was amputated after the incident, suffers from ongoing migraine headaches, stump pain, phantom pain, difficulty using his prosthesis and lack of concentration.
Staff Report, Business Wire 06/24/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Property Owners Sue Arizona Over 2013 Wildfire

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More than 160 property owners affected by an Arizona wildfire that killed 19 firefighters last year have filed a lawsuit against the state, claiming that its mismanagement caused lives to be lost and homes and businesses to be destroyed. The lawsuit alleges that fire officials "failed miserably" and acted with negligence in fighting the so-called Yarnell Hill Fire, a blaze that claimed all but one member of an elite firefighting crew last June.
David Schwartz, Reuters 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Seattle Archdiocese to Pay $12M to Settle Child Sex Abuse Claims

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The Archdiocese of Seattle has agreed to pay about $12.125 million to 30 men who alleged they were sexually abused as children and teens at two Seattle-area schools from the 1950s until 1984, their attorney said. The men alleged in lawsuits filed in King County Superior Court that the Catholic district failed to shield them from known abusers at Seattle's O'Dea High School and at Briscoe Memorial School.
Eric M. Johnson, Reuters 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Appeals Court Says Dead Student Sexually Harassed, Can Sue School Under Title IX

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Legal experts are calling it a federal court ruling that could force TX schools to better protect kids from bullies or face deep financial consequences. Four years ago in the N. Tx town of Joshua, 13 year old Jon Carmichael took his own life - a suicide his family insisted was the direct result of near constant physical, emotional and sexual humiliation inflicted by classmates at his middle school. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2012, but Jon's family pushed the case to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled June 19th that what happened to the 8th grader was in fact "pervasive sexual harassment" and that his family is entitled to seek damages under the federal law known as Title IX, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on gender, including sexual stereotypes.
Greg Groogan, 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Couples Sue Over Alleged Adoption Scam

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Six couples have sued a shuttered private adoption agency in The Woodlands and its operators (Sans Pareil Center for Children & Family Services), alleging that they bilked the couples out of thousands of dollars through misrepresentations and lies, including promising an exclusive match with an infant who had already been promised to others. The prospective parents in the lawsuit complained that Texas laws governing adoptions are lax, leaving many loopholes for abuse.
Cindy Horswell, Houston Chronicle 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Albertsons to Pay $3.3M in Settlement of Haz-Mat Suit

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Albertsons has been ordered to pay $3.3 million, according to a settlement agreement made Tuesday, in a lawsuit that accuses the company of illegal disposal, transportation, storage, and mismanagement of hazardous waste. The lawsuit alleges that Albertsons violated state hazardous waste law by unlawfully transporting and disposing of hazardous waste as well as failing to properly manage that hazardous waste at its California facilities. The hazardous waste generated at each Albertsons facility included — but was not limited to — over-the-counter medications, pharmaceuticals, aerosol products, ignitable liquids, batteries, electronic devices, pool chemicals, and other products containing hazardous materials.
Staff, The Desert Sun 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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U.S. Top Court Rules to Protect Cellphone Privacy

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that police officers usually need a warrant before they can search an arrested suspect's cellphone, a major decision in favor of privacy rights at a time of increasing concern over government encroachment in digital communications. In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court said that the right of police to search an arrested suspect at the scene without a warrant does not extend in most circumstances to data held on a cellphone.
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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GM Says Other Defective Ignition Switch Made in China

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GM said in a filing on Tuesday with U.S. safety regulators that the switch used in the Chevrolet Impala and Monte Carlo, Buick LaCrosse and Lucerne, and Cadillac DeVille and DTS cars that were recalled on June 16 was made by China-based Dalian Alps Electronics Co Ltd. The switch problem is similar to the defect linked to at least 13 deaths in an earlier recall of 2.6M vehicles.
Reuters, Reuters 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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General Motors Plans to Offer a Broad Payout

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A fund set up by GM to compensate victims of crashes linked to defective ignition switches could offer payments for anyone injured or killed in a crash in which the car's air bags didn't deploy, people familiar with the situation said. Compensation expert Kenneth Feinberg, who will administer the fund, is expected to outline details of the victims' fund as early as next week. Families of people killed or injured in one of the 2.6 million recalled cars could opt out of accepting payments from the fund if they want to sue the auto maker. The company has said it is protected from product-liability claims by its 2009 bankruptcy.
Jeff Bennett, Wall Street Journal - $$ Subscription Required 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Ford Expands Truck Recall After Supplier Reviews Records

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Ford said Tuesday that it was increasing the number of 2014 F-150 pickups it was recalling for a possible steering loss problem from the 372 announced earlier this month to almost 5,700, including about 4,600 in the United States. The increase came after the company that supplied a defective part reviewed its records and concluded that a sensor had been incorrectly positioned on far more vehicles than originally thought, according to a news release from Ford.
CHRISTOPHER JENSEN, The New York Times 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Interactive: Texas Hospitals Face Penalties Over Infections

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Dozens of Texas hospitals that receive Medicare dollars will likely be penalized for their rates of complications and infections during inpatient stays, part of the federal government's recent effort to improve the quality of hospital care. Through the hospital-acquired condition (HAC) reduction program the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has identified 58 Texas hospitals that are likely to receive lower Medicare payments for a year beginning in October because their rates of preventable infections or conditions are higher than at peer hospitals.
Alexa Ura and Jessica Hamel, Texas Tribune 06/25/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Wrongful Death



Lawsuit Over Electrocution Death of Boy Settled

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A wrongful death lawsuit over the electrocution death of a 6-year-old boy from Montgomery, Alabama has been settled with no cap on possible damages. The lawsuit was filed against a Montgomery city employee who had conducted an electrical inspection at an empty building, leading to the electrocution of the boy near an air-conditioning unit at the site. According to the attorney for the defendant, "the real person responsible for [the boy's] death is the one who vandalized air-conditioning units outside the building and in the process tied electrical wires to a chain-link cage around the units." The defendant has made no admission of wrongdoing with the confidential settlement.
Scott Johnson, The Montgomery Advertiser 06/23/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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