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Androvett NewsWire: November 17, 2011: Penn St. Scandal / ObamaCare Ruling / Family Pet Value
 
November 17, 2011 10:49 am

Similarities Seen in ESD, Penn State Scandals
The emerging details from the Penn State scandal sound all too familiar to Dallas trial lawyer Charla Aldous, who won a $9.3 million verdict this past September against the Episcopal School of Dallas based on the school's role in a sex abuse case. Aldous represented a young woman known as Jane Doe II, who was only 16 years old when her 34-year-old ESD teacher began the process known as "grooming" before initiating a sexual relationship with the student. "It's an ugly thing and administrators at both schools seem to want to just sweep things under the rug rather than face them head on," Aldous says. "In both the ESD and Penn State cases, you're dealing with highly respected schools that seem to be more concerned with their own reputations than they are the welfare of children." For more information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or mark@androvett.com.

Authority at Heart of ObamaCare Hearing
When it weighs the constitutionality of ObamaCare, the U.S. Supreme Court will focus on the act's mandate that every American have health insurance. While many states mandate auto insurance for drivers, a federal requirement imposing health and safety regulations sets up a key question on the scope of Congressional authority. "State laws requiring auto insurance apply only to drivers, while the mandate to purchase health insurance, passed under Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce, would apply to everyone," says appellate attorney Rich Phillips of the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. "While the court has traditionally interpreted that power broadly, it also has held that the Commerce Clause has limits. We often perceive the federal government as the most powerful regulatory body, but states actually have much broader and more flexible powers." For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

Value of Pets Far Exceeds Replacement Cost
The Fort Worth Court of Appeals has held that a pet owner whose dog was mistakenly euthanized at an area animal shelter may recover more than the mere market replacement value of the pet. That's the right result, says Ryan Clinton, a Dallas appellate attorney at the boutique Hankinson LLP. "In this decision, the court of appeals has recognized what all Texans already know: if someone intentionally poisons, shoots, or simply mistakenly euthanizes your pet, you are damaged by more than the mere monetary cost to replace the animal," he says. "The court got it exactly right based on Texas Supreme Court precedent recognizing that when something irreplaceable is destroyed, we should be compensated." For more information, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or robert@androvett.com.

Tax Revenue Losses Demand Online Poker Legalization
Poker has unquestionably come into the mainstream, with a Harvard law professor advocating that it be developed as a mind sport and organizers in London hosting a November celebration of poker as a thinking person's endeavor. However, despite its wide cultural acceptance and incredible prospects for tax revenue benefits, online poker still remains illegal in the U.S. "It's time for this country to pull its head out of this antiquated mindset and begin collecting taxes on the estimated $1.4 billion in U.S. revenue that's now going overseas because people want to play a simple game of poker," says Chris Flood, a white-collar crime defense lawyer from Houston's Flood & Flood, who has handled gambling cases. "We're behind the rest of the world legally. Our citizens, law professors and others play poker, yet our country pretends it's a crime to deal a game online." For more information, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or mary@androvett.com.

Americans May Be Defining Future Personal Privacy
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether police need warrants for GPS tracking, and judges in lower courts are increasingly faced with questions about police tracking of suspects' cell phones. "Americans need to pay attention to the intersection of technology and their privacy rights. Citizens willing to tell the world where they are via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare must also consider whether this sharing could eventually erode future privacy expectations as well as their rights," says Houston white-collar criminal defense lawyer Jimmy Ardoin. "Technology is clearly changing our understanding of what is public. As our courts determine where to draw the lines when it comes to police work and 4th Amendment rights, we also need to be aware of where we are pushing our own lines when it comes to privacy or, more accurately, lack of privacy." For more information, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or mary@androvett.com.

Mandatory Retirement Policies Not so Mandatory
Two recent high-profile executive retirements, both citing the companies' mandatory retirement age policies, raise the question, "How can mandatory retirement age policies be legal?" The truth is neither IBM CEO Sam Palmisano nor Freddie Mac Chairman John Koskinen had to retire. That's because, with relatively few exceptions, most mandatory retirement policies violate the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967. So why don't more executives dispute them? "That's because it's much nicer to not work and get paid than it is to keep working," says executive employment lawyer Joe Ahmad of Houston's Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. "Companies are known to grant waivers to mandatory retirement policies if the executive wants to keep working and the company feels the same way." For more information, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534  or mary@androvett.com.

Longview's Ward & Smith on a Growth Trend
The high-stakes business litigation and intellectual property law firm of Ward & Smith has added accomplished Texas attorney Claire Abernathy Henry in its Longview office. She focuses her practice on patent litigation, commercial disputes and employment law. Henry joins the firm after serving as a briefing attorney to former federal Judge T. John Ward of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Judge Ward recently joined Ward & Smith to lead the firm's mediation practice. Henry has represented businesses and local governments in commercial disputes, intellectual property litigation, breach of contract and fiduciary duty cases, class-action litigation, employment discrimination cases, and professional malpractice claims. A native of Longview, she earned her law degree from Stanford Law School and her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. For more information, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com.

Helping Bring Out the Best in Houston Women
The annual "A Night Out" celebration was held earlier this week, raising nearly $150,000 benefitting Dress for Success® Houston's efforts to help disadvantaged women put their best foot forward as they work to improve their lives. "Through Dress for Success these women receive professional attire, a network of support and the tools needed to develop a career," says event chairwoman Rachel Powitzky Steely, a partner at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP, the event's presenting sponsor. "This program allows them to obtain the necessary tools, and gives them a look that matches this new confidence." Proceeds from the event will enable Dress for Success to purchase 500 suits, and provide program support and scholarships to approximately 4,000 women. For information, contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.


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