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Androvett Blog

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:20:00 pm

A Dallas man who has worked in the airline industry for more than 35 years and the company he founded are suing his former employer, Pratt & Whitney, and others based on claims that they secretly and illegally excluded the man and his company from a multimillion-dollar deal based on “fraud, manipulation and greed.”

Attorneys Darren Nicholson and Mark Torian, both shareholders in Dallas’ Sayles Werbner, represent Robert Hogan and his company, AerReach Aero Space Solutions. In the lawsuit, Mr. Hogan says was led to believe AerReach would benefit from a $500 million deal he helped develop only to later discover that his so-called business partners were working behind his back to make sure he got nothing.

“Bob Hogan knows more about the airline industry than perhaps anybody, and the defendants knew this when they brought him in under false pretenses before working in the shadows to illegally shut him out of millions of dollars,” says Mr. Nicholson. “It really turns your stomach when you see some of the text messages and emails that Bob received and compare those to what actually happened.”

Mr. Hogan worked as an executive for airplane parts manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in Dallas for many years before retiring in 2012. The company is a subsidiary of aircraft manufacturer United Technologies Corp. Mr. Hogan created Pratt & Whitney’s blueprint for inventory management agreements, which allow customers to buy airline engines and other aviation equipment under consignment before being resold. The lawsuit includes details about how Mr. Hogan became business partners with an Oklahoma lawyer and a Connecticut entrepreneur to do work with Pratt & Whitney after his retirement. While working on a proposal for the $500 million deal, he learned that Pratt & Whitney had completed the transaction with another company. However, according to Mr. Hogan, he later learned that the other company actually was owned by his business partners, who apparently formed the company so they could shut him out of the deal while relying on his valuable airline industry expertise.

The lawsuit includes various claims against Pratt & Whitney and the other defendants, including allegations of fraud, breach of partnership agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, civil conspiracy, and tortious interference, among others.

For more information about the case, please contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com.

 

 

 

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:04:00 pm

A Christian missionary and his young family have been granted religious asylum in the United States thanks to the nearly three-year pro bono efforts of lawyers in the Houston office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Viktor Lim, a native of Uzbekistan, had established a small Baptist congregation in Kazakhstan where he endured arrests, threats, police searches of his home and interrogation for years before being convicted of charges related to his ministry.

“I could not feel certain of the safety of myself or of my family,” he said through an interpreter in an interview with the Houston Chronicle.

Mr. Lim was ordered to leave Kazakhstan, although he had lived there most of his life there. Terrified at their prospects, the Lim family managed to obtain tourist visas and settle in Houston in August 2013. Sutherland attorney David Baay led the effort for asylum, saying he believed  Mr. Lim would face imprisonment on a trumped-up charge if he returned.

On June 2, the U.S. government granted Mr. Lim asylum, and he and his wife and children will be eligible to apply for citizenship in a year.

Mr. Lim said the whole family cried for joy when they received the good news earlier this month.

“This is a great day for Viktor and his family, who have been living here in limbo for almost three years,” Mr. Baay says. “Viktor provided credible evidence of a very real threat to his life and liberty – and that of his family – if he were denied asylum and returned to Kazakhstan.”

A religious rights advocacy group says Protestant Christians are among the most targeted groups in Kazakhstan.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:27:00 am

The Dallas Women Lawyers Association (DWLA) will honor Chief District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the Northern District of Texas, during a reception Tuesday, June 28 at the Belo Mansion starting at 5:30 p.m. On May 1, Judge Lynn became the first woman to attain the position of Chief Judge of the Northern District, which includes the city of Dallas. She succeeds former Chief District Judge Jorge Solis.

“The DWLA’s mission is to elevate the status of women lawyers, and we are thrilled to honor our first Louise B. Raggio recipient, the one and only Chief District Judge Lynn,” says Angela Zambrano, president of the DWLA. “She is the epitome of what women lawyers should aspire to be, someone who has opened countless doors for women in the legal profession, and a mentor and friend to all lawyers.”

Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently told The Dallas Morning News that Judge Lynn was an “inspiration to all of us, but especially to young women lawyers.”

