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Androvett Blog

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 4:50:00 pm

Speaking Monday at an event focused on opioids, President Trump proposed a multifaceted approach to combating the national epidemic. While the details of the proposal still must be finalized, Dallas attorney Jeffrey Simon of Simon Greenstone Panatier Barlett, P.C., said it is no longer possible to ignore the public health crisis.

“The merits of the president’s proposed solutions can and will be debated, but no one can legitimately dispute that America is in the grips of an opioid epidemic that will not get better without bold action. The overuse of prescription opioid drugs in America is a national public health crisis, and opioid drug companies must be held legally and financially accountable for their role in fueling America’s opioid epidemic,” said Mr. Simon. Simon Greenstone and co-counsel collectively represent more than 40 counties in Texas as well as other states in opioid litigation.

“It is important to emphasize that addiction is a disease and not a character flaw. Most people who become addicted to prescription opioid medication only wanted to ease their pain. No demographic is immune to the dangers posed by the addictive and lethal risks of opioid drugs. The lawsuits we have filed seek to obtain more resources for addiction treatment and recovery and to reduce the size and severity of the opioid epidemic in American communities.”

For more information, please contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4630 or

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

The Collin County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the remains found last week in the small North Texas town of Anna are those of 23-year-old Christina Morris, who had been missing since August 2014. In 2016, Enrique Arochi, the last person to be seen with her, was convicted of her aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to life in prison. With the discovery of Ms. Morris’ remains, can he now face a murder charge? Former federal prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Brian Poe says it all depends on the circumstantial evidence.

“This will all come down to whether or not the state believes they have enough circumstantial evidence to link this guy to the victim for purposes of a murder charge,” says Mr. Poe. “If they do, then it is possible they could charge [Arochi] with capital murder and potentially seek the death penalty. However, since this guy is already serving a life sentence, I would assume the district attorney would listen carefully and take the family’s wishes into consideration before putting them through another trial.”

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:12:00 pm

A lawsuit has been filed against cable company Charter Communications and its third-party cable installation partner DCOMM after the alleged sexual assault of a 72-year-old Dallas woman during a cable installation visit.

The woman, who is not named in the filing in order to protect her privacy, was sexually assaulted by the technician sent to set up television, internet and telephone service, according to her family’s attorney, Michael Lyons of the trial firm Deans & Lyons, LLP. The technician is facing criminal charges of aggravated sexual assault.

“Calling the cable person to come to your house -- that’s not something you ordinarily associate with the threat of criminal danger,” Mr. Lyons told Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA. The full report can be found at

There is a false sense of safety because these workers are viewed as representatives of a known company that is trusted to properly screen, train and supervise its employees.

“But in reality, you don’t know who you are allowing into your home,” he said. “Consumers need to recognize that most of these workers are contractors who may not always be properly vetted, well-trained or supervised. That can result in dangerous consequences, especially for vulnerable customers who are home alone. Service companies need to be held accountable for the people they hire to go into residents’ homes.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rhonda Reddick at 214-559-4630 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:50:00 am

The tragic death of a 12-year-old girl in a gas explosion is the latest in a string of natural gas fires and leaks reported in recent weeks in the aging Northwest Dallas neighborhood where she lived. The explosion prompted an immediate investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and triggered numerous evacuations in the neighborhood due to possible gas leaks.

According to Dallas pipeline and gas explosion attorney Tom Carse, Atmos Energy must do a better job monitoring its aging pipeline infrastructure. He says although federal and state law requires an odorant be added to natural gas, its effectiveness is limited.

“When natural gas escapes from underground steel pipelines damaged by excavation or from soil expansion and contraction, the gas is scrubbed of its distinctive odorant, leaving the escaping gas essentially odorless,” says Mr. Carse. “Industry experts refer to this phenomenon as ‘odor fade.’ Recent explosions in Ellis and Johnson counties that resulted in severe injury, death and enormous property damage have been directly linked to leaking underground natural gas that went undetected until after the blast events.

“In addition, technological advances such as residential excess flow valves as mandated by Texas and federal law can help cut the flow of escaping natural gas from damage due to an excavation. However, older corroded infrastructure presents more of a potential for catastrophic events such as that recently experienced here in Dallas. Time will tell, however it should not surprise anyone involved in the investigation if corroded infrastructure is found to be a major contributor to this preventable event.”

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 12:38:00 pm

The unsealing of Harper Lee’s will this week in Alabama yielded few insights into the life of the beloved author of the American classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Among the most frustrating details to those who had hoped to learn more about the notoriously private author was that she directed the bulk of her assets to a trust she established a few years prior to her 2016 death, says Dallas estate planning attorney Sam Long of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP.

