Texas Trial Lawyers Association

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  September 11, 2013

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Social Media: Identifying the Ethical Pitfalls of the Communications Revolution


High Stakes Jury Selection: The art of jury selection in tough liability, big damages cases.


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Defeating Discovery Abuse in Federal Courts


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2013 Making a Difference Award

TTLA is now accepting nominations for the “Making a Difference Award†which is periodically awarded at the discretion of the TTLA Executive Committee and recognizes a client (past or present) of a TTLA member whose actions demonstrates the critical role of the civil justice system in protecting the rights of Texas families. Nominees should demonstrate a desire to promote the public good through the civil justice system and best exemplify the attributes of a true advocate. Nomination deadline is November 1, 2013. Click on the headline to download the nomination form.  


2013 Legends CLE: "Tales From the Crypt" October 30 - 31 in Austin

Back by popular demand, our Second Annual Legends Seminar brings you "Tales From the Crypt," October 30 - 31, 2013 in Austin at the Four Seasons Hotel. This year's underwriters - Fibich, Hampton, Leebron, Briggs & Josephson; The Gallagher Law Firm; Payne Mitchell Law Group and Watts Guerra - dug deep to bring you the power of over 800 years of legal experience to add to your cauldron of trial strategies. Click on the headline to learn more and register.  





Protesters Beaten by Police Seek $15M in Lawsuit

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Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against UC Berkeley administrators and police officers over the beating of Occupy protestors saw their first hearing on Tuesday. The lawsuit refers to "one of the more violent of the several Occupy protests at UC Berkeley in 2011" where police were seen beating protestors with clubs. The federal civil rights lawsuit charges the UC Berkeley administrators and police with violations of free speech, excessive force and false arrest and seeks $7.5 million in general damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages.
Doug Oakley, San Jose Mercury News 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Landfill Odors Lawsuit Results in $5 Million For RI City

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The mayor of Johnston, Rhode Island announced Tuesday that a lawsuit against a power company over their landfill's sickening odors has reached a settlement. The power company has agreed to pay $3 million to the city for the odors that surrounded many area neighborhoods. The landfill's operator will also pay out an additional $2 million to the city. In November 2011, the odor was so noticeable that inspectors were sent out to detect the amount of hydrogen sulfide, which smells like rotten eggs, that was present in the air. The city says they plan to use the money from the settlement for road repairs and other capital expenses.
Mark Reynolds, The Providence Journal 09/10/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Strip-Search of 10-Year-Old Sparks Lawsuit

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A federal judge has recommended that a lawsuit over the 2012 strip-search of a 10-year-old by his principal move forward. The lawsuit says that the North Carolina boy's Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the school principal made him strip down to his underwear because she believed he may have taken another student's $20. The principal, who has since retired, pulled the boy aside and ran her fingers along the inside of the boy's waistband. The money was later found elsewhere. The lawsuit names the school board and the principal as defendants and is seeking undisclosed damages.
Caitlin Dineen, Fayetteville Observer 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Family of Teen Injured in Burleson Wreck That Left Four Dead Files Suit

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The family of a comatose teen who was injured in a chaotic Burleson wreck that left four dead is suing the 16-year-old driver, his parents and a Cleburne company. Sergio Molina, 15, was sitting in the bed of a pickup driven by Ethan Couch, 16, on June 15 when it slammed into two parked vehicles, a disabled motorist and three good Samaritans in the 1500 block of Burleson-Retta Road. Molina’s family is seeking at least $1 million and up to $20 million in damages from Couch, his parents and Cleburne Sheet Metal. The company, where Couch’s father worked, was the pickup’s registered owner. A company representative declined comment Monday
Tristan Hallman (blog), The Dallas Morning News 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Supreme Court Extends Merits-Based Review of New-Trial Grants

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The Texas Supreme Court ruled on Aug. 30 that appellate courts may conduct merits-based review to ensure the reasons that trial judges list for granting new trials are "valid and correct." The decision follows a line of cases that opened new-trial orders to scrutiny, by requiring judges to list specific, legally appropriate reasons why they overturn jury verdicts and grant new trials.
Angela Morris, Texas Lawyer 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Lawyers Face Fraud Probe Over Roles in BP Spill Claims

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A federal judge overseeing the Deepwater Horizon litigation has found no evidence that conflicts of interest tainted the claims process in the $9.6 billion settlement, but ordered four lawyers to explain why they should not be disqualified from representing oil spill victims. Additionally, a special master has referred those attorneys to federal authorities for potential criminal investigation.
Amanda Bronstad , The National Law Journal - $$ Subscription Required 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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BP Heading to Court Over Health Claims at Texas City Refinery

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ons of toxic gases spewed from a tower at BP’s Texas City refinery for more than 40 days in 2010 without warning to the public. This week four of more than 48,000 residents who sued BP claiming health damage from the release will be the first to have their day in court. The lawsuit alleges that BP could have shut down a unit that caused the release but refused to do so because it would have cost $20 million in lost revenue.
Harvey Rice (blog), Houston Chronicle 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Family Sues Hurricane Harbor in Woman’s 2011 Drowning

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The family of a woman who drowned in the Lazy River pool at Hurricane Harbor in 2011 is suing the park for negligence and for the emotional trauma of witnessing the accident. The wrongful death suit was filed Thursday in 67th State District Court in Fort Worth. The children of Linda Forbes, who drowned Sept. 5, 2011, say park employees did not use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and other life-saving measures to save their mother and that employees were “chaotic and disorganized.â€
Elizabeth Campbell, Star Telegram 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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Suit filed against Six Flags in Texas Giant Death


The family of a Dallas woman killed in July in a fall from the roller coaster sued the amusement park, saying park operators were negligent in not having an adequate restraint system in place despite previous fatalities at other parks. Rosa Esparza, 52, of Dallas was killed July 19 on her first visit to the amusement park in Arlington. The suit says Esparza was upside down in her seat and holding on for “dear life†before she was thrown to her death.
Deanna Boyd and Sandra Baker, Star Telegram  09/11/2013  Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn icon

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Justice Nathan Hecht Tapped to Head Texas Supreme Court

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Gov. Rick Perry appointed Justice Nathan L. Hecht to be chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court beginning Oct. 1. Hecht will replace Wallace Jefferson, who is stepping down to go into private practice. Alex Winslow, executive director of Texas Watch, a consumer watchdog group that has monitored the Texas Supreme Court, said Hecht's elevation is devastating to "everyday Texans." Winslow said Hecht has a long history of activist rulings that stack the deck in favor of large corporations in lawsuits.
CHRISTY HOPPE, The Dallas Morning News 09/11/2013   Facebook iconTwitter iconLinkedIn Icon

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