June 29, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:50:43 pm
Add our revered halls of justice to the growing list of U.S. institutions on a crash course with the wide-open information frontier made possible by the Internet and social
media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Technology lawyer Tom Melsheimer of Fish & Richardson's Dallas office and State District Judge Craig Smith describe the phenomenon in a recent Houston Chronicle op-ed piece detailing how the unprecedented access to information and the format's two-way communication platform are proving irresistible to jurors in cases across the country.
Melsheimer and Smith write:
Web-savvy jurors these days encounter a court system that by necessity still operates in essentially the same manner as it has for generations. In a world of lightning speed exchanges of electronic information, our courts continue to rely on hard copy documents and judges who must serve as heavy handed gatekeepers of information. Lowly jurors accustomed to instant gratification and a two-way information exchange increasingly find themselves in an unfamiliar and uncomfortably passive role.
Simultaneously, as Americans use social media to provide a now-ubiquitous "what are you doing?" running daily dialogue via Facebook and Twitter, a stint on jury duty is proving irresistible fodder. Never mind that our justice system hinges on a sacred premise that jurors start a case with an unprejudiced, blank slate and promise to consider only the information and evidence presented in trial.
Some might see this latest challenge as more fodder for the argument that juries are an outmoded and unintelligent way of resolving disputes. We have seen this sort of debate before. Others might say that we should just relax and assume that jurors will follow the instructions that they are given.
We think that neither approach is sensible. Instead, judges must take an intelligent, active approach to instructing jurors about the Internet, keeping in mind the temptations of the modern Internet-savvy juror. They must allow, even encourage, lawyers to ask questions about potential jurors' use of the Internet, including participation in networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Simply reminding each juror, "don't discuss the case," just won't get the job done anymore, if it ever did. These instructions can't wait until a jury is sworn in but should begin when potential jurors first enter the system and receive their briefing in the central jury rooms. Otherwise, the judicial system will find itself meting out justice, not via the common sense of citizens, but via tweets, text messages and blog postings. OMG.
Read the entire commentary here.
To interview Mr. Melsheimer, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org
June 5, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:39:33 pm
You don't need an exhaustive academic study to establish that driving a car while sending a text message is not a smart idea. Still, one recent study found that young drivers far more likely to get in wrecks and even run over pedestrians while texting, while another revealed that 83 percent of Americans think it's not a bad idea
and should be banned. Meanwhile, one in four drivers admit to doing it from time to time.
Reports the Christian Science Monitor: But itís no joke. And the bigger the vehicle you're driving, the greater the danger. Just ask the people who were on the Boston Green Line trolley that smashed into the back of another one recently. At the time of the accident, the driver was texting his girlfriend, he admitted. Dozens were injured, the driver lost his job, and the MBTA said it would ban on-the-job cellphone use and fire anyone caught using a cellphone, pager, or similar device during working hours.
But at least no one was killed in that accident. The same is not true of the horrific accident last September in California when, it is speculated, a train operator may have missed a stop signal because he was texting shortly before the accident.
Last year, Mark Melrose of Mountainside Hospital in Montclair, N.J., a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians, told USA Today that most people probably donít initiate text messages while driving, but find it hard not to respond if they receive one.
From the urban dictionary courtesy of the Monitor: "Text-end: When a text-messaging-distracted driver rear-ends the vehicle in front of [him]...."
While there is little dispute whether drivers should be texting or not, Dallas attorney Brian Bolton says legislation is not the answer to this problem and won't make streets any safer. The problem is enforceability and practicality. "We're seeing that statewide bans of text messaging are no more successful in eliminating bad behavior than other laws regulating speeding, seat belts or mandatory insurance," Bolton says. "Unless police see a driver actively text messaging, this kind of choice is almost impossible to enforce." Bolton points out that there is little sentiment to create laws that regulate other actions - from eating to putting on make-up - that can cause driver distraction. "Public awareness and common sense are likely going to be more effective than broad-based bans." To interview Mr. Bolton, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
May 28, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:58:50 pm
Attorneys for the Jackson, Miss.-based civil trial law firm of Forman Perry Watkins Krutz & Tardy LLP made a significant ripple last week with what courthouse insiders described as the first take-nothing defense victory in such a case in memory. The lawsuit involved a 73-year-old man who asked jurors for $4.5 million in damages, charging that his lung disease was caused by products made by three companies between 1964 and 1995.
