Local Attorneys Gearing Up For Ebola Lawsuits

Categories: Legal Battles

Emily Mathis
Local attorneys are preparing for legal action for hospital employees and Thomas Eric Duncan's family members.

The rhetoric from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses in the last several days has been vehement. Nurses are anonymously alleging that the hospital did not take proper steps to prevent contamination and infection, which ultimately led to nurses Amber Vinson and Nina Pham contracting Ebola from patient Thomas Eric Duncan. "In the end, the nurses strongly feel unsupported, unprepared, deserted and lied to in preparing for this," said National Nurses United spokesperson Deborah Burger in a press conference on Wednesday.

See also: Presbyterian's Nurses Are Pushing Back on the CDC and Hospital Over Handling of Ebola

And Texas Health Resources is scrambling to counteract the claims. "National Nurses United recently made allegations regarding the protocols and equipment in place during Thomas Eric Duncan's treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. The assertions do not reflect actual facts learned from the medical record and interactions with clinical caregivers," said spokesperson Candace White in an e-mail statement. "Our hospital followed the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines and sought additional guidance and clarity."

Still, chances are good that when the outbreak has subsided, Presbyterian's owner, Texas Health Resources, along with the CDC and any other group involved in treating the virus will be facing several lawsuits. Charla Aldous, a lead attorney with Aldous Law Firm in Dallas, said she could not give any details, but confirmed that someone involved in the Ebola outbreak has reached out to her about a possible suit. "I have been contacted, but cannot disclose the names," she says. "I have not yet been formally retained."

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Let's Try to Make Some Sense of the Jerry Jones Lawsuit Dismissal

Categories: Legal Battles

Frank Hoover via Twitter
Let's not worry about why. Let's just be grateful we may never have to see this damn photo again.
The statement lawyer Thomas Bowers issued Thursday morning after the dismissal of his client Jana Weckerly's sexual assault lawsuit against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was precise: "Neither Jerry Jones nor the Cowboys organization has paid us any money."

If you're the suspicious sort, you might be wondering if that means NO ONE paid her ANYTHING. A signed jersey from Tony Romo, perhaps? A lifetime of free pizza from Papa John's, maybe? Something.

But let's assume for a second that Weckerly, in fact, did not receive any money when she agreed to the dismissal, which she and Bowers will not appeal. What would make the former stripper, seemingly out of the blue, drop a million-dollar lawsuit?

Chad Ruback, a prominent Dallas appellate attorney, has an educated guess.

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Jerry Jones Sex Assault Suit Is Over, But It Isn't Exactly Clear Why

Frank Hoover via Twitter
Jerry Jones is no longer headed to trial over accusations that he sexually assaulted a woman in 2009. The case, brought by former stripper Jana Weckerly, also claimed that Jones and his longtime lawyer, Levi McCathern, conspired to pay her off until the statute of limitations expired.

A hearing was scheduled for Thursday afternoon to determine whether or not Weckerley's claims could move forward despite the fact that more than five years had passed since the incident with Jones. She argued that her claim should still be heard because of Jones frequent travel outside Texas, and that the payments she claimed to have received from Jones, by way of McCathern, fell within the statute.

Thursday morning, after a court-mandated mediation session Wednesday, the case was dismissed.

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Supreme Court Taps Brakes on HB2, 13 Abortion Clinics Reopen for Now

Stephen Young
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court cleared the way for reopening 13 abortion-providing health clinics that shuttered following an October 2 ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed Texas to begin enforcing the most draconian portions of House Bill 2, the state's 2013 anti-abortion measure. While being hailed as good news by pro-choice advocacy groups, the court order is likely only a temporary road block for Texas anti-choice supporters.

See also: The 5th Circuit Gave Every Woman in Texas the Middle Finger Thursday Night

The October 2 5th Circuit ruling allowed the state to enforce HB2 as the state appealed a lower court decision overturning the law. The circuit has not heard oral arguments yet in the appeal, but its granting of the stay means it, or at least the three-judge panel that issued the stay, believes that Texas will prevail in its appeal.

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Supreme Court Turns Down Same Sex Marriage Cases, Puts Spotlight on 5th Circuit

Categories: Legal Battles

Ernst Vikne
Federal circuit fight!
Monday morning word came down from on high, or wherever it is the Supreme Court proclamations come from, that the court would not hear any of several same-sex marriage cases it could have this term. In turning down cases from the 4th, 7th and 10th federal circuit courts, the Supreme Court paved the way for same sex marriage to become legal in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Utah and Oklahoma -- the states whose appeals were denied -- as well as Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia -- states without a pending same-sex marriage case that are covered by those circuits.

The Supreme Court didn't say why it refused to hear the appeals, but it should be noted that there is not yet a circuit split with regard to same-sex marriage. Until a lower court upholds a marriage ban, there is no dispute among the circuit courts for the Supreme Court to resolve.

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Jerry Jones Lawyers Deny Sexual Assault Allegations at Hearing

Frank Hoover via Twitter
The lawyer for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appeared in a Dallas courtroom Friday to argue that a lawsuit accusing Jones of sexual assault -- and the Cowboys of conspiracy to cover it up -- should be dismissed because of the statute of limitations.

Attorney Gregory Shamoun also said the claims made against Jones earlier this month were lies.

Jones never assaulted Jana Weckerly in June 2009, Shamoun said, so there could not have been a conspiracy between Jones, the Cowboys and Jones' longtime attorney -- and co-defendant in this case -- Levi McCathern.

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Jerry Jones and His Lawyer Intimidated, Paid Off Sexual Assault Victim, New Allegations Say

Categories: Legal Battles

Frank Hoover via Twitter
Monday, Jana Weckerly filed an amended complaint in her sexual assault case against Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, further detailing her claim that Jones assaulted her in 2009 and describing efforts she alleges Jones, the Dallas Cowboys and Jones' attorney, Levi McCathern, made to silence her.

The new complaint was filed in advance of a Friday hearing that will determine whether Weckerly can continue her suit. Normally, a case like hers is subject to a five-year statute of limitations, but the conspiracy to keep her silent, if proven, could void that time limit.

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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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