Published on:

hospital roomIn a recent interlocutory appeal in Texas, a defendant nurse appealed a trial court’s denial of her motion to dismiss a plaintiff’s health care liability claims. These claims were filed against three defendants. The plaintiff had sought treatment from a clinic and its doctor for several reasons, including painful urination. Since the doctor wasn’t available, a nurse practitioner treated her and diagnosed her with a urinary tract infection, a yeast infection, and vaginosis, based on the results of a urinalysis. The nurse prescribed medication.

Five days later, the plaintiff came back with worsened symptoms. At a pelvic exam, the nurse allegedly told students who were observing that it was gonorrhea. In her petition, the plaintiff claimed she’d questioned the nurse about this diagnosis, since she’d been in a monogamous relationship for six months and hadn’t had sex with anybody else for years before that. The nurse allegedly told her that her boyfriend probably gave her gonorrhea.

The plaintiff’s petition claimed that the gonorrhea diagnosis was mistaken, and in the petition, she pled claims for failure to disclose risks, lack of consent, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of confidential communications, intrusion on seclusion, public disclosure of private facts, and negligent misrepresentation. She asked the court for damages to compensate for her mental anguish and physical pain.

Continue reading →

Published on:

glock-1-1311154-e1490131931897In a recent Texas appellate case, the plaintiff argued that the lower court should not have granted a county’s plea to the jurisdiction. The case arose when the Deputy Constable for the county used his Glock to shoot and injure the plaintiff.

When he applied for the job, the Deputy Constable had revealed he was medicated for mood stabilization because of a chemical imbalance. In the five years before being employed with the county, he held 21 jobs and was fired from 12. He’d been dismissed from a law enforcement academy within 4 months of attending because he’d failed minimum safety standards for traffic stops, lied, and was unable to function as a team member, among other reasons.

When he was hired, he identified the Glock as his primary weapon and the county approved his use of this firearm. Before the incident that resulted in the plaintiff’s injuries, he was involved in four other incidents, including an anger management issue as a security guard, two road rage incidents, and showing hostility toward two other law enforcement officers.

Continue reading →

Published on:

power-3-1244917-e1489526367891A recent Texas personal injury lawsuit arose when a worker who was helping a subcontractor lay a cement parking lot around a sales office was electrocuted. The property owner, a supply company, had hired a general contractor and assigned one of its employees to coordinate with the subcontractor and monitor what was happening.

The worker was working at night and trying to level freshly poured concrete with a bull float. The bull float’s handle was 16 inches long. As the worker pulled the float back toward himself, it touched an electrical line that was over or next to the lot where the work was being completed. Later in a deposition, the worker testified he knew about the line’s presence because he’d seen it before.

He also testified that people from the supply company were not only present at the scene but also told him and his coworkers what to do. He assumed that they were from the supply company based on coworker comments and admitted he didn’t know who they were. He admitted that nobody told him to use the float, but said that the people told him to pour the cement.

Continue reading →

Published on:

scooterIn a recent Texas appellate case, a motorcyclist was traveling up United States Highway 54. As he exited 54, he hit a Texas Department of Transportation sign that had fallen into the roadway and was killed. The sign sat off the roadway and was secured to two posts that went down to a concrete base. There were fuse plates that were designed to come off under enough force, like a vehicle hitting the sign. The purpose of these is to reduce the risk of injury. However, it also made the sign particularly susceptible to being damaged by wind and other forces.

A motorist had hit the prior sign, so a new sign was put up at the exit where the motorcyclist was killed. Six months later, high winds affected a number of signs on the highway. The Department of Transportation crew saw that the sign wasn’t level, and they took a look. Two of the fuse plates had broken, so they replaced the fuse plates. They tightened the bolts by hand, although for certain signs they used a torque wrench.

In this case, a 911 operator got a call that a street sign was in the lane of traffic on the exit ramp. The sign was secured by only one post, and there were winds blowing at 40-60 mph. Other calls were also made to 911, and somebody even warned that somebody would be killed by running into the sign.

Continue reading →

Published on:

railroad tracksIn a recent Texas appellate case, the appellate court considered a survival and wrongful death lawsuit involving governmental immunity. The decedent had escaped from his bed at a hospital while receiving psychiatric treatment. He was not secured by wrist or ankle restraints when he left. He suffered fatal injuries when a train hit him shortly after his escape from the facility.

The decedent was brought by paramedics to the facility in 2013 after police found him unconscious. He was admitted for treatment at the main campus at around 10 p.m. and seemed to have an altered mental status that included combativeness and agitation. A notation on the hospital records stated possible drug abuse, and his history showed he had schizophrenia.

The decedent took out his catheter close to 11 p.m. and screamed at the staff. The police got him back on the stretcher, and medication was ordered. He was restrained and eventually calmed down with sedation. Wrist and ankle restraints were ordered, but they were pulled off by 1:30 a.m. He fell asleep with security by his bed. At around 3:16, he got up to go to the bathroom and returned to the stretcher. At 6:40 a.m., he was discharged but then brought back during the afternoon of the same day with severe symptoms of drug-induced psychosis.

