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Commercial Litigation Archives

JPMorgan Chase Has Re-launched It's Arbitration Clause for Their Credit Cardholders

JPMorgan Chase, the country's largest bank and biggest U.S. credit-card issuer, has reintroduced to over 40 million credit card holders a controversial policy that forces their customers to use arbitration instead of being able to go to court to resolve payment disputes or joining class-action suits. This new clause stipulates that any disputes between consumers and Chase must be brought up before a private arbitrator.

$25.5 Million Dollar Bad Faith Insurance Verdict in Oklahoma

At the end of a two-week trial, an Oklahoma jury awarded $25.5 million to the family of a cancer patient who was denied coverage by Aetna. The patient, Orrana Cunningham, had stage four nasopharyngeal cancer near her brain stem. Due to the location of the cancer, her doctors wanted her to receive proton beam therapy, which is a targeted form of radiation that could pinpoint the tumor without the potential of blindness or other side effects of standard radiation. Aetna denied her coverage for this treatment, calling it "investigational" and "experimental."

Jury Hands Down Verdict of $25.5 Million Against Aetna

An Oklahoma widower was awarded $25.5 million by a jury against Aetna health insurance because his wife, a cancer patient, was denied coverage by Aetna. The jury found that Aetna acted recklessly.

State Farm Avoids Trial with Preliminary Agreement to Pay $250,000,000

One of the largest auto insurance companies has reached a $250 million preliminary settlement in a class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges that State Farm violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO Act). The plaintiffs believe State Farm funneled money through several advocacy groups, which in turn kept donor lists anonymous, in order to elect a certain candidate to the Illinois Supreme Court in 2004.

Broken Promises: How to Recover from Sub-Par Contractors Post-Harvey

Following the wake of Hurricane Harvey, thousands of homes were in need of extensive and immediate repair. Before Harvey had even left the state, contractors descended on homeowners. Many of these contractors made promises they could not fulfill-sometimes intentionally-to get these homeowners business.

Last Year's Worst Corporate Conduct

While the newspapers, news broadcasters, and social media may highlight the most high-profile examples of corporate collapses and scandal, they are hardly isolated incidents. Well known corporations are behind some of the biggest scandals of the decade, some corporations include Wells Fargo, McKession Corp., and Equifax. Each story is result of a corporate culture that values profit over accountability, integrity, and opportunity, or in other words wants more "bang for its buck." The potential negative impact for corporate misconduct is the legal consequences, such as penalty, fines, and/or jail time. Despite this, corrupt corporations are willing to commit wrongful acts in order to gain large incentives. "The world's 20 leading banks spent an estimate $350 billion on costs related to misconduct over the last five years, including penalties, fines, settlements, and other legal expenses."

Employees May Profit from Disclosing Their Employer's Fraud

The False Claims Act allows people who are employed by companies receiving federal benefits, such as grants, to file actions against their employer for defrauding the federal government. These claimants are informally known as "whistleblowers." Persons filing under the Act stand to receive a portion (usually about 15-25 percent) of any recovered damages. The Act provides a legal tool to counteract fraudulent billings turned in to the federal government. Claims are most commonly filed by persons with insider knowledge of false claims involving health care, military, or other government spending programs.

Senate Considering Repeal of CFPB Arbitration Rule

In the fine print of credit card agreements and bank deposit agreements, banks and credit card companies frequently require consumers to agree to give up their right to sue the bank in court-even for serious violations of consumer rights-and submit any claims to arbitration. In July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted a rule placing a rather mild restriction on such agreements-they could not prevent consumers from filing or joining class action lawsuits. However, a joint resolution has been proposed in Congress to block the rule under the Congressional Review Act, a law that provides an expedited process for Congress to overrule regulations issued by agencies of the executive branch. The resolution has already passed in the House of Representatives and is pending in the Senate.

Texas Supreme Court Weighs in on Post-Judgement Claims Against a Defendant's Insurer

Earlier this month, the Texas Supreme Court issued an opinion in Great American Insurance Company v. Hamel clarifying the circumstances where an insurer who refuses to provide a defense to its insured may be held accountable for a judgment successfully obtained against its insured. In the underlying case, homeowners sued their builder for failing to construct their home in a good and workmanlike manner. They claimed that defects in workmanship caused water damage. The builder's insurance company refused to provide the builder with a defense to the homeowner's claims. Prior to trial, the homeowners and builder agreed, in effect, that if the homeowners were successful, then the homeowners would not seek to collect on the assets of the builder.

Harris County v. Harris County Appraisal District and PRSI Trading, LLC

Harris County, represented by firm attorney Benny Agosto, Jr. received an important win from a Houston appellate court in a property tax case involving a Houston oil refinery. In a 2-1 decision handed down last Thursday, the First Court of Appeals in Harris County v. Harris County Appraisal District reversed the trial court's ruling and rendered judgment that inventory held in a refinery operated by Pasadena Refining System, Inc. was not exempt from local property taxes under the federal Foreign Trade Zones Act. The exemption was claimed on crude oil, refined products, and other inventory valued at over $100 million during the relevant tax years, representing millions in tax revenue for Harris County and the other taxing jurisdictions.

  • $50+ Million Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs, taking a lead role in the plaintiffs’ steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Plant Fire & Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Worksite Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm’s client.

  • $12 Million 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $48 Million Catastrophic Burns

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $48 million.

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