Another Student Is Suing SMU Over its Handling of an Alleged Sexual Assault

Curt Teich & Co.
An SMU freshman who accused a well-known fraternity brother of sexually assaulted him is now suing the school, saying it violated Title IX by acting "deliberately indifferent" to his report of sexual assault and to prior sexual harassment by his alleged assailant, John David Mahaffey.

See also: Another SMU Student Has Been Arrested for Sexual Assault

The alleged incident happened in September 2012, when the student told police that Maheffey, a fourth-generation SMU student and prestigious Hunt scholar, coerced him into the oral sex by threatening him to block him from Sigma Phi Epsilon and with the loss of his own Hunt Leadership scholarship. The next day, SMU police recorded a phone conversation between the student and Mahaffey.

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Losing Texas Lotto Players Who Want to Sue Are Following an American Tradition

Categories: Legal Battles

Paul Sableman
Adults in Texas briefly thought they had won the lottery. Now they are struggling with disappointment, an unpleasant emotion. The Dallas Morning News reported about the plight of an Ellis County woman who felt "cautiously optimistic" that she was in possession of a winning ticket from the Fun 5's game. To confirm that it was actually a winner, she had to get it scanned at a gas station. The scanner had devastating news: She didn't win.

The woman's husband explained to the paper what happened in harrowing detail: "We were disappointed because the machine showed that it was not a winner, and we thought that it was a winner." Naturally, the couple has found a lawyer who thinks they have a good case.

Of course he does. Who hasn't considered suing the lottery? This is America. Two men in New York accidentally threw away their winning ticket and say it's the lottery's fault in a federal lawsuit they filed in June. A man in Delaware sued the lottery after his ticket was destroyed in the washing machine.

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Christian Plaques Midlothian ISD Parents Love So Much Not Coming Down Yet

WFAA via Twitter
Their life here on Earth is not yet complete.
As they have since Midlothian ISD first received a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation about the overtly Christian plaques that adorn two of its elementary schools, community members at a school board meeting this week supported the plaques with a unified voice.

See also: Midlothian Parents Protest Removal of Hilariously Unconstitutional Plaques

After hearing the speakers, board president Todd Hemphil, said that "the plaques are not covered and we do not plan to take further action to cover them up again," according to The Dallas Morning News reported.

Some might call that a pretty strong sign that Midlothian isn't going to take the plaques down unless someone, a judge perhaps, tells the district it must. The questions is, who's going to get a judge to do it?

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The Future of Women's Healthcare in Texas Looks Bleak. What's Next?

Stephen Young
One of two Dallas clinics that will remain open.
Listening to the oral arguments before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday confirmed what advocates for reproductive rights feared upon seeing the three-judge panel selected to hear the Texas' appeal of a lower-court ruling striking down two sections of House Bill 2, the 2013 legislation enacted to restrict access to abortion. Two of the judges, Jerry E. Smith and Jennifer Elrod, seemed ready to rule in favor of the state, as they did in a previous challenge to HB2. They peppered Stephanie Toti, the attorney representing the clinics bringing the challenge, with questions about whether reducing the number of abortion providers in the state to eight would actually pose an "undue burden" to women in the state seeking abortions.

As defined in federal case law, a law fails to meet the undue burden standard if it is too restrictive of one's fundamental rights. The standard has also been applied when a law lacks what former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens called a "legitimate, rational justification."

No major medical organization has ever agreed with the contention made by proponents of HB2 and similar laws that its major requirements -- that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and that clinics providing abortions meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers -- make women safer. In fact, as Dr. Hal Lawrence, the CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said, the full implementation of the law could lead to women seeking out illegal abortions or failing to get necessary prenatal care, endangering themselves in the process.

See also: How Texas' New Abortion Restrictions Have Actually Impacted Access to the Procedure

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Everything You Need to Know About Friday's Court Hearing on Texas' Abortion Law

Stephen Young
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas' new Dallas Ambulatory Surgical Center
It's September 11, and the harshest restriction in Texas' new abortion law, its requirement that all abortions take place at an ambulatory surgical center, has yet to go into effect.

HB2 was supposed to become the law of Texas on September 1, and the ACS rule would have immediately shuttered all but seven of the state's 22 abortion providers, but on August 29 U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel found the surgical center requirement unconstitutional, giving the clinics a reprieve. How long the reprieve lasts is up to three judges on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, and the immediate future for clinics is not promising.

