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Androvett Blog

The Androvett Blog

by Androvett Legal Media at 11:15:00 am

Mingo v. Xarelto Motion for New Trial

 

The consumer case against the blood thinner Xarelto has taken an interesting twist.

Lawyers for lawsuit plaintiff Dora Mingo want a retrial because the Mississippi jurors who handed up an August verdict against her weren’t aware of a key piece of evidence. Her lawyers contend it may have changed the outcome of the case.

At issue is a new study conducted and funded by Bayer Healthcare, which, along with Johnson & Johnson, makes Xarelto.

The scientific findings, contained in a medical research article published near the close of the Mingo trial, revealed that a lab test called prothrombin time, or PT, “may be used to assess anticoagulant activity,” such as excessive bleeding, in patients taking Xarelto.

Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in Jackson, MS (Photo: Androvett Legal Media)

The Bayer research contradicts a crucial element of the defense’s case, because throughout the Mingo trial, lawyers for the drugmakers told jurors that such a test was meaningless. 

“These jurors were told no measuring or monitoring of any kind was required, or even possible. That is simply not true,” said Andy Birchfield of the Beasley Allen law firm and co-lead attorney for Mrs. Mingo. “The study by the Bayer scientists is just the latest example that they knew otherwise.”

Mr. Birchfield recently filed a motion for a new trial based on the Bayer research and its apparent contradiction with the defendants’ trial testimony. 

The case is In re: Xarelto (rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:14-md-02592 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

To speak with Andy Birchfield about the Xarelto litigation, contact Jason Sickles at 214-559-4630 or Jason@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:11:00 pm

The Winn-Dixie grocery chain is the latest and perhaps highest-profile business to face penalties for websites that are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but it’s not likely to be the last.

A federal judge in Florida found that the grocery chain’s website was inaccessible to visually-impaired individuals and thus violated the ADA because features such as the website’s online coupons and pharmacy could not be accessed using a screen reader. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on all issues and awarded injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees.

The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public places, like stores and movie theaters. Increasingly, a battle has been brewing over whether or not websites for such “places of accommodation” must also be accessible.

“In Winn-Dixie’s case, the Court agreed that because its website was closely integrated with its stores, the web content must be accessible to the hearing and visually impaired,” said employment attorney Audrey Mross of Dallas-based Munck Wilson Mandala. “If consumer-facing businesses were not aware of ADA website compliance, this case should be an eye-opener. 

To speak with Audrey Mross about ADA website compliance trends, contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4630 or Robert@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media at 10:00:00 am

Hurricane Harvey (NOAA)

“Hurricane Harvey didn’t cherry pick its victims, and FEMA shouldn’t cherry pick who it helps,” Washington, D.C. attorney Diana Verm told the Houston Chronicle this week.

Verm, who specializes in religious liberty cases, is representing three small Texas churches who recently sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency, alleging the government’s disaster relief policy violates the Constitution by denying faith groups the right to apply for funds.

Texas nonprofits that sustained damage by the Category 4 hurricane have 30 days to apply for emergency cleanup grants. The Houston-area churches maintain they should be eligible since they have and continue to support victims of the devastating storm.

David Coale, a Dallas appellate attorney who specializes in constitutional cases, says the complaint by the Rockport First Assembly of God in Aransas County, Harvest Family Church in Harris County and Hi-Way Tabernacle in Liberty County goes a step farther than previous similar cases by moving beyond exterior structures and building repairs into providing personal services. 

“On its face it’s a reasonable request — it’s a disaster and they need all the help they can get,” Mr. Coale, a partner with Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst, told the newspaper.  “On the other hand, we are talking about giving people money to offer a place to sleep. There is stuff up in the church about religion and there will be people in the church providing a little bit of ministry.”

The Texas case comes three months after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibited government discrimination against a Missouri church that had applied for funding for playground equipment.

For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:15:00 pm

Image via Timothy J. McIntosh

The dramatic photo of residents of an assisted living facility in Dickinson, Texas, sitting in waist-deep water while waiting to be evacuated is one of the most widely shared photos of Hurricane Harvey’s aftermath. While many were quick to pass judgment on the facility owner, health care attorney Bill Hopkins of the Austin office of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, says she should be commended for her actions.

“Similar to what we saw with Hurricane Katrina, there is not a lot that an assisted living facility can do in these circumstances. With elderly residents who are fragile and frequently equipment-dependent, you cannot simply load them in cars or vans and move them somewhere easily,” says Mr. Hopkins. “In fact, studies have shown that sometimes attempting to relocate these residents in an emergency situation can result in stress-related incidents such as heart attacks and strokes.

“Reports indicate that the owner tried her best to get help and support, but was told that help was not readily available. Luckily for these residents, she did not take no for an answer and thought outside the box to get her people to safety. Rather than second-guessing her decision, she should be applauded for doing what was necessary to get her people safe.”

For more information, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:17:00 am

Potentially significant policy changes are on the horizon regarding federal rules that determine how and whether workers are entitled to overtime pay. Businesses hoping to avoid overtime obligations for hourly workers must jump through three hoops in most cases. One of those hoops is to pay at least the minimum salary set by the U.S. Department of Labor.  

Last year, the Labor Department under the Obama administration more than doubled the minimum salary threshold that is exempt from overtime, raising it from $23,600 to $47,476. But the salary increase proposal was stiff-armed by a Texas federal judge’s injunction before the change could take effect. While not endorsing the Obama-era regulations, newly appointed Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta mused in recent congressional testimony that the current salary threshold is too low and should be raised to “somewhere around $33,000.”

“The DOL is now seeking comment on how the overtime exemptions should be determined, as well as issues including whether salary levels should be allowed flexibility based on various factors, such as size of employer or region of employment,” says employment attorney Audrey Mross of Dallas-based Munck Wilson Mandala.

“There’s a lot on the line for employers who could be affected by these changes,” she said. “More than anything, employers are seeking consistency in order to plan for the future. This information-gathering phase provides parties a chance to be heard. If the salary threshold for exemption does increase, employers will be making hard decisions about whether to raise affected worker pay to maintain overtime exemptions or closely monitor worker hours, or otherwise be prepared to start paying overtime.”

To speak with Audrey Mross about the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations, contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4630 or Robert@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:17:00 am

The second collision at sea in three months involving a commercial tanker and a U.S. naval destroyer raises serious questions about the training and communication protocols used by the Pacific fleet. Charles Herd, a litigator with significant experience in maritime cases at Houston’s Lanier Law Firm, says that prudent seamanship calls for merchant and military ships to talk to each other and to stay clear of each other.

“Navy ships have a much higher number of officers and crew than are on modern commercial ships. Given the impact in the port quarter of the USS John S. McCain and the previous damage to the superstructure of the USS Fitzgerald, it appears that both vessels were struck from the bow of the commercial ships. This makes it likely that either the Navy ships crossed in front of the commercial ships or the commercial ships did not slow down or steer away,” says Mr. Herd.

The Navy’s preliminary analysis already places some fault on the officers of the Fitzgerald, and Mr. Herd notes that if further evidence shows that both collisions occurred in busy waters, with numerous vessels in the vicinity, all the vessels involved likely bear some responsibility for failing to keep a sharp lookout and maneuver to avoid a collision.

“I expect there will be shared fault once all the investigations are completed, he says.

For more information or to set up an interview with Mr. Herd, contact J.D. Cargill at 713-659-5200 or jdc@lanierlawfirm.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:03:00 pm

The iconic jewelry store Tiffany & Co. is a model for trademark enforcement, aggressively and successfully policing its brand in the courts. Last year, Tiffany filed a lawsuit against Costco Wholesale Corp., claiming that the warehouse giant sold more than $6 million of ersatz Tiffany engagement rings and improperly used the jeweler’s name on at least 200,000 in-store signs. This week Tiffany prevailed by winning a $19.4 million judgment in federal court.

Dallas lawyer Chris Schwegmann, a partner at Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst who tries intellectual property cases, has been following the Tiffany v. Costco dispute.

“This type of litigation not only discourages counterfeiters, but also ensures that Tiffany’s luxury brand doesn’t get diluted over time. I find it interesting that Costco argued that ‘Tiffany’ represents a generic term used to describe a ring setting, and not just a brand name. That’s a tough case to make against a company that aggressively defends its brand.

“Based on the sizable judgment, it is unlikely that other companies in the industry will try to make the same arguments against Tiffany & Co. That’s the benefit of aggressive trademark enforcement.”

