Texas Trial Lawyers Association

This service sponsored by Trialsmith

  December 2, 2014

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Upcoming Online CLE


MSP Case Law Update


Strategies For Deposing/Cross Examining Experts


Medicare Set Asides in General Liability and Medical Malpractice Cases


Understanding ERISA


Roadway and Design Construction Cases


Depositions and Your Discovery Plan


Top 10 Things Attorneys Need to Know About E-Discovery




Is your birthday in December? Need CLE? We got it!

Register for the innovative and interactive Advanced PI CLE (Dec 4th) and our Annual Board & Membership Meeting (Dec 5th) at the Sheraton Hotel in Austin. Other events include the Advocates Annual Meeting, Awards Reception, and PAC event. Call TTLA at 512-476-3852 to register. Watch for updates on Twitter @ttla_ #ttlaannual.  


Advanced PI Seminar Agenda Released! This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 6.75 hrs.

Check out the agenda for our innovative new Advanced PI CLE seminar. This year's program includes new topics, new speakers, and interactive break-out sessions. This course has been approved by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for 6.75 hrs certification and recertification continuing legal education requirements for attorneys and legal assistants in the following specialty fields: civil appellate law, civil trial law and personal injury trial law.December 4 in Austin. Click on the headline to access the agenda.  


Texas Tribune Daily Brief



The Brief for Dec 2

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Compilation of Texas news by the Texas Tribune.
John Reynolds, Texas Tribune 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Lower Speed Limits Coming in Drilling Areas

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With accident rates soaring on some roads in the state's bustling oil fields, the TxDOT is stepping up efforts to lower speed limits on particularly dangerous routes. Under a recently adopted emergency rule change, the agency can decide in four weeks to reduce speed limits by up to 12 miles per hour on some roads, bypassing its normal review process that typically takes months. The change only covers rural two-lane, two-way roads that are less than 24 feet wide and are part of the state highway system. Traffic spawned by the state's drilling boom has made small roads in oil areas increasingly hazardous.
Aman Batheja, Texas Tribune 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Study: High School Football Alters Brains Even Without Concussions

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The findings from 24 high-school athletes suggest that a series of small, successive blows to the head can prompt changes in the brains of young people. The research was presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. The study didn't look at brain function, so the cognitive effect of the observed brain-structure changes remains unknown. A 2013 analysis of 80 Division I college football and ice-hockey players, though, found that the more the brain changed over a single season, the worse athletes did on learning and memory tests.
Bloomberg, Bloomberg 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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BP Oil Spill Settlement to Exclude Hurt Cleanup Workers

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BP won’t have to make payouts any time soon to more than 95 percent of the workers hurt while cleaning up after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. If the workers seek compensation for their physical injuries, they’ll need to sue the company, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled yesterday, saying they no longer qualify for automatic compensation under the company’s medical-benefits settlement. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier expressed frustration that the vast majority of an estimated 20,000 individuals injured from exposure to crude oil and dispersants during the spill weren’t covered by a deal he thought would end such litigation. “The interpretation may not be what the court envisioned at the time” or what victims’ lawyers thought they’d negotiated, Barbier said in an eight-page ruling. Barbier, after reviewing the contract “thoroughly” and weighing arguments from both sides at a September hearing in New Orleans, said “the contract terms are unambiguous.”
Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Bloomberg 12/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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GM Told to Show Ex-CEO Performance Review in Switch Case

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A U.S. judge told GM to give customers any portions of former Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner’s 2009 performance evaluation that relate to recalls and ignition-switch issues. Wagoner may have watched a presentation showing stalling by the Chevrolet Cobalt about three weeks before he resigned in March 2009, GM’s paid investigator, Anton Valukas, has said. That finding was the first indication a CEO at the largest U.S. automaker had any knowledge of faults in the Cobalt’s ignition switch. The order signed yesterday by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan was made on the condition that Detroit-based GM finds the review document after a “reasonable” search.
Linda Sandler, Bloomberg 12/01/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Asbestos Remains Legal Despite Fatal Illnesses Linked To It

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The EPA tried to enact an abestos ban administratively 25 years ago, only to have the industry fight and win in court. Since then, a major asbestos scandal rocked tiny Libby, Mont., where Hearst Newspapers disclosed in 1999 that a nearby vermiculite mine, its ore tainted with tremolite asbestos, has killed hundreds of people — miners and their families, even townspeople with no direct connection to the mine — and spread toxic fibers worldwide. New cases from Libby asbestos are diagnosed regularly. Since then, Congress has made several efforts to legislate a ban — all thwarted by powerful industrial lobbies and partisan wrangling. Meanwhile asbestos-related disease continues to kill about 10,000 Americans each year.
David McCumber, San Antonio Express News 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Automakers Expand Passenger Air Bag Recalls

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Under pressure from U.S. safety regulators, two automakers are expanding recalls or adding them to fix potentially faulty passenger air bags in high-humidity states. Documents posted Tuesday by the government say Subaru is expanding a previous recall of five models. Mitsubishi is recalling one model, the 2004 and 2005 Lancer small car. Both companies have cars equipped with air bags made by Takata Corp. Previous recalls were limited to Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and several other territories. The new Subaru and Mitsubishi recalls now cover those areas as well as southern Georgia and coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina. Different automakers have different recall boundaries, and the government is trying to bring them all into line to avoid confusion.
TOM KRISHER, AP, Houston Chronicle 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Car Seat Maker Graco Under Investigation for Delayed Reporting of Defect

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Federal safety regulators on Monday began an investigation into whether Graco Children’s Products delayed reporting a safety defect that eventually led to the nation’s largest recall of children’s car seats. After a series of disputes with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this year, Graco recalled about 6.1 million child seats. At issue in the Graco seats are the buckles on restraining straps, which may be hard to unlatch, making it difficult to remove a child in an emergency. Graco resisted a recall, saying that there was no safety hazard and that any problems were caused because children spilled food or liquid on the buckles. Federal regulators contended that was a foreseeable problem and a recall was needed.
CHRISTOPHER JENSEN, The New York Times 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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GM Recalls 316K Vehicles Because of Malfunctioning Headlights

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GM will recall 316,357 SUVs and sedans, mainly in North America, because the low-beam headlights can stop working, the company said on Monday. Affected vehicles are the model years 2006-2009 Buick LaCrosse sedans; 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy and Buick Rainier SUVs; and 2006-2008 Saab 9-7X and Isuzu Ascender SUVs. GM said it has not been able to confirm whether the loss of lights has caused any accidents.
Reuters, Reuters 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Suit Asks That Dentists Not Diagnose Sleep Disorders

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Dentists are not doctors and should not diagnose sleep disorders, officials with the Texas Medical Association say. Now they’re preparing to take the point to court. In a lawsuit filed last week in Travis County, the state medical association is challenging the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners over one of its new rules, which the medical association says is too broadly written and permits licensed dentists to screen, evaluate and treat sleep disorders, privileges that fall outside the lawful scope of dentistry and in the realm of medicine.
Jazmine Ulloa , Austin American Statesman 12/02/2014   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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