September 23, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:20:51 am Texting rates skyrocket as Senate seeks answers
Cowles & Thompson Antitrust attorney Jim Chester: curious timing for probe
It's become a toss up for many lately as to which monthly bill is more unpleasant to open...the electricity bill or the cel phone. For those who have embraced text
The Dallas Business Journal analyzes the issue and efforts by Senate antitrust subcommittee chairman Herb Kohl to get some answers from the four major wireless phone companies. DBJ reporter Jeff Bounds explains in the piece that Kohl finds the hike curious because text messages cost little to transmit because they are small and that the four carriers each raised rates with identical spikes almost simultaneously. Kohl has asked the four carriers -- AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and Nextel -- to justify their rates by Oct. 6.
Jim Chester, chairman of the international business and trade practice at Dallas' Cowles & Thompson, explains that politicians are obligated to enforce antitrust statutes, but he finds the timing of the probe _ at the height of the political season _ a little curious.
September 18, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 1:55:19 pm Sarbanes-Oxley offers little protection for whistleblowers, attorney Wade McClure
September 17, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:18:46 pm Burgeoning media superstar emerges from Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition
Young Dalton Sherman is on a roll. After winning the the 16th annual Gardere Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition with a speech about community involvement that ended with the closing line: "...a drum major with no band is just a
September 17, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 11:07:16 am High costs of citizenship process causing fewer to apply
September 17, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:32:24 am Law firms dust off in Ike's path of destruction
"I'm very pleased that we have been able to move quickly to resume a level of normal business operations," Houston managing partner Dallas Parker said. "Our attorneys already have been able to respond to some pressing business demands of our clients related to the current issues in the financial markets as well as to offer counsel on matters stemming from Hurricane Ike. Like thousands of others in the areas affected, many of our Houston employees are coping with the personal needs of their homes and families... We are encouraging our workforce to continue working remotely and follow the direction of local and state officials in safely returning to downtown."
September 15, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 1:57:51 pm Fannie-Freddie carnage focusing on individual investors, pension funds
Pension funds and ordinary investors appear to have the most to lose in the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,
September 12, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:36:10 pm Air taxis getting more of us from here to there
While the airline industry contracts, consolidates and generally struggles to find a way to survive, niche aviation businesses are thriving as they nimbly fill the gaps, says aviation attorney and pilot David Norton of Shackelford, Melton & McKinley in Dallas. Most recently, Miwok Airways began an air-taxi service in California, shuttling
Harking back to the early days of aviation when pilots in biplanes picked up passengers on farm fields, the flights on Miwok Airways are not scheduled. They fly on demand and can take off from any of the more than three dozen airstrips in the region. Passengers can set their own flight time and then be flown in four-seat Cirrus propeller planes with fares as low as $82 one way. The fare will depend on the distance between airports and on how many people are sharing the plane, rising to more than $300 if no other passengers are on the plane. The plane can seat three paying passengers. By comparison, chartering a plane can cost more than $600 an hour.
These kinds of services will no doubt only become more common as large carriers cut costs by abandoning or drastically reducing service to mid-sized and less-profitable airports. "We're seeing the evolution of the air travel business," says Norton, who helps clients navigate laws and regulations involved in leasing corporate jet aircraft, also sat on the panel advising the FAA regarding on-demand air travel rules. "The airlines are never going away, but very soon this kind of air taxi service is going to be more and more common."
September 11, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:16:35 pm Little to celebrate on 5th anniversary of RIAA file-sharing crackdown
September 11, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:56:06 pm New study: juries more often side with English speakers
September 11, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 11:25:19 am Using Gmail, Google Docs or other cloud computing apps? E-commerce attorney Peter Vogel says beware
According to the Chronicle: Google, which prides itself on not being evil, offers a few more protections in its online legal agreement that everyone accepts before using its products. The agreement states that users retain the copyright to content they post, submit or display using Google's services. But Google gets "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and nonexclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" any of the content. What's more, Google can make that content available to any companies or organizations it chooses.