For more information on the case or to set up an interview with Mr. Schwegmann, contact Holly Scimeca at 800-559-4534 or holly@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:30:00 pm

Houston commercial real estate is still suffering from the collapse of oil prices and loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The latest estimates are that more than a fifth of Houston office space sits empty as landlords struggle to find new tenants and existing tenants struggle to sublease unused space. Commercial real estate firm NAI Partners calculates that more than 2 million square feet in office space is expected to be returned to property owners in the next two years.

Houston commercial real estate lawyers Douglas Yeager and Jeffrey M. Smith of Winston & Strawn LLP have witnessed several real estate cycles in their careers. Their experience includes handling the purchase and sale of non-performing loans, as well as advising tenants, owners and developers.

“Without sufficient tenants in these buildings paying rent, the owners may not be able to service their debt. In a couple of years, once this sublease space comes back onto the market, there could be a number of workout agreements and foreclosures of office buildings,” said Mr. Yeager. “This is something we have not seen for a few years.”

Mr. Smith notes that “lenders will be keeping a close eye on properties as deadlines to extend leases approach. Will the owners be able to service debt if occupancy rates fall as tenants decide not to extend leases, or if they continue operations in less space? Owners that are unable to backfill space will be anxious to see whether lenders will work with them or whether they will try to unload non-performing loans. We would expect to see an uptick in not only workouts and foreclosures, but also opportunistic investors seeking to purchase non-performing loans.

“Tenants may be in a better position to negotiate moving forward, particularly in certain submarkets where vacancy rates are higher,” Mr. Smith said. ”On the flip side, tenants will need to get assurances from lenders that they have approved lease terms and, in a worst case scenario, that the lender will allow the tenant to continue occupying the space if the lender forecloses on property.”

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:50:00 pm

Wedding Cake

 

Do words matter? A Dallas County jury recently ruled — to the tune of $1 million — that they do.

In March 2015, Dallas wedding photographer Andrea Polito filed a defamation lawsuit against former clients Neely and Andrew Moldovan.

Ms. Polito, who photographed the couple’s wedding in 2014, alleged they launched a large-scale social media campaign against her over what they claimed were unreasonable fees associated with the delivery of their wedding photos.

In a TV interview, the couple charged that Ms. Polito was “holding their pictures hostage.”

According to the suit, the newlyweds posted to social media and blogs that Ms. Polito “cheated” and “scammed” people, and that they were “pretty sure [Ms. Polito’s] business was done.” 

As their online onslaught went viral, Ms. Polito said the allegations ruined the business she spent 13 years building.

“People knew me and my reputation,” she told the Dallas Morning News. “All the name-calling, all the bullying ... I was humiliated.”

In court, Ms. Polito’s attorney, Dave Wishnew of Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP, argued the Moldovans should be held liable for defamation, disparagement and civil conspiracy.

The jury agreed, awarding Ms. Polito $1.08 million in actual and punitive damages.

“We hope that this sends a message that freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences,” Mr. Wishnew said. “The right to air legitimate grievances and opinions doesn’t extend to a concerted campaign designed to defame and destroy someone’s hard-earned business.”

For an interview or more information, contact Barry Pound at 800 559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:25:00 am

The West Texas oil boom has sprouted new businesses that want to pump something other than oil – water.  At least four new companies are hoping to pump water from aquifers that can be sold for use in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

That worries some residents in the region, where water is a precious resource. Some are talking about lawsuits. Austin environmental lawyer Leonard Dougal of Jackson Walker LLP is a former petroleum engineer who represents landowners and developers of water projects in West Texas. He says Texas property law is well established that the landowner owns the water below, just like the oil.

“But Texas has a fragmented system of regulating groundwater, with about 100 groundwater conservation districts that regulate drilling and production of groundwater in their local region. The districts’ goals are generally to protect the aquifers and to attempt to impose some fair rights to usage, such as restrictions on well spacing and pumping. A well-known example is the Edwards Aquifer Authority, which regulates wells that produce high-quality water across Central and South Texas.

“The district boards are generally composed of landowners, so there is often a common interest in approving usage that benefits the local area. Oil and gas development brings jobs, for example. But if a company wants to develop a well field, then pump and transport water outside the district, that type of proposal will get much more scrutiny.

“If an application meets the district’s rules, then it should be approved by the board. Of course, some residents might disagree. They could sue the conservation district on the grounds that board members failed to meet their duty to protect the groundwater aquifer. But the plaintiffs might run into questions of their standing to sue, difficulty in proving the board failed to follow the law, or even governmental immunity.

“Water rights have been the source of many court challenges. In Southern California, part of an aquifer lies beneath federal lands occupied by a Native American tribe seeking a say in how that water is used by the public utilities controlling it. The U.S. Supreme Court may take up that issue this fall.” 

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:57:00 am

Is it OK to mix guns and alcohol? A Texas Court of Appeals seems to be saying, “It depends.”

 

The court ruled that when people are drinking, but not obviously intoxicated, it can’t be assumed that a serious injury will happen just because there’s a gun around. The ruling came in a case in which a woman sued a Houston area homeowner after she was accidentally shot in the ankle at a barbecue where people were drinking. Hours before she was wounded, the plaintiff and other guests shot soda cans with a pistol. The plaintiff testified that she did not feel unsafe.

 

The 14th Court of Appeals in Houston concluded that the homeowner couldn’t be sued for premises liability and gross negligence just because there was a gun where beer and wine were served. The ruling isn’t surprising, said Ross Asher of Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC, which has offices across Texas. The Houston-based trial lawyer is experienced in insurance and premises liability matters.

Is it OK to mix guns and alcohol? A Texas Court of Appeals seems to be saying, "It depends."

The court ruled that when people are drinking, but not obviously intoxicated, it can't be assumed that a serious injury will happen just because there's a gun around. The ruling came in a case in which a woman sued a Houston area homeowner after she was accidentally shot in the ankle at a barbecue where people were drinking. Hours before she was wounded, the plaintiff and other guests shot soda cans with a pistol. The plaintiff testified that she did not feel safe.

The 14th Court of Appeals in Houston concluded that the homeowner couldn't be sued for premises liability and gross negligence just because there was a gun where beer and wine were served. The ruling isn't surprising, said Ross Asher of Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC, which has offices across Texas. The Houston-based trial lawyer is experienced in insurance and premises liability matters.

The court ruled that when people are drinking, but not obviously intoxicated, it can’t be assumed that a serious injury will happen just because there’s a gun around. The ruling came in a case in which a woman sued a Houston area homeowner after she was accidentally shot in the ankle at a barbecue where people were drinking. Hours before she was wounded, the plaintiff and other guests shot soda cans with a pistol. The plaintiff testified that she did not feel unsafe.

 

The 14th Court of Appeals in Houston concluded that the homeowner couldn’t be sued for premises liability and gross negligence just because there was a gun where beer and wine were served. The ruling isn’t surprising, said Ross Asher of Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC, which has offices across Texas. The Houston-based trial lawyer is experienced in insurance and premises liability matters.

“The most basic aspect of negligence law is foreseeability, and whether a reasonable person in similar circumstances should have foreseen that such an injury would occur. Texas law recognizes the important distinction between merely drinking alcohol and drinking to the point of impaired judgment.

“For example, the law criminalizes driving while intoxicated, but not simply driving after drinking. Thus, the amount of alcohol consumed and the effect of the alcohol on a person are the deciding factors – not the mere fact that some alcohol was imbibed. In this case, there was apparently no evidence that anyone near the firearm showed any signs of excessive drinking and impaired judgment. Therefore, such an incident could not be reasonably foreseen by the homeowner.”

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:10:00 pm

 

The owners of Rowdy Girl farm, a self-described farm animal sanctuary run by vegans in Angleton, Texas, were ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in fines and legal bills for filing a meritless lawsuit over a Facebook post that criticized their aggressive fundraising. The owners had sought $1 million for defamation, but their case was dismissed by a Houston court on July 26.

“This case should be a warning to thin-skinned people who think that suing their critics is a good way to shut down free speech,” said Houston lawyer Adam Milasincic of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, whose client was sued by the couple. “All my client did was raise legitimate questions in a Facebook post. We need to be on guard now more than ever for bullies using our court system as a hammer to whack First Amendment rights.”

The suit was filed by Renee King-Sonnen, a country singer who bills herself as the “Queen of Honky Tonk,” and her husband Tommy Sonnen. Until 2014, Tommy Sonnen raised cattle for slaughter. After his wife became a vegan, the couple converted the ranch into a no-kill farm.

