Archive for March, 2018

Arnold & Placek Wins Appeal on TEA’s Invalid Administration of 2015-16 STAAR Assessments

Written by A&P News on March 29th, 2018. Posted in Appeals, News

The Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas today ruled for Arnold & Placek, P.C. and affirmed the denial of the TEA’s plea to the jurisdiction concerning a suit seeking to invalidate the results from the statewide administration of the 2015-16 STAAR assessments.

Arnold & Placek represents four parents from across the state in Lewis, et al. v. Morath, which seeks a declaration that the 2015-16 STAAR assessments for grades 3-8 did not comply with mandatory provisions of the Texas Education Code limiting the time length of the assessments. The parents also seek injunctive relief enjoining the TEA from using the invalid assessments to impose a wide range of consequences to parents across the state, including campus closures and student retention. The TEA sought to dismiss the parents’ suit for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear a challenge to the TEA’s administration of the tests and that the parents lacked standing to bring their claims. The trial court disagreed, denying the TEA’s plea to the jurisdiction. On appeal, the Third Court affirmed the denial, holding that the parents’ lawsuit properly alleges that the TEA acted outside of its legal authority and that the parents have standing to enjoin the TEA from imposing 2015-16 STAAR-related consequences on their children. The Third Court’s ruling allows the parents to proceed on their suit against the TEA, now pending in Travis County District Court.

Arnold & Placek P.C. partner R. Scott Placek, of counsel Kyle M. Jones, and associate Jonathan Chaltain represent the parents in the trial court; Mr. Placