A Cow, a Car Crash and the Absurdity of Tort Reform in Texas

Categories: Legal Battles

CowFlickr.jpg
Tobias Akerboom via Flickr
One night in August 2011, a half dozen cows escaped their pasture and wandered onto a semi-rural stretch of road in Amarillo. The driver of an approaching pickup slamed on the brakes, but not quite soon enough to keep the truck from entering a terrifying barrel roll. Bobby Tunnell, the front-seat passenger and the driver's father, suffered gruesome injuries to his head, spine and torso. He was pulled from the truck shortly before it exploded.

Almost five years and $700,000 in medical bills later, Tunnell is in the midst of a legal fight with the cows' owner, which is taking place in Dallas County for various reasons but mainly because his attorney worries about the average Amarilloan's bias against trial lawyers. Tunnell claims the cows' owner, Richard K. Archer, negligently allowed his cattle to wander into the road and thus is liable for damages. Archer disagrees, partially because he says he took reasonable precautions (i.e. building and maintaining an electrified fence) to keep his cows on his property but mostly because he's a retired doctor, and Texas' 2003 tort reform law makes it damn near impossible to successfully sue doctors. Specifically, Archer argues that the case should be dismissed because Tunnell didn't present an expert report with the case within 120 days of filing the lawsuit, as is required in medical malpractice claims.

More »

Mother of Dead High School Basketball Player Troy Causey Sues DISD, Dallas County

Categories: Legal Battles

causeylawpresser.jpg
Joe Tone
Tammy Simpson announces her lawsuit outside the Dallas federal courthouse.
Troy Causey, the Wilmer-Hutchins basketball player beaten to death outside his home one year ago today, should never have been in the situation that led to his death, his mother says.

Causey was improperly recruited to play basketball at Wilmer-Hutchins while he was in the custody of the Dallas County Juvenile Department at the Dallas County Youth Village, Tammy Simpson claims in a lawsuit filed late Wednesday in federal court. The county gave inappropriate access to John Burley, Wilmer-Hutchins basketball coach, Simpson says, allowing Burley to visit Causey at Youth Village without supervision despite regulations limiting visits to lawyers and family members. Additionally, Johnathan Turner, the Madison High School basketball player indicted for Causey's killing, was also recruited during Turner's time at the Youth Village, Simpson says.

DISD coaches recruited kids in Dallas County custody, according to the suit, because of lax policies toward recruitment and the lack of immediate parental involvement. Students could be manipulated easily because of circumstances, Simpson says.

More »

After a Four-Year Fight, Plaintiffs in Dallas Super Bowl Lawsuit Set to Split $76k

Thumbnail image for CowboysStadiumLake.jpg
bobbyh_80
On paper, the seven plaintiffs suing the NFL for their experiences at 2011's Jerryworld-hosted Super Bowl won. A Dallas jury agreed with the group -- and the NFL -- that the leagued breached its contract with the fans when they were either denied seats or switched to different seats at the game.

All seven plaintiffs had purchased tickets in temporary seating erected just for the Super Bowl, and two of them also made fraud claims against the league, saying the seats to which they were moved had obstructed views. The league said that they didn't, and, even if they did, the obstructed views wouldn't have constituted fraud.

The jury agreed, compensating each of the plaintiffs only for some expenses incurred during their trip. The biggest settlement, for about $22,000, went to a Rebecca Burgwin who asked for $35,000. The smallest, for $5,670 went to Dave Wenta.

More »

Dallas Rabbi's Car Painted With Swastika in Midst of Legal Fight With City

Categories: Legal Battles

carswastikarabbi.JPG
The Liberty Institute
Rabbi Yaakov Rich's car
In what's turning out to be a stellar week for tolerance in Dallas, the rabbi of Congregation Toras Chaim, the embattled Orthodox Jewish congregation that meets in a Far North Dallas home, says someone painted a swastika on his car sometime Wednesday.

"I feel completely violated. As a Jew, the swastika is the most offensive symbol that there is. They didn't just attack me, they attacked every Jew in the city of Dallas. I am very grateful, however, that the members of Congregation Toras Chaim are banding together to ensure that there is no disruption in our activities," Rabbi Yaakov Rich said in a press release.

More »

Conclusion of Dallas Super Bowl Trial Muddled By ESPN Article

cowboysstadiumwikicommons.JPG
Wiki Commons
Heading into deliberations, the questions facing the jury in the 2011 Super Bowl seating fiasco trial were pretty simple. The NFL -- accused of breach of contract and fraudulent inducement after the plaintiff fans were either relocated or denied seats entirely at the game -- has admitted to the breach of contract.