Nominated by President Bill Clinton, Judge Lynn joined the federal bench in 2000. Before that, she was a civil trial lawyer at Carrington Coleman Sloman & Blumenthal in Dallas. Judge Lynn has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the Louise B. Raggio Award from the Dallas Women Lawyers Association. A year before her appointment as judge, the National Law Journal named her one of the most influential women attorneys in the country, and in 2010, the International Women’s Forum honored her with the Women Who Make a Difference Award.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:30:00 am

A Texas truck driver who suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body in a liquid asphalt explosion has filed a negligence and injury lawsuit against the owners and operators of the Shreveport, Louisiana-based facility where the incident occurred.

According to court documents filed in Dallas County District Court, Darrell Allen, 59, of Denison, Texas, was assigned to pick up and haul a load of asphalt from the Calumet Shreveport refinery on April 23, 2015. An estimated 3,000 pounds of the scalding hot asphalt needed to be pumped out of Mr. Allen’s truck after it was overfilled. He was asked to help with the pumping process even though he had no related training or experience for that task.

The lawsuit alleges that the suction hose used by the plant’s workers to remove the asphalt had not been properly cleaned, leading to a catastrophic explosion that threw Mr. Allen from the top of the tanker truck and covered him in 350-degree liquid asphalt.

Mr. Allen was hospitalized for more than three months in the burn unit at University Health Shreveport Hospital, where he underwent painful treatments each day to remove dead or damaged skin. As a result of his severe injuries, he remains in constant pain with persistent itching and no sweat glands to properly regulate his body temperature.

“Darrell’s doctor has treated burn victims for 30 years, and he says he has never seen anyone burned this badly who survived,” says attorney Charla Aldous of Dallas’ Aldous\Walker, who represents Mr. Allen and his family. “Darrell has already suffered tremendously, and he still faces a lifetime of pain, impairment and ongoing surgeries because of this company’s negligence.”

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 12:44:00 pm

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Texas at Austin’s affirmative action student admissions policy, ruling against a white woman from Sugar Land, Texas, who wanted to attend there. Her lawsuit challenged UT’s use of race in admissions decisions, which was implemented in part by accepting the top 10 percent of eligible high school graduates across Texas, along with other considerations including race, community service, leadership, and extra-curricular activities.

Attorneys share their thoughts on the high-profile ruling:

Dallas trial lawyer Shonn Brown, partner at Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst, says:

“This opinion affirms that the university can take a holistic approach to consider race as one of several factors in admission, while still following the precedents in other court decisions that overturned the use of racial quotas. Diversity should not be viewed as a rigid standard in higher education; I think schools have to be allowed some flexibility for the good of every student, and considering many factors including race where the compelling interest is met, so this decision is the sensible and proper approach.”  

Houston appellate attorney Misty Coné, shareholder at the appellate and trial law firm GODWIN PC, says:

“The Court's opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas would no doubt be different had Justice Scalia remained on the bench. Scalia's untimely passing coupled with Justice Kagan's non-participation resulted in an opinion that not only upheld the use of race-based affirmative action programs in higher education, but also reveals the true impact of the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Much has been written about the post-Scalia era on the Court – a time where the Court focuses on consensus building and ‘minimalist’ decisions. With the Court recently issuing a number of 4-4 decisions, there is some support for this notion. But with categorical evidence illustrating the impact and success of the Texas ‘top 10 percent rule’ as a means of improving diversity and access in Texas colleges and universities, it is very clear that Fisher will not represent the last word on the legality of affirmative action programs in the United States.”

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:54:00 am

Every dog has its day, and for many, that day is June 24.

Celebrating the value of companionship and raising awareness of pet adoptions, Friday marks the 17th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day.

“Allowing employees to bring non-service dogs to work can be exactly the kind of perk that some employees, especially millennials, might be looking for when considering whether to accept one position over another,” says Dallas employment attorney Elisaveta Dolghih of GODWIN PC.

“Dogs are proven to relieve stress, can boost employee morale, and depending on the type of the business, can generate favorable publicity and goodwill around the business among its customers.”

However, Ms. Dolghih says, before employers temporarily or permanently roll out the proverbial red carpet for employees’ four-legged friends, they should consider the following legal issues:

  • If a company leases office space, does the lease agreement allow pets in the building?
  • Does the company's insurance policy cover a dog biting a customer or employee on the company premises? If not, do employees need to sign certain documents before being allowed to bring pets?
  • Are any employees allergic to dogs and, if so, what accommodations should be made for such employees?
  • How will a company address situations where a dog becomes loud or causes a work-interrupting distraction?

