Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  October 28, 2013

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A Special Called Meeting of the TTLA Membership will be held on Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 9:00 am in Austin, Texas at the Four Seasons Hotel in Ballroom A. The date & location coincide with the Legends CLE being held later the same day, allowing TTLA to save the cost of booking a separate venue. This meeting has been called with some urgency to discuss issues about TTLA raised in a recent news article. This is an in person meeting only, and you are urged to attend this important meeting so that these issues may be fully and candidly discussed. The meeting is for informational purposes only. Should you be unable to attend this meeting, these issues will also be discussed at the regular Annual Membership Meeting on December 6, 2013 in Austin. Please email Rhonda High at if you are planning to attend the meeting so that we may have an accurate head count to plan accordingly.  



Toyota Pays Settlement in Fatal Car Crash Lawsuit

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Toyota confirmed a confidential settlement in a lawsuit filed against them over a fatal car crash. The court case determined that software defects were responsible for the 2005 Camry crashing into the embankment, injuring the 76-year-old driver and killing her passenger. The jury decided that Toyota should pay $3 million in compensatory damages and an unspecified amount of punitive damages. This marks Toyota's first loss in a sudden acceleration case and could spark many similar cases.
Jerry Hirsch and Ken Bensinger, LA Times 10/25/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Suit: Insurance Provider Fails to Treat Mentally Ill

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A lawsuit against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan was filed last week on behalf of three patients who allege the health insurance provider has failed to treat patients with mental illness. The lawsuit accuses the company of not providing information to patients with mental illness and not having a system of monitoring such patients. The class action lawsuit seeks to represent "thousands of other Kaiser members who have been harmed by Kaiser's systemic denial of timely access to mental health services."
Paul T. Rosynsky, Contra Costa Times 10/25/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Judge Denies Dismissal of Whistleblower Lawsuit

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A judge has denied a request to drop a lawsuit against Thomson Reuters filed by a former employee who claims he lost his job without severance after he reported suspected insider trading to the FBI. While working at the company, the plaintiff noticed the early release of an economic data publication to some subscribers which he thought involved insider trading. After being fired without severance pay, he filed a lawsuit against Thomson Reuters. The company requested a dismissal of the lawsuit, which was later denied, on the basis that the plaintiff reported to the FBI instead of the SEC, which provides protection for whistleblowers.
Staff Report, Reuters 10/25/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Doctor Tries to Stop Peer Review

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A recent Texas Supreme Court order and public records reflect that medical peer review proceedings could continue into allegations that Rio Grande Valley neurosurgeon Dr. Madhavan Pisharodi destroyed and falsified a patient’s medical records at the Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville. The Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 18 denied Pisharodi’s petition for review of a ruling from the 13th Court of Appeals, which had affirmed the ruling of state 197th District Judge Migdalia Lopez that Pisharodi was not entitled to an injunction to stop an ongoing peer review process. Pisharodi, who has medical privileges at hospitals throughout the Rio Grande Valley, maintained in the court record, however, that he was entitled to relief from the court in order, “to stop an abusive peer review process instituted only in retaliation and for the sole purpose of harming a respected neurologist’s reputation.â€
Emma Perez-Treviño, Valley Morning Star 10/28/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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After West, Regulators Consider New Ways to Store Chemicals

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In response to the deadly explosion six months ago in West, Federal agencies will soon be making recommendations to Congress on how to reduce the risk at fertilizer storage facilities.
Dave Fehling, StateImpact Texas, Texas Tribune 10/28/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Religious-Discrimination Claims on the Rise

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Employee claims of religious discrimination have climbed as the U.S. and workers' expressions of faith have grown more diverse, creating legal headaches for companies and exposing the complexities of managing religion on the job. Companies big and small are being affected by the complex intermixing of work and faith. The trend toward a seven-day workweek sometimes treads on the Sabbath. Religious garb and grooming clash with dress codes. Job duties that intersect with changing public policies—for instance, issuing a marriage license to a gay couple—test some workers' adherence to their religious beliefs.
Melanie Trottman, Wall Street Journal - $$ Subscription Required 10/28/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Wrongful Death


Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Red Bull

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The grandmother of a 33-year-old Brooklyn man who died after downing a Red Bull during a basketball game has filed a $85 million wrongful death lawsuit against the energy drink company. The plaintiff's grandson was a healthy, non-smoking man who enjoyed playing basketball and drinking Red Bull. According to the plaintiff's attorney, Red Bull contains "extra stimulants that make it different than a cup of coffee" and the drinks "are more dangerous than what Red Bull lets on." While there have been complaints against the company before, this is thought to be the first wrongful death lawsuit filed against Red Bull.
Oren Yaniv, New York Daily News 10/28/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Five Women Die in Limo Fire, Families File Lawsuit

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The families of five nurses who died in a limousine fire have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several companies responsible for the maintenance and customization of the vehicle. According to the lawsuit, the companies were responsible for the design and manufacturing defects that caused the 1999 Lincoln Town Car to catch on fire. There were nine women riding in the limo to celebrate a friend's wedding, when the car caught fire. The limo driver and four of the women survived.
Wire Report, The Huffington Post 10/25/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

Read Article: The Huffington Post    

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