Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  September 22, 2014

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Car Wrecks CLE in Dallas, October 9, 2014 (8 hours MCLE with 1.5 hours ethics)

TTLA's CLE Committee has revamped our exceptional Car Wrecks program to bring you innovative, relevant topics and some exciting new speakers. From new issues like E-Filing, to fresh looks at opening & closing, voir dire and defense strategies, you'll come away with tips, insights & valuable information to give you the edge in your car wreck cases. Additionally, the TTLA Advocates Board of Directors is pleased to host a post-CLE Happy Hour. Click on the headline to learn more.  


Texas Tribune Daily Brief



The Brief for Sept. 22

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Compilation of Texas news by the Texas Tribune.
John Reynolds, Texas Tribune 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Michael Hiltzik: New Study Shows that the Savings from 'Tort Reform' are Mythical


"Tort reform," which is usually billed as the answer to "frivolous malpractice lawsuits," has been a central plank in the Republican program for healthcare reform for decades. The notion has lived on despite copious evidence that that the so-called defensive medicine practiced by doctors merely to stave off lawsuits accounts for, at best, 2% to 3% of U.S. healthcare costs. As for "frivolous lawsuits," they're a problem that exists mostly in the minds of conservatives and the medical establishment. A new study led by Michael B. Rothberg of the Cleveland Clinic and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association aimed to measure how much defensive medicine there is, really, and how much it costs. The researchers' conclusion is that defensive medicine accounts for about 2.9% of healthcare spending.
Michael Hiltzik, LA Times  09/22/2014  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Houghton Asks TX Officials to Address Surging Highway Deaths

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Ted Houghton, chairman of the state Transportation Commission, has called on Texas officials to address motor vehicle deaths and multiple-fatality crashes involving trucks and other commercial vehicles that have accompanied the state's oil and natural gas boom since 2008. His remarks came in response to an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and Houston Public Media that documented significant increases in traffic deaths in shale drilling areas and urban hubs across Texas. Between 2009 and 2013, Texas traffic fatalities climbed 8 percent from 3,122 to 3,378, even as traffic fatalities in most other states continued to decline. Traffic deaths linked to commercial vehicle crashes in Texas have risen by 51 percent, from 352 in 2009 to 532 in 2013, the investigation found.
Lise Olsen and Dug Begley, Houston Chronicle 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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AG: Bexar Co. Must Release Hazardous Chemical Info

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The Office of AG Greg Abbott says Bexar County officials must release some information regarding hazardous chemical inventories, after local emergency planners refused to hand over the information to the Houston Chronicle. In a Sept. 16 public records ruling, Assistant AG Lee Seidlits ruled local officials must release information on the types of potentially hazardous chemicals stored in facilities across the county. But the specific locations and amounts of the chemical stockpiles can continue to be withheld under homeland security laws, Seidlits added, in order to preserve public safety.
Lauren McGaughy, Houston Chronicle 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Nursing Home Neglect Trial Fights Shell Company Transfers

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Juanita Jackson died in July 2003, five weeks after she was removed from a Florida nursing home where her family said continual neglect led to multiple bedsores, malnutrition and a fall that injured her head. Trying to collect a $110 million verdict against two nursing home companies has led her family on a four-year odyssey through a maze of private-equity firms and shell companies to a bankruptcy court trial set to begin today. A corporate structure designed to transfer liabilities from the nursing home operator to a shell company without assets also has kept five other families from pursuing wrongful death lawsuits or collecting judgments, said lawyers for the family of Jackson.
Margaret Cronin Fisk, Bloomberg 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Judge Tells GM to Open Defect Files

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Hundreds of car owners suing GM over its ignition-switch flaw got a boost on Friday when a New York judge ordered the auto maker to turn over internal files and documents about its handling of the defect to plaintiff attorneys. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman directed GM to provide all documentation—including what it submitted to Congress and an internal investigation—to a panel of attorneys representing plaintiffs who have sued alleging economic losses, personal injury and deaths tied to the company's recall of older cars equipped with the switch.
Jeff Bennett, Wall Street Journal - $$ Subscription Required 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Ex-Transit Workers Blame Cancer on Bus Exhaust