But the farm became controversial when Ms. King-Sonnen raised $30,000 from online donors to buy her husband’s cattle to establish the nonprofit. The fundraising practices came under fire, especially after 2015 tax returns revealed that only 9 percent of the nearly $100,000 raised that year was spent on livestock supplies and veterinary care. In addition, cows, birds and a pot-bellied pig have died under suspicious circumstances. Photos show some cows looking emaciated.

Mr. Milasincic’s client, Dr. Sujatha Ramakrishna, a child psychiatrist in Dallas and animal rights advocate who once donated to the farm, merely posted her concerns on a Facebook page called The Real Rowdy Girl Revealed. Her post led to her being sued.

This is the most recent case Mr. Milasincic has won under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, a law that aims to shut down lawsuits targeting First Amendment rights. Using the same law, Milasincic has previously won six-figure fines against Schlumberger Ltd. and Landry’s, Inc.

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 10:56:00 am

Two brothers exploring their favorite park in Fort Worth, Texas, were killed in March when they came into contact with a live power line downed by a storm the night before. This week, their family filed a wrongful death suit in Dallas County against electric utility Oncor for its negligence in failing to cut power to the line or issue warnings to people in the area.

Killed were 12-year-old Alex Lopez and his 11-year-old brother Isaiah, who instinctively raced to help Alex after he was stricken by the electric shock. Both boys died from injuries resulting from high-voltage electricity. Dallas lawyer Jeffrey Rasansky of Rasansky Law Firm, represents Alex and Isaiah’s mother, Tammy Brooks.

“Oakland Lake Park was a place Alex and Isaiah loved and felt safe to explore. It was never a place to fear,” Mr. Rasansky said. “But due to Oncor’s negligence and delay in cutting power to this live line, the park became the scene of horror, ending these young boys’ lives.”

According to the lawsuit, Oncor uses interactive smart technology that provides real-time notification of disruptions. Yet the company failed to address line problems in the park until after the tragedy. Even then, it took Oncor workers an hour to arrive on the scene to cut power so that emergency personnel could reach the Lopez brothers.

The lawsuit is Alejandro Luis Lopez, Tammy Brooks, and Ana Lopez as Personal Representative of the Estates of Jose Alexandro Luis Lopez and Isaiah Alexander Luis Lopez v. Oncor Electric Delivery Company, LLC, in Dallas County.

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 12:30:00 pm

It was a mistake and a bad one. In responding to a subpoena for information, a lawyer for Wells Fargo inadvertently sent the opposing attorney in a lawsuit a disc filled with confidential information, including Social Security numbers, for 50,000 of the bank’s wealthiest clients. This embarrassing and damaging error came to light in a New York Times article.

Telling the media is not the appropriate way to handle such a transgression, says Houston trial lawyer John Zavitsanos of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. or AZA, who has tried more than 75 cases to verdict. Normally, the recipient of the material would return it to the sender, understanding that mistakes like this happen sometimes, he said.

Instead, this may boomerang on the people who publicized the breach, and they may get in trouble for it. Most judges are human beings and understand mistakes – and they don’t like gotchas.

Also, many states have snapback procedures whereby if you inadvertently turn over privileged information, you can retrieve it and say it was inadvertently produced. Until that privilege is determined, the receiving party can’t hold onto it. There are a slew of states that have provisions like that. And even if this involved a state without a snapback rule, the other side can file a motion to protect their confidential information.

“Of course, if Wells Fargo is unsuccessful in retrieving the information, its law firm may be subject to claims and penalties. Usually you come up with a set of protocols to prevent this from happening. However, every lawyer with an active litigation practice has produced something in error at some point. You call the other side and ask them to return it. We’ve all been there.”

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 5:05:00 pm

Dallas Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott is accused of punching a man at a popular Dallas bar Sunday night. Police have not arrested anyone tied to the bar brawl, but sources claim Elliott hit the man. This latest incident comes as the NFL is reviewing a domestic violence allegation against the running back that happened a year ago and could suspend him in the upcoming season. Dallas attorney Rogge Dunn of Clouse Dunn says Sunday’s altercation doesn’t help Elliott’s case.

“The NFL can take action against players whose behavior doesn’t meet NFL conduct standards on and off the field. The NFL has strengthened its stance on matters relating to violence against women and domestic violence. Any behavior related to domestic violence places the player at risk. In addition, there may be good conduct provisions in the player’s contract that could lead to economic penalties. On top of that, this type of behavior affects a player’s reputation and reduces the chances of future endorsements.”

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 2:00:00 pm

Munck Wilson Mandala has solidified its place among the elite intellectual property firms in North Texas with the arrival of seven experienced lawyers from IP boutique Howison & Arnott LLP. Monday’s announcement sent ripples through the North Texas IP bar, where the two firms are already known for their sophisticated and client-centered IP work.

Writes Texas Lawbook: They are joining forces to create the third largest patent law practice and the largest patent law boutique in North Texas… With the addition of the Howison & Arnott lawyers, Munck Wilson boasts 27 registered patent attorneys, which is the third most in North Texas, behind full service corporate law firms Baker Botts (40) and Haynes and Boone (31).

The new arrivals include partners Gregory Howison, John Arnott, and Brian Walker, as well as senior counsels  Andrew Graham, Edward Jorgenson, and Steven Greenfield, and associate Keith Harden. More details on all seven attorneys here: https://www.munckwilson.com/newipattorneys/ 

“We have a strong vision about the future of patent law and the addition of Greg and his team positions our law firm as a powerhouse in IP law,” Munck Wilson Mandala Managing Partner William A. Munck told Texas Lawbook. “We will put our resources and expertise up against any law firm in Dallas.”

Howison agreed: “During the past few years, the IP law market in Dallas has changed significantly – the dynamics have changed – and this move makes the firm uniquely positioned to take advantage of those changes,” he said.

For more information, contact Shannon Tipton at 972-628-4500 or stipton@munckwilson.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 12:25:00 pm

President Trump’s pick to replace fired FBI Director James Comey goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. While committee members are preparing a full day of tough questioning to reveal Christopher Wray’s character and positions on law enforcement, former high level Justice Department lawyer Bill Mateja says his former colleague is ideally suited to weather the turbulent and politically charged approval process.

“Chris Wray’s appointment should sail through with flying colors,” said Mr. Mateja, now a shareholder in Dallas-based Polsinelli P.C. and former Senior Counsel to U.S. Deputy Attorneys General Larry Thompson and James Comey in Washington, D.C., where he also served as point person for the President's Corporate Fraud Task Force. “He’s a superb and qualified candidate to run the FBI. He has a great moral compass and he’s no one’s minion. He has the experience, the smarts and the gravitas.

“He’s an odd choice in a way for President Trump because he has worked with and is cut from the same cloth as Jim Comey, who Trump fired as FBI director, and special counsel Robert Mueller, who Trump has attacked. All three strive to do the right thing. The public can rest easy that Chris will not be a lackey for Trump.

“Chris is a Republican but he doesn’t wear his politics on his sleeve. He keeps things close to his vest. He isn’t as colorful as Jim Comey. He takes a conservative approach. It’s not his nature to comment publicly if it can be avoided.”

For more information, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or mary@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:41:00 pm

In another attempt to change the admissions process at the University of Texas at Austin, a group - led by a man who unsuccessfully sued the university previously over its admissions process - has filed a lawsuit claiming UT violates state law by using race and ethnic considerations as factors in its admissions. Edward Blum’s nonprofit organization, Students for Fair Admissions, says UT gives African-American and Hispanic candidates preference over white and Asian applicants. Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst partner Shonn Brown says this latest attempt is a step backward. 

“The University of Texas still struggles to obtain a diverse student population. It proceeds under an admissions policy that has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Blum’s group and its actions seek to return to the ‘days of old’ and if put into place would likely take UT backwards in its attempts to utilize additional across-the-board process that assists in increasing diversity in the UT student population."

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 11:18:00 am

 

The health care bill the U.S. Senate is fine-tuning could have profound effects on elderly people who rely on nursing home care, says Houston-area elder law attorney Kelley Bentley of Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC. Ms. Bentley is Board Certified in Estate Planning and Probate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

“The bill proposes large cuts to federal Medicaid support over several years with reliance on states to decide funding in the future. In Texas, nearly 70 percent of nursing home residents are enrolled in Medicaid.