See also: Planned Parenthood's New HB2-Proofed Clinic Opens in Southern Dallas

As its did in 2013 after Yeakel struck down HB2's requirement that any doctor performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of his or her clinic, the state immediately appealed his latest ruling to the 5th Circuit. Unlike in the first case, the appellate court did not grant an emergency stay allowing the law to go into effect. Instead, it scheduled a hearing Friday over whether to let the law go into effect while appeals wend their way through courts.

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Jerry Jones Sued for Sexual Assault

Frank Hoover via Twitter
Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are being sued for sexual assault and alleged subsequent cover-up. In a lawsuit filed in Dallas late Monday night, Jana Weckerly says that over the course of the evening documented in a series of graphic tweets posted in early August, Jones rubbed and grabbed her without her permission multiple times and then had another perform oral sex on him in front of Weckerly.

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Texas High Court Rules Courts Can Scrub Defamatory Comments From the Internet

Categories: Legal Battles

What does The Big Lebowski have to do with a Texas Supreme Court decision in a defamation case? Everything.
After the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion on Friday in Kinney v. Barnes, Robert Kinney's attorney declared victory. Kinney, an Austin businessman, had sued his former boss to force the removal of online postings accusing Kinney of taking bribes.

"This is a win for Robert and other people who are smeared online," appellate attorney Martin Siegel said. No longer can a person "destroy someone else's reputation online and have that stay on the web forever, as the other side wanted."

Funny thing, though. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the case opposing Kinney's arguments, declared victory as well.

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In a Dallas Courtroom, It's Big Pharma vs. Women over Vaginal Mesh

Categories: Legal Battles

Hal Samples
Read our May cover story, "Women vs. Big Pharma in the Battle Over Trans-vaginal Mesh," by Amy Silverstein
Few people outside of public health advocates and consumer groups used to pay much attention to the Food and Drug Administration's confusing, shadowy process for approving medical devices to the market. When patients find themselves suffering after a surgery that was supposed to help them -- like, say, a hip implant -- they often find that their doctors are at a loss and their only recourse is in the courts.

That's how Dallas District Court Judge Ken Molberg ended up overseeing two trials in six months over a device called vaginal mesh, which doctors have been using to treat prolapsed organs and incontinence in aging women before they understood all of the potentially horrific side effects. The earlier mesh trial, as I detailed in a May feature story, resulted in the jury awarding a woman named Linda Batiste $1.2 million from Johnson & Johnson. The second trial, currently under way, is against Boston Scientific, which, like J&J, appears highly disinterested in research that might hurt its bottom line.

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The Military's Insurer Has Been Refusing to Cover This Little Girl's Therapy for Four Years

Categories: Legal Battles

It's been more than two years since a federal administrative judge told Tricare, the Department of Defense-run healthcare program for military families, to pay for Kaitlyn Samuels' physical therapy. And for more than two years, Tricare has been stubbornly ignoring the decision.

That's Tricare's prerogative. The administrative ruling carries all the legal weight of a strongly-worded recommendation. The Samuels family responded earlier this month by filing a federal lawsuit against the Department of Defense that, if they prevail, will force Tricare to reverse itself.

Kaitlyn, now 17, is the daughter of Mark Samuels, a recently-retired Navy captain. She was born with crippling scoliosis that, left untreated, would eventually twist her spine so severely that her internal organs would be crushed.

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Highland Park Lacrosse Player Beat Up Chef After Being Kicked Out of Party, Suit Claims

A previous iteration of the Cornell University lacrosse squad

Dallas caterer and restaurateur Andrew Ormsby, who operates an eponymous catering company out of the Cityplace tower and is one of the people behind the Ku De Ta day resort, filed a lawsuit in Dallas County accusing Domenic Massimilian, a Cornell University lacrosse player, of assault.

Massimilian, who played high school lacrosse at Highland Park High School before heading to Salisbury, a Connecticut prep school, and then Cornell, attended an event held at Ku De Ta, which is part of a compound that includes Ormsby's home, on May 29. During the event, Ormsby says, the teenager both drank and smoked pot. Ormsby claims he kicked Massimilian out of the party, but the teenager returned, punched Ormsby and then stomped and kicked him after he fell to the ground.

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