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Androvett Blog

by Rhonda Reddick at 2:48:48 pm

Just last month, the gears of the U.S. federal government started churning out regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It’s the goal of two Gardere Wynne Sewell attorneys to make sure it is the executive and legislative branches of government that continue to set regulations for the energy industry, and not individual courtrooms, as they lack “the technical and scientific expertise necessary to create standards and rules to resolve the controversy justly,” and “should defer to the political branches of government.”

On Feb. 28, experts in climate change litigation from academia, government and advocacy groups will listen as Gardere’s Richard O. Faulk and John S. Gray address the legal ramifications of trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by regulating power producers through litigation. Together Faulk and Gray filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on the merits of the highly controversial case of American Electric Power Company Inc. v. Connecticut, which is currently before the Court. In the case, utilities argue – and Faulk and Gray concur – that the executive and legislative branches of government should set the regulations for power generators.

Faulk and Gray will speak at the climate change symposium at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. “A Public Nuisance: Tort Law's Response to Global Warming” will examine the recent trend of private and public nuisance cases against large-scale greenhouse gas emitters, focusing on the case merits and potential role in curbing greenhouse gasses.

If the two attorneys are successful in their arguments at the Supreme Court, the U.S. government can help take the lead in combatting industry’s contributions toward global warming. Otherwise, individual courts across the land might find themselves confronted with the job of becoming experts and the ultimate arbiters in stemming the causes of climate change.

by Rhonda Reddick at 2:25:04 pm

Taking a 24/7, A to Z, top to bottom, head to … well, SOX, approach to addressing the ever-changing compliance issues facing businesses, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP has created a new Securities Law Blog, From the SOX Up.

The blog relies on the expertise of all 12 members of Gardere’s Public Securities and Corporate Governance Team to help corporate leaders navigate the constantly shifting securities landscape.

The blog can be found at www.fromthesoxup.com and provides commentary on a wide-range of matters, including compliance with federal and state securities laws and securities regulations, including last year’s Dodd-Frank financial reform act, the FCPA, and 2002’s Sarbanes-Oxley regulations, among many other corporate governance matters.

by Robert Tharp at 3:17:51 pm

Now that it’s sunny and 70 degrees outside, it’s hard to imagine that just last week much of the country was seazed up in the great ice and snow storm of 2011. As schools, homeowners and businesses enjoy the warm-up, Houston attorney Phillip Sanov, head of The Lanier Law Firm's Bad Faith Insurance Practice Group, cautions that another storm may be on the way in terms of insurance claims for storm damages.

Insurance claims are sure to mount as people discover property damage, leaky roofs and flooding from broken water pipes. "We expect insurance companies to stand behind us when disaster strikes, but far too often we see insurance carriers deny, delay and underpay legitimate claims,” says Sanov. “Try to preserve as much evidence as possible, such as photos or video showing the previous condition, as information and proof are key in fighting wrongfully denied claims.”

by Robert Tharp at 10:46:00 am

In case you haven’t noticed, merger and acquisition activity experienced a sure-nuff rebound in late 2010, and by many accounts 2011 is shaping up to be a year in which lending institutions and the private equity market are increasingly willing to fund new deals.

Reports Business Week: Corporate boardrooms are once again abuzz with discussions regarding the next deal. After several years in which worldwide M&A activity dropped steeply, 2010 was a recovery year both worldwide and in the U.S.—but it looks like corporate dealmaking could really roar back into the headlines in 2011.

 “If the first 45 days of 2011 are any indication, it’s going to be a great year for transactions across a broad range of industries,” says Wes Williams in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. “I don’t think this is a short-term phenomenon, but it is a very positive signal that the economic recovery is continuing, although we still have a long way to go.”

Williams notes that many corporate assets and stocks remain undervalued, further spurring bargain shopping by investors. U.S. companies reportedly have $1 trillion in cash on their balance sheets, with the expectation from shareholders to put that cash to use.

by Robert Tharp at 3:31:21 pm

Valentine’s Day may be for lovers, but it also can open the door for high-stakes mess ups, says Dallas divorce lawyer Elizabeth Branch, a partner in the family law firm of McCurley Orsinger McCurley Nelson & Downing, L.L.P.  Consider: Lawyer-rating service AVVO has reported Valentine’s Day spikes in both referral requests for divorce lawyers and questions about family law.

Branch says that the high-expectations that come hand-in-hand with Valentine’s Day create particularly perilous landscape for those in relationships that may already be teetering.

“Particularly if a relationship is already rocky, forgetting Valentine’s Day is a big no-no. Cooking dinner and giving a back rub is free. It doesn’t have to be jewelry and chocolates, although those are nice too,” she says. “If you’re unwise enough to be cheating on your spouse, for goodness sake, check and double-check your flower delivery order. The Houston man whose florist mistakenly sent the bouquet meant for his girlfriend to his wife did not have a good Valentine’s Day.”

by Alan Bentrup at 2:43:06 pm

With no BCS game or Heisman race to follow, attention recently has turned to the growing danger of college football’s offseason. News broke recently that more than a dozen Iowa Hawkeyes were sent to the hospital with injuries after an intense practice. In Texas, Houston’s The Lanier Law Firm announced its investigation into the death of Ole Miss football player Bennie Abram.

Abram, a walk-on defensive back for the University of Mississippi Rebels, died after collapsing during the first day of spring practice last year. The autopsy showed he had sickle cell trait, a condition affecting nearly 10 percent of the African-American population. Sickle cell trait is linked to at least nine deaths of college athletes since 2000.

Gene Egdorf represents the Abram family and has a long history handling these types of cases. He negotiated a landmark 2009 settlement with the NCAA over the death of Rice University football player Dale R. Lloyd II, who also had sickle cell trait. As a condition of that settlement, the NCAA recommended that all student-athletes undergo testing for the condition.

Officials at Ole Miss said the university began testing athletes for sickle cell trait starting in 1989, and that they knew about Abram’s condition. However, Abram’s father told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, “I don’t know if we ever even discussed it … I didn’t really know something this serious could happen because of it.”

by Robert Tharp at 2:06:12 pm

WorkKnowledgeBlog.com, the new law blog by Gardere’s Labor & Employment Practice Group offers a great source of insight into the ever-changing labor & employment landscape.

Since early December, Gardere’s employment lawyers have been weighing in on and illuminating some of big issues of the evolving world of employment law. And there’s plenty of fodder lately, considering the laundry list of HR-related provisions in the federal healthcare overhaul, as well as revisions to the ADA.

The writers have already addressed aspects of FSLA retaliation claims, plans for the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in on the validity of arbitration agreements in employee handbooks, and whistleblower provisions in the new health care law, among other things. The writing responsibilities for the blog will be shared by the members of the Gardere Labor & Employment Practice Group. The blog can be found at www.workknowledgeblog.com.