“While many people may assume the program pays solely for health care for the poor, it also fills a gap for long-term care, including at-home and nursing home care for the elderly population. The cost of long-term care in the U.S. can be substantial and a serious drain on an individual’s assets. That includes middle-class retirees who sometimes have managed to save substantial assets. Some people simply outlive their savings for long-term care.

“Older people should take a hard look at their savings long before any health problems. Consider a long-term care savings plan or long-term care insurance and also talk to a lawyer about how to organize and protect assets. In Texas, long-term care Medicaid programs can provide a wide range of care, including nursing home, assisted living and at-home programs. The secret is to start to plan early, before the need arises as there are more options available for the preservation of assets. The goal is not necessarily to preserve assets for future generations, but to ensure that an individual (or married couple) has sufficient assets to cover any future long-term care needs.”

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 10:30:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously this week that the U.S. government cannot refuse to register trademark names that are potentially offensive, saying that would violate the First Amendment. The case, Matal v. Tam, involved an Asian-American musical group called The Slants. But it is a clear signal that the Washington Redskins will prevail in efforts to retain the NFL team’s name, the issue in another trademark lawsuit.

Will this ruling now unleash a host of nasty and offensive names for publicity-craving companies and organizations? Not likely, says Houston lawyer Steve Mitby of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C., or AZA, who has handled a number of intellectual property cases.

This ruling is significant, but I wouldn’t expect it to lead to a wave of new outrageous trademark filings. It’s simply not that easy to register a trademark in the first place. The normal requirements – namely, that the mark be unique, non-confusing, and used in commerce – limit the ability of individuals to trademark insulting or derogatory words. Plus, trademark filers have to register under their own names. There are no anonymous trademarks. That should discourage those who might try to push the offensiveness envelope.”

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 8:30:00 am

The NBA Draft is tonight and while fans focus on their favorite team’s selections, the newest professional players and their lawyers will have more weighty concerns to address: employment contracts.

Dallas-based attorney Rogge Dunn, partner at Clouse Dunn, works with professional athletes and coaches including Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown. Mr. Dunn says:

Athlete employment contracts are singularly unique in many ways. For example, compensation may be tied to a player’s performance metrics, such as shooting averages, games played or post-season awards, and are likely to be quite invasive on issues including the player’s weight, health issues and off-season activities. Also, unlike most employment contracts, they will likely contain morals clauses. 

However, so-called ‘guaranteed contracts’ protect most athletes in a way that most of us with employment contracts do not have, by guaranteeing their compensation even if an injury prevents them from playing. We should all be so lucky to have guarantees such as these. Most executive contracts terminate payments or force a leave of absence if you are disabled or can no longer do the job.

For more information or to set up an interview with Rogge Dunn, contact Holly Scimeca at 800-559-4534 or holly@androvett.com.

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

Two weeks before it was set to take effect, the Department of Education has stopped the implementation of a rule designed to hold for-profit colleges accountable for marketing claims about employment rates for graduates. Had the Borrower Defense to Repayment rule taken effect, for-profit colleges would have had to prove their programs led to the “gainful employment” of graduates or risk the loss of federal aid.

“There is no doubt that the student loan bubble may burst in the near future due to the crushing amount of student loan debt resulting from the skyrocketing costs of attendance combined with the limited availability of jobs upon graduation,” says Dallas bankruptcy attorney Aaron Gottlieb of Godwin Bowman & Martinez.

“However, some responsibility must still remain with the student loan borrower to carefully choose which colleges and programs to attend. If a for-profit school provides the student an education and degree for which the student paid tuition, then a ‘gainful employment’ requirement following graduation seems to be too broad a brush to wield in determining whether the for-profit school made a material misrepresentation.

“In fact, several lawsuits have been dismissed over the past five to 10 years on the basis of student borrowers’ reliance on publications such as U.S. News & World Report, which listed inaccurate employment rates of graduates. The courts have consistently considered this information mere ‘puffery,’ rather than any sort of guarantee. I fail to see the difference between touting ‘employment rates,’ and promising ‘gainful employment.’ They appear, from my perspective, to be one and the same.”

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 9:45:00 am

 

Texas lawyer Kent Sullivan, who helped build a potent state health care fraud unit as the No. 2 lawyer in the Texas Attorney General’s office, is convinced that more states will follow Mississippi and Ohio in suing to recover damages related to the opioid epidemic. Mr. Sullivan, now a partner in the Austin office of Jackson Walker LLP, says states wield “a huge hammer” over defendants through their tough anti-fraud laws.

“I expect a national trend, a significant wave of lawsuits against the companies and organizations connected with the spread of these powerful prescription drugs. States will be very tempted by the significant potential damages that may be awarded in court to try to recoup some of the costs of treatment.

“There is, of course, a way to successfully defend these cases, but at the beginning, state governments have a huge advantage under Medicaid fraud and consumer protection statutes. There is an easier burden of proof and enhanced damages available under these laws. Intent or negligence often is not required to prove liability. You have a huge hammer over these companies’ heads, and they can be at risk of losing more than actual damages. The damages are often multiplied if you’re found liable, and the states can often recover attorneys’ fees.

“As government health care has expanded, so have anti-fraud actions by states. These lawsuits are not part of the traditional private party litigation framework, where the burden of proof is higher. In many cases, the defendants consider settlement to avoid the significant risk and high cost of litigation. It is fairly unusual for these cases to go to trial but, as I often tell clients, the way to obtain the best settlement is to be totally ready for trial.”

Mr. Sullivan, a former appeals court judge, was chief deputy AG to then-Attorney General Greg Abbott and ramped up the state’s Civil Medicaid Fraud Division from four lawyers to over 40. In 2012, Texas won a $158 million settlement from Johnson & Johnson over its improper marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Risperdal to patients on Medicaid from 1994-2008. It was the largest Medicaid settlement in Texas history and is believed to be the first settlement paid at that time to any state in the nationwide litigation over Risperdal.

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 1:41:00 pm

In a new effort to compete with Amazon’s delivery system, Walmart says it plans to have store employees on their way home from work deliver online orders to customers. While it may make business sense, it also raises a host of legal questions, says Justin Markel, a Houston labor and employment lawyer with Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC.

First is determining how much to pay the employees for this extra work. The deliveries will be considered non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, so the employees will be entitled to overtime if this extra drive time puts them over 40 hours in a workweek. But how can Walmart be sure as to how long the deliveries actually take? If employees are required to electronically check in when deliveries are made, that may create an incentive to take the scenic route to the customer’s home. If, on the other hand, Walmart requires them to have GPS trackers, state law privacy concerns might arise. What about the extra gas and maintenance costs? Walmart should consider paying employees extra to ensure that these out-of-pocket expenses don’t cause them to fall below minimum wage.

“Then there are public safety issues. Walmart should look into the employees’ driving histories before asking them to make deliveries. According to news reports, Walmart will conduct background checks. That should be a comprehensive review. Criminal histories that might have been less relevant for certain non-interpersonal store jobs might be more relevant if an employee is sent to customers’ homes.

“Even with safe drivers on the road, accidents will be all but inevitable. If an employee is in an accident on the way to a customer’s house, the employee will likely be considered acting in the scope of employment. That will likely lead to vicarious liability on Walmart’s part. To protect against risk of claims from injured victims, it would be advisable for Walmart to discuss its non-owned auto insurance coverages with its insurance brokers.

“As Walmart tests this program, it will have to carefully navigate many legal issues. Time will tell whether the cost savings and efficiencies will outweigh the legal risks.”

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 9:30:00 am

A federal appellate court ruling last week resurrected a class-action lawsuit filed by a group of oilfield workers who say their employer failed to pay them the overtime they are entitled to under the law.

The Fifth Circuit opinion in Dewan v. MI LLC found that the overtime lawsuit filed by the employees of Schlumberger subsidiary M-I SWACO had been wrongly dismissed by a lower court. According to the opinion, jurors should ultimately determine whether the workers are allowed overtime pay under a series of tests spelled out in the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Overtime lawsuits have spiked in recent years, particularly in the energy sector, and the Fifth Circuit ruling in this case should cause businesses to take a close look at their payroll practices and ensure that they are in compliance with the FLSA wage-and-hour guidelines, says employment law attorney Audrey Mross of Dallas’ Munck Wilson Mandala.

“The FLSA’s administrative exemption is routinely misapplied by employers, and this case is a wake-up call to businesses that use a loose interpretation of the ‘duties test’ in order to obtain the desired outcome of exempt status,” said Ms. Mross.