“Privacy concerns are among several factors that have increased the use of trusts as a mechanism to transfer property at death,” says Mr. Long, who also serves as an adjunct professor of wills, trusts and estates at UNT-Dallas College of Law. “In most cases, the terms of such a trust, such as the Mockingbird Trust here, and the nature of the assets conveyed to the trust during a person’s lifetime are not public information.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:50:00 pm

An attorney with ties to a former campaign aide for President Trump pleads guilty to lying to investigators for Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his probe of Russia’s influence into the 2016 presidential election. The lawyer, Alex van der Swaan, is accused of lying about his communication with Rick Gates, a deputy to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who has been charged with money laundering and other violations.

Brian Poe, a former federal prosecutor and now criminal defense attorney, says lying to federal agents is not uncommon.

In reality, people lie to federal agents all the time and do not get charged. While I won’t say that it is rare for someone to be charged for lying to federal investigators, it’s not something you see in a majority of federal investigations conducted across the country. It looks like Mueller’s team is trying to leverage everyone they can find to testify against Paul Manafort. The more pressure they place on Manafort, the more likely he is to plead guilty and cooperate against others who might be involved.”

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:57:00 am

Dallas appellate attorney and specialist David Coale of Lynn, Pinker, Cox & Hurst LLP says President Trump is on track to nominate more full-time judges to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals than any other president.

Mr. Trump recently announced the nomination of Andrew Oldham as his third pick from Texas, after previously nominating to the 5th Circuit Don Willett, a Texas Supreme Court justice, and Jim Ho, a former Texas Solicitor General. Mr. Oldham is currently general counsel to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and a former deputy state solicitor general.

Mr. Coale says if Mr. Oldham is confirmed, along with two other pending nominations, Mr. Trump will have named one-third of the full-time judges after just over one year in his office. The New Orleans-based court, which hears appeals from federal trial courts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, also has several “senior” judges who participate at different levels of activity.

“With the nomination of Andrew Oldham, President Trump is on track to become the number-one appointer of active judges on the 5th Circuit,” he said. “After one year, that is pretty remarkable, and more nominations are entirely possible as his term continues. This could mean even more of a Republican influence on the bench for this traditionally conservative court.”

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:49:00 pm

February 17th is National Random Acts of Kindness Day. Is it any wonder that this day pops up just three days after St. Valentine’s Day? When we think of random acts of kindness, we usually think of doing something unplanned and spontaneous for someone we don’t know much about, if anything at all. But here’s the point: while Valentine’s Day is great, even the most creative and romantic among us struggle with the expectations that come with delivering the goods on this holiday. The truth is that we can do even more for our relationships by doing something random and kind for our Valentines on a day that isn’t February 14th

Orsinger, Nelson, Downing & Anderson attorney Jeff Anderson provides helpful tips that will show your other half that you care. On National Random Acts of Kindness Day, go through the ideas below, pick the ones that are out of character for you – that’s how we get to the “random” part. 

  • Leave work a little early, make dinner, have a glass of wine ready, and let her relax. 


  • Turn off the TV, sit together and notice things about him. Tell him what you love most about him. 


  • Spend 10 minutes texting your spouse a poem (one you make up . . . and it should be about how you feel, not about how cool your new motorcycle is going to be).


  • Remind her every day that she’s the only one for you . . . and mean it.


  • Ask him about his day and really listen to what he says. Make that conversation about him.


  • Call her in the middle of the day  . . . just to hear her voice.


  • Make plans. Plan a trip. Plan a dinner. Plan an adventure. No matter how hard things are, it’s always easier to go through when you get through it together and you have something to look forward to.


  • Write him a love letter while he’s asleep and put it in his car so he’ll be surprised the next morning.


  • Take both of your cell phones, turn them off for an hour and put them in a drawer. Make a show of making her the center of attention.


  • On a Friday afternoon, surprise him with a weekend trip to a little town an hour or two away.

Even if the kids are grown and have kids of their own, remind her that she’s still your girlfriend. Those acts are random acts of kindness.

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or


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

An East Texas hospital has been hit with a $43 million verdict after jurors unanimously agreed the facility was grossly negligent in its retention and supervision of a doctor on probation whose improper care led to a patient's complete loss of his quality of life and ability to provide for his family. The jury found that Tyler-based East Texas Medical Center had put patients in extreme risk by continuing to allow Dr. Gary Boyd to perform surgeries after he was placed on probation with the Texas Medical Board.

According to testimony, Dr. Boyd erroneously diagnosed a 61-year-old patient with an anatomical abnormality, which he said would make it impossible to surgically remove the man’s gallstones. The delay in treatment caused serious medical complications that necessitated a liver transplant.