So the problem remains: What you put in cloud services such as Docs and Gmail, Google's free Web-based e-mail, isn't really yours anymore. Google doesn't make money by giving us gigantic e-mail accounts. Its profit comes in part from selling ads tied to the content of messages sent with those accounts. In other words, it's sifting through our messages, looking for sales leads. And it's not just Google. "When one uses an online service - Google, Yahoo, AOL - there's a click agreement that nobody ever reads. Somewhere embedded in the agreement you waive all sorts of ownership issues," Vogel said.
September 5, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:45:02 pm `They call it' ... great law firm advertising
Thirty-one years later, some firms are really embracing creative advertising(other firms, not so much). Gardere Wynne Sewell, for example, understands that such a campaign can go hand in hand with being a big, internationally respected firm. Gardere was recently singled out to receive the prestigious "Award of Distinction" from the International Academy of the Visual Arts Communicator Awards for its smart "They call it/We call it" campaign.
September 5, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:51:45 pm Rose Walker law firm's verdict in Lycoming airplane engine case stands up on appeal
After an exhaustive investigation and legal battle in which attorneys from the Dallas law firm Rose•Walker became experts in the intricacies of plane engine design, a Grimes County jury sided with Interstate Southwest, dinged Lycoming for fraud and handed Interstate Southwest a $96 million verdict in 2005. The verdict was later reduced by an appeals court, but the Supreme Court of Texas this week upheld the trial court's key rulings that Lycoming alone is responsible for the design defects that caused the engine failures. The appeals court's decision effectively closes the door on any legal attempts to hang blame on Interstate Southwest and also wipes out Lycoming's $186 million counterclaim against Interstate Southwest.
The ruling should end six years of litigation, says attorney Marty Rose of Rose•Walker. "This Supreme Court decision means Interstate Southwest wins and Lycoming loses - it's as simple as that," Walker says. "A jury of 12 people looked at this and said that Lycoming was to blame. This decision affirms that."
September 4, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:18:44 pm Munck Carter trademark attorney Dyan House: Slinging high-dollar cupcakes no cake walk
Indeed. This summer alone, Sprinkles has warned one rival to discontinue using a similar circle motif in its packaging. Most recently, it threatened a cupcake peddler called "Sprinkled Pink Cupcake Couture" and ordered that the business change its name. As Munck Carter intellectual property attorney Dyan House put it, protecting Sprinkles' distinctive niche is a fight worth having and goes to the core of trademark law, whether you're talking about cupcakes or technological innovation.
September 3, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:47:40 pm Sayles Werbner scores rare Supreme Court of Texas ruling upholding big medical malpractice verdict
The ruling stems from a 2001 verdict by a Dallas County jury awarding $9.2 million in compensatory damages and $21 millin in actual damages to the family of a man who died of a heart attack after waiting 12 hours for treatment after complaining of chest pains at the Las Colinas Medical Center. The 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas previously reduced the total award to approximately $5.4 million based on existing Texas laws limiting damage awards in health care claims. Given the Supreme Court of Texas' reputation, there was concern that justices would further reduce the award. Instead, the Supreme Court upheld the award against Columbia Medical Center and also reversed an award for loss of inheritance damages.
"We are extremely pleased to finally have this case resolved through this just, but infrequent affirmance of punitive damages," says attorney Mark Werbner, co-founder of Sayles Werbner and trial counsel for the Hogue family. "This opinion is especially gratifying because the Hogues have had to wait so long for the court to rule. The Supreme Court of Texas is known far and wide for reversing court judgments favoring plaintiffs, particularly in medical malpractice cases, and it is important that this decision is perhaps putting a halt to that trend."
Under the court's ruling, defendant Columbia Medical must pay the Hogue family approximately $10 million when the amount of pre- and post-judgment interest is included with the $5.4 million award of actual and punitive damages.