“Employers may have breathed a sigh of relief when the planned December 2016 doubling of the minimum salary for most FLSA white-collar exemptions was put on hold via an injunction. And they may be assuming that agency enforcement of FLSA classification will wane as the DOL faces a 20 percent cut in its annual budget under the new Trump administration. But this case is a good reminder that individuals and groups of employees can still file lawsuits and the judiciary will hear their plea. The biggest take-away here is that these FLSA classification disputes may not be resolved via summary judgment, meaning employers leave their fate in the hands of a jury, who are often pre-disposed to favor employees in these types of cases.”

For more information, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or robert@androvett.com.

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

A new Texas “sanctuary cities" ban set to take effect Sept. 1 orders cities and counties not to stop law officers from asking about the immigration status of anyone they detain. It also would punish police chiefs, sheriffs and constables who fail to abide by the law or fail to comply with federal immigration detainer requests.

On Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas warned visitors that their constitutional rights could be violated when they’re in the state. A federal lawsuit has already been filed in San Antonio. On the other side, Attorney General Ken Paxton has also filed suit, asking a federal judge pre-emptively to uphold the constitutionality of the law.

Dallas attorney David Coale of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst, a trial and appellate lawyer, says the new law is vulnerable.

“States and cities can't be made to enforce federal law because of the 10th Amendment and federal preemption of immigration law. Period. Farmers Branch and Irving, Texas, went through similar issues several years ago with their local laws about immigration. A state law that tries to make cities enforce federal law is just as problematic. 

“Procedurally, I expect the plaintiffs in the San Antonio case to seek some kind of temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction to enjoin the law. On both sides, you have to separate the policy from the law. Both sides have points about the importance of immigration enforcement, on the one hand, and local control over local law enforcement, on the other. The legal question, though, is about the structure of our government, which is defined by the Constitution.”  

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 9:31:00 am

 

Unhappy with his boss and former friend’s close association with the Trump administration, David Magerman aired his concerns about Renaissance Technologies President Robert Mercer in a February interview with the Wall Street Journal. Although the hedge fund’s legal department had assured the research scientist that his interview would not violate company policy, Mr. Magerman was fired shortly after publication of the article, which labeled Mr. Mercer a racist.

The former partner is now fighting back with a wrongful termination lawsuit, which should serve as a cautionary tale for all companies, says Dallas labor and employment attorney Leiza Dolghih of Godwin Bowman & Martinez.

“It is important for a company to establish and enforce clear rules on media interaction, particularly in situations such as this where you have high profile leadership or there is a potential for controversy. Here you had an employee who claimed that the Chief Compliance Officer orally told him that his interview was authorized,” she says. “No matter how respected he may have been at the firm, Magerman was known to have divergent views that were likely to be explored during the course of the interview. Even in instances where an employee is allowed to talk with the media, you cannot give them blanket assurances about repercussions.”

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 11:25:00 am

Time off or overtime pay? Many employees who work extra hours have had that option for years. On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed a bill that would allow more employers to offer compensatory time off instead of overtime wages if the employee agrees. It’s unclear if the bill will make it through the Senate since many Democrats argue it could weaken worker protections.

Houston labor and employment lawyer Marlene Williams of Jackson Walker LLP says: “This bill simply amends the Fair Labor Standards Act so that private employers are allowed the same flexibility that public employers have had since 1985.

“Many companies, especially those in the energy sector with boom and bust cycles, would find this appealing to help manage labor costs. And the bill protects workers because the receipt of comp time in place of cash wages must be a voluntary choice. Given the increasing demands on family schedules, many employees these days prefer time off when offered as an alternative to cash wages for overtime hours.

“This proposal comes as we are waiting to see the outcome of a court challenge to an Obama administration rule that would expand overtime eligibility to higher-paid workers. Many companies have already adopted that rule, giving workers raises so that their salaries allow them to be exempt from overtime. It seems unlikely that larger employers would take back those salary increases now, no matter what the court rules.” 

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 10:01:00 am

Plano attorney Jason Van Dyke was all set to begin a new chapter of his legal career as an assistant district attorney in Victoria County. So he was startled to receive notice that the District Attorney’s office had rescinded its job offer with no explanation. Mr. Van Dyke speculates the reversal could be related to media coverage of a Twitter exchange he had involving a case he was working on in 2014. He has since filed suit seeking answers from Victoria County, and Dallas labor and employment attorney Leiza Dolghih of Godwin Bowman & Martinez says this is a cautionary tale for both employers and job-seekers.

“Many employers these days Google prospective hires and look them up on social media for any evidence of red flags that indicate that the applicant may be violent, unethical, unstable or simply have bad judgment. These behind-the-scenes, informal background checks often result in rejection, or even withdrawal, of a job offer,” she says.

While a Texas employer may reject a prospective candidate for a myriad of reasons, including social media activity, a prospective employee cannot be rejected on the basis of race, gender, religion, age or other protective categories – information that can often be gleaned from social media. If a candidate can show that a job rejection was based on information protected under employment law, there could be basis for a claim of discrimination.

“However, in this case, if the employer discovered what they considered unsavory comments, or possible evidence of poor judgment or lack of self-control, after offering Mr. Van Dyke a job, the withdrawal of that offer based on the newly discovered information, would be acceptable,” says Ms. Dolghih. “While everyone has the right to speak their mind freely, that speech may result in rather harsh consequences in terms of employment.”

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

by Anrovett Legal Media & Marketing at 8:01:00 am

The bitter child custody trial pitting high-profile internet radio host Alex Jones against his ex-wife has begun in an Austin courtroom. Mr. Jones’ attorneys are arguing that the angry, volatile personality evident from his Infowars website and radio show is “performance art” and doesn’t reflect his fitness as a parent.

“It’s going to be a fascinating tightrope for him to walk because the jury will have to decide who is the real Alex Jones,” says Austin-based Weisbart Springer Hayes attorney Geoff Weisbart, who is closely following the case. “He may be in a bit of a lose-lose situation because, if successful at trial, that defense could ultimately damage his credibility with his core audience. That’s obviously a risk he’s willing to take.”

Mr. Weisbart also notes the court of Judge Orlinda Naranjo is one of the few in the state that allows jurors to submit questions to the witnesses as a part of their testimony. “While the judge has made it clear that the focus is going to be on the best interests of the three children involved, it will be fascinating to see what questions the members of the jury have for Mr. Jones.”

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:54:00 pm

Trial lawyer Mark Lanier was not looking for new cases when two Idaho attorneys called him earlier this year with an appeal to what he described as his “core sense of right and wrong.” The always-busy Houston lawyer recently earned a $1 billion  product liability verdict against J&J and is gearing up for numerous other trials. But when he heard more about the case involving Antwon McDaniel, a developmentally disabled teen who was bullied and raped at a rural Idaho high school, the decision to join the legal team was an easy one.

“It’s outrageous. It’s horrible,” Mr. Lanier told the Magic Valley Times-News. “As a lawyer, if I can help in a case like this and I don’t, they ought to take away my bar card.”

The federal lawsuit, filed last year, claims that the individually named school board trustees, administrators, teachers and coaches of the Dietrich School District chose to ignore the ongoing physical and mental abuse being suffered by Antwon McDaniel, effectively depriving him of his constitutional rights. The racially motivated violence inflicted on the now 19-year-old Mr. McDaniel, who is black, included anal rape with a coat hanger by several white football teammates in 2015. Criminal cases stemming from the locker room attack have all been resolved, but the civil lawsuit seeking $10 million is ongoing, with the next hearing set for May 9. Trial dates have not yet been scheduled.

Mr. Lanier described his decision to join the lawsuit in an interview with the Times-News:

“My goal is to make sure no student in Idaho or anywhere else has this problem again,” [Mr. Lanier] said. “We need to do something to protect our children who don’t fit in, aren’t the right color, aren’t the right religion and don’t fit that model profile. There’s a chance to do something here.”

There were three main motivating factors, Mr. Lanier said. The need for the school district to be responsible; the “egregiousness of it all”; and because he “cares deeply about racial issues.”

“America is at a place where we have to find a way to be accepting of people of different race, religion, gender, or even political affiliation,” Mr. Lanier said.

 

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

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

One day after a Harris County law enforcement officer was ambushed and shot to death in a Houston suburb, the county’s former district attorney was placed under armed guard. The slain peace officer, Clint Greenwood, had told county officials a week earlier that he felt threatened by a man he had targeted in a corruption investigation while working in the DA’s office. Now officials are concerned about the safety of former DA Devon Anderson, who previously headed the Harris County public integrity unit.