"Hospitals have a supreme duty to provide safe and effective care to patients, and that duty must come before everything else," said Martin Walker PC attorney Reid Martin, who along with name partner Jack Walker and attorney Marisa Schouten represented the patient. "By allowing a dangerous doctor who had lost his hospital privileges to continue to treat patients, this was a tragedy waiting to happen."

The $43 million verdict included $25 million in punitive damages after jurors agreed that the hospital’s conduct involved an extreme risk of potential harm to others.

For more information, contact Mark Annick at or 800-559-4534.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:15:00 am

Accusations of corporate espionage and trade secret theft are unfolding in a San Francisco federal courtroom between two of the tech world’s cutting-edge innovators in what is shaping up to be the trial of the decade for a dispute of its kind.

Pitting ride-sharing startup Uber against Google’s Waymo self-driving vehicle division, the lawsuit paints a picture of two companies hell-bent on winning the race to dominate the self-driving car market. It also highlights how far companies will go to guard valuable internal information and intellectual property and protect their competitive positions, says attorney Joe Ahmad of Houston’s Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA.

Waymo filed the lawsuit in early 2017 after learning that autonomous vehicle visionary Anthony Levandowski had taken thousands of confidential files before leaving to join Uber’s self-driving vehicle project. Waymo is seeking nearly $2 billion in damages for the stolen secrets. Uber’s defense is complicated by Mr. Levandowski, who was fired from Uber for refusing to answer subpoenas and is now planning to exercise his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination.

“This trial is providing an inside look at the personalities and workplace culture in Silicon Valley where staying ahead in the race to innovate is seen as key to survival,” Mr. Ahmad says. “Testimony will offer a glimpse inside these companies that few have seen, and all eyes will be on whether the key player (Mr. Levandowski) takes the stand to describe what happened in his own words.

“The allegations in this case are extreme examples, and the monetary damages at stake are breathtaking. But the core dispute in this case is something that businesses of all types are dealing with today,” Mr. Ahmad says. “These are real information-age struggles we’re seeing in the business world: How do you protect the information that gives a business a competitive advantage? It also highlights the perils that come when star employees change jobs in competitive industries.”

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


by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:25:00 pm

The Michigan trial of Larry Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who was sentenced up to 175 years in prison, prompted the Texas governor to ask the Texas Rangers to investigate what went on at the ranch owned by famed gymnastics coaches Bela and Martha Karolyi.

The Rangers likely will be cooperating with a county sheriff’s investigation already underway. Until recently, the ranch north of Houston served as USA Gymnastics’ national women’s training center.

Houston attorney and former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C., said in addition to investigating what the doctor did at the ranch, law enforcement will look into what ranch staff members or coaches knew about or allowed to happen.

"The victims said they reached out and reported abuse. The investigators will want to know who received their complaints, what they reported, how did they report it, and what, if anything was done,” said Mr. Hilder, a criminal defense attorney.

Authorities will conduct an investigation into whether other individuals were aware, complicit or involved. If others were aware that felonies occurred at the ranch and had the duty to report the abuse and failed to do so, there may be criminal exposure,” he said.

“I'm not saying anyone was criminally involved, but it is a matter that the authorities are obliged to investigate. It is a waste of resources to go after Nassar himself given that he already received a sentence of what amounts to life in prison.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:15:00 am

The new U.S. tax law may not mean a postcard-sized tax return next year. But tax lawyers at Jackson Walker LLP have reduced the details to a one-page interactive graphic to help businesses, individuals and their accountants sort out the new law’s complexities.

Dallas tax lawyer William “Willie” Hornberger and a team of attorneys studied an array of situations and options to provide guidance on the kinds of adjustments companies and certain individuals may want to make this year as they look ahead to 2019 under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

"What will the law mean for partners in my LLC? How should I handle depreciation of equipment? What expenses can I write off? These are some of the questions we address,” said Mr. Hornberger, who advises corporations and partnerships. “Our audience is businesses, investors, individuals in partnerships, CPAs and lawyers.”

The one-page interactive graphic is linked to a 233-page PowerPoint presentation for the webcast “2018 Tax Reform: What You Need to Know Now.” Presented by Mr. Hornberger and Jason B. Freeman of Freeman Law, it can be viewed here:

“This law has many complexities, and we will be taking deeper and deeper dives into it to advise our clients,” Mr. Hornberger said. “It will save many of our clients money, but it isn’t always simple to figure out.”

For more information, contact Kit Frieden at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:15:00 am

(Photo Credit: Christina Goodvoice, KOTV/ via AP)

Monday’s blowout near Quinton, Oklahoma, that killed five workers is the deadliest oil and gas incident since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. As this incident moves from the recovery of the victims to the cleanup and investigation stage, the largely self-regulated energy industry must use this tragedy as a signal to self-reflect and take stock of their safety procedures.