 For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:26:00 pm

All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court which has yet to rule on the three most controversial cases this session, one of them focused on immigration. The case before the court is from Texas, and a decision is expected Thursday or Monday, June 27.

Texas and several other states have challenged President Obama’s executive order that would shield roughly 4 million undocumented immigrants from deportation and allow them to apply for work authorization. The high-profile case challenges the president’s executive authority in regulating immigration. Also at issue is the question of whether Texas  and the other states had legal standing to sue in the first place.  

Gordon Quan, a nationally recognized, 30-year immigration lawyer and founder of Quan Law Group, says:

“This decision will not only define the role of the executive branch but will be President Obama's last opportunity to address U.S. immigration policy.“

 

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:25:00 am

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, asked Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Friday to rule on whether Texas Central Partners can rely on the power of eminent domain in its development of a high-speed bullet train from Houston to Dallas.

The legislator wants to know if the private company has the authority to go onto private land, survey it and eventually take it for the train path.

Austin lawyer Luke Ellis, a partner with Johns, Marrs, Ellis & Hodge LLP, thinks the legislator raises an important point.

“It’s highly questionable whether the proposed high-speed rail can exercise the power of eminent domain,” Mr. Ellis says. “A strong argument can be made under Texas condemnation case law and related transportation statutes to challenge Texas Central Partners’ right to conduct surveys and take private property through eminent domain.”

The bullet train proposal has been popular in Houston and Dallas and less popular in the rural areas it will speed through. The state does allow established railroads and other private companies to use eminent domain to create infrastructure, but the question about the high-speed rail project may yet be decided. Texas Central Partners told the Texas Tribune that the project is clearly covered by the same laws. Legislator Cook told the online newspaper that the decision should be made based on today’s understanding of the law and current situation, not something based on laws from more than 100 years ago.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:40:00 am

Attorneys representing a large group of professional golf caddies are asking an appeals court in San Francisco to reopen a lawsuit against the PGA Tour for forcing the caddies to act as human billboards without pay or benefits. Tour caddies are employed by Tour players and not the Tour, which does not provide health insurance, retirement or other benefits. Yesterday, The Lanier Law Firm filed an appeals court brief arguing that the case should proceed.

The lawsuit filed in federal court alleges the caddies are being forced to wear aprons, also called “bibs,” which cover their shirts and include logos of Tour sponsors. The bibs cover valuable real estate on the caddies’ shirts that they otherwise could use to secure their own sponsors. Even though the lawsuit says the Tour receives more than $50 million in bib sponsorships annually, the caddies receive none of that money.

According to the lawsuit, the PGA Tour is violating federal antitrust laws in addition to breaching its contracts with the caddies and reaping illegal profits by coercing them to advertise for the Tour for free. The caddies also say their likenesses and images have been unlawfully used by the Tour in its advertising.

“When the world’s leading sports network says the PGA Tour treats caddies like ‘outside dogs,’ then you know there is a problem,” says attorney Richard D. Meadow, who represents the caddies. “Sure, caddies are told they can have their own sponsors, but what good does that do if they’re forced to cover their shirts with other sponsors who are paying them nothing and instead putting tens of millions of dollars in the Tour’s pocket?”

The caddies’ 66-page brief includes a series of reasons the case should be allowed to proceed, including claims that the trial court conducted an improper fact-finding expedition by focusing on assumptions, hypotheticals and other matters not included in the caddies’ lawsuit.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:22:00 am

African-American women who regularly use talc-based baby powder are at greater risk for ovarian cancer compared to their peers who don’t use the products, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Virginia. The report published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology found that the use of baby powder was associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer regardless of where the powder was regularly applied on the body. The study involved interviews with 584 black women with ovarian cancer and 745 black women without the disease from the Southern and Eastern United States.

In the 1990s, Johnson & Johnson outlined a plan to hike flagging sales of its talcum powder products by targeting black and Hispanic women, according to a company memorandum made public in recent lawsuits leading to multimillion-dollar verdicts against the manufacturer.

“It’s tragically apparent that for many years, Johnson & Johnson has ignored and suppressed the almost two dozen clinical studies that indicate a link between the use of talcum powder and ovarian cancer,” says attorney Warren Burns of Dallas’ Burns Charest LLP. “This is just the latest evidence showing that African-American women have been effectively targeted through the company’s marketing, with a resulting increase in the disease.” The Burns Charest firm is currently accepting ovarian cancer cases against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of women and families, and maintains the talcumcausescancer.com website as a resource for news and information.

