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Androvett Blog

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:45:00 am

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, stopping short of calling it a national emergency. The announcement expands access to treat the epidemic, but doesn’t free new federal funding for cities and states to use.

Dallas attorney Jeffrey Simon of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, who represents Texas counties suing drug manufacturers, says more federal funding is needed.  

“I commend the president for using his platform to highlight the epidemic of opioid abuse in America,” said Mr. Simon. “Opioid addiction is a disease rather than a character flaw, and the president’s effort to draw this distinction is welcome. But the financial costs of successfully treating opioid addiction are substantial, as are the costs of effective educational programs to stem the epidemic. I remain hopeful that our federal government will devote the financial resources necessary to combat this health crisis, but that remains to be seen.

“I contend that the second essential step to addressing any problem, after acknowledging its existence, is to identify the source of the problem. Our Texas county governments, which pay high costs to combat the opioid abuse epidemic in their communities, are doing this very thing. They are fighting back. Counties we represent, such as Bowie County and Upshur County, have filed lawsuits against drug manufacturers and wholesale distributors for the purpose of holding them financially accountable for their roles in promoting and selling so many of these addictive drugs.  

“On behalf of their citizens, these county governments are confronting the opioid abuse epidemic in their communities. We are proud and privileged to serve Texas counties as legal counsel in this fight."

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media at 10:30:00 am

Texas Proposition 2

 

Veteran Dallas attorney Marty Green, one of the country’s foremost legal experts on residential lending, recently shed valuable insights on an important decision facing Texas voters.

In a commentary published by the Texas Tribune, Green urged Texans to vote yes to Proposition 2, which seeks to make several changes to the state’s home equity borrowing system.

“Proposition 2 would expand Texans’ choice and flexibility in leveraging their most important assets – their homes – while retaining the important homestead protections that Texas law currently affords,” wrote Mr. Green, of Polunsky Beitel Green in Dallas.  

In a series of relevant examples, Green laid out reasons why Prop 2 makes sense for homeowners.

“This amendment to the Texas Constitution would make important changes to the existing home equity rules to better allow Texans to access their increased equity for whatever reasons they choose – to pay for college, to pay medical bills or to pay off higher interest credit cards,” he wrote.

The measure will be decided on Election Day, Nov. 7.

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

by Androvett Legal Media at 2:00:00 pm

Chris Mugica, Nina Valdez and Andrés Correa
Chris Mugica, Nina Valdez and Andrés Correa

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, three Texas attorneys with Hispanic backgrounds shared experiences that impacted their lives and their legal careers. The Texas Lawbook featured “Three Lawyers & their Hispanic Heritage: Why Diversity Matters” – a special section dedicated to the narratives of these attorneys in their own words.

Jackson Walker’s Chris Mugica:

I have been humbled over the years when people have termed my life as a real “Horatio Alger” story, having pulled myself up by the bootstraps to become the person I am today. But the reality is that has been a much more nuanced story. One that never would have been possible without the lessons my grandfather taught me about the responsibility we have to embrace the opportunities we have been given and then ensuring we help others reach their fullest potential.

Rose Walker’s Nina Valdez:

The pride I feel for my Mexican-American heritage comes straight from my father. Growing up, he instilled in me and in my sister the importance of education because of the challenges he experienced as a migrant worker in south Texas. I still remember his stories of the discrimination he faced growing up – from eating in the back of restaurants to being severely reprimanded in school for speaking Spanish. It saddens me to know that he and many others experienced discrimination based on their race. My father’s struggles drove me to become an attorney. I was motivated to be in a position where I could argue for justice – for what is right.

Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst’s Andrés Correa: 

As a litigator, I have learned that no story is without its nuance. I firmly believe that, as an immigrant and a minority, I have to be better than my majority counterparts in order to be considered their equal. But those same majority counterparts have welcomed me into their fold. They have not just allowed me to shine, they have shared the tools to succeed. As minorities in the corporate world, we must walk a fine line. I cannot forget where I came from or look away from the injustices facing those who look and sound like me. I must also give my all to my clients, who come to the firm for solutions. I also have an obligation to help my business grow.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:10:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to consider two cases concerning the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), leaving certain questions unresolved regarding liability for computer hacking and the prospect for potentially harsh criminal and civil penalties.

“Given the current state of the law, someone could potentially be put in jail or subject to civil liability under the CFAA in one jurisdiction and not in another for the very same act,” said attorney Shain Khoshbin of Dallas-based Munck Wilson Mandala. “In fact, someone could be potentially criminally prosecuted and civilly liable simply for password sharing.”

The CFAA was originally intended to criminally prosecute individuals who accessed classified information by hacking into government computers. The federal statute was later amended to allow private civil actions for violation of the act. This allowed businesses to take the offensive against hackers and those who improperly access digital assets stored in computers.

“As the definition of ‘computer’ continues to expand, and computer networks continue evolving to include social media platforms, cloud storage and a wide variety of subscription-based services, the CFAA will undoubtedly continue to be tested in the court system,” said Mr. Khoshbin.

“The CFAA is a valuable tool for businesses to use as part of their crisis management plan for data breaches, and to seek justice from those who improperly access electronic assets. But the judiciary or Congress needs to address and resolve some important issues so the law can be applied consistently.”

