Texas Trial Lawyers Association

This service sponsored by Trialsmith

  July 1, 2014

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Upcoming Online CLE


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


Becoming an Evidence Master

Texas Tribune Political Brief



The Brief

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A daily wrap-up of Texas political and policy news by John Reynolds at the Texas Tribune.
John Reynolds, Texas Tribune 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Fracking Study Finds New Gas Wells Leak More

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In Pennsylvania’s gas drilling boom, newer and unconventional wells leak far more often than older and traditional ones, according to a study of state inspection reports for 41,000 wells. The results suggest that leaks of methane could be a problem for drilling across the nation, said study lead author Cornell University engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, who heads an environmental activist group that helped pay for the study.
Seth Borenstein, AP, Houston Chronicle 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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The Widow vs. the Insurer: A Wife's Fight for Her Family's Future

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Part 3 of 4 part series: Nearly half of all workers' compensation claims are initially disputed or denied wholly or in part, according to state workers’ compensation data. And the odds are stacked against employees when they formally dispute an insurer’s denial at the state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation, the agency within the Texas Department of Insurance that oversees such disputes, according to state data.
Jay Root, Texas Tribune 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Jury Awards $1.9M to Family of Police Shooting Victim

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A federal court jury has awarded $1.9 million to the family of a 23-year-old California man who was fatally shot by police in 2013. The lawsuit named as defendants the city of Indio, its chief of police and a veteran police officer. According to the lawsuit, the young man was riding his bicycle at 11:30 pm near a mental health facility on his way to visit family on Feb. 14 when an officer tried to flag him down, viewing his actions as suspicious. The victim fled because he feared "wrongful detention and possible use of force," the lawsuit contends. The officer then fatally shot him as he was climbing a fence. The lawsuit claimed that the unarmed victim "did not pose a threat of death or serious physical injury" when he was killed.
Reza Gostar, The Desert Sun 06/30/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Court: Teen in Mexico Shot by US Agent Had Rights


A federal appeals court ruled Monday that a Mexican teenager killed by a Border Patrol agent was protected by the U.S. Constitution, even though the teen was on Mexican soil when he was shot. The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means the family of 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca can move forward with a civil lawsuit against the agent.
JUAN CARLOS LLORCA, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle  07/01/2014  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Jury Awards $16.7M in Boston Malpractice Suit

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A jury has awarded $16.7 million to the daughter of a Boston woman who died of lung cancer after a radiologist missed evidence of the cancer in a chest X-ray. The verdict was against Dr. Peter Clarke of Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Johnette Ellis sued on behalf of her mother, Jeanne Ellis, who died in August 2008 at the age of 47.
Associated Press, Washington Times 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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AZ Court: Hospitals Can be Sued for Elder Abuse

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The Arizona Supreme Court ruled Monday hospitals can be sued under special laws adopted to protect vulnerable adults, saying the elderly can be abused anywhere. In a unanimous decision, the justices rejected arguments by attorneys for hospitals that the law was intended only to cover only places like nursing homes and similar facilities.
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Arizona Daily Star 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Ex-BP Exec Can be Tried on Obstruction Charge

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A former BP executive can be tried on a charge that he obstructed a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf oil spill, a federal appeals court in New Orleans said in a ruling posted Monday. The case involves allegations that David Rainey failed to disclose information from BP PLC indicating that the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion could have been far higher than estimates that were being made publicly.
Associated Press, The Washington Post 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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US High Court to Consider KBR Whistleblower Case

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The Supreme Court will consider whether a whistleblower can move forward with a lawsuit claiming defense contracting giant KBR Inc. falsely billed the government for work in Iraq. The justices on Tuesday said they will hear the company's appeal of a lower court decision that reinstated former employee Benjamin Carter's lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act.
Associated Press, The New York Times 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Arkansas Spill Pollution Case Against Exxon Can Proceed

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Federal and state attorneys who sued Exxon Mobil Corp. over its Arkansas pipeline spill have won court rulings to keep the lawsuit alive and to deny the company's attempt to limit the information it must provide in the case. The rulings, which came last month, represent a critical step forward for a case that has moved slowly since it was filed a year ago. The lawsuit, filed June 13, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, Ark., accuses Exxon of violating federal and state air and water pollution laws as well as Arkansas' hazardous waste regulations.
ELIZABETH DOUGLASS,, McClatchy News 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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GM Sets No Cap on Recall Victim Compensation Fund

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The Detroit automaker, GM, will place no overall cap on the compensation fund and will pay “whatever it takes” to resolve all claims, fund administrator Kenneth Feinberg said Monday at a press conference in Washington. He declined to offer any estimate of the total amount that will be paid until claims are reviewed.
David Shepardson , Detroit Free Press 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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In Military Care, a Pattern of Errors but Not Scrutiny

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Since 2001, the Defense Department has required military hospitals to conduct safety investigations when patients unexpectedly die or suffer severe injury. The object is to expose and fix systemic errors, often in the most routine procedures, that can have disastrous consequences for the quality of care. Internal documents obtained by The Times depict a system in which scrutiny is sporadic and avoidable errors are chronic.
SHARON LaFRANIERE and ANDREW W. LEHREN, The New York Times 07/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Class Action



Ambulance Company Settles Overcharging Lawsuit

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Acadian Ambulance, based in Lafayette, La., has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit against it filed by over 400 residents who allege they were overcharged for services over the last two decades. The settlement, totaling $5.9 million, was approved by an Avoyelles Parish judge and class members have until July 24 to file a claim. The lawsuit alleged that the ambulance company would providing insurance-approved reduced rates to insured individuals for medical emergencies such as a heart attacks, but would charge insured individuals the full amount if a third party was involved. Class members include those who were billed by or paid for services from Acadian between Jan. 1, 1994, and Dec. 31, 2013.
Wire Report, Washington Times 06/30/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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