So far this year, two juries have returned significant verdicts in liability and wrongful death claims against Johnson & Johnson for its actions in marketing the use of talc-based powders. There are currently more than 2,000 similar cases pending nationwide.

In the past, African-American women have reported significantly higher use of so-called feminine hygiene products, including genital powder. A 2015 case-control study in Los Angeles found that 44 percent of African-American women reported using talcum powder, compared to 30 percent of white women and 29 percent of Hispanic women.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:52:00 am

Attorneys representing the City of Dallas and the tenants of Topletz Properties have secured a court injunction that prevents the owner of more than 200 residential properties from increasing rent, evicting tenants or taking other retaliatory actions without cause and approval from the court. The hearing included testimony that the standard Topletz lease requires renters to pay for repairs and ongoing maintenance in violation of the Texas Property Code, and has not been reviewed or updated since the 1960s.

The city’s original complaint, filed in November, accuses Topletz of renting properties with numerous code violations to tenants. “But this case is not just a matter of city code compliance or some other municipal regulation,” says attorney Michael Hindman, who represents the tenants together with attorney Mark Ticer. “Currently, if something breaks, then it’s up to the renter to fix it or pay for it. What’s really broken is the Topletz way of doing business.”

Earlier this year, Topletz sent letters to tenants telling them to not allow city code inspectors or neighborhood services personnel into their homes. At least one tenant received a form letter asking for her signature that claimed she was “completely satisfied” and that the property “needs no repairs” and “is in compliance with all City of Dallas codes.” In contrast to the company’s letter, the two lead plaintiffs’ properties have inadequate heating, cooling, electrical circuits and water, among other violations. In addition, each home was judged to be structurally unsound by City of Dallas inspectors.

The temporary injunction is expected to remain in place until trial, scheduled for Nov. 8 in Dallas County’s 193rd District Court.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:31:00 am

Attorneys at Aldous\Walker who represent Ebola survivor Nina Pham are calling out Texas Health Resources (THR) for going back on its promises and refusing to release information outlining how Pham contracted the disease while working as a nurse in the intensive care unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas. Pham treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who later died of Ebola complications at the hospital.

In a new court filing asking for the release of THR’s “root-cause analysis” report, Pham’s attorney Charla Aldous says, “THR repeatedly told the press, community and even Congress under oath that it is committed to transparency about how Nina contracted Ebola so that our health system can learn from it. THR’s position in this case shows that those claims of transparency were all lies.”

The “motion to compel” filed with the court states: “Nina is pursuing this lawsuit to get to the truth, and her efforts of discovering that truth are being prevented by THR’s false claim of privilege. The court should order them to do so.”

According to Ms. Aldous the claim of privilege is the latest in an ongoing series of legal strategies by THR during the past 15 months to delay or deny the release of information, or attempt to curtail the litigation.

Ms. Aldous recently conducted an interview with The Dallas Morning News, whose editorial board has previously urged THR to be transparent in its release of information. “THR seems to be less interested in protecting lives, and more interested in protecting themselves,” Ms. Aldous says. The online article includes video from the deposition of THR chief medical officer Daniel Varga, who claims the organization’s findings are privileged under state law.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:15:00 pm

Axl Rose, you may want to pay attention to this piece of advice.

The Guns N’ Roses front man is trying to stop an Internet meme, one that has been dubbed “Fat Axl,” as the pictures show the star a bit heavier than normal.

The unflattering photos of a heavier Axl Rose have appeared on the Internet with altered lyrics to some Guns N’ Roses songs. Memes like “Welcome to the Jungle, we got tons of cake” or “Sweet Pie o’ Mine.”

While fat jokes are never a good thing, Internet attorney Kenton Hutcherson of Hutcherson Law in Dallas says be careful what you wish for when trying to remove photos from the Internet, even in an issue as weighty – potentially – as this one.

“It’s called ‘the Barbra Streisand Effect,’” says Hutcherson. “If you take legal action to remove certain content, you might actually fail and attract more attention to the content.”

Hutcherson is referring to Babs. In 2003, the legendary singer tried to conceal photos of her Malibu, California home; the opposite occurred because the singer drew more publicity due to her actions.

From a legal standpoint, this is a copyright case; Rose is claiming any photographer shooting such photos would have to have attended one of his concerts, where photographers generally were required to sign a release indicating ownership of any photos belonged to Rose or the group. The photographer, who originally took the picture of the rocker at a concert in 2010, cannot remember if he signed a release giving Axl ownership of the photos.

