More Studies Confirm Texting While Driving Is Worse Than Driving Drunk

I’m sorry for the lack of posts. The entire month has been nuts. Just this week, I have had to file two summary judgment responses, and I’m spending today finalizing some discovery.

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you know that we have somehow become a resource for information on texting while driving. Earlier this week, the Today Show had a great feature on the dangers of texting while driving. If you care about the dangers or if you have teenagers, you need to watch the video and make them watch the video.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Related links from our site:

* Text messaging (and twittering) while driving
* Text messaging while driving? Maybe not in Austin
* Car Wrecks – Text Messaging While Driving
* Text Messaging: New Car Wreck Danger

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

It’s A New Age For Trial/Witness Prep

What technology giveth (in terms of ease), technology taketh away.

Technology was supposed to make trials and presentations easier. And in many ways, it does. But it also has this nasty habit of causing problems. Big problems. Attorneys have already adjusted to MySpace and Facebook and the like. We not only use them to investigate defendants, but we have to make sure that our clients are diligent about not posting things that will hurt their cases. And I’ve previously posted about the problems that are occurring with jurors using Twitter or the internet to research or communicate about cases.

But this morning I read something that I had not yet considered. A Miami judge declared a mistrial after a witness was receiving text messages while on the witness stand. Not just any text messages — text messages clarifying what the witness’s testimony needed to be. While all of the attorneys were at the bench for a conference, the plaintiff’s COO took the opportunity to text the witness with suggested amendments to the witness’s testimony.

After someone in the courtroom passed a note to the defense lawyer, the deed was discovered. Needless to say, the judge was not happy.

Before that, Silverman had engaged in a heated exchange with Toledano.

“Let me be really frank about this,” the judge said. “I never had this happen before. This is completely outrageous, absolutely outrageous.”

Toledano responded, “It was on a break.”

Silverman shot back: “It doesn’t matter. You are communicating about the case and the subject matter of the case with a witness who is currently under oath and before the jury,”

Toledano said, “I’m sorry, after we took the break, it’s not in the middle.”

The judge explained himself again.

“It’s a problem on your communicating with the witness about his testimony whether it’s before the break, after the break and during the break while he’s testifying,” he said. “This is outrageous.”

I suppose the lesson for all of us is to be constantly mindful of the way technology can affect our jurors and our clients and to include instructions for those things that seem even basic.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Can The Texas Supreme Court Still Hear Cases?

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court released Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company. The case involves facts that are almost too extreme to believe. Massey was appealing a multi-million judgment and decided to help its chances at the West Virginia Supreme Court by spending approximately $3 million to help elect a new supreme court justice. After the court, with the new supreme court justice, threw out the award, the plaintiff appealed, arguing that it was deprived of its right to trial.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiff and held that courts shouldn’t rule on cases involving large donors. Unfortunately, the opinion doesn’t provide much more guidance than that. So what does that mean for Texas? Texas has judicial elections, and most campaign contributions come from those with cases before the Court. A Texans for Public Justice study concluded that in the last Supreme Court election, the candidates received more than 65% of their contributions from those with business before the Court. And it wasn’t just a Republican or a Democratic issue, both sides were equally guilty.

So where do we go? Do we see a lot more motions to recuse or will the decision provide the impetus needed to those that support abolishing judicial elections.

It’s hard to know until the dust settles. Once the decision and its lower cases interpreting it are fleshed out, there might not be any change at all. On the other hand, it might make all the difference in the world. It will at least be interesting to watch as it plays out.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Surgeons: Use Us Because We’re Easy To Sue?

Last week, noted blogger, Doctor Rich had a post examining the American College of Surgeons’ advice regarding medical tourism, where a patient travels outside the United States to obtain medical care. No shocker, but American surgeons aren’t fans of the practice, and they did their best to give reasons why patients should be careful with medical tourism.

For those of us that are plaintiffs’ lawyers, the biggest shocker had to be the physicians’ sudden concern that patients traveling out of the country might have difficulties bringing medical malpractice suits. Dr. Rich writes:

Second, and most astoundingly, Dr. Rich notes – not so much with interest, but more with awe – that the surgeons are beseeching their patients to consider just how difficult it might be to launch a malpractice suit against foreign doctors. (Dr. Rich himself does not know how difficult this would be. Given that we are being so strongly urged these days to merge the American legal system with international law, it might not be much of a problem for long.) Indeed, the potential difficulty in suing foreign doctors appears to be the chief differentiator, and the primary argument in favor of good-old-American-surgery. The surgeons, in essence, are saying, “Let us do your surgery, because we’re easier to sue if we screw up.”

This, from the very body of American physicians who are most at risk for malpractice suits, and who traditionally have been most vociferous in favor of malpractice reform.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this argument; in fact, I have a previous post on the subject (A Doctor Touting The Benefits of Texas’s Medical Malpractice System?). And I said it then, and I’ll say it again: I find this appalling. In 2003, when the medical and insurance lobbies simply obliterated the Texas medical malpractice system, the doctors were all over themselves to do anything they could to take away patients’ rights to sue. In 2003, and even earlier, the Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association tried to sit down with the medical associations to work out mutually beneficial legislation that might help meet the needs of the medical lobby while also protecting Texas consumers, and the medical lobby wanted none of it. They simply wanted to take away as many rights as possible. To sit there now and tout the medical malpractice system as a reason to avoid medical tourism is hypocrisy at its best.

I don’t know what the future holds for medical tourism, but I’ll continue to watch and see if the medical lobby continues this disingenuous concern for patients.

To contact Austin Personal Injury Lawyer, Austin Personal Attorney, Austin Accident Lawyer, Austin Injury Lawyer Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC or to learn more about Austin Personal Injury visit http://www.civtrial.com/.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, PLLC maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke


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