Former U.S. prosecutor Philip Hilder, now a white-collar defense lawyer at Hilder & Associates, P.C., offered this perspective:

“In the context of the heavy caseloads and often dangerous people that prosecutors handle, threats to these public servants are relatively rare. But when they do occur, they are treated with the utmost seriousness. Usually, the full weight of law enforcement ensures an aggressive investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. There is no other option. Allowing prosecutors and judges to be intimidated would be the first step to the collapse of our legal system.”

For more information, contact Kit Frieden at 713-383-0090 or kit@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:50:00 pm

A Dallas County jury found there was “clearly and convincing evidence” that Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. was “grossly negligent” in exposing longtime engineer Billy Dickson to asbestos. (File photo)

A Dallas County jury found there was “clearly and convincing evidence” that Bell Helicopter Textron, Inc. was “grossly negligent” in exposing longtime engineer Billy Dickson to asbestos. (File photo)

 Twelve years after retiring from the only professional job he’d ever had, a routine medical exam revealed nodules on Billy Dickson’s lungs. The next exam confirmed the worst: mesothelioma — the deadly cancer caused by inhaling asbestos fibers.

For persons older than 25, malignant mesothelioma was listed as the underlying or contributing cause on more than 45,000 death certificates in the U.S. from 1999 to 2015, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mr. Dickson, a resident of Hurst, Texas, lost his battle Dec. 13, 2013. He was 74.

Earlier this week, a Dallas County jury found there was “clearly and convincing evidence” that Bell Helicopter Textron Inc. (TXT), Mr. Dickson’s employer for 38 years, was “grossly negligent” in exposing the longtime mechanical engineer to asbestos.

“There was not a company-based respiratory protection policy in place during the time of Billy’s exposure,” said the Dickson’s attorney Darren McDowell of Dallas-based Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett P.C. “Asbestos air concentrations were so high that Mr. Dickson often found himself surrounded in clouds of asbestos dust. “It was an ungodly amount of asbestos exposure.”

The family’s lawsuit, which was filed the year before his death, was bittersweet for Mr. Dickson.

“He was a mentor and inspiration to numerous engineers over the years,” his family wrote in his obituary. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Mr. Dickson and a colleague invented a landing gear load transducer for the aerospace company in 1987.

“For Bell to have a total lack of regard for asbestos danger was absolutely heartbreaking to him,” Mr. McDowell said.

The jury awarded Mr. Dickson’s widow and three children $1 million for their loss and $7.8 million as punishment to Bell.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jason Sickles at 214-559-4630 or jason@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:18:00 am

Bold stripe patterns and other decorative elements on cheerleading uniforms can be protected by copyright law, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a closely watched case that has implications for the fashion industry’s ongoing efforts to police counterfeit merchandise. The high court sided with Varsity Brands in a dispute with rival Star Athletica, finding that while the basic functional design of a uniform cannot be protected, Varsity’s copyrights for specific decorative patterns are valid. The opinion helps clarify a long-running debate over a manufacturer’s ability to protect products from knock-offs by copyrighting ornamental designs.

“The fashion and apparel industry is doing everything it can to combat counterfeiting, and this opinion provides the industry with another tool,” says intellectual property lawyer Amanda Greenspon of Dallas’ Munck Wilson Mandala. “Copyright enforcement will remain subjective and determined on a case-by-case basis, but this ruling will spur companies to obtain copyright protection of their work to discourage competitors with the threat of monetary damages.”

To speak with Amanda Greenspon, contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4534 or robert@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:31:00 pm

A Democrat and Republican have introduced legislation that would reform Texas grand juries and require prosecutors to share evidence that could help defendants. State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, a Democrat from Houston, and Lakeway Sen. Dawn Buckingham, a Republican, have filed similar bills in the House and Senate that they say would lead to fairer treatment of those accused of crimes.

Houston white-collar defense lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and founder of Hilder & Associates, P.C., agrees:

“The proposed grand jury reform legislation would go a long way toward protecting the rights of citizens and promoting fairness in the criminal justice system. Currently, the old saying stands that a prosecutor ‘can get a ham sandwich indicted.’

“If this legislation becomes law, grand jurors will be able to receive a more balanced presentation in which to evaluate whether to indict someone. The bills provide for the presentation of evidence favorable to the accused, something that is not currently mandated. Additionally, the defendant will be allowed to have an attorney present during questioning, again not currently allowed. This provision alone levels the playing field and turns a possible inquisition into a fairer proceeding.

“Finally, the legislation prevents prosecutors from shopping a case to a second grand jury should the initial grand jury decline to indict. This too will promote fairness by halting the practice of seeking indictment a previous grand jury finds no probable cause to indict. In sum, this is a terrific piece of legislation that would even the playing field.”

 For more information or to set up an interview, contact Mary Flood at 713 383-0090 or mary@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:52:00 am

A Dallas attorney says Texas may have to ask for permission to change election laws after a panel of federal judges ruled the maps drawn for three congressional districts violate federal statutes.

The judges found the maps used for the congressional districts covering parts of South and West Texas intentionally discriminated against minority voters by either violating the U.S. Constitution or the Voting Rights Act.

Constitutional law attorney David Coale of Lynn Pinker Cox & Hurst says the decision means that Texas may face a rare remedy referred to as a “bail-in,” which could lead to requiring prior federal approval of any changes to district lines.

“The issue here is not so much what the court said about these districts, since none of them were actually used in an election. It's whether Texas' process for drawing districts was so flawed that the federal government has to take over.”

Texas can appeal the ruling before early May, but that will mean more uncertainty and added delay to an already complicated case, adds Mr. Coale.

For more information or to interview David Coale, contact Sophia Reza 214-559-4630 or sophia@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:25:00 am

Having appeared as counsel of record in more than 800 cases in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas and having served as the chairman of the Eastern District’s Local Rules Advisory Committee for nine years, few attorneys have the same insights to the East Texas “rocket docket” as Michael Smith of Siebman, Burg, Phillips & Smith, LLP. His legal analysis is the foundation of the recently updated Eastern District of Texas Blog – considered by many as the “go-to” news source for patent litigation work originating from Marshall, Texas.

In addition to the invaluable free content that readers have come to depend upon, the blog now also offers a subscription service that allows readers to dig deeper, providing more detailed analysis of the judges, the cases and the verdicts in the Eastern District.

“I wanted to provide more substantial analysis to those in the blog’s audience that might want more than just an overview of the Eastern District,” says Mr. Smith. “It involves a personal connection to those that have invested in the content and the blog.”

For years, the Eastern District of Texas Blog has provided readers a trove of free information, unavailable elsewhere, about case filings and court rulings, as well as insights into courtroom preferences of Eastern District judges and their staff members. The blog has an estimated daily readership of close to 1,000 people.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Sophia Reza at 214-559-4630 or sophia@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 11:38:00 am

Bus crash victims Kenneth and Peggy Hoffman were retired longtime educators in Lockhart, Texas. (Courtesy: Lockhart ISD)

Bus crash victims Kenneth and Peggy Hoffman were retired longtime educators in Lockhart, Texas. (Courtesy: Lockhart ISD)

A Texas woman is suing a railroad and bus company for the death of her father who was killed when a freight train slammed into the tour bus carrying him and other senior citizens.

Kenneth Hoffman, 82, wife wife, Peggy, and two other people died in the March 7 accident in Biloxi, Mississippi. The bus was headed from a Bastrop, Texas, senior center to Boomtown Casino in Biloxi. The charter bus got stuck at a train crossing known to be hazardous for long vehicles and marked with a warning sign.

The lawsuit was filed March 10 in Dallas County State District Court on behalf of Mr. Hoffman’s daughter Kimberly Chapman of Lockhart, Texas. Defendants include Echo Tours and Charters and CSX Transportation Inc. among others. Representing Ms. Chapman is Houston lawyer Larry Wilson of Lanier Law Firm, one of the country’s premiere personal injury firms. Mr. Wilson, who specializes in transportation accidents, says:

“This tragedy should have never happened. It’s horrifying that a charter bus would ignore a warning sign and get high-centered on the tracks. CSX could have implemented policies relating to speed and procedures that greatly reduced the risk of a catastrophe like this.”

The case is Kimberly Kay Chapman v. Echo Tours and Charters, LT DBA Echo Transportation; TBL Group Inc.; Diamond Tours Inc. and CSX Transportation, Inc., Case DC-17-02924, filed in Dallas County District Court. 

