Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  December 10, 2013

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Shale Company Ordered to Pay $281M in Wrongful Death

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A Dimmitt County jury has awarded $281M to the family of a man killed when he was struck by a drive shaft that broke off a truck involved in activity in the Eagle Ford Shale. The verdict came after a trial in which the family of Carlos Aguilar, an Army veteran who was in his 30s, had sued Heckmann Water Resources and its employee Ruben Osorio Hernandez. The lawsuit alleged that the drive shaft broke because the defendants did not properly maintain the tractor-trailer. The jury found Heckmann negligent, but not Osorio. Besides damages for Aguilar's children, the verdict includes $100 million in punitive damages against the company.
Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express News 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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High Court Leaves Intact $142M Verdict Against Pfizer

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left intact a $142 million jury verdict against Pfizer Inc over the marketing of the epilepsy drug Neurontin. The jury had ruled in favor of an insurer who said it had been misled into paying for the drug for "off-label" uses, or uses for which it was not approved.
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, Yahoo News 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Teen’s Death Leads to Lawsuit Against Remington

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The family of a Charlotte teenager who died from an alleged misfire from one of the country’s most popular rifles (Remington .308 Model 700 rifle) joined a nationwide list of lawsuits Monday against the North Carolina producer of the gun. The suit claims that the gun fired without the trigger being touched and that Remington knew or should have known that it had designed and sold a defective weapon. The company continues to market the rifle worldwide despite “thousands of consumer complaints and more than 75 lawsuits” over injuries and deaths, according to the complaint. The lawsuit accuses the company of negligence, contributing to a wrongful death and bodily injury, along with infliction of emotional distress.
Michael Gordon, Charlotte Observer 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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School District Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuit for $500K

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The Redlands Unified School District in California has agreed to pay $505,000 to end a lawsuit filed by a former student who alleges she was sexually abused by a female teacher. The lawsuit claims that the plaintiff was preyed on and sexually abused, and that the district ignored "ignored obvious signs of inappropriate contact." According to the lawsuit, the teacher began driving the plaintiff after soccer practice, excusing her from school and spending long hours with her. The teacher was not prosecuted, due to insufficient evidence.
Richard Winton, LA Times 12/09/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Massachusetts Settles Alpha Coal Blast Lawsuit for $265M

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Massachusetts on Monday announced a $265 million deal with Alpha Appalachia Holdings Inc to settle allegations that the coal miner artificially inflated its stock price by misrepresenting its safety record ahead of a deadly 2010 mine explosion. The Massachusetts state pension fund was the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against the former Massey Energy Co, which has been doing business as Alpha Appalachia since being acquired by Alpha Natural Resources Inc in 2011.
Reuters, Reuters 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Couple Files Suit Against Golf Cart Dealership

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A couple from Florida has filed a lawsuit over a golf cart accident which left a woman partially disabled. The couple was attending a family reunion and riding in a modified golf cart, when it malfunctioned, causing the cart to overturn and trap the woman's leg. The lawsuit alleges the company who modified the golf cart is responsible for the woman's injuries. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages and legal costs.
Becky Purser, Macon Telegraph 12/09/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Pushed Out of a Job Early

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Age discrimination claims are on the rise as members of the post-World War II baby boom enter their 60s. Last year, 22,857 people filed age-related complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, compared with 16,548 in 2006. Winning an age discrimination case in a federal court has become particularly difficult since a 2009 Supreme Court ruling requiring an employee to prove that age was the determining factor for a layoff. In a few states, however, the standard of proof is lower, requiring only that workers show that age was one factor.
Michael Winerip, The New York Times 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Think the E.R. Is Expensive? Look at How Much It Costs to Get There

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Thirty years ago ambulance rides were generally provided free of charge, underwritten by taxpayers as a municipal service or provided by volunteers. Today, like the rest of the health care system in the United States, most ambulance services operate as businesses and contribute to America’s escalating medical bills. Often, they are a high-cost prequel to expensive emergency room visits. Charges, as well as insurance coverage, range widely, from zero to tens of thousands of dollars. .
ELISABETH ROSENTHAL, The New York Times 12/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Wrongful Death

Psych Hospital Patient Strangled with Phone Cord

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The family of a man who was strangled to death with a telephone cord by another patient in a Washington psychiatric hospital has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. The suit alleges that the hospital should have prevented the use of telephone cords in patients' rooms, among other hazards. An investigation following the man's death revealed that the hospital was not in compliance with 32 standards. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages for the victim's family.
Brian M. Rosenthal, Seattle Times 12/09/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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