September 2, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:41:15 am Life after the three-letter agency: former federal prosecutors and gumshoes put their digital forensics and investigative expertise to work at firms like Stroz Friedberg
"Part of our value to our client is being able to work with and solve really big problems without anyone knwoing about it. We can't go out like law firms tha splash their verdicts across the front pages of newspapers. We just can't do that." Behind the scenes, Cox said. firms like hers are helping law firms win lawsuits, settle lawsuits and avoid them altogether. They help in-house counsel investigate internal problems, such as data breaches and intellectual property theft, to determine whether legal action needs to be pursued. "The law firms don't have the forensic laabs that we have," she said. "They don't have the private inestigator experience that we have. We look for that smoking-gun e-mail or document"
August 29, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:39:57 pm Steamboat Willie may have flaws, but keep your hands off Mickey
August 29, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:20:32 pm Dallas firm mounts class action against electronics giant
"Hitachi has been more than willing to take people's money for these TV sets and they should be more than willing to fix them," says Heygood Orr attorney Eric D. Pearson. "In some cases, people paid $4,500 or more for these TVs. You can't take that kind of money and deliver a defective product.
August 28, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:07:25 pm Shady sports agents ready for college football season
August 28, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:46:28 pm Oil markets play it cool so far as Tropical Storm Gustav spreads anxiety along the Gulf Coast
While New Orleans residents ponder the prospect of another hurricane direct hit three years after Katrina, oil traders have so far been indifferent as Gustav churns toward
August 28, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:51:02 am Whither the rocket docket?
Who would have thought pre-2001 that the small east Texas town of Marshall would become the epicenter of some of the most complex and high stakes patent law
August 26, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:16:24 am New woman-owned law firm already a standout
August 25, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:31:10 pm On international relations and legal PR
We love to talk PR and solve world problems over here at Androvett Legal Media. The little matter involving Russia's conflict with Georgia gave us the opportunity to do a little both. This interesting New York Times analysis describes how Russia may have won the battle related to the conflict with Georgia but failed in terms of the worldwide PR image war.
Consider this passage from the New York Times article: High-ranking Russian officials, who generally have a free hand in the Russian media, seem to find it demeaning to have to fight to get their message out. And they hold Mr. Saakashvili in such contempt, considering him a Western pawn who wants to bring NATO into their backyard, that they recoil at the idea of being perceived as his equal on the world stage, especially after pummeling his military forces.
It was not until four days after the conflict began - an eon in the 24-hour news universe - that a top Kremlin official was sent to CNN to counter Mr. Saakashvili. The official, Sergei B. Ivanov, a confidant of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin, who speaks polished English and has long experience in the West, quickly acknowledged that an unfortunate perception had taken hold."A big Russian bear attacked a small, peaceful Georgia," said Mr. Ivanov, a deputy prime minister, before seeking to undo the damage. "In fact, the situation is and was vice versa. It was a big Georgia which attacked a small and tiny breakaway republic of South Ossetia."
August 25, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:36:50 pm Study: It's better to settle. Attorney: It's not that simple
Defendants, on the other time, made a mistake by proceeding trial only about a quarter of the time. The survey found that an attorney's experience level played no role in the success or failure in the courtroom. Dallas attorney Mike Richardson, a partner at the trial law firm Rose•Walker, says the study should have taken actual courtroom experience into consideration _ not the number of years on the job. "If you've tried plenty of cases, you can usually do a pretty good job of handicapping the outcome," Richardson says. "The study is absolutely right in saying an attorney's years of experience don't matter, but real trial experience does." To interview Mr. Richardson about his opinion of the study, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or email@example.com.
August 21, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 5:09:23 pm Glass ceiling report: Progress in corporate America
Fortune 500 companies are apparently making faster progress than law firms in terms of diversity in the upper ranks, according to a recent survey that found that one in
August 20, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:54:31 pm Border Crossing Blues
Pop quiz: Which population group represents the largest segment of undocumented citizens in the U.S.? The correct answer would be U.S. citizens, more than three
August 18, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 11:53:34 am For those who think they're buying real Tiffany's on eBay
With more than 14.5 million active online auctions listings at this very moment, just how responsible should eBay be for the fraud that occurs when unscrupulous sellers
August 13, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:14:33 am Horrific bus crash deja vu for Dallas attorneys Frank Branson and Mark Werbner
Shoddy maintenance, inadequate insurance and paperwork, questionable driving records. These are just some of the details emerging from the investigation of the August 8 crash of a charter bus that killed 17 passengers near the Texas-Oklahoma border. But for Dallas attorneys Mark Werbner of Sayles Werbner PC and Frank Branson of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, preliminary findings from the wreck show that state regulators and fly-by-night bus companies have not learned from
Among other things, the bus operated by Iguala BusMex Inc. of Houston was traveling with a retread tire on one of its front wheels. It is illegal to use retread tires on wheels that steer a bus. Records indicate that the owner of the bus had failed safety inspections and the driver had a history of traffic infractions.Werbner says he's disappointed that despite a number of deadly bus crashes in recent years in Texas and across the country, shady bus companies like the one carrying members of the Houston-area church are still allowed on the road. "This appears to be yet another case where a company and driver failed to get the required safety inspections and did little to protect the passengers," he says.