“When it comes to rig blowouts, somebody made a mistake,” says trial lawyer Frank Branson of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, who has handled numerous oilfield tragedies, including involvement in a 2015 onshore rig explosion where three men died in a well blowout near Midland, Texas.

“Every driller and operator knows that well control must be maintained at all times. That’s rule number one on these rigs. A failure to control the well is inexcusable and absolutely preventable. With so much at stake, companies like Patterson-UTI and Red Mountain Energy must make worker safety – not shareholder profits – the overriding priority.

“Patterson-UTI, one of the largest onshore rig operators in the U.S., has been called out for its safety shortcomings by name in Congressional reports and has been fined by OSHA following earlier oil and gas well fatalities. As the families of those killed search for answers, it’s clear that relatively toothless regulations are not enough to ensure the safety of hardworking oilfield workers. In cases like these, American jurors will be called upon to determine who was at fault and return a verdict that will make sure these companies put worker safety first.”

For more information, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:56:00 am

New York City recently filed a lawsuit against five of the largest oil and gas companies for their alleged contributions to climate change. BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell are named in the suit.

The companies are accused of knowing their fossil fuel products caused global warming issues and chose to ignore their own research. The complaint suggests the companies should consider paying for city property damaged by inundation, erosion and regular tidal flooding – factors attributed to climate change.

Houston energy attorney John Zavitsanos and founding partner in Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, told Hart Energy in a January 23 article that while this lawsuit may not survive summary judgment, attorneys should be ready to fight in court.

“This is the kind of thing that has to get shut down quickly because if it doesn’t, then you’re talking potentially, literally every municipality in the country joining in,” Mr. Zavitsanos told Hart Energy. “The one thing we know about most governmental entities is they’re always underfunded. They’re always looking for a way to increase their tax revenue without raising taxes.

"It’s really easy to pick on the majors because they’re monolithic, they’re big and when crude prices are high then they make record amounts of profits so they’re very easy targets.

“They need to take it seriously and they need to come back at this full-throttle,” he said. “This is not the kind of thing that they could settle, not the kind of thing that they could make go away quietly because it never does go away quietly. No settlement is confidential – even the president is finding that out now. I think that my advice to them would be: Put your foot on the gas and go, and come back very hard.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or


by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:05:00 am

For 10 years, trial attorney Mark Werbner of Sayles Werbner made it his mission to hold Arab Bank responsible for providing financial support to groups designated by the United States as Foreign Terrorist Organizations, resulting in a landmark victory for nearly 300 American victims of terrorism and their families.

Mr. Werbner will discuss his role in Linde, et al. v. Arab Bank PLC in a presentation titled, “Fighting Terror-Financing in the Courtroom,” on Jan. 11 during the State Bar of Texas Litigation Update Institute’s 34th annual course.

In 2014, a jury in New York sided with Mr. Werbner, finding Jordan-based Arab Bank responsible for providing financial services to Hamas for 24 terror attacks during the “Second Intifada” in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The verdict was the culmination of a lawsuit filed in 2004. The case marked the first liability verdict against a foreign bank for violating the federal Anti-Terrorism Act.

“So many families had lost loved ones and felt powerless to seek any kind of justice,” said Mr. Werbner. “There was so much violence that was occurring. And, I really felt this case was something that would make a difference, and it met my expectations in that regard.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently reviewing Jesner  v. Arab Bank, a related case that could clarify if corporations can be sued for international law violations under the Alien Tort Statute of 1789 (ATS).

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

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

High-profile sexual harassment scandals involving the entertainment, politics and media fields are spurring businesses everywhere to take a closer look at their policies and training programs. In many cases, employers are finding that generic policies with cut-and-paste legal text and one-size-fits-all instructional videos are simply not doing enough to connect with employees and address key issues. With careers at stake – not to mention the reputations of entire companies – employers are re-examining workplace culture, training, complaint procedures and everything in between, says employment attorney Audrey Mross of Dallas’ Munck Wilson Mandala. For example, businesses are finding that live training provides a more interactive experience that resonates with workers. “Previously, many employers thought showing an off-the-shelf training video would be sufficient, but the interactivity of live training does a better job of ensuring that key concepts are fully understood.”

In addition, training is moving beyond a focus purely on harassment to address problems including rudeness, poor judgment and disrespect toward co-workers. States are moving in a similar direction with a recent amendment to California law requiring harassment training to include bullying. “I am a big fan of moving beyond a recitation of the applicable law to delving into actual examples to help workers begin to understand where the line is between acceptable and unacceptable behavior,” says Ms. Mross, who frequently makes presentations to businesses on workplace policies and employment law. “I’ve found that this is what triggers an ‘aha’ moment for many, and often individuals will speak up and share their own experiences with their peers in the training session. When attendees are hearing the message from both the trainer and their fellow workers, it really starts to resonate.”

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