But is legal action really the best course? Especially since reporters already are writing about it.

Hutcherson, who has built a practice representing people harmed on the web – and who has experience using the court system to compel Google and others to remove offensive content – says perhaps not.

“Learn to pick your battles on the web,” says Hutcherson. “And understand you can make the situation much worse.”

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:09:00 pm

The Senate this week approved the first update in 40 years to the law governing chemical substances, and it is now on its way to President Obama who is expected to sign it.

Enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act provides the Environmental Protection Agency with the authority to regulate chemicals found in products that Americans use every day. The TSCA reform bill calls for quickly identifying chemicals that are most likely to pose health problems and focusing resources on testing them more thoroughly.

The new bill provides the EPA with the authority to obtain information about existing chemicals and to approve of new chemicals before they enter the stream of commerce. In the past, the EPA did not have the authority to properly regulate substances, such as asbestos, which are now known to be toxic.

Most of the congressional delegation members representing Houston and its petrochemical complex have supported the TSCA reform bill.

“In some ways, petrochemical companies are in favor of the new law since it would potentially provide more clarity regarding what substances are deemed to be unsafe by the federal government,” says David Baay, a partner in the Houston office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. “Currently, energy companies that operate in different states are confronted with a variety of state regulations. This reform could help set the standard going forward.”

“At the same time, the law was contentious in some states that argued that the reform would frustrate their attempts to enact laws that are typically more stringent than federal laws,” says Maryann Zaki, an attorney with Sutherland who has defended companies against lawsuits for violations of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. 

“While it may take some time for the EPA to implement the TSCA reform, once it is signed by the president, many industry leaders believe the new law will be a step in the right direction,” she said.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:02:00 am

Tomorrow, attorneys representing the City of Dallas and the tenants of Topletz Properties will ask for a court injunction that would prevent the notorious Dallas landlord from increasing rent, evicting tenants or taking other retaliatory actions while the case against the company continues.

The city’s original complaint, filed in November, accuses Topletz of renting hundreds of properties with numerous code violations to low-income tenants. Attorneys say the standard Topletz lease requires renters to pay for repairs and ongoing maintenance in violation of the Texas Property Code. “This case is not just a matter of city code compliance or some other municipal regulation,” says attorney Michael Hindman, who represents the tenants together with attorney Mark Ticer. “Currently, if something breaks, then it’s up to the renter to fix it or pay for it. What’s really broken is the Topletz way of doing business.”

Earlier this year, Topletz sent letters to tenants telling them to not allow city code inspectors or neighborhood services personnel into their homes. At least one tenant received a form letter asking for their signature that claimed they were “completely satisfied” in their home and that the property “needs no repairs” and “is in compliance with all City of Dallas codes.” In contrast to the company’s letter, the two lead plaintiffs’ properties have inadequate heating, cooling, electrical circuits and water, among other violations. In addition, each home was judged to be structurally unsound by City of Dallas inspectors.

The temporary injunction hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, June 9 in Dallas Judge Carl Ginsberg’s 193rd District Court at the George Allen Courts Building, 600 Commerce Street, 8th Floor.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 4:52:00 pm

Amanda Greenspon, an Associate at Munck Wilson Mandala and part of the Firm’s Intellectual Property Section, provides counsel to companies on trademarks and copyrights. She provides perspective on the copyright litigation against pop music superstar Madonna.

At less than a quarter of a second, even a die-hard Madonna fan might miss the musical sound at the center of the copyright litigation over her dancehall smash hit, “Vogue.” But that was the issue for California’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which focused on a brief sample from funk ensemble SalSoul Orchestra’s “Ooh I Love It,” which was produced by the same person who later went on to work with Madonna on “Vogue” but didn’t have rights to the sample. The dispute was not over who created the sound but whether unauthorized use of such a tiny snippet of music could amount to copyright infringement. In the end, the 9th Circuit panel sided with Madonna in a 2-1 ruling, finding that such a fleeting sound is simply not recognizable to a general listening audience.

Seemingly, this ruling is at odds with an earlier ruling from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the so-called Bridgeport case, which found that rap group N.W.A.’s “100 Miles and Runnin” wrongly sampled a brief guitar riff from a song written by funk music icons Funkadelic. That decision, which essentially said that even small samples warranted copyright protection, led to a surge in lawsuits of artists seeking compensation. Here, the 9th Circuit appears to have set a boundary to the question of what amount of music data is too small to be considered a sample and therefore entitled to copyright protection. In this case, at least, it’s 0.23 of a second. If the Court’s opinion had gone the other way, we would have expected many more copyright lawsuits and claims by artists. But it would have been harder to determine whether the next 0.23 second actually was lifted from another song or merely sounded similar.

So where do you draw the line? Just like an artist cannot own a single line of a drawing, this court found that such a small amount of material cannot be owned by an artist. What we do know is that as the digitization of music production continues, the courts will continue to struggle to keep up.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:02:00 am

The Wall Street Journal reported that defense lawyers in Florida filed a lawsuit complaining that federal prosecutors have been spying on defense legal strategies for as long as a decade by obtaining copies of the defense discovery documents.

The Florida lawyers allege that the document service that provided them with copies of government documents they requested for their litigation then also provided government investigators with copies of the documents of interest to the defense – thus revealing some of the defense strategy before trial.

“The government’s receipt of defense counsel work product on the sneak, raises serious legal and ethical issues,” said Houston defense lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor himself.

“Reading the defense playbook is cheating,” said Hilder, founder of Hilder & Associates, P.C. “It is worrisome that the government doesn’t even recognize or chooses to ignore the long-standing work-product privilege. The government needs to be held accountable as this is a slippery slope.”        

The Wall Street Journal reported that the “allegations surfaced days ago on the eve of a scheduled trial, which is now delayed. In court papers filed May 26, lawyers alleged that prosecutors had secretly gained access to discovery document files assembled by the defense team. The lawyers wrote that an assistant U.S. attorney informed them in April that an FBI agent had received CDs containing duplicates of discovery files the defense had assembled and scanned from the more than 200 boxes of seized government evidence made available to them.”

The newspaper reported that the U.S. attorney’s office said the concerns were overblown and there was no evidence this practice was widespread.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:34:00 am

Accomplished Texas trucking accident attorney Steve C. Laird of Fort Worth is a strong advocate when it comes to highway safety issues. As a result, Mr. Laird is spreading the word about International Roadcheck 2016, a 72-hour mandatory inspection of tractor trailers, buses and other heavy trucks that will take place June 7-9. The average person may not be aware of Roadcheck, a partnership between law enforcement agencies and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance that helps protect motorists and prevent hazardous situations on our highways. The three-day Roadcheck period represents the safest time of the year for drivers, but the days that follow are among the most dangerous.

Mr. Laird authored a blog explaining why.

“As [it] happens every year, the trucking industry already is telling companies and drivers about the three-day window, which will allow many of them to limit their hours or stay off the road entirely in order to avoid inspections. Once Roadcheck is over, expect to see many more tractor-trailers on the highway, including those whose drivers may be looking to make up for lost time that was spent waiting on the mandatory inspections to conclude.”

The time away from the road is what the trucking industry calls “Roadcheck vacation.” Drivers without the proper licensing and those operating unsafe trucks often take off work to avoid inspections only to return once the 72-hour period expires.

“The smart way to approach Roadcheck as an average motorist is to be particularly careful on the highway in the days and weeks following the inspection period when many drivers return to the road. That means everyone should be on high alert beginning Friday, June 10, through the weekend and at least the following week. Although not every big rig you see will have safety problems and not all of the drivers will be unqualified or improperly licensed, knowing about Roadcheck and taking the proper precautions will protect you and your family.”

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:01:00 am

On May 27, the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to reinstate a $641 million lawsuit representatives from Environment Texas and the Sierra Club brought against energy giant ExxonMobil for violating the Clean Air Act at its Baytown, Texas, oil refinery complex. The groups allege Exxon has thousands of air pollution violations, and are fighting for the government to properly enforce the law and protect the public’s health by penalizing the company.

Houston-based attorney Philip H. Hilder, who represents the environmental groups in the lawsuit, says:

“The opinion is significant because it ratifies enforcement of the Clean Air Act by ordinary citizens when the government refuses to do its job. This type of action is the great equalizer, holding corporations accountable where the government has failed.”

Luke Metzger, Director of Environmental Texas, echoes Hilder:

“After six years of litigation against one of the state’s biggest polluters, justice has finally been served. The appeals court confirms that even the world’s most powerful corporations must be held accountable when they violate our environmental and public health laws.”