For more information about the case, contact Jason Sickles at 214-559-4630 or jason@androvett.com

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

A Travis County jury has returned a verdict against Chicago Title of Texas, LLC and other real estate-related businesses, finding they defrauded a young Danish woman of all proceeds from the sale of her $1.35 million condominium at the exclusive Residences at W Austin.

The scheme involved a falsified power of attorney to execute contracts and closing documents in the sale of the condo, and a forgery in connection with a subsequent sale of a promissory note.

Mari-Louise Larsen, a Danish citizen, filed the breach of fiduciary duty and fraud claim in 2013 against her estranged husband, Andre Jones, an Austin-area resident, as well as Chicago Title and the other firms. Ms. Larsen, now 30, first met Mr. Jones in Austin’s Sixth Street entertainment district while visiting the area in 2007. After a long-distance courtship, the couple married in Denmark in 2009.

While in Denmark and waiting to move to Austin, Ms. Larsen testified she agreed to buy the luxury high-rise condo in Austin with funds from a family inheritance. However, Mr. Jones convinced her that Texas law required the names of both spouses to be on the title, despite the fact it was her separate property. Ms. Larsen and Mr. Jones later decided to divorce and sell the property. Mr. Jones then convinced Chicago Title’s contracted fee attorney, Wally Tingley, to use falsely notarized documents to close the sale without his wife’s knowledge. Mr. Jones pocketed all of the profits as the marriage deteriorated.

“This is a case of a con artist taking advantage of a wealthy young woman and actively working with others to violate the law and professional standards in the real estate industry,” said Ms. Larsen’s lawyer, Brian N. Hail of Gruber Elrod Johansen Hail Shank LLP in Dallas. “As acknowledged by Chicago Title and its fee attorney, this was one of the worst real estate transactions anyone has ever seen.” 

Mr. Hail believes the jury’s finding that Chicago Title is responsible for its fee attorney’s actions may have significant implications on future litigation involving the real estate industry. 

“The jury finding that Chicago Title is vicariously liable for its fee attorney, due to the control it exerted throughout the entire transaction, may call into question the company’s entire business model of attempting to delegate closing and escrow responsibilities in the Texas market, and perhaps nationwide.”

In addition to Chicago Title and Mr. Jones, the Austin firm of Wally Tingley & Associates, P.C., and Austin-based JTREO, Inc. were found liable in the scheme.

Mr. Hail plans to file a proposed final judgment order of more than $3.7 million in Travis County’s 419th District Court. The order will be based on a request for all proceeds from the condo sale, in addition to pre-judgment interest and costs.  Punitive damages were assessed against Mr. Jones in the amount of $2 million.

The case is Larsen v. Jones, et al., No. D-1-GN-13-004321.  Ms. Larsen is represented by Brian N. Hail, Brian E. Mason, and Gaby Gutierrez Rawlings.

For more information on the verdict, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

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

A fired Georgia-Pacific system administrator who remotely accessed the company computer system to upload malware, causing $1.1 million in damages, has been sentenced to 34 months in prison.

The case was prosecuted in Louisiana by the U.S. Attorney’s Office under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which allows for both civil and criminal charges for those accused of hacking. The law applies to former employees who log into employer's system after they had been terminated, says business and employment litigator Elisaveta “Leiza” Dolghih of the Dallas office of Godwin Bowman & Martinez.

“A disgruntled former employee who finds his way into an employer's computer system either to steal confidential information or to damage the system is subject to civil and criminal penalties,” she says. 

“Proving intent behind the unauthorized access, as well as the scope of the authorized access, is often difficult, as the employee will often deny and present seemingly plausible explanations. The key to success in CFAA cases is to have a qualified forensic team ready to go in and catch the ex-employee red-handed when suspicious activity is detected.”

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 9:17:00 am

The Texas Supreme Court just made it easier for citizens to fend off meritless lawsuits attacking them for what they said or wrote.

The ruling on Feb. 24 opened the door for fast dismissals of defamation and disparagement lawsuits far beyond the context of political speech covered under Texas Citizens Participation Act, says Houston lawyer Adam Milasincic of Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. or AZA. That law was designed to protect Texans from lawsuits filed primarily to keep them from speaking out on matters of “public concern.”

The Supreme Court case involved notes by an ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. supervisor who detailed how an employee missed a critical safety check of a fuel storage tank. The employee was fired. He sued for defamation, citing the notes made about his work. In ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. v. Coleman, the Supreme Court ruled for ExxonMobil which had argued the matter involved a “public concern” because of health, safety and environmental risks, Mr. Milasincic said.

“In the wake of the ExxonMobil decision, almost every defamation claim in Texas is subject to this procedure that can stop a case in its tracks very early. The real strength of the law comes from provisions allowing defendants to win attorneys’ fees and damages designed to deter future baseless lawsuits.

“Texas has one of the broadest statutes against so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). It was originally designed mainly to protect political speech and activists on either side of an issue. Now it will protect folks who aren’t necessarily all that political but who speak about any old thing that someone else might arguably care about.”

Mr. Milasincic has won two highly publicized anti-SLAPP rulings, one just last week against Landry’s Inc. which sued an animal welfare group over its statements about the treatment of four white tigers caged at the Landry’s-owned aquarium in Houston. That lawsuit was tossed out by a Harris County judge, and Landry’s was ordered to pay $624,000 for filing the frivolous lawsuit.

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:07:00 am

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the right to videotape the police is protected under the First Amendment. In this case, the Fort Worth police handcuffed and detained Phillip Driver in 2015 for taking video of the police station from the public sidewalk.

In Turner v. Driver the court, whose rulings cover Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, noted that gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.”

“This case declares the importance of filming police activities by acknowledging the public’s ability to hold the police accountable and not to abuse their power,” says Houston lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor, founder of Hilder & Associates P.C. and who also serves on the City of Houston Independent Police Oversight Board.

“The Court also notes the importance of the citizen’s role, in that a recording may corroborate probable cause or even exonerate the police if they are charged with wrongdoing. Bottom line, this reinforces that citizens have a constitutional right to record the police subject only to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions.”   

With this ruling, Mr. Driver will be allowed to pursue his Fourth Amendment claim against the police because his right against unlawful arrest was clearly defined at the time. Though this decision makes a First Amendment claim available going forward, the appellate court said Mr. Driver won’t get a trial on that right. The court said at the time of the 2015 arrest, the First Amendment right to video the police had not yet been legally established.

For more information contact Mary Flood at mary@androvett.com or 800-559-4534.

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

Dramatic video showing Harrison Ford’s near miss of a passenger airliner as he landed his private plane on a taxiway at California’s John Wayne Airport earlier this month has renewed safety concerns over the incident. However, Dallas aviation attorney Greg Reigel of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP, said he expects the Federal Aviation Administration investigation is likely to find the scare was an honest mistake rather than a more serious safety concern.

“If the investigation shows that Mr. Ford’s actions were inadvertent, then it is likely that the FAA will handle the incident as a ‘compliance action’ which addresses incidents that occur because of flawed procedures, simple mistakes, lack of understanding, or diminished skills,” says Mr. Reigel. “If the FAA determines that was the cause of the incident, then the FAA will resolve the situation through counseling or remedial training, rather than legal enforcement action.

“However, if the investigation reveals that the incident resulted from a lack of competence or qualification, then the FAA could require Mr. Ford to submit to re-examination or remedial training, or it could suspend or revoke his airman certificate. But based on the initial limited information available, it does not appear that his competence or qualifications were factors in the incident.”

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 11:00:00 am

Republican control in the White House, House and Senate may give new life to trucking industry proponents and their agendas. Lawmakers are expected to establish a new standard under the Trump presidency, which will cover hours on the road, increased weight limits and length of double trailer combinations.

Listen to Dallas attorney Peyton Inge of Chamblee Ryan Kershaw & Anderson, who represents trucking companies, comment on the impact of the restrictions.

In our December blog, we noted Republican lawmakers in Congress effectively suspended the Obama administration’s tight restrictions on work hours and rest breaks for the nation’s interstate truckers.

Inge says some restrictions needed to be loosened:

The industry has found that the restrictions during the past few years actually increased the risk of accidents by forcing more trucks onto the road during rush-hour periods, leading to increased congestion and road safety risks. We’ve also seen that increased regulations have disproportionately affected smaller trucking companies, and that rolling back regulations historically can allow these companies to expand while reducing costs to the consumer.  This change should also allow individual drivers and their employers greater flexibility in setting off-duty time, rest periods and overall business operations.”