One key to the case's outcome: attorneys made brilliant use of a database developed by the firm that tracks area residents who have filed similar silica-exposure claims. Writes The AmLaw Litigation Daily:
What was the secret to the victory? It might have had something to do with a database of mass tort plaintiffs maintained by Kurtz's firm. During jury selection, Judge Lamar Pickard allowed Kurtz access to the last four digits of potential jurors' social security numbers to see if they or their family members had filed claims similar to Westrope's. The database identified four members of the jury pool (none of whom had mentioned their claims on a jury questionnaire). Kurtz was able to argue against putting them on the jury. "If we didn't have the database . . . we would have had four in the jury pool who could have been on the jury in this case," Kurtz told the Clarion Ledger.
The Forman Perry defense team representing Clemco and Precision was led by name partner Fred Krutz, along with partner Edwin S. "Win" Gault Jr., and associate Jennifer Jones Skipper. Lone Star was represented by David Barfield and Kimberly Mangum of Madison, Miss.-based Barfield & Associates. The firm represented represented Washington, Mo.-based Clemco Industries Corp. the world's largest manufacturer of air-powered blast cleaning equipment, and Little Rock, Ark.-based Precision Packaging, a packaging services company.
May 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:27:52 pm
Few presidential duties generate the kind of passionate interest as the task of filling a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court. Such scrutiny is not surprising,
"These nominations are always very high-profile, mainly because the tenure of a justice lasts so much longer than the term of the president," Levinger says. "Being President Obama's first, it's watched even more carefully."
Levinger notes that Sotomayor's nomination is shrewd in that she has a proven track record, an inspiring personal background and has already been nominated by President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton for lower court positions. "Judge Sotomayor's nomination is a relatively safe thing to do because she has a proven track record," Levinger says. "I believe if this nomination is successful, then the next one may be a little more non-traditional...I'm pretty confident that she's going to be confirmed. She's already run the gauntlet twice." To speak with Jeffrey Levinger, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or Robert@androvett.com.
May 21, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:18:59 am
Meanwhile, McKool Smith the Dallas-based firm that represented i4i and secured yesterday's stunning victory continues its head-turning winning streak. Just last month, the firm was part of a legal team that obtained a $19 million patent infringement verdict against Apple Inc. relating to rights to technology owned by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Opti Inc. for technology found in Apple hard drives and iPods. A few weeks before that, attorneys in the firm's New York office obtained an important partial summary judgment and injunction against New York-based Liz Claiborne Inc. and its subsidiary, Los Angeles-based Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. In the ruling(available here), the court found infringement against the Lucky Brand entities over their sale of garments bearing the unauthorized "Get Lucky" mark. The firm already enjoys the distinction of having more National Law Journal Top 100 verdicts for 2008 than any other firm in the country.
May 19, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:49:14 pm
Andrew Derman, leader of the international energy practice group at Dallas' Thompson & Knight, says that while Chavez has the right expropriate such property, there is also an obligation on his government's part to pay fair market value for the seized equipment and assets. "These most recent seizures will result in arbitrations that Venezuela will lose," Derman says. "This move underscores Chavez's desperation in trying to sustain oil production and revenue as the nation slides into a recession." Chances are slim that Venezuala will prevail in international courts, Derman says, adding: "As a consequence, Venezuela and those countries following Venezuela will begin thinking twice before expropriating property." To interview Mr. Derman on international energy issues, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 19, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:17:44 pm
May 19, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 9:54:36 am
Antitrust attorney Gregory Huffman says administration's position borne out of Great Depression post mortem
Last week's message from the Justice Department's antitrust chief Christine A. Varney regarding antitrust enforcement was
As reported by the New York Times and others: Ms. Varney blamed the Bush administration for antitrust policies that "lost sight of an ultimate goal of antitrust laws - the protection of consumer welfare" and "allowing all but the most bold and predatory conduct to go unpunished and undeterred."
Ms. Varney indicated that the administration is rejecting the impulse to go easy on antitrust enforcement during weak economic times. "We must change course and take a new tack," she said, adding, "Vigorous antitrust enforcement must play a significant role in the government's response to economic crises to ensure that markets remain competitive."
Antitrust attorney Gregory Huffman of Dallas' Thompson & Knight says the administration's position is likely borne out of history, particularly the government's soft-handed approach during that Great Depression that is widely believed to have prolonged that economic downturn. "Some might argue right now that preserving jobs at large companies is more important than challenging the companies in court," Huffman says. "However, research shows that attempts in the 1930s to preserve employment by cutting back on antitrust enforcement actually extended the Great Depression by up to seven years." Huffman notes that Council of Economic Advisors chair Christina Romer and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke are both students of New Deal policies. "Given their backgrounds and positions, the shift toward restored antitrust scrutiny was almost inevitable." To interview Mr. Huffman on antitrust matters, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
May 18, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:36:38 pm
A small, Texas-based software company that does business as FirePond has filed an ambitious class-action suit, taking on Internet behemoth Google for its practice of
selling trademarked words and phrases through it pay-per-click AdWords service. The suit charges that Google infringed on its trademark by allowing competitors to purchase the word "FirePond," which effectively drives potential customers to competitors' services. While individual companies like American Airlines and Geico have filed similar complaints, Trademark attorney Dyan House of Dallas' Munck Carter says this litigation stands out because it attempts to gain class-action status. "Potentially, that makes it a much bigger case, but I doubt the court is going to certify this as a class," Ms. House says. "Still, the underlying issue of whether an enterprise's trademarks can be sold by another as an Internet search keyword that links to competitors is commercially very important."
May 15, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:26:41 pm
Cym Lowell, an international tax attorney at Gardere Wynne Sewell, says the tax proposal will hurt the U.S. companies' competitiveness abroad and will not likely have the intended effect. "U.S.-based companies already face a higher tax rate when they enter the global marketplace and this would further penalize them," Lowell says. "To wrap these proposals in the swaddling cloth of ‘protection of U.S. jobs' is dangerously simplistic." Gardere partner Mark Martin agrees, "Obama needs to be sensitive to the ability to be competitive. It is attractive political rhetoric to call for higher taxes for big business, but the reality is not nearly so obvious." To interview Mr. Lowell or Mr. Martin, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 8, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:09:37 pm
Pity RealNetworks. The plucky technology firm is facing an uphill battle - and mounting legal costs - as it goes up against the Motion Picture Association of America
Cnet reports: Legal fees also took a major toll. Since late last year, RealNetworks has been embroiled in a legal battle over its RealDVD software, which can rip a digital copy of commercial DVDs onto a personal computer. Hollywood, courtesy of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has sued RealNetworks to prevent the company from selling the program. Since 2008 RealNetworks has shelled out $6 million in legal fees and associated costs to defend RealDVD.
Technology litigation veteran Ted Stevenson of Dallas' McKool Smith says if history is any indication, RealNetworks is facing difficult odds. "In 2004, a court in the Northern District of California ruled that DVD-copying software from 321 Studios violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," he says. "That software was sold to ostensibly permit consumers to back up their DVD purchases, but 321 Studios lost because its product had no safeguards to prevent copying of borrowed or rented DVDs. Like that case, a key fact in this case is whether RealNetworks' accused product contains adequate safeguards." To interview Mr. Stevenson, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
May 6, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:05:58 am
The Texas Supreme Court has further expanded employers' ability to enforce non-compete agreements with workers, and the result will likely be even greater use and
Shanks says the ruling opens the door for even more reliance on these agreements in Texas. "A natural result may be that businesses become more aggressive in trying to tie up lower-level employees with these types of covenants." But businesses should be concerned that overuse of non-competes could dilute their power. "You can diminish the value of these agreements by applying them too broadly or by taking a one-size-fits-all approach with your workforce."
May 5, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:30:44 pm
Originally released in March of 2006 for DVD and online sales, "The Secret" uses a documentary format of interviews and dramatized sequences to present what is called the "Law of Attraction." Embraced by many self-help experts and the subject of extensive media coverage, the film teaches that thoughts and feelings attract real events into individuals' lives, creating a basis for a higher sense of personal and spiritual fulfillment.
Attorneys Mark Werbner and Darren Nicholson from Dallas' Sayles Werbner represent Mr. Heriot. "We know 'The Secret' would never have existed if not for Mr. Heriot's contributions," says Mr. Werbner. "His ownership rights in the creation of these materials should be upheld." To interview Mr. Werbner about the case, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 5, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:20:12 pm
Vogel Alcove provides a range of free services for homeless infants, preschool children and under privileged families in North Texas. McKool Smith has been a proud sponsor of the organization for 15 years. The Vogel Alcove is the only comprehensive early childhood education program in the city of Dallas whose primary focus is to provide free services for homeless children who face multiple developmental risks. Because of the Alcove’s 21-year legacy providing quality, licensed childcare and social services for children victimized by homelessness, 18 area affiliated homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and housing programs depend on the Alcove to provide services to the homeless families at their shelters.
"We are privileged to support an organization that serves such a vital role in helping those in our community who are perhaps least likely to have means to support themselves - the children of homeless families," says Mike McKool, co-founder of McKool Smith. Tickets for tonight's concert are still available through the TITAS box office at 214-528-5576 or through the Vogel Alcove Web site, http://www.vogelalcove.org/.
May 5, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:37:11 pm
Even though the swine flu so far is not as virulent as feared, it is having an enormous effect on businesses, workers and their families. In light of Texas Gov. Rick Perry's disaster declaration linked to swine flu, employment attorney Audrey Mross of Munck Carter in Dallas says employers should have a plan for responding to personnel complications from the spread of the virus. "The list of questions for employers to answer is fairly long," Mross says. "If you've got a slightly sick employee, do you have the ability for him or her to work from home? If you have a healthy employee who isn't comfortable coming to work, what do you do? Do you continue wages and salary during these absences or ask employees to use paid time off? There are all sorts of dilemmas that come up." To interview Ms. Mross about swine flu and the implications for employers, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
May 5, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:30:18 am
The child's attorney, Steve Briley of Banner Briley & White LLP in Wichita Fallas, says insurance companies are to blame for inexplicably putting up a roadblock to the release of the funds by contesting the type of annuity the family wishes to use to safeguard the money for the child. To interview with Mr. Briley, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 1-800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 4, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:59:43 pm
May 4, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:25:34 am
Attorney Jared Woodfill: BNSF intentionally mislead government inspectors about scope of contamination
A third-party industrial waste cleanup worker who was asked to clean up toxic contamination on the grounds of a railroad tie treatment plant operated by Burlington
As reported by The Eagle in Bryan/College Station, Mike Zientek told jurors on the second day of trial testimony that the plant failed to adequately clean up a 1,000-gallon chemical spill and that plant supervisors scoffed at the idea that creosote and other solvents used to treat railroad ties posed a danger to workers or Somerville residents. An earlier witness in the trial, Dennis Davis v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway underway in Caldwell, Texas, testified that plant supervisors advised him that creosote, a known carcinogen baned in Europe and Canada, was not dangerous and was good for clearing up sinuses.
Lawsuits filed by hundreds of
May 1, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:02:13 pm
Most recently, the firm obtained a $19 million patent infringement verdict against Apple Inc. relating to rights to technology owned by Palo Alto, Calif.-based Opti Inc. The
Last week, attorneys in the firm's New York office received a partial summary judgment and injunction against New York-based Liz Claiborne Inc. and its subsidiary, Los Angeles-based Lucky Brand Dungarees Inc. In the ruling(available here), the court found infringement against the Lucky Brand entities over their sale of garments bearing the unauthorized "Get Lucky" mark. The court further ruled that the infringement constituted unfair competition under federal and New York laws, including violations of New York's General Business Law. The court also found that Lucky Brand breached a 2003 settlement agreement between the parties governing the use of the "Get Lucky" mark. The court's ruling permanently enjoins Lucky Brand from ever using Get Lucky on apparel, fragrances and accessories.
Marcel Fashion and Get Lucky are represented by lead trial counsel Ann Schofield Baker, a principal in McKool Smith's New York office, and Lawrence I Fox, a New York partner in McDermott Will & Emery.
For verdict information, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
May 1, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 9:43:01 am
Attorney Jared Woodfill to shine light on Burlington Northern's dark secret about cancer clusters, toxic pollution in Somerville, Texas.
The first full day of testimony is underway today in a major toxic contamination trial against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. Lawsuits filed by hundreds of
Scientific and medical studies suggest that toxic pollution from the railroad tie treatment plant has caused a serious health problem in Somerville. Lawsuits charge that the company's negligent use of toxic chemicals caused widespread environmental contamination that has sickened employees, their families and town neighbors.
Among other things:
• A recently completed epidemiological study has found that the rates of cancer in Somerville are 10 times greater than a similar small Texas town used as a control group. Additionally, the overall rates of cancer, and specifically colorectal and stomach cancers, are far greater than the National Cancer Institute's SEER stats project for such populations.
• Independent scientific analysis shows that Somerville residents continue to be exposed to high levels of harmful dioxins, chromated copper arsenic(CCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons(PAH's) like pentachlorophenol(PCP) and benzo(a)pyrene.
A jury of nine women and five men has been seated in the case of Dennis Davis v. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The first witness in the trial, former tie plant employee Robert Urbanosky, testified Thursday that employees expressed concerns about the safety of creosote more than 20 yeras ago and were reassured that the carcinogenic chemical posed no health risks.
"He told us all creosote would do is open up your sinuses," Urbanosky said.
April 30, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:43:11 pm
At Thompson & Knight's Mexico City office, firm partners made the decision to have the office's lawyers, paralegals and staff to work from home while being connected via laptops and smartphones. The office switchboard remained in operation and the office remains open for meetings and other special needs.
Likewise at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the firm initially made sure that there were plenty of facemasks, hand sanitizer, individual water bottles and paper towels for its Mexico City office, which operates as a partnership under the name Gardere, Arena y Asociados, S.C. But as concern multiplied, the firm made the decision to keep lawyers and staff at home at least until Monday, May 4(Friday is a national holiday in Mexico). A sign of things to come here in the U.S.? Let's hope not.
April 24, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:26:05 pm
April 23, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 3:53:21 pm
On Thursday, YFCS and its subsidiary Southwood Psychiatric Hospital settled the lawsuit, agreeing to pay $150,000 to reimburse Medicaid and implement comprehensive new treatment standards and adhere to increased governmental oversight of its programs. Among other things, the for-profit company, which operates 13 residential psychiatric facilities across the nation for children aged 6 to 18, will hire two full-time compliance officers to ensure its programs are operating lawfully.
This settlement marks the first resolution by the Justice Department of a failure of care case against residential psychiatric treatment facilities in Pennsylvania.
Fish & Richardson represented Dr. Stefan P. Kruszewski, a board-certified psychiatrist who had discovered and exposed the fraud and abuse, but was then fired from his position as a medical consultant for the Bureau of Program Integrity in Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare. Because the Medicaid payments were administered through a joint federal/state Medicaid program, the U.S. government intervened in the case and became a party to the lawsuit and settlement agreement. The federal government has reserved the right to bring criminal charges and to exclude YFCS from Medicaid reimbursement programs in the future.
"This was a case of the exploitation of children for profit," said Thomas Melsheimer, a principal of Fish & Richardson in the firm's Dallas office, who, along with Thomas Halkowski, a principal in Fish's Wilmington, Del. office, represented Dr. Kruszewski in the case. "Dr. Kruszewski should be commended for having the courage to come forward to protect this vulnerable group from further mistreatment. Because of his actions, we now have an agreement that provides a new standard of care to help safeguard the well-being of the thousands of children who are housed in YFCS's facilities."
April 21, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:23:17 pm
"Texas has among the nation's most streamlined foreclosure statutes, which allows lenders to wield a very big stick," says Ingram, who adds that calls from out-of-state lenders seeking guidance on potentially large-scale foreclosures and workouts have increased dramatically. "The risk and shortcomings of some developments that were overlooked in the good times are now magnified in the bad times. A large percentage of the commercial real estate loans made just three or four years ago can't happen today without significant equity support." To interview Mr. Ingrum about commercial real estate issues, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:09:36 pm
Employment attorney Mark Shank: economic crisis is fueling increase in complaints
Age discrimination complaints are skyrocketing, up nearly 30 percent in 2008, according to the EEOC and an interesting story in today's NY Times. While the workforce over age 45 enjoys a better rate of employment than the population as a whole, the wave of layoffs means more older workers are receiving pink slips and entering a dismal job market. Once unemployed, workers over age 45 face a longer job search and steeper drops in earnings.
"Considering the down economy and rise in layoffs, it's perhaps not surprising that discrimination claims are on the rise," says Mark Shank, a labor and employment attorney with Dallas' Gruber Hurst Johansen & Hail.. "We may see an even greater number of these cases filed in 2009." Shank says more senior workers may take legal action to recover lost jobs or wages because it's often difficult for them to find new employment. "Recent judicial rulings have also made it easier for employees to allege age bias, so companies should be very mindful of their exposure when considering workforce reductions." To interview Mr. Shank about employment matters, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
April 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 3:29:18 pm
"However, the new guidance provides an optional safe harbor allowing certain investors to report the loss without having to determine the full amount or the prospects of recovering these losses." To interview Mr. Eliason, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 7, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:52:44 am
Most people intuitively understand by now the importance of any business having a competent and high-quality Internet presence. But, wow, look at the results of
1) 100 percent of GCs in the survey indicated that they always look at a firm's Web site before deciding to purchase legal services. That's 100 percent, as in every single one of them look at a law firm's Web presence before they hire.
2) Nine out of 10 GCs say that professional bios are the most important section of a Web page.
3) Nine out of 10 GCs say the quality of a Web site makes a lasting impression.
Consider these assorted comments from GCs:
"I look at every firm's site we consider. The smart firms push a lot of content through their site. It helps in the search results. If a firm has a bad Web site, it makes a bad impression without even meeting the firm's attorneys."
"If a firm has not spent time and effort representing itself, what can I expect in terms of attention to detail and quality? Some Web sites are hard to navigate; others are simply very light on content."
April 7, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:08:07 am
Reports of the demise of asbestos litigation have apparently been greatly exaggerated. At The Lanier Law Firm, at least, asbestos, mesothelioma and mass toxic torts are a growing practice area. The Houston-based firm is dramatically expanding its Asbestos Litigation Group, hiring six attorneys and adding 14,000 square feet of office space.
Firm founder Mark Lanier says the decision to expand the asbestos practice is based on a practical examination of market conditions and the current legal climate. "The terrible legacy of asbestos exposure continues to impact thousands of families every year, and we want people to know that they have a strong advocate at The Lanier Law Firm in every type of asbestos claim."
The firm has hired asbestos litigators M. Clay Fostel, formerly of Houston's Heard Robins Cloud Black & Lubel, and William H. Barfield, previously with Houston's Smith & Hassler, are joining the firm along with C. Jason Lindamood, formerly an assistant district attorney for Wharton County; Benjamin Pyle, formerly with Houston's RAS Inc.; and recent South Texas College of Law graduates Matthew McFarlane and Lauren Ware. With these new additions, the firm now has 20 lawyers working in its Asbestos Litigation Group.
With offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Houston and New York, The Lanier Law Firm is committed to addressing client concerns with effective and innovative solutions in courtrooms across the country. The firm is composed of outstanding trial attorneys with decades of experience handling cases involving pharmaceutical liability, asbestos exposure, intellectual property, business litigation, product liability, toxic exposure and maritime law. For more information, please contact Bruce Vincent at 214-559-4630 or email@example.com.
April 2, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:17:13 pm
Digital forensics expert Erin Nealy Cox of Stroz Friedberg LLC says proposed legislation reflects policy makers' growing data-security concerns.
Whether it's computer viruses like the conficker worm threatening to turn your PC into a foot soldier in a vast drone computer army or the skyrocketing number of data breaches, the electronic age is constantly presenting new perils, and businesses, consumers and policy makers are still struggling to respond. Three separate bills under consideration by Texas lawmakers could strengthen statutes aimed at growing data security threats to businesses and individuals.
Senate Bill 28 would outlaw the creation and use of botnets in Texas. Under the proposal, those victimized by botnets, such as ISPs and businesses, or the Texas Attorney General could bring a cause of action and potentially recover up to $100,000 per violation, legal costs and treble damages. Senate Bill 327/House Bill 345 would require businesses to adopt e-commerce security standards already in use by the payment card industry. Senate Bill 962 would require businesses to use encryption software when dealing with sensitive personal information.
Erin Nealy Cox, a deputy general counsel at Stroz Friedberg LLC, an international digital forensics, cybercrime response and electronic discovery firm, says the legislation reflects the growing number of data security risks. "Lawmakers across the country are feeling pressure to respond to these dangers," she says. "For businesses operating in multiple states, the result can be a confusing patchwork of statutes from one state to another." To interview Ms. Nealy Cox, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 2, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:30:41 am
The mother of one of the victims, Inez Hernandez, has filed a negligence claim on behalf of her 21-year-old mentally disabled son, Armando Hernandez Jr., who was among those forced to battle. The lawsuit filed by Corpus Christi-based Hilliard Muńoz Guerra against the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services charges that Mr. Hernandez suffered physical injuries and continues to suffer emotional trauma including severe humiliation, degradation and mental anguish as a result of the experience.
"These special-needs residents are some of the most vulnerable and fragile members of our community," says attorney Robert Hilliard. "To think that the protectors of their welfare were turning them into tools for their own sick entertainment makes my blood boil. I put this at the feet of the agency itself, an agency that, time and time again, throughout this state has allowed systematic abuse of every kind to go mostly unchecked."
For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 (office), 214-293-0860 (mobile) or email@example.com.
March 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:49:09 am
March 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:55:57 am
March 19, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:40:46 pm
March 18, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:31:13 pm
March 18, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:17:09 pm
One firm really stands out on this year's list. With four cases making the 2008 list, Dallas-based McKool Smith claims more Top 100 verdicts than any other firm of any size anywhere. This is just the latest indication that something's really going on at this lawfirm, which only recently expanded Washington, D.C., and New York. The four verdicts highlighted on the Top 100 list include:
At No. 12: Medtronic Vascular Inc. v. Boston Scientific Scimed Inc. In this May 2008 verdict, McKool Smith won a $250 million award for Medtronic, successfully arguing that Boston Scientific infringed on a patent for a series of Medtronic catheters used in surgical procedures to treat heart disease.
At No.36: Pioneer Corp. v. Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. McKool Smith and co-counsel from Morrison & Foerster secured a $59 million verdict in October 2008 in a patent infringement trial against Samsung. The case centered around technology used in plasma televisions.
At No. 74: Adderley v. National Football League Players Association. Back in November 2008, the firm and co-counsel from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips obtained a $28 million jury award for more than 2,000 former NFL players alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary responsibility. The retired players argued that they were not adequately compensated for licensing and marketing proceeds from NFL-themed video games, jerseys and other merchandise.
At No. 100: Anascape Ltd. v. Microsoft Corp. Representing Anascape Ltd. against Nintendo of America Inc., McKool Smith attorney successfully argued that Nintendo had infringed on Anascape's patents for various video game controllers sold by Nintendo. The jury awarded Anascape $21 million.
Additionally, McKool Smith is featured in a companion article in The National Law Journal, "Minding their manners; McKool Smith finds that politeness is the way to a jury's heart," which highlighted each of the firm's four major victories. For more information, please visit www.mckoolsmith.com or contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:28:16 pm
March 13, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:13:43 pm
March 6, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:44:25 am
A 12-year-old Arlington girl suffered serious eye damage when the clasp on her SlyDog leash broke while she was walking her puppy in April 2008, causing the line to recoil rapidly and strike her in the eye. The CPSC recall notes that the defective leash is responsible for broken teeth, facial lacerations, eye damage and other injuries. Stephen Drinnon from Dallas' The Drinnon Law Firm represents the girl and her family and has filed the first known federal lawsuit against Worldwise Inc., as well as Dollar General stores which sold more than 200,000 of the leashes across the country. Read more here.
March 3, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:32:48 pm
McKool Smith expanding white-collar practice in growing New York office.
While law firms everywhere are contracting, some are finding opportunity in the downturn. Look at McKool Smith, which is already adding to its New York offices that
Both attorneys are former standout federal prosecutors who served together in the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and each has gone on to successful careers in private practice representing corporate, multinational and individual clients. The two are close friends who each serve as godfathers to the daughter of the other. Additionally, each was in direct talks with McKool Smith when they realized that the other was also in talks about beefing up the firm's white-collar practice.
"Jack Cooney and Tom Engel give our clients access to the very top tier of white-collar and commercial representation at a time when these matters are not merely proliferating, but growing more complex and absolutely crucial to our clients' future," said Mike McKool, the firm's co-founder. He added that a special benefit to the new partners is the relative absence of client conflicts which often inhibit flexibility in representing important clients at larger traditional firms.
Said New York office head Robert A. Cote, "We're growing fast in IP and commercial litigation, as are all our offices, but we expect robust growth in our business and our roster of attorneys over the next year, and the white collar practice is part of the bedrock of our expansion strategy here."
