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Personal Injury Law Round-Up #61

This is a crazy week. We have been swamped getting ready for two jury settings in June. Thankfully one case settled Wednesday literally an hour before a key deposition so now we have adequate time to prepare for the other case. I think we’re all looking forward to trying it — it is a legal malpractice case and I doubt I will ever have a case with better liability facts than this one. But enough about me. On to the round-up.

First, our traditional look at tort “reform”……

I missed this Friday, but a Georgia judge has struck down the state’s medical malpractice caps.

Unfortunately, Tennessee is going the other way. A medical malpractice notice and certificate of merit bill has gone to the Tenn. governor.

Ken Shigley points to an April opinion from a federal judge that, according to Ken, “shells the corn” about preemption. I had to read the post to figure out what “shells the corn” means.  But then, I had never heard the supposedly key Texan phrase of “all hat and no cattle” until Hillary Clinton told me during the primaries that it was a popular Texas saying.

From me, an Austin doctor talks about the need for medical malpractice protection. Des Moines personal injury lawyer Steve Lombardi also picked up the story.

Texans For Lawsuit Reform has commissioned a study to decry the great benefits of tort “reform.” (Also at Point of Law.) The response from the Texas Trial Lawyer’s Association (disclosure — I’m an active member) focuses on the fact that the study’s author won’t disclose his methodology on how he came to these findings. And even some Republicans in the Texas legislature have expressed skepticism about the study. You can read about that from

I’m not sure it’s tort reform related, but John McCain has been talking a lot lately about his choice of judges. I have a hard time remembering when McCain is a right winger and when he’s a moderate “straight talker,”  but I don’t think I’ll forget where he stands on this issue — perhaps the most important presidential power for those of us in the legal field.

Now on to actual litigation news….

North Carolina was in the news a bit this week. Amongst the presidential hype, the North Carolina Medical Board considers transparency by making medical malpractice settlements public. Personally, I think this is a great idea. It is extremely difficult for patients to find out about their potential care givers. While some health insurance companies now provide doctor “rankings,” I have to believe that a large portion of those rankings is based on cost of care and not quality of care.

In Arizona, the family of a Border Patrol agent filed a wrongful death suit after his Tahoe rolled over.

Speaking of cars, Toyota is recalling over 90,000 Highlanders.

Moving on to pharma news, the Baxter CEO says Baxter hasn’t had a legal hit on the heparin mess.

When is a $50 million fine/plea bargain not enough? When you don’t tell the victims about the deal. The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the BP plea bargain to pay a $50 million fine stemming from the 2005 Texas City explosion.

And there are more guilty pleas for those interested. In the shipping world, Norwegian Cruise Lines entered a guilty plea following a 2003 explosion at the Port of Miami.

The Washington Injury Attorney Blog has a disturbing post about the danger of movable soccer goals. As a parent of two kids, this was a bit of a concern.

And as the summer approaches, kids are reminded not to chase the ice cream or snow cone trucks.

And to a more grown-up concern, an associate has filed suit against Bingham McCutchen after she was (allegedly*) drugged and raped at a firm holiday party. *You need these types of disclaimers when writing about lawyers.

Virginia Beach personal injury lawyer Rick Shapiro has a post describing an older case, but I thought it deserved a link because it lays out an egregious fact pattern of medical malpractice.

UPDATE: This is the first ever update to my version of the PI round-up, but this is important. Judge Bork settled his $1 million slip and fall case for an undisclosed amount. I can’t say that I’m keeping up with personal injury news if I don’t include news on PI claims brought by from former Supreme Court nominees.

And on to the miscellaneous…..

The first post is from January, but I found it on Victoria Pynchon’s blog this week, so I think it technically qualifies. But at the Consensus Building Institute, they describe a mediator’s experience as a juror. I think trial lawyers should read about every jury experience that we can.

I also liked Victoria’s post The Biggest Lie In The Business: It’s Only About Money.

And Eric Turkewitz is not only a superb lawyer, but apparently an athlete extraordinaire.

John Day continues with his great trial lawyer series, but I’m a tad confused by his numbering system. In any event, enjoy “Part 18 What It Takes To Be A Great Trial Lawyer – Part 15.”

And finally, I hope none of us ever needs this advice. Though there is this sobering note on the possibility of Texas lawyers going to jail for pleading errors.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

Brooks Schuelke

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

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