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LEGAL UPDATE: Evidence of Failure to Use a Seatbelt Now Admissible in Texas
Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In a landmark decision delivered last month in Nabor Well Services, Ltd v. Romero, the Texas Supreme Court overturned more than 40 years of precedent and unanimously reversed the Court's long-standing prohibition on evidence concerning a claimant's failure to use a seatbelt. The Court had previously held that such evidence was inadmissible to reduce a claimant's recovery for injuries sustained in an automobile accident, thus rendering such evidence easily susceptible to an objection on relevance grounds. However, in Romero, the Court ultimately held that relevant evidence of use or nonuse of seatbelts is now admissible for the purpose of apportioning responsibility in civil lawsuits.

While the practical impact of the Court's holding is yet to be seen, the Court's abrupt about-face is significant and signals the Court's willingness to revisit a rule that has outlived both its usefulness and its purpose.

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Karin Zaner will speak at the American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) 2015 Annual Meeting
Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Karin Zaner will speak at the American College of Legal Medicine (ACLM) 2015 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas on February 27, 2015.  Her topic is "Mobile Healthcare Delivery Platforms and Devices."  The Mission of ACLM, founded in 1960, is to promote the continued professional advancement of its members, as well as non-member physicians, and other interested professionals, through education, research, publications, and interdisciplinary and collaborative exchanges of information.

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Karin Zaner spoke at the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Conference
Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Karin Zaner spoke at the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Conference in Orlando, Florida on February 17, 2015.  Her topic was "HIPAA: What the Medical Examiner Needs to Know."  NAME, founded in 1966, is the national professional organization of physician medical examiners, medicolegal death investigators, and death investigation system administrators who perform the official duties of the medicolegal investigation of deaths of public interest in the United States.

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LITIGATION ALERT: A New Look at Implied Warranties for Used Goods
Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Recently, the Supreme Court of Texas examined whether a buyer of used goods may assert claims based on the implied warranty of merchantability.  See MAN Engine & Components, Inc. v. Shows, 434 S.W.3d 132 (Tex. 2014).  The implied warranty of merchantability assures buyers that goods are "fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used."  Tex. Bus. & Com. Code § 2.314(b)(3).  Texas law had previously held that a buyer who purchased goods knowing that they were used could not assert claims under this theory.  See, e.g., Chaq Oil Co. v. Gardner Mach. Corp., 500 S.W.2d 877, 878 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1973, no writ).  Man Engine & Components moved away from this rule and addressed when implied warranty claims may be available to second-hand purchasers of used goods—the Court's answer: "it depends."  The Court ultimately held that a buyer of used goods may assert implied warranty claims against a product manufacturer.  

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KRCL Director Jason Binford Quoted in Hotel News Now Regarding "Pre-Packaged" Bankruptcy Filings
Friday, January 16, 2015

KRCL Director Jason Binford is quoted in an article about the Caesars ​​voluntary “prepackaged” bankruptcy filing ​and ​the ​competing ​involuntary filing brought by bondholders​.​

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LITIGATION ALERT: The Motor Carrier Act/MCS-90 Endorsement Duty to Defend When No Coverage Exists?
Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Under the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 ("the Act"), no motor carrier shall operate a motor vehicle unless the carrier has obtained minimum levels of financial responsibility through insurance or other forms for bodily injury or death to any person due to the negligent operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle in interstate travel.  The regulations and endorsements were created in an attempt to stem what certain people considered to be ongoing abuse in the trucking industry.  As the 9th Circuit Appellate Court explained, the Act's purpose was to protect members of the public against uninsured trucks.  That purpose is an important one, as Court opinions are often far-reaching in their attempts to protect the public at large, but conversely, may take a more narrow view of the policy and endorsements in litigation when limited to insurers and motor carriers.  One of these areas that will be discussed below is whether an insurer must provide a defense to litigation for the motor carrier when they are withholding insurance coverage.   

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LITIGATION ALERT: Can Employers Prohibit Employees From Discussing Their Salaries?
Monday, December 1, 2014

As we approach the end of the year, many employers are in the process of completing annual performance reviews and making decisions related to employee compensation.  As a result of normal water cooler talk and office scuttlebutt, employees are often tempted to discuss their respective raises and bonuses (or lack thereof).  Employers naturally would prefer that employee compensation figures remain confidential.  However, employers should be careful before implementing policies formally banning employees from discussing their respective compensation levels with one another.

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LITIGATION ALERT: NFL Concussions
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

With the recent high profile NFL concussion litigation, traumatic brain injury ("TBI") cases have received a great deal of notoriety from the press and the public.  Where this injury used to be spoken of by doctors and trainers, TBI cases have become a common topic of fans and spectators.  It has also become the focus of several civil lawsuits and has resulted in a growing trend of increased jury verdicts.

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LEGAL LEDGER: Latest News & Updates from KRCL
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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LITIGATION ALERT: Corporate Representative Depositions in Texas
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

If your company becomes involved in litigation, chances are it will be asked to present a corporate representative for deposition.  A corporate representative deposition is one in which the company names a person to testify on behalf of the company on a list of topics that opposing counsel has provided.  The answers given by the representative are binding on the company at trial.  Therefore, how your company responds to the request can have a meaningful impact on the outcome of the litigation.

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