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Androvett Blog

by Alan Bentrup at 4:55:43 pm

May 2, 2011, marks the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, viewed by many as the most significant piece of literature in the English language.

But the impact of the most popular book ever sold goes well beyond language and religion, says Houston attorney W. Mark Lanier of The Lanier Law Firm.

"Placing the Bible in common vernacular put the study of Judeo-Christian ethics and history into the hands of all who read, and it had a tremendous impact on religion, law, culture and the English language."

Lanier points out that the King James Bible’s impact can be seen in law, such as the concept of punitive damages from Exodus; culture, by spreading common morality; and government, by setting out 'inalienable rights' and other principles supporting the American Revolution.

Lanier is uniquely qualified to opine on Biblical history based on his previous studies of biblical languages at David Lipscomb University and his longtime role as the instructor for a Biblical literacy class regularly attended by more than 600 people at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.

He recently established the Lanier Theological Library at his Houston home. The library, which has been featured by the Houston Chronicle and Super Lawyers, houses a comprehensive collection of materials related to the study of Scripture and Christianity. The library also contains several private collections from some of the world’s most notable religious scholars.

by Dave Moore at 4:04:26 pm

More than 150,000 U.S. patients have purchased DePuy Pinnacle hip implant devices. Experts say the device’s design can result in metal shavings dislodging inside a patient’s body, causing infections and other problems.

Now, The Lanier Firm is leading a national charge to coordinate all DePuy Pinnacle Hip Implant lawsuits at one federal courthouse, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has scheduled a May 16, 2011, hearing in Louisville, Ky., to discuss consolidation of In Re: DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc., Pinnacle Hip Implant Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 2244.

The hearing announcement follows the recent national coordination of lawsuits over the DePuy ASR Hip System and the ASR XL Acetabular System, which were recalled in August 2010. The Lanier Law Firm founder Mark Lanier requested the coordination of those cases, and was one of the first attorneys in the nation to file a lawsuit over the DePuy ASR hip implants after the recalls were announced.

Lanier is no stranger to litigation involving product defect claims, including a 2010 case that resulted in a verdict of more than $55 million for a client who was paralyzed while using a defective piece of heavy machinery. The case recently was ranked as one of the Top 100 Verdicts of the year by The National Law Journal.

by Rhonda Reddick at 9:39:54 am

From television to movies, spending an unsupervised prom night in a hotel room is often depicted as a teenager’s final rite of passage into adulthood. However, it is not business courted by many hotels and those that do run the risk of being held liable should the celebration spiral out of control. 

“Most hotels have it in their rental policies that they will not rent to anyone under the age of 18,” says litigation attorney Brett Lamb of the Dallas office of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP. “Nor can you rent a room on behalf of someone else. That includes parents who rent a room on behalf of their child, but are not staying there themselves.”

Should hotel staff notice an uptick in post-prom registrations, they should have established policies for how to respond, says Lamb, as knowingly having underage guests engaging in risky or illegal behavior opens the hotel up to liability if they do nothing to stop it. “The hotel has a duty to all guests to warn them of known dangers, the hotel can’t just look the other way and hope for the best.”

Lamb’s partner, Dewey Brackin of Gardere’s Austin office cautions that hotels with a liquor license could also find themselves in hot water with the TABC if they permit, even by omission “anyone under 21 to drink alcoholic beverages on the premises, unless they are under the direct supervision of their parent or guardian.” While some parents might feel their child is safer in a hotel room drinking with friends, hotels cannot be used as a substitute chaperon, he says.

by Dave Moore at 4:55:35 pm

Justice is even sweeter the second time around for Dallas attorneys Richard A. “Dick” Sayles and Mark S. Werbner.

A little less than a year after winning a patent infringement verdict for client Commil USA in a hotly contested trial in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, the co-founders of Sayles Werbner got a second bite at the litigation apple when the trial court in Marshall decided that the original $3.7 million verdict may have been influenced by prejudicial comments made during the trial by a defense lawyer.

On April 8, following the new trial, a different East Texas jury awarded Commil $63.8 million for damages based on Cisco’s infringement of Commil’s patented wireless technology. The new verdict eclipsed the prior award by more than $60 million.

The Bloomberg news service quotes Sayles as saying: "We know this new award more truly reflects our client's significant damages as a result of Cisco's infringement. This verdict further validates Commil's valuable patented technology."

The Commil technology in U.S. Patent No. 6,430,395 (the '395 patent) allows wireless devices to move from point to point on a computer network without signal interruption. Prior to this innovation, network users experienced frequent signal disruptions resulting in data losses, dropped calls and other errors. Commil filed the lawsuit after discovering that the company's patented technology was being used by a Cisco subsidiary to produce its own Wi-Fi product line.

Cisco has already announced that the company is appealing the latest verdict, and one would have to believe that there are more than 60 million reasons why you won’t hear anyone from Cisco making prejudicial comments during the appellate arguments.

by Rhonda Reddick at 4:25:39 pm

Prior to the April 1 emergency on Southwest Airline’s flight 812 when a 5-foot by 1-foot gash formed in the fuselage at 34,000 feet, inspectors had thought that particular section of the fuselage was immune to metal fatigue and did not inspect that portion of the plane as closely as they will here on out. 

When dealing with machines as complex as a modern airliner, unfortunately sometimes the first signal that there is a concern is when a catastrophic failure occurs, says David Norton, a pilot and an aviation partner in the Dallas law firm of Shackelford, Melton & McKinley. “The part that was affected was in a different part of the plane, where they didn’t necessarily expect that kind of wear and tear,” Norton told KXAS news in Dallas.

Norton says the rapid response of the Federal Aviation Administration to order immediate inspections of all Boeing 737-300s, 400s and 500s is a positive signal that federal officials are taking this new concern seriously. “It is not feasible to inspect for 100 percent safety if you ever want the airplane to leave the gate, so they do the best they can with known concerns,” says Norton. “This is now a real, very serious concern that the FAA, NTSB and all air carriers are giving a lot of attention to exploring.”

The Southwest incident illustrates the effectiveness of established safety precautions, says Norton. “The crew maintained control, quickly dropped to a safer 10,000-foot altitude, the oxygen masks deployed as they were supposed to and everyone walked away safely.”

by Dave Moore at 5:21:06 pm

U.S. residents who earned more than $1 million last year also earned another distinction: They received more unwanted attention from the IRS, says Bob Probasco, whose legal practice in the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight includes IRS audits and appeals and tax litigation. "There's an enforcement pendulum at the IRS," Probasco says. "For the past several years, the pendulum has been heading back to enforcement and it shows little sign of stopping anytime soon." Last year, the auditing pendulum swung heavily toward wealthier individuals, increasing 30 percent for those who earned more than $1 million, he says.

As Wall Street Journal MarketWatch reports:

The biggest jumps came at the top of the income ladder. About 18% of Americans earning at least $10 million were audited in fiscal 2010, up from 11% in fiscal 2009, according to the IRS. For those earning $500,000 to $1 million, the audit rate rose to 3.4% from 2.8%.

Also, according to Probasco, the federal tax agency is more closely scrutinizing offshore bank accounts, and is demanding more information for use in its audits.

While there’s nothing more certain than death and taxes, it seems that another growing certainty for wealthier Americans is governmental scrutiny on earnings.