Lawyers for the league told jurors that all they have to decide is how much of the plaintiffs' claimed expenses from the game should be reimbursed. As for the fans who were simply relocated from temporary seats that were deemed unsafe just before the game, their claims should be denied. The relocated plaintiffs say they had an obstructed view, hence the fraud claim, but the NFL says the views weren't obstructed. And even if they were, that's not enough the constitute fraud, NFL attorney Thad Behrens said.

Then, after both sides rested their respective cases, things got interesting.

More »

Jerry Jones Blames NFL for Fans Who Missed Out at Super Bowl

Thumbnail image for christiejonesscreencap2.jpg
YouTube
Remember this?
This all could have been avoided, Jerry Jones said, if he'd just gotten his way.

As part of an attempt to break the Super Bowl attendance record -- set in 1980 when 103,985 fans watched the Steelers beat the Rams in the Rose Bowl -- 13,000 temporary seats were added to the configuration of what was then still called Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. On game day, 1,200 of the seats were unusable. Many fans set to sit in the temporary seats were relocated, but about 400 were never given a seat, leaving them without access to a game they'd paid thousands of dollars to see. Many of the affected fans took deals from the NFL that allowed them to attend future Super Bowls or gave them other compensation, but two groups of fans filed separate suits against the league. The first of those suits, contested by eight plaintiffs, began in Dallas this month.

More »

Dallas Police Guns Used to Shoot Citizens Sent Back to Street, Not Evidence Room

Categories: Legal Battles

amywilburn.jpg
DPD via WFAA
Amy Wilburn
Dallas Police officer Amy Wilburn shot Kelvion Walker -- that much is beyond dispute. Believing he was armed and a carjacking suspect, Wilburn rushed the car Walker was sitting in. Despite, according to witnesses, Walker's hands being up, Wilburn drew her weapon and hit him in the stomach.

DPD brass has called her actions reckless, and Wilburn became the first DPD officer in more than 40 years to be indicted for shooting someone while on duty and was fired by DPD. There is a conflict between statements made by police chief David Brown and others saying Wilburn shot Walker accidentally and statements made by Wilburn herself saying she shot him on purpose.

More »

We're All Paying for John Wiley Price's Defense Lawyer Now

Categories: Legal Battles

Thumbnail image for JWPInRavkindsOffice3.jpg
Alex Scott
A federal magistrate judge has ruled that Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price is, in fact, indigent enough that taxpayers should pay for a sizable portion of his defense, as faces federal corruption charges for allegedly taking almost $1 million in bribes.

Earlier today, Price filed the requested financial disclosure in U.S. District Court, and Judge Renee Toliver granted his request and appointed Shirley Baccus-Lobel to Price's defense team. As ordered by the court, Price will pay a minimum of $80,000 for his defense, $20,000 upfront and $10,000 every two months thereafter. Price will also pay $500 a month in attorney's fees until the end of his trial, which is scheduled to begin in January 2016.

More »

Petition to Kill Plano Non-Discrimination Ordinance Invalid, City Says

Categories: Legal Battles

Thumbnail image for antiplano2.jpg
Plano Citizens United
Organizers of a petition drive to stop Plano's new anti-discrimination ordinance misled supporters, failed to properly verify signatures and didn't follow Plano requirements for petition drives, the city says.

See also: What Do Plano Christians Have Against Veterans?

More »

That Was Quick: Texas Supreme Court Issues Stay Preventing Any Additional Same-Sex Marriages

Categories: Legal Battles

Thumbnail image for gaymarriage.jpg
Giovanni Dall'Orto</td>
Quelling a minor insurrection by the Travis County judiciary, the Texas Supreme Court issued a pair of emergency stays blocking two lower-court rulings that might have allowed same-sex marriage in the state. Tuesday, a Travis County probate judge ruled Texas' ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional while splitting up the proceeds of an estate. Thursday morning, a Travis County district judge issued an order that required the Travis County clerk to give Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant a marriage license.

The couple married immediately afterward in a ceremony presided over by a rabbi, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is trying to void Goodfriend and Bryant's license, knocking that whole notion of "what therefore God hath joined let no man put asunder" right into the shitter. But that's a New Testament thing, so presumably Paxton's still square with his Christian beliefs.

Goodfriend, by the way, has cancer, according to reports. That's what prompted the judge's order.

See also: A Same-Sex Couple Just Got Married In Austin (Video)

More »

Now Trending

General

Loading...