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Houston Personal Injury Blog

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Course on Admissibility of Seat Belts at Trial

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For the first time since 1974, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that an injured victim's failure to use a seat belt in a car accident case may now be offered as evidence at trial to apportion responsibility in civil lawsuits. In other words, defendants that negligently cause auto collisions are now going to be able to introduce evidence that the injured victims did not wear seatbelts and will even be able to argue that the injured victims were negligent, thereby reducing damages to the injured victims and the liability of the at-fault defendants. The decision reverses a $2.3 million jury verdict awarded to a family after one family member was killed and seven other passengers were injured after the vehicle they were traveling in was struck by another vehicle.

Olympus Under Investigation for Possible Defective Equipment

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The company that manufactured the medical devices tied to a deadly "superbug" outbreak in California is being investigated by the United States Justice Department. The Associated Press reports Olympus Corp. of the Americas (an arm of Japan's Olympus Corp.) is being investigated for possible violations of false claims and anti-kickback laws.

BP Oil Spill Fines

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Last Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans denied BP's request to limit its environmental penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Setting this fine is the final step in a civil case regarding the April 20, 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo subsea well, which caused the spill. Following the blowout, a sea-floor oil gusher flowed for eighty-seven days. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Benny Agosto Featured on Telemundo National News

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Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. had an interview with Telemundo on Monday February 23, 2015 about President Obama's administration's plans to appeal U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's injunction order regarding immigration. The interview ran nationally on Telemundo's nightly news. As an advocate of comprehensive immigration reform, Mr. Agosto has been a national leader on this issue.

The Costs to Our Communities of Careless Oil-and-Gas Transport

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The number of injuries and environmental disasters along America's roads, pipelines, and railways involving the movement of oil and gas has proliferated in recent years along with domestic production. An enormous explosion in West Virginia on Monday reminds us of the potential hazards of such activity to the communities located along such transport routes.

Tort Reform Ad Abdsurdum: A Nursing Home Valet Accident is Now a "Health Care Liability Case"

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Last week, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals ruled in Brazos Presbyterian Homes, Inc. v. Lander that that case, an auto accident case involving a nursing home visitor and the home's valet, was a "health care liability case" subject to Texas medical malpractice tort reform laws, including its expert report requirement and damages cap. This case continues the trend, started by the Texas Supreme Court's decision in Texas West Oaks Hospital v. Williams, in which the scope of the medical malpractice reform statute has been expanded-perhaps beyond even its most fervent proponents' expectations-to cover an increasing variety of ordinary personal injury cases that have nothing to do with health care.

Woman's Dentures Lodge in Her Esophagus While Under Anesthesia

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In 2013, Lourdes Rivera underwent a medical procedure. While under anesthesia, her dentures dislodged and became stuck in her esophagus. Ms. Rivera was injured and has filed suit against Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Jersey City.

A Texas Federal Judge Has Issued an Injunction that Temporarily Halts President Obama's Executive Actions on Immigration

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I am happy and blessed to be an advocate and a voice of legal advice for almost five million DACA young immigrants across the country, who today wake up to more questions than answers about their future. DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is a program that allows undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, to stay in the country and work legally. It has been officially reported that on Monday, February 16, 2015, a federal judge in Texas, Judge Andrew Hanen, issued an order that has temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration. The preliminary injunction is related to a program known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).The DAPA program allows undocumented parents of lawful United States citizens, or permanent residents to defer deportation and seek job benefits.

The Texas Supreme Court Shifts the Burden of Proof in Trespass Cases

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In a unanimous February 6 opinion, the Texas Supreme Court held for the first time that lack of consent is an element of the tort of trespass on which the plaintiff bears the burden of proof. In doing so, the Texas Supreme Court has overturned what was widely considered to be a principal of basic, hornbook law.

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