February 27, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:35:00 pm
February 26, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:21:54 pm
The Obama stimulus package stands to have a dramatic impact on health care in the U.S., from health care subsidies for unemployed workers to incentives to promote
February 23, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:56:29 pm
February 23, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:41:07 pm
Stung by well-deserved criticism that the Securities and Exchange Commission was far too slow to act on the $50 billion collapse of Bernard Madoff's investment funds,
February 12, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 3:46:14 pm
Juror 12 is adrift. It's not that he doesn't care about the contract dispute tediously unfolding in the courtroom. Who knows -- he might be the kind of natural leader who can rally 11 wafflers behind closed doors during deliberations. The real problem with this hopelessly distracted juror is his irrepressible urge to grab his BlackBerry, manage his bloated e-mail folder and cram as much business as possible into each recess.
Meet today's juror, so overloaded with information that he can barely focus on the important things in his own life. Chances are, more than half the jurors on any given panel belong to Generation X or, even worse, Generation Y -- raised with a television in every room, surfing the Internet, cell phones in their pockets and iPods in their ears. MORE
February 12, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:33:39 pm
Family law attorney Mary Jo McCurley says key is to neither overblow nor ignore special day
The expectations of Valentine's Day can be a minefield for struggling couples who may be heading for divorce. Ignoring the special day can make a bad situation
February 11, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 2:40:59 pm
Thompson & Knight attorneys orchestrate one of the biggest oil-and-gas deals in Peruvian history
So investors in Korea and Columbia put together a mammoth $900 million deal to purchase a Peruvian energy company. What's that got to do with Texas, you ask?
This acquisition represents one of the largest Peruvian oil and gas deals in recent history and allows KNOC and Ecopetrol to greatly increase their production capabilities. The Thompson & Knight team advising on this project was led by Partner Jerry L. Metcalf and Associate Todd Chen, both from the Firm's Houston office. The team which assisted on this transaction included Sarah E. McLean, Louis J. Davis, Ben H. Welmaker Jr., Pablo C. Ferrante, John R. Cohn, Janet P. Jardin, C. Stoddard (Todd) Lowther II, Nicholas F. Tsai, Mayuca V. Salazar, and Iván Pérez-Arteche. The agreement between the companies was finalized on February 5, 2009.
KNOC is the national oil and gas company of South Korea and one of the most important industrial companies in the country. The company operates oil and gas fields around the globe and had a reported oil production of more than 860.2 million barrels in 2008.
Ecopetrol, the Colombian national oil company, is an integrated oil and gas company ranked among the world's 40 largest energy companies. It is also the largest corporation in Colombia as well as the principal oil and gas company in that country.
February 11, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 1:54:03 pm
Those spam e-mails that bloat your Outlook inboxes aren't just annoying, they also threaten to propagate dangerous computer viruses. Even spammers know that love
Erin Nealy Cox, a deputy general counsel and managing director at computer forensic firm Stroz Friedberg's Dallas office, says the potential for such e-mail viruses should serve as a reminder for businesses and individuals to bone up on computer security practices and review e-mail habits. "Computer viruses and electronic security pose enormous financial risks," she says. "Every company should have an information security plan, from defending against viruses to preventing data breaches and responding to litigation." The virus behind the Valentine's Day e-mails has subject lines including "With all my love" and "Me and you." To speak with Ms. Cox about computer forensics, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
January 30, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 4:40:02 pm
"The auditors of these funds allowed this financial disaster to occur, and we think they have responsibility along with the banks and the feeder funds through which the banks invested in Madoff's firm," says attorney Robert S. Schachter. "Our investigation has revealed that if financial advisors had performed basic due diligence, they could have spotted the ruse that Madoff was perpetuating with his scheme." To speak with Mr. Schachter about the Madoff investigation, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 30, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 11:42:32 am
January 29, 2009 by Robert Tharp at 10:45:25 am
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed suit against Houston's Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, charging that the hospital has violated state antitrust laws
The two attorney's praised the AG's action. "This is a huge victory for the doctors who built Town & Country Hospital, and for the general public seeking quality health care at competitive prices. The AG's office should be congratulated for taking such a bold, non-political action on behalf of consumers," says Hardin.
Mr. Zook agrees, "Although the AG's findings validate our claims of unlawful conduct by Memorial Hermann, the doctors' civil case against Memorial Hermann is set for a jury trial in late March 2009," says Zook. "We look forward to showing the jury the entire story of Memorial Hermann's improper actions that damaged these doctors, their patients and the public at large."
A copy of the final judgment and news release from the Attorney General's Office can be found at http://www.oag.state.tx.us/oagNews/release.php?print=1&id=2812. For more information, contact Barry Pound 800-559-4534 at email@example.com.
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