Law Practice


Did the Hot Seat Just Get Hotter?

March 11th, 2019 By Megan Zeller

Potential Substantive Changes to Rule 30(b)(6): What Companies Need to Know For the last fifty years Rule 30(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which governs corporate representative depositions, has remain unchanged.  Now, in a move that is causing defense attorneys and their clients heartburn, the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States has proposed an amendment that could potentially cause discovery disputes to hit the roof. In its current form,
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Fifth Circuit Reaffirms Attorney Immunity Doctrine

February 25th, 2019 By Tara Mireur

In Ironshore Europe DAC v. Schiff Hardin, LLP, No. 18-40101 (5th Cir. 2019), the Fifth Circuit recently reversed the district court decision we previously wrote about here. The district court denied an attorney’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit against it by an excess insurance carrier complaining it was misled about settlement, instead holding that the law firm could not be held liable to a nonclient under the attorney immunity defense doctrine.   The lower court’s decision to allow the claim was
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Keeping Adjusters Out of the Hot Seat – UM/UIM Edition

February 3rd, 2019 By Sheila Tan

UM/UIM cases are a unique hybrid of tort and contract. Although the insured’s own insurance carrier is often named as a defendant, it has no contractual duty to pay benefits until after the liability of the insured and the other motorist, as well as the damages suffered by the insured, have been determined. Brainard v. Trinity Universal Ins. Co., 216 S.W.3d 809, 815 (Tex. 2006). Trial courts often struggle with the dilemma of how to avoid the prejudicial injection of insurance
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Staying On the Level and Avoiding Discovery Snafus

January 14th, 2019 By Sarah Scott

Every case filed in Texas state court requires the plaintiff to choose a discovery plan: Level One, which applies only for cases where the plaintiff seeks less than $100,000 in damages; Level Two, which applies by default to all other cases and has its own specific set of deadlines; and Level Three, which allows the parties to agree on deadlines that work best for their case. Tex. R. Civ. P. 190.1-109.4. For many attorneys, choosing a Level 3 discovery plan
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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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