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:42:00 am

On Sunday, an inflatable trampoline went airborne at an annual corn maze festival in upstate New York with several children inside. A gust of wind caused the bounce house to fly 50 feet into the air, striking a woman and dragging her nearly 20 feet. She was treated at a hospital for non-life threatening injuries; the children escaped with minor injuries. Authorities are investigating whether the inflatable trampoline was secure at the time of the accident. 

Dallas attorney Hunter Polvi of the trial law firm Sayles Werbner says that when it comes to these accidents, the manufacturer and the operator have a responsibility to make sure the equipment is secure.

“The manufacturer has a duty to provide instructions about how to properly secure these inflatable trampolines. The operator has a duty to comply with these instructions. When either of these is not done, people get hurt. In this case, it appears the inflatable trampoline should have been shut down and deflated before the winds became so severe.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 12:11:00 pm

Lawsuits are being filed over the Oct. 1 Las Vegas massacre that left 58 dead and more than 500 wounded when Stephen Paddock fired down on a country music festival from a nearby high-rise hotel. Among the first was a suit filed by a wounded Texas college student, seeking to hold MGM Resorts, Live Nation, Bump Stock manufacturer Slide Fire and the estate of the gunman liable.

“There does not appear to be any dispute that Stephen Paddock was the gunman, making the move to freeze the estate a prudent decision,” says Dallas attorney Timothy Zeiger. “Injured victims will often sue the estate of the person who acted negligently, such as when a careless driver causes a traffic fatality, or in this case carries out an intentionally malicious act.

“However, despite the reported size of his estate, given the large number of potential claims related to the horrific injuries and deaths he caused, the chance that any particular victim will be justly compensated from the estate does not appear to be likely,” adds Mr. Zeiger, head of the litigation section at Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton.

It is still too early to determine the legal responsibility of MGM Resorts, Live Nation or Slide Fire, Mr. Zeiger says. He notes that unless a tragedy is “reasonably foreseeable” and not just an “isolated, and up to now, unique crime,” it will be difficult to prove negligence.

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 4:09:00 pm

President Donald Trump’s threats against NBC for news coverage he didn’t like are not unprecedented, says Dallas First Amendment lawyer Paul C. Watler of Jackson Walker LLP. On Wednesday, after NBC reported that sources said Trump raised the idea of increasing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the president tweeted: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

“There is a long history of American presidents criticizing the coverage they receive in the press,” said Mr. Watler. “There is an equally long history of American journalists doing their jobs despite presidential disfavor. 

“A few presidents, most notoriously Richard Nixon, actually attempted to turn their dislike of the media into official retaliation by government agencies or regulators. But those vengeful efforts at official harassment were abject failures.

“The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of the press stands as a fundamental bar to the type of vindictive action that the current president seems to contemplate or encourage. As long as we have federal judges who are true to their oaths to uphold the Constitution, media organizations should be protected from efforts to intimidate or subvert independent news reporting.”

Mr. Watler, a commercial litigator, has successfully represented numerous news media organizations over the years in First Amendment and libel matters.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Kit Frieden at 800-559-4534 or kit@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:45:00 pm

Local 100 of the United Labor Unions has filed a complaint after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to discipline players who protest during the national anthem. The labor union that represents workers in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana alleges that Jones violated the National Labor Relations Act, which prevents employers from intimidating workers for their activities.

Dallas attorney Rogge Dunn of Clouse Dunn says the union’s complaint filed will likely lose. Here is why.

“Jerry Jones can do what he wants,” says Mr. Dunn. “Employers can control what employees say on and off the field - in and outside of the office. In other words, there is no First Amendment, free speech rights in the workplace for people working for non-governmental entities.

“Workers do have the legal right to speak out about the terms and conditions of the workplace, such as whether employees are being paid overtime, if bonuses are not fair or if the workplace is unsafe. This is called concerted action and that is the basis on which the union complaint was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Since this situation involves a political statement, the NLRB will likely hold that it is not concerted action.

“For example, an employer fired an employee who showed up to work wearing an anti-abortion T-shirt. The employer fired this employee for political speech. The firing was legally upheld because it was not a T-shirt about working conditions.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:55:00 pm

As high school football enters another week, will high school players take a knee during the national anthem? The polarizing topic remains a point of discussion among school administrators, coaches, players, parents and fans. While some players signaled their support of the cause last week, two Texas teenagers were kicked off their high school football team for kneeling. The coach in that case made the two players immediately remove their uniforms and leave the field. The action raises many questions, including whether schools might be violating students’ rights if a prohibition or punishment is imposed? Dallas attorney Shonn Brown of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst says it depends on the school’s policy.

“It would be interesting to see what, if any, guidance can be gleaned from the school’s current policies. The students’ actions are certainly an exercise of their constitutional rights, which should not be abridged or disturbed by actions of the school. Additionally what is described as the coach’s action (the embarrassing manner in which he made them 'exit' and disrobe apparently) sounds extremely harsh, overly broad and an overreaction, assuming he was enforcing some policy. Absent some support in school policy, I question the school’s right to take this action. It is possible that in the absence of such support that the school infringed on these students’ constitutional rights.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or sophia@androvett.com.