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Two retired New York City Transit employees have filed a lawsuit alleging that their cancers were caused by exposure to diesel exhaust particles and fumes from buses inside the depot. The civil complaint, recently filed in state Supreme Court, accuses Queens Structure Corp., the company which allegedly built the bus depot, of failing to install an effective ventilation system. According to the lawsuit, the company should have known the potential risk of exposure to diesel exhaust particles. The lawsuit names Queens Structure Corp. as the sole defendant and seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Frank Donnelly, Staten Island Advance 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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New Indictment Against Former BP Executive

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A federal grand jury has issued a new indictment against a former BP executive, David Rainey, charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Prosecutors allege that Rainey — during a May 2010 congressional briefing — failed to disclose information about the rate that oil was spewing from BP’s blown-out well following the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. They also claim Rainey gave false information to a subcommittee chairman.
Associated Press, Houston Chronicle 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Exonerated Man Dies Days Before $124M Lawsuit

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A New York City man who was exonerated after serving 23 years in prison died just days before his lawsuit against the city was scheduled to start. The $124 million lawsuit was scheduled to start in Brooklyn on Tuesday, but the plaintiff died suddenly over the weekend after a massive asthma attack. The 55-year-old man was released from prison in Jan. 2013 after a federal judge threw out his conviction. The man was convicted in 1989 of the murder of a drug dealer after two witnesses, one of whom later recanted, placed him at the scene.
Matthew Diebel, USA Today 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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G.M. Recalls Impalas and Cadillacs Over Risk of Brake Fires


GM is recalling more than 221,000 vehicles because of a parking-brake defect that can cause brake pads to stay partly engaged, which can lead to “excessive brake heat that may result in a fire,” according to documents posted Saturday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website. The recall covers 205,309 vehicles in the United States and 16,249 elsewhere, said Alan Adler, a G.M. spokesman. It includes 2014-15 Chevrolet Impalas and 2013-15 model Cadillac XTS cars.
AARON M. KESSLER, The New York Times  09/22/2014  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Deaths Linked to GM Ignition-Switch Defect Rise to 21

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The number of deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch in GM vehicles rose by two last week to 21, according to a report Monday from a lawyer overseeing a program to compensate victims of accidents caused by the recalled part. Since Aug. 1, 675 claims for serious injuries or deaths said to have been caused by the switch had been received by the program, which is being overseen by lawyer Kenneth Feinberg. As of Friday, 21 death claims had been deemed eligible, as well as 16 claims for serious physical injuries, according to statistics provided by Feinberg’s office.
Jessica Dye, Reuters 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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700 Babies Maybe Exposed to TB at Texas Hospital

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More than 700 infants may have been exposed to tuberculosis at an El Paso hospital over the past year by an employee recently diagnosed with the illness, health officials said Friday. The employee, who worked in the nursery at Providence Memorial Hospital, tested positive on Aug. 25 and was placed on leave, but she may have exposed infants and about 40 other hospital workers starting in September 2013, said Dr. Hector Ocaranza, the health authority for El Paso County.
Associated Press, The New York Times 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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After Surgery, Surprise $117,000 Medical Bill From Doctor He Didn’t Know

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In operating rooms and on hospital wards across the country, physicians and other health providers typically help one another in patient care. But in an increasingly common practice that some medical experts call drive-by doctoring, assistants, consultants and other hospital employees are charging patients or their insurers hefty fees. They may be called in when the need for them is questionable. And patients usually do not realize they have been involved or are charging until the bill arrives. The practice increases revenue for physicians and other health care workers at a time when insurers are cutting down. reimbursement for many services.
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, The New York Times 09/22/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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