Law Practice


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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Texas Supreme Court Broadly Construes Scope of Judicial Review of Workers’ Compensation Decisions

January 30th, 2018 By Robert Josey

    At the tail end of 2017, the Texas Supreme Court issued a decision which has rather far-reaching implications for the various participants in the Texas Workers’ Compensation appellate and judicial review systems.  In State Office of Risk Management v. Edna A. Martinez  the court held that: An “issue” for purposes of dispute resolution is broadly construed as the disputed matter related to a workers’ compensation claim (i.e. compensability, disability, extent-of-injury, etc.) An “issue” is not a legal argument advanced
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Gone to Trial

January 21st, 2018 By Catherine Hanna

  Many of the issues we deal with as insurance lawyers involve legal questions decided by judges or fact questions that provide motivation for settlement. However, we do sometimes come across issues that cannot be resolved by the court or settlement and that is where I find myself today. Tomorrow, I will be in the courtroom asking a jury of six (we are in county court) to decide my client’s fate. Trying a case can be fun, but it’s also
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Medical Cost and Necessity Affidavits – A Trap for the Unwary

May 31st, 2017 By Sheila Tan

One of the most commonly used tools in personal injury litigation is the affidavit regarding the cost and necessity of medical services provided. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 18.001 et seq. governs the use of affidavits to prove up the reasonableness and necessity of medical treatment. These affidavits are ubiquitous because they are a cost-effective way of presenting sufficient evidence that the amount charged was reasonable or the treatment provided necessary, without having to resort to expensive live experts
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Indemnity: Don’t get harmed by your “hold harmless” agreement!

May 23rd, 2017 By Eric S. Peabody

At a certain level of sophistication, contracting parties begin incorporating indemnity provisions in their contracts as a risk-assignment mechanism. Without input from knowledgeable counsel, these provisions can impose an unexpected burden on unsuspecting parties, fail to offer the protection sought by the provision’s proponent, or lull the parties into believing that insurance is unnecessary or redundant. The arcane rules governing the enforcement of indemnity agreements and the continuing confusion surrounding their application make them the ultimate “trap for the unwary.”
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