Law Practice


PLAUT SPOUTS: REFLECTIONS OF AN OLD GUY WITH A CORNER OFFICE

November 12th, 2018 By David L. Plaut

A Foolish Consistency?  Cite Form Hobgoblins and the Texas Rules of Form Wayne Schiess, Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy, welcomes the new edition of the Texas Rules of Form – The Greenbook as an improvement over previous editions.  See Schiess, The New Greenbook, 27 Austin Lawyer at 15 (November 2018).  Schiess notes the Texas Law Review editors in charge of the 14th edition were determined to improve The Greenbook and
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Determining the Reasonableness of Medical Charges – The Quest Continues

November 5th, 2018 By Sarah Scott

Texas Supreme Court Rules Government and Insurance Billing Rates are Discoverable for Determining “Reasonableness” of Hospital Charges to Individuals One of the biggest factors affecting the value of a personal-injury case is the amount of medical bills – hospital bills, in particular. To encourage hospitals to promptly and adequately treat accident victims who are uninsured, the Texas Legislature has granted hospitals a lien on any patient injured in “an accident that is attributed to the negligence of another person.” Tex.
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Federal Courts Sketch Roadmap for Chapter 542A Removals

October 22nd, 2018 By Eric S. Peabody

As many commentators have noted, the addition of Texas Insurance Code Chapter 542A—the so-called “Hailstorm Bill”—has substantially reduced the volume of weather-related lawsuits against insurance companies since September 2017. In addition to imposing strict timelines for pre-suit notice and inspections and curbing potential penalties and attorneys’ fees awards, Chapter 542A affects the parties to, and potential venue of, a lawsuit by allowing the carrier to assume any liability an “agent” might have to the claimant (with certain exceptions) for the
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A Premises Liability Primer

July 30th, 2018 By Eric S. Peabody

A person injured on another’s property may have either a negligence claim or a premises-liability claim against the property owner or occupier. When the injury is the result of a contemporaneous, negligent activity on the property, ordinary negligence principles apply; when the injury is the result of the property’s condition rather than an activity, premises liability principles apply. Occidental Chem. Corp. v. Jenkins, 478 S.W.3d 640, 644 (Tex. 2016).  Although they are related, the theories are not interchangeable, and “a
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Plaut Spouts: Reflections of an Old Guy with a Corner Office

July 3rd, 2018 By David L. Plaut

Collegiality and Professionalism: Is “All of My Kindness, Taken for Weakness”? With apologies to Rihanna, civility and collegiality in the practice of law leads to better outcomes and is the right way to practice anyway.  The best lawyers, those who are well prepared and steeped in the law, are cordial and collegial in their dealings with other lawyers, the court and court personnel, and the community at large.  All too often, it is the bad lawyer, the unprepared lawyer –
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Giving the Jury Charge its Due

May 29th, 2018 By Sarah Scott

  It’s easy to understand why the poor jury charge so often gets short shrift in trials. Diligently preparing for witness examinations, checking and double checking exhibits, rehearsing your opening and closing statements until they are committed to memory but seem completely unrehearsed – all of these tasks are tremendously time-consuming. But (to borrow a football metaphor, this being Texas) lawyers who ignore the charge run the risk of fumbling at the one-yard line. Why? Because the charge, unlike your
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Authenticating and Admitting Social Media Evidence

May 2nd, 2018 By Eric S. Peabody

Facebook has been in the news lately with lots of people concerned about invasion of privacy. For litigators, our willingness to share our lives on social media has created a fertile source of evidence on liability, damages, defenses, and other critical issues.  Assuming the evidence is relevant, the primary concern of courts confronted with this evidence is ensuring that the evidence (1) was actually on the website, (2) accurately reflects the proposition for which it’s offered, and (3) is attributable
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Plaut Spouts: Reflections of an Old Guy with a Corner Office

April 27th, 2018 By David L. Plaut

Two days after returning from a visit to Copenhagen to see our son who’s studying there, I tried and won a breach of contract case in a single day.  The case involved a contract dispute between two construction subcontractors about insurance coverage.  My client, a Spanish speaking stone mason, had been sued for failing to secure “completed operations” insurance coverage for another subcontractor.  We tried the case before Judge Eric Shepperd in County Court at Law No. 2 here in
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Plaut Spouts: Reflections of an Old Guy with a Corner Office

March 7th, 2018 By David L. Plaut

One of the great things about practicing law here at Hanna & Plaut is that you’re surrounded by quality people wherever you look.  Besides my savvy, highly accomplished trial lawyer partner Catherine – and yes, I know she needs no introduction – we have terrific lawyers, young and old.   I couldn’t be happier than practicing law here with these people. Last week I had the great pleasure of going to trial with two of our lawyers, Sheila Tan and Sarah
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Insurance Carrier Allowed to Sue Attorney For Failing to Disclose Settlement Demand

February 19th, 2018 By Tara Mireur

In a ruling likely to give insurance attorneys heartburn, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division denied an attorney’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against it by an excess insurance carrier complaining it was misled about settlement. Ironshore Europe DAC v. Schiff Hardin, LLP, 2018 WL 338604 (E.D. Tex. Jan. 9, 2018). The Schiff Hardin firm was representing Ironshore’s insured Dorel Juvenile Group, Inc. in a lawsuit filed by the Hinsons, who were parents
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