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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Punctuation Station: The Saga of the Oxford Comma

April 20th, 2018 By Rachel Shores

“For want of a comma, we have this case.” This is the First Court of Appeals’ opening sentence to a thirteen-page opinion analyzing the effect that a little piece of punctuation, or lack thereof, had on its interpretation of a legislative provision. That “little piece of punctuation” is commonly known as the Oxford comma, and its absence ultimately led to a steep damages award. Before we turn to the opinion itself, let’s re-cap what the Oxford comma is. Also called
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Happy New Year and Happy Anniversary to Us!

January 14th, 2018 By Catherine Hanna

Happy New Year! Our blog took a little hiatus, but now we’re back and ready to take on 2018! While the new year is a time for reflection on years past and contemplation of goals for the future, this year presents a special oppurtunity for reflection at Hanna & Plaut as we celebrate 20 years as a firm! Many things have changed since 1998. For one thing, the Austin skyline has changed dramatically.   Austin 2018 The legal landscape for
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More on Harvey

September 1st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

Please join Bill Chriss and Catherine Hanna on Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. Central time for a State Bar sponsored webcast as we discuss the new legislation affecting property insurance claims, as well as legal and practical pointers for handling or defending hurricane, flood, and other catastrophe claims. The Texas State Bar is offering this webcast for free. You can register here:

Hurricanes and Hailstorms – What’s New and What’s True

August 31st, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve seen some misinformation floating around regarding the effect of the recent Hailstorm Bill on insurance claims. The Hailstorm Bill applies to all claims for property damage caused by forces of nature, including earthquake, earth tremor, wildfire, flood, tornado, lightning, hurricane, hail, wind, snowstorm, or rainstorm. The new legislation will apply to lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2017. Although all major provisions of the Hailstorm Bill apply to suits filed on or after September 1, 2017, the change
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Sanctions Order Illustrates Misconduct of Policyholder Attorneys in Hail Cases

August 23rd, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

We’ve posted before about the attorney misconduct the recent hail reform bills aimed to curb. A recent sanctions order by United States District Judge Alia Moses illustrates how these practices can harm the judicial system and the policyholders these attorneys represent. This story in the Southeast Texas Record has a good overview, but we highly recommend reading the sanctions order itself. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, case No. 2:15-cv-00092-AM-CW. In the
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Tan Selected as a 2017 Rising Star

March 9th, 2017 By Catherine Hanna

Hanna & Plaut is proud to announce that Sheila Tan has been selected as a 2017 Rising Star by Super Lawyers Texas Monthly magazine, a Thomson Reuters publication. Sheila is incredibly intelligent and committed to zealously advocating for our clients’ best interests. In addition, she is a pleasure to work with. We are happy that she is part of the team.