Continue reading →

Published on:

school busIn a recent Texas appellate case, the court considered whether there were enough facts to establish a waiver of the Arlington Independent School District’s immunity from suit under the Texas Tort Claims Act in a bus accident case. The case arose when a minor was standing inside a school bus aisle. The bus was going five miles per hour when the driver slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting another bus. The minor was thrown forward and hit the windshield.

The minor’s representative sued AISD on the grounds that the bus driver was negligent and had caused the daughter’s injuries and damages. The complaint stated that the trial court could hear this case because its sovereign immunity was waived for personal injury claims caused by negligent school bus drivers under § 101.021(1) of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. The trial court denied the school district’s motion for summary judgment, which argued there was no jurisdiction due to sovereign immunity.

The school district argued that the parent had not pled a claim that fell within the law’s limited immunity waiver for the use of a motor vehicle. Instead, it argued, the complaint just showed that the district had failed to supervise, direct, or control students riding the school bus. Prior case law stated that when claims have to do with the direction and supervision of students, there is no waiver of immunity. The allegations have to be related to the negligent use of a motor vehicle in order for the lawsuit to proceed.

Continue reading →

Published on:

car accidentIn a recent Texas appellate case, a woman sued her daughter and the defendant for a car accident that happened in 2010. The case arose when the defendant’s pickup hit the front of the daughter’s pickup on the street near the boyfriend’s house. The plaintiff and her daughter’s son were in the daughter’s pickup as passengers.

The defendant had backed out of his driveway and gone halfway down the block when the daughter’s pickup hit his truck from behind. He later testified he hadn’t put his truck in reverse during the trip after backing out of the driveway and wasn’t on his phone.

The daughter claimed that after turning left onto the street where the accident happened, she saw the defendant’s truck driving down the street. He stopped, reversed, and backed up. The daughter put her car in park and honked.

Continue reading →

Published on:

motorcycleIn a recent Texas appellate case, the plaintiff sued the City of Houston after one of its police officers hit his motorcycle. The officer was in a parked police car in 2009 when he heard a radio broadcast from another officer, stating that there was a motorcyclist who was driving recklessly and standing up on the motorcycle while speeding. The first officer radioed that he would try to help the first officer. While going to assist, the first officer saw the plaintiff’s car leave a parking lot and turn onto the road in front of him. As the officer came up to him, he changed lanes to the left lane and then changed back, coming to a stop in front of the police officer. The officer hit the motorcycle while trying to go around him.

The plaintiff sued for personal injuries. The City argued that it was entitled to government immunity, based on the Texas Tort Claims Act. The plea to the jurisdiction was granted, and the plaintiff appealed. The parties didn’t disagree on appeal that the officer was in the course and scope of his job when he answered the radio call for help. The appellate court determined that the officer was engaged in a discretionary function at the time of the accident, but the defendant hadn’t established the officer was acting in good faith. The claim that the officer was responding to a call about a motorcyclist fleeing from the police was not grounded in evidence. The radio transcripts showed that the dispatcher had asked for help with a motorcyclist driving recklessly.

The appellate court explained that the defendant had to show good faith by proving a reasonably prudent officer could conclude that the need for a response to the recklessly driving motorcyclist outweighed the risk to the public by the police officer speeding. It determined that based on the record, the defendant hadn’t established the officer’s good faith, since the motorcyclist wasn’t fleeing arrest.

Continue reading →

Published on:

seatbeltIn a recent Texas appellate case, a plaintiff appealed the denial of her motion for a new trial after an adverse jury verdict. The plaintiff was a lawyer who was hurt in a car accident when her car was hit by the defendant’s car.

The plaintiff’s body and head were jerked forward, but the seatbelt held her back. She didn’t think she was hurt and continued her daily activities. Later in the day, she got a headache, and a doctor at an ER saw her. Since her primary complaints were a cough and back pain, she was diagnosed with an infection and back strain and prescribed pain meds.

Three weeks later, she saw a chiropractor. At the first visit, she completed a questionnaire showing she didn’t feel pain immediately after an accident. At the time of her visit, she had numerous pains, breathing difficulties, and headaches, and she was diagnosed with various types of sprains or strains. She was treated by the chiropractor for three months and referred for an MRI. Her knee didn’t show structural damage.

Continue reading →

Published on:

armored truckIn Hospadales v. McCoy, the defendants appealed a judgment in a truck accident case that awarded the plaintiff damages in the amount of $292,000 for past pain and suffering, past medical expenses, and past lost earning capacity. Among other things, they argued the evidence was insufficient not only to show causation but also to support the jury’s damages award and finding that the plaintiff was not contributorily negligent.

The plaintiff worked to transport cars from one location to another location, using a 30-foot trailer pulled by a pickup. He and his wife were driving on I-45 to pick up a car when the defendant was driving an armored truck for his employer. The armored truck had data that included the speed and movements of the truck, as well as a system to record data related to the plaintiff’s operation of the vehicle.

A video from the armored truck showed the armored truck driver was driving behind the plaintiff in the same lane, then switched lanes, and went faster, trying to pass on the left of the plaintiff. The left side of the armored truck driver’s truck and trailer were directly on the white dividing line between lanes, although it didn’t cross.

Continue reading →