eFiling Mandate Deadline
In December 2012, the Texas Supreme Court mandated e-filing in civil matters. The first group of counties (Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Bexar, Travis, Collin, Denton, El Paso, Hidalgo and Fort Bend), the Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the 14 Courts of Appeal become mandatory January 1, 2014. This means that attorneys will no longer be able to file paper documents at the clerk's counter. E-filing in all other counties will become mandatory on a graduated schedule through July 1, 2016. Click on the headline to learn more.
Study: Texting or Dialing While Driving Raises Crash Risk
Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute installed video cameras, global positioning systems, lane trackers, gadgets to measure speed and acceleration, and other sensors in the cars of 42 newly licensed drivers 16 or 17 years old, and 109 adults with an average of 20 years behind the wheel. The risk of a crash or near-miss among young drivers increased more than sevenfold if they were dialing or reaching for a cellphone and fourfold if they were sending or receiving a text message. The risk also rose if they were reaching for something other than a phone, looking at a roadside object or eating. Among older drivers, only dialing a cellphone increased the chances of a crash or near miss. However, that study began before texting became more common, so researchers don't know if it is as dangerous for them as it is for teens.
MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP, The Dallas Morning News 01/03/2014
Read Article: The Dallas Morning News
Statesman Fights Subpoena from TWIA
A lawyer for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has subpoenaed records from the American-Statesman and two other media outlets to obtain notes, emails and other information gathered by reporters. The Statesman will fight releasing the information. TWIA wants information from the outlets ” the others are Texas Public Radio in San Antonio and KRGV-TV in Weslaco ” for a case in which the association is being sued by the Brownsville Independent School District over unpaid claims from Hurricane Dolly in 2008.
Tim Eaton, Austin American Statesman 01/03/2014
Read Article: Austin American Statesman
$400K Settlement in Teenage Solitary Confinement Suit
A $400,000 settlement has been reached between New Jerseys Juvenile Justice Commission and Rutgers University in a federal lawsuit involving two juveniles who were put into solitary confinement while they were in state custody. The two boys, who were both 16 at the time of their stay at a juvenile detention center, were placed in isolation, sometimes for weeks at a time. One of the boys already suffered from post traumatic stress, bipolar disorder and psychosis, among other problems. The other teen, who brought the lawsuit, was placed in juvenile detention after escaping from a residential program.
Ryan Hutchins, NJ.com 01/03/2014
Read Article: NJ.com
Federal Lawsuit Alleges Police Harassment
A Louisiana man has filed a lawsuit against several officials who allegedly harassed him while his wife was having an affair with a Texas police chief. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff endured police harassment at the instruction of the police chief who was having an affair with his wife. The plaintiff claims he was arrested on a charge of domestic abuse battery "without substantial evidence" and that his wife's boyfriend threatened to arrest him if he came near Collin County where the police chief worked. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees.
Carol Christian, Houston Chronicle 01/02/2014
Read Article: Houston Chronicle
Oil Train Crash Spurs Alert
Three days after a train carrying oil crashed and exploded into huge fireballs in North Dakota, federal regulators warned that oil from a booming shale play there may be more flammable than other crude types. The alert, issued Thursday by the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, is sure to draw more scrutiny of shipping oil by rail, which has skyrocketed in recent years and sent an unprecedented level of old tank cars speeding oil across the country.
Zain Shauk and Collin Eaton, Houston Chronicle 01/03/2014
Read Article: Houston Chronicle