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

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:27:00 pm

My Other Bag sells inexpensive canvas tote bags that are obvious parodies of pricey designer bags. Luxury handbag maker Louis Vuitton doesn’t get the joke. The company filed a trademark infringement suit in New York that was tossed out because the judge said it was clear the canvas bag wasn’t a typical knockoff copy. Earlier this week, an appeals court judge said he wouldn’t reconsider that decision.

Chris Schwegmann, an intellectual property partner at Dallas-based Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst, agrees Louis Vuitton missed the joke:

“This case is very different from most counterfeit litigation. Just by looking at them, the products sold by My Other Bag are clearly not Louis Vuitton bags. That is part of the joke.

“This is lawsuit is a cautionary tale that trademark holders need to pick and choose their targets carefully. Sometimes by suing, you bring more attention to the alleged infringer, and in this case, it seems that Louis Vuitton is the butt of the joke. There are several examples of trademark holders sending silly cease and desist letters, only to have the action backfire on them in a very public way.”

For more information contact Holly Scimeca at holly@androvett.com or 800-559-4534.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:17:00 am

A bill in the Texas House seeks to end regulations that require nurse practitioners to contract with doctors in order to treat and write prescriptions. The proposal, HB1415, would finally give nurse practitioners (NPs) in Texas the freedom and flexibility they have been seeking for decades. It also would cut costs for both patients and providers, according to attorney Bill Hopkins of the Austin office of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP.

“From the start, there has been a fundamental tension between their role and the role of the physician in the health care setting,” says Mr. Hopkins, who advises both individual and institutional health care providers on matters involving administrative law, regulatory defense and litigation. “No one has ever questioned that the physician is at the top of the pyramid. But over the years there has been some question as to whether there was some room at the top for the nurse practitioner who can drastically improve access to care.”

Currently NPs must complete four years of nursing school and two years in a graduate-level training program. Although they are regulated by both the Texas Board of Nursing and the Texas Medical Board, the belief is that they still need a doctor to supervise – even if the physician is not physically present and does not even see the patient, says Mr. Hopkins. Similar regulations have been rolled back in other states, with no evidence of increased safety issues. In fact, he says, in some studies, nurse practitioner safety has ranked as high or higher than doctor care.

“For many years, NPs have argued that their knowledge, ability and training were more than sufficient to allow them to practice independently, care for patients and ensure safety,” he says. “The justification for charging NPs for this ‘supervision’ traditionally has been that it is a necessary cost to ensure patient safety. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, there are more people with insurance than ever before and access has become a primary concern. With the safety argument becoming less relevant and calls for better access getting louder, it looks like this may be the time for NPs to finally get the independence that they have sought.”

For more information, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:38:00 am

The executive orders from the Trump administration have inspired a remarkable sea change in the way some folks view lawyers. Accustomed to being the butt of jokes about sharks, liars, jellyfish etc., lawyers are garnering praise as they defend immigrants, fight sanctuary city bans, sue over the emoluments clause and work against the border wall. Attorneys are giving the profession a good name in some mainstream and liberal circles.

There’s a meme going around Facebook that says, “Hug a lawyer today. They are now first responders.” The legal press has noted that at Dulles Airport recently a crowd chanted, “Thank you lawyers! Thank you lawyers!” And a national left wing magazine editorial wrote: “If you want to be a rock star in Trump’s America, go to law school.” Of course it’s not the supporters of the new president who likely feel this way. NBC News has counted 50 lawsuits filed against the new administration in just the first two weeks since the inauguration. And some lawyers will make lots of money in litigation over these and other new policies as the Trump White House reverses course on multiple regulations.

“These are trying times and it’s fascinating to see one of the side effects of Trump’s policies is lawyers gaining public respect and praise. They say you never like lawyers until you need one. This is likely happening because a lot of us need one right now,” says Houston lawyer Philip Hilder, a former federal prosecutor and founder of Hilder & Associates P.C.

“I expect there to be an enormous amount of litigation to be filed in coming weeks and months as the administration unravels protections for the environment, consumers, immigration and more. Policy changes alone are not driving the awakening of legal action, but the general perception that civil liberties and rights are being jeopardized,” Mr. Hilder said.

Lawyers all know about Shakespeare’s praise for the profession in Henry VI when he had a power-hungry character say, “The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers” to disrupt law and order. But attorneys are more used to average folks joking about getting rid of lawyers than agreeing with Shakespeare.

For more information contact Mary Flood at mary@androvett.com or 800-559-4534.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:48:00 am

A Dallas attorney who represents former Baylor University Title IX coordinator Patty Crawford and three other former Baylor employees against the university is taking issue with the school’s new legal strategy. On Thursday, three Baylor regents filed a 54-page response in defense of a libel lawsuit filed by former Baylor athletic department administrator Colin Shillinglaw. In the filing the regents detail accusations against the plaintiff and include damaging texts between former football coach Art Briles and other athletic department officials.

But Rogge Dunn of Clouse Dunn LLP says the regents’ response is another misstep by the university’s leadership in an effort to justify its own failures:

“I find it sad that it took a lawsuit by Shillinglaw to cause Baylor to release Briles’ incriminating texts. Baylor is releasing information only when it’s in Baylor’s strategic advantage to do so, and will never have credibility until the university is transparent for transparency’s sake. Baylor’s regents and top administrators continue to deny their own culpability and responsibilities in this scandal and should not withhold documents and other information to release only as weapons in lawsuits. In detailing Briles’ texts and reports of sexual assaults and other misconduct involving football players, the filing only vaguely alludes to the Title IX compliance shortcomings Baylor was experiencing on a larger scale.”

The regents claim that Shillinglaw, Briles and others on the football staff downplayed sexual assault allegations and other wrongdoing involving football players, and attempted to protect the players while showing little concern for the law or potential victims.

For more information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or mark@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:25:00 am

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, a federal appeals court judge, is expected to face intense scrutiny over the politically incendiary topics of abortion and gun rights during confirmation hearings. However, Dallas media lawyer Shannon Teicher  of Jackson Walker LLP suggests that the nominee’s record on the First Amendment is also vitally important given the new administration’s already strained relationship with the press. Ms. Teicher says she is “cautiously optimistic that he would be favorable on free speech issues before the court.”

“There is not a lot of case history involving Judge Gorsuch related to First Amendment issues, but it is important to look at what there is to find,” says Ms. Teicher. She points to Bustos v. A&E Networks, a case in which a prison inmate sued for defamation because he only affiliated with a gang but was not a member, as A&E had reported. Serving on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Gorsuch ruled that A&E’s statement was substantially true and affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit. In doing so, he explored the historical importance of truth as a defense and called it a “First Amendment imperative.”

However in an earlier decision, “Judge Gorsuch offered an interesting concurrence in Mink v. Knox, in which the court ruled a college student’s parody of a professor was protected speech.” Judge Gorsuch noted the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet ruled on whether parody is actionable when the plaintiff is neither a public figure nor the speech a matter of public concern. He believed “reasonable minds can and do differ” on the issue, so that it was best to avoid such “thickets.” Citing an opinion by then-Judge John Roberts of the D.C. Circuit (now Chief Justice of the United States), Judge Gorsuch said he would only decide what is necessary and nothing more.

“Such careful parsing may well be a preview of the type of measured approach Judge Gorsuch would take if confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court,” says Ms. Teicher.

For more information, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

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

A Dallas constitutional law attorney says President Trump’s temporary ban on immigrants and refugees at airports nationwide is extreme, but not without historical precedent. 

Issued Jan. 27, the executive order prevents citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for three months. Trump also placed the U.S. refugee program on hold for four months. The order launched massive protests at airports in major cities across the country and brought attorneys together to offer free legal support to detained travelers.

But attorney David Coale of Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst says that presidents have conducted similar actions in the past:

“There is a very broad 1952 statute that lets the president suspend entry by classes of aliens for security reasons. But a 1965 statute imposes anti-discrimination limits on the executive branch in how it implements immigration policy. But beyond that, there is not a lot of case law to go on. More modest bans have been allowed by courts, but with caveats that indicate they were thinking about a possibility such as this. Jimmy Carter did something vaguely like it in 1980 during the Iran crisis by requiring Iranians here on student visas to report to immigration officials, but it is a big leap from his limited action to this one. I think that once the temporary ban ends, however, the ‘extreme vetting’ in the current order will be DOA. The First Amendment prohibits government action that favors one religion over another, and the current executive order clearly does so by giving non-Muslims priority status.”

For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

 



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