Most of the passengers were from the Vietnamese Martyrs Church in Houston and were on their way to the Marian Days pilgrimage in Carthage, Mo., for an annual festival honoring the Virgin Mary.
Branson and Werbner know what they're talking about when it comes to investigating bus companies and bus crash litigation. Werbner represented one of the surviving victims of a 2002 bus crash near Terrell, Texas, that killed five and caused severe injuries to several others. That case, which also involved a church group that had hired a charter bus service, resulted in a $71 million verdict on behalf of Werbner' client. Branson is currently representing victims of another horrific bus crash that occurred near Dallas and involved elderly Houston nursing home residents evacuating from Hurricane Rita in 2005. In that case, 23 people were killed when the bus caught fire in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
August 7, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:42:00 pm Is Indymac just the tip of the iceberg?
August 7, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:25:01 pm Proposed fed policy changes target toxic torts
August 6, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:19:09 pm Texas: The next legal battleground for auction-rate mess?
It's probably just a matter of time before Texas courts play hose to litigation from the $330 billion auction-rate securities collapse of 2008, says Kenneth Johnston of
August 6, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:59:55 pm Letting no good intention go untaxed
August 5, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:19:52 pm East Texas Patent News: Nintendo ponys up $38 million to keep selling Wii and Game Cube
August 1, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:51:40 pm Studies: blogs influence traditional media; search engine optimization works
A study by eMarketer has some surprising findings regarding the way news reporters use blogs in the news-gathering process. According to this survey, nearly 40
On a related note, this law.com story offers a pretty basic primer on the importance of search engine optimization for law firm Web sites. The basic message: spending some time on your website and updating content(including blogs) can pay huge dividends. The piece raises an interesting rhetorical question: if search engine optimization works then why don't more people use it?
August 1, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:38:57 pm Munck Carter expands intellectual property practice
The current state of the economy is causing all kinds of expansion and contraction in the legal world. At Munck Carter, P.C., the firm sees an opportunity to boost its
All three have impeccable credentials. House concentrates her practice in the areas of trademark, copyright, franchising and licensing and counsels clients ranging from restaurants, retail establishments, engineering firms, software companies, wireless service providers and non-profit organizations. Pham focuses on intellectual property portfolio development and patent enforcement, representing clients before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Roe's practice centers around intellectual property portfolio development and intellectual property litigation. He represents clients in various high-tech industries, including polymer chemistry, medical imaging devices, computer hardware and software, and semiconductor devices.
Munck Carter, P.C. has carved out a practice devoted to trials, transactions and technology. With offices in Dallas and Marshall, Texas, the firm offers full-service counsel in the areas of complex commercial litigation, intellectual property management and protection, corporate transactions and securities, and employment matters. Munck Carter represents clients from start-ups to Fortune 500TM companies.
August 1, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:02:11 pm Congratulations Super Lawyers Corporate Counsel honorees
At McKool Smith, firm principals Doug Cawley, Ted Stevenson and Robert Manley of Dallas; Gordon White and Steve Pollinger of Austin; and Robert Cote of New York are included for their work in intellectual property litigation.
At Gardere, Dallas partners Kenneth R. Glaser, Andre M. Szuwalski and Peter S. Vogel were recognized for their intellectual property work, while Houston partner Jeffrey S. Davis was featured for his civil litigation defense work.
July 30, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:49:08 pm Thompson & Knight opens new green offices at One Arts Plaza
July 28, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:48:06 pm Tapping offshore oil reserves one piece of diversified energy plan
Those waiting for a magic bullet to solve the country's energy woes better settle in for a long wait, says Renato Bertani of Thompson & Knight Global Energy Services. In the meantime, lifting the ban on U.S. offshore drilling is one component that will lead to a diversified energy plan. Despite the promise and excitement of
July 23, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:04:57 pm Subtle workplace inequities explained
Be careful of your thoughts; they become your words;
Be careful of your words; they become your actions;
Be careful of your actions; they become your habits;
Be careful of your habits; they become character;
Be careful of your character; it becomes your destiny
July 23, 2008 by Unknown at 1:31:24 pm More warnings about defective Chinese tire valve stems
We told you previously here about the collosal number of defective Chinese-made tire valve stems rolling down American roads today. The estimated number of these
July 22, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 1:51:12 pm Federal law on trade secrets causing some businesses to self report breaches
July 18, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:37:03 pm Coming soon to your annual report: `Carbox' exposure
Considering that both presumptive presidential candidates are on the record in favor of federal climate-change legislation, many U.S. corporations feel it's only a matter of
July 18, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:42:20 pm Attorney says Google AdWords is selling snake oil
July 18, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 1:40:33 pm Budweiser, King of foreign-owned American icons
Budweiser and the rest of the Anheuser-Busch empire now belong to a European company few on American soil have ever heard of. The $52 billion acquisition creates
July 17, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:31:45 pm Can the law catch up to citizen journalists?
Will the next Woodward and Bernstein be citizen journalists who get the news out via blogs? Bloggers at the political Web site, Room 8, have certainly gotten the
July 16, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 4:18:05 pm Would you like fries with that motion for discovery? And other fast-food life lessons
For Thompson & Knight associate Kevin Pennell, scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins at age 14 taught him something about teamwork in a professional context that still rings home. Every time TK partner W. Mark Bennett quickly reads a crowded room or sizes up opposing counsel across a table, he's grateful for the hours he logged at a Chuck E. Cheese in Arlington, wearing a hot and unwieldy rodent costume.
"When you're walking out and you could see the little kid whose birthday it was, you learned how to read a face really fast to know whether they were going to run and hide or run and hug," Bennett told Davis. "Now that's part of my job - to read people, to give clients the best advice we can based on instincts."
That's what I call valuable professional experience. Great journalism? I didn't spit out my Cheerios and yell `Hey Martha!' but the piece made me think a little and sparked some office conversations. And that's more than can be said for many articles that I read. Me? I'm struggling to recall any redeeming life lessons from slinging burgers at Wendy's, except that the long hot and underpaid Austin summer was powerful motivation to finish college. And don't eat the chili.
July 11, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 10:32:28 am Go Forth and Network: More proof that LinkedIn is fast becoming king of the legal directory world
Just a few weeks ago, we reported here about how wildly popular LinkedIn has become among lawyers and law firms, adding roughly tens of thousands of attorneys to its roles each month in 2008. Here's further proof that LinkedIn has emerged as
Finally, a survey of 650 lawyers released last week found that nearly half are already members of some type of online social media network, and more than 40 percent believe online professional networking has great potential. The survey, which was bankrolled by Martindale-Hubbell, concludes that a need exists for a private, online legal network. The survey reports that lawyers are primarily interested in generating client and peer referrals(big surprise there) and are generally frustrated with their ability to stay connected with peers and colleagues. Fifty-four percent of in-house counsel and 41 percent of private-practice attorneys indicated that the ability to link to other attorneys and expand their networks as the most important feature of social media networks like LinkedIn.
July 9, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 3:56:35 pm Nationally Known Immigration Attorney Kathleen Walker Joins Heady Company to Influence Policy Debate
Attorney Kathleen Campbell Walker has long been an important voice in the national debate over immigration reform through more than 20 years working as an El Paso
July 9, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 11:23:24 am Ruling Upholding Employee Electronic Privacy May Not Have Legs
July 8, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 11:09:18 am Journal of the American Medical Associaton Says `Whoa' to Increasing Use of Wireless Chips in Hospitals
July 3, 2008 by Robert Tharp at 2:00:37 pm Study: Employers don't need to fear `Cyberslacking'
Whether you're the guy with the name on the door or the one who sorts the mail, chances are you use the Internet connection at work for personal matters, according
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