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Old 06-23-2003, 11:12 AM   #16
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From the Dallas Business Journal:

New tort reform law already creating a rush to file lawsuits
It may also be creating a more adaptable approach to litigation -- and more work for Metroplex lawyers.

By William Hoffman

GREATER METROPLEX -- Last month, attorney Brad Parker investigated the medical malpractice case of a retirement-age woman who died after an alleged overdose of Demerol.

Because she'd been on disability, there was no loss of earning capacity and thus limited opportunity to claim economic damages. Parker declined the case.

Had he been handed the same case after the Texas Legislature passed and Gov. Rick Perry signed the state's new tort reform law June 11, Parker said he wouldn't even have investigated.

"Given the new reform, I don't think I could even justify taking the cases I have taken," said Parker, a Bedford-based solo practitioner who started reducing his medical malpractice caseload several years ago.

Now he's getting out for good. "The most recent round of (tort) reform just sealed that in my mind," he said.

Tort reform advocates are hailing the passage of HB 4, the most sweeping civil justice changes in Texas since 1995. "We have balanced the scales of justice in Texas so that they no longer tilt toward either the defendant or the plaintiff," said Ken Hoagland, a spokesman for Texans for Lawsuit Reform in Houston.

Frederick E. "Shad" Rowe, general partner for Dallas-based investment firm Greenbrier Partners Ltd., said, "I'm not a lawyer, but to lawyers this is a big deal what happened."

Rowe said he expects the new law's legal process shortcuts, limits on class action lawsuits and encouragement for tort claimants to settle early will "make business life a little more sanguine, maybe."

Whatever impact Texas' latest round of tort reforms have on huge damage awards, protracted litigation processes and frivolous lawsuits, another question is emerging: What will the new law's effect be on Dallas-Fort Worth tort lawyers and law firms?

Initial impressions

The new law's first effect is already being felt.

Attorneys are rushing to file suit before a July 1 deadline caps noneconomic damage awards, says Earl Martin, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth.

The $250,000-per-defendant limit on so-called "pain and suffering" awards "can't help but have a dampening effect on those who are considering pursuing that type of practice, and on the willingness of lawyers to take those cases to begin with," Martin added.

However, Martin said he'd be surprised to see law-school enrollments decline in response to the new law.

Maxine Harrington, a 20-year veteran defense attorney joining Wesleyan as an associate professor of law this fall, added, "I still think there will be a lot of lawsuits filed, and I don't think the number will fall off that substantially."

Indeed, area attorneys surveyed at random predicted little effect on the size or composition of the local legal industry as a result of the new law.

"It's like any market," said Mike Tankersley, partner in charge of corporate practice in North Texas for Bracewell & Patterson L.L.P. in Dallas. "There are guys in the mainstream that will always be busy, and there are marginal players. And the marginal players are the ones that will tend to get pushed out."

Full text: http://www.bizjournals.com/industrie...2.html?f=et153
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Old 07-17-2003, 10:45 AM   #18
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Redistricting

An editorial about Texas Politics from today's NY Times:

Tom DeLay's Down-Home Muscle

We're happy to note that Tom DeLay's lunge for more political power is running into trouble in his home state of Texas. The special session of the State Legislature, which he prompted in order to redraw the political map to favor more Congressional Republicans, is foundering. A lone G.O.P. state senator is holding out against the House majority leader's plan to redistrict Democratic incumbents out of their seats, thwarting Mr. DeLay's hubristic plotting.

Mr. DeLay, who has a 10-gallon thirst for power, thinks he deserves six more Republican House members from Texas than the voters chose to send last election. He insists that Congressional maps deserve an unusual redrawing outside the normal census season, and he is moving heaven and earth to have his way. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration just had to tighten its rules to prevent a repetition of last May's debacle, when a dozen agents were put on search alert in airport towers at Mr. DeLay's behest, tracking Democratic lawmakers who fled Austin for Oklahoma to deny a statehouse quorum on the remapping plan. In the service of Mr. DeLay's political ambitions, carloads of Texas narcotics officers were dispatched to find the lawmakers, as if they were potheads. The majority leader, ever the federalist, even had the new Department of Homeland Security keeping its eyes peeled.

Full text: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/17/op...17THU3.html?th
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:49 AM   #19
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What to do with a Harvard Law degree

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory...olitan/2000143

(Morales pleads guilty, gets 4 years in pokey)
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Old 07-21-2003, 05:54 PM   #20
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Remapping the remapped maps

Lawmakers back at work on congressional maps
The new map keeps Webb County in one district, but divides Hidalgo County into three districts, a move some South Texas lawmakers have adamantly opposed. A district that runs along northern Travis County now extends northwest to Lampasas County and northeast to Robertson County, but does not stretch into Harris County as it previously had. Staples' first map split Webb County into two districts and Hidalgo County was divided into two districts.
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Old 07-25-2003, 02:57 PM   #21
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Democrats may be free to flee: State senators constitutionally protected from arrest, says lawyer


......Criminal defense attorney Keith Hampton also told the Senate Democratic Caucus that an arrest by a Senate sergeant at arms or a private security agency to force senators to the Senate floor for a vote might be prosecutable as kidnapping under state law.

"And it gets worse than that. If someone in the Legislature directed them to do that, there is the crime of conspiracy to commit aggravated kidnapping," punishable by up to life in prison, Hampton told the Houston Chronicle Thursday......
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Old 07-29-2003, 11:21 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by leagleaze
And flee they have

http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/....ap/index.html
At least they have the sense to go somewhere decent this time.
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Old 07-31-2003, 09:03 PM   #23
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Exile could prove costly

The senators can use their own money or their campaign officeholder accounts to pay for the trip. If they use their campaign accounts, their spending will be a matter of public record, Van de Putte said.
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Old 08-12-2003, 01:39 PM   #24
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GOP loses bid to get senators to return: Dems file new suit in redistricting feud

AUSTIN -- The Texas Supreme Court on Monday rejected efforts by Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst to force 11 boycotting Democratic state senators to return to the Capitol for a special legislative session on congressional redistricting.

Dewhurst expressed disappointment over the order but also said he will ask the Senate majority today to consider "appropriate measures against absent members," such as monetary penalties for each day they are absent.......
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Old 08-13-2003, 01:47 PM   #25
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NYT on DeLay, search for Democrats

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/13/politics/13DIST.html
The office of Representative Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, pressed the Justice Department in May to determine whether federal officials could intervene.
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Old 08-24-2003, 09:27 PM   #26
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MedMal

Amendment pits powerful lobbies: Doctors, insurers, battle trial lawyers

.........Early voting on Proposition 12 and 21 other proposed constitutional amendments begins Thursday and ends Sept. 9. The election is Sept. 13.

Doctors say a cap on noneconomic damages -- those for pain, suffering, loss of companionship, disfigurement or physical impairment -- is the only medicine for a crisis in availability and affordability of malpractice insurance.

Under the new law, a person injured by medical negligence could receive up to $750,000 in noneconomic damages. Of that, $250,000 could come from physicians or medical personnel, and $250,000 could come from each hospital or nursing home, although a plaintiff couldn't collect from more than two medical facilities.

In addition to the limited noneconomic damages, victims of medical negligence would still be able to receive compensation for their economic damages such as lost wages and medical costs. And in cases of extreme negligence, punitive damages also could be awarded.........

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Old 09-02-2003, 05:32 PM   #27
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Democrat sneaks back to Houston

Democrat sneaks back to Houston,
calls for end of senators' boycott
Sen. John Whitmire said today he secretly spent the last five days in Houston, and that it is time for his fellow Democratic senators to end their boycott over congressional redistricting.

"After being in my district for five days, I have concluded my constituents are opposed to redistricting, but they also believe the fight should be on the Senate floor," the Houston legislator said........
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Old 09-09-2003, 08:05 PM   #28
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Redistricting Redux Redux

On Monday, the third special session begins and it looks as if they will have quorum.

http://asia.reuters.com/newsArticle....toryID=3414617
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Old 11-12-2003, 11:55 AM   #29
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More Fun With Tom DeLay

NBC investigated his fundraising telemarketing of an "award."

"AIR FORCE CHAPLAIN James Helton says he was flabbergasted when he first heard the news from his wife. “She told me you’ve been selected for a national award by Congressman DeLay, and they really want you to call the office.”
_ _ _ _Helton wondered why a powerful Republican leader would want to honor a humble Air Force reservist and quickly returned the call. He was so upset by what he heard that he invited NBC News to record the conversation when he called back a second time.
_ _ _ _First there was a recorded message: “This is Congressman Tom DeLay. I’m asking you to serve as an honorary chairman on our business advisory council, and you will be recognized with our national leadership award.”
_ _ _ _Then, a telemarketer came on the line: “You’d be invited to private dinners with congressmen and quarterly strategy sessions in Washington.”
_ _ _ _In the call, Helton was also promised an exclusive black-tie president’s dinner and his name in a newspaper ad."
. . . .

"Past awardees include a convicted sex offender and a maker of drug paraphernalia — both awards were later rescinded. "

http://www.msnbc.com/news/991699.asp
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Old 05-25-2004, 12:34 AM   #30
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Nader campaign files signatures late, lawsuit pending
Associated Press

AUSTIN -- Ralph Nader's independent campaign for president filed almost 80,000 signatures with the Texas secretary of state's office today, two weeks after the deadline to get on state ballot.

The campaign has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the signature collection requirement as unconstitutional.

"We've had a tremendous group of local Texans work unbelievably hard to make this happen," said campaign spokesman Jason Kafoury.

The campaign was required to collect at least 64,076 signatures by May 10 from registered voters who did not vote in the Democratic or Republican primaries. That equals 1 percent of all votes cast for president in the last election in Texas.

The campaign has challenged the signature requirement and 60-day timetable for collecting them as violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Kafoury said the lawsuit has been scheduled for a July hearing in federal court in Austin.

The campaign filed the lawsuit May 10 when it could not meet the deadline, Kafoury said.

Texas has one of the earliest deadlines to qualify for the presidential ballot and requires a larger number of signatures to be gathered for independent candidates -- about 20,000 more -- than it requires for third-party contenders.

"This is unfair. This is unconstitutional," he said. "Texas voters deserve to have Ralph's voice out there."

Jennifer Waisath, spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said that although the campaign missed the filing deadline, the state will keep the signatures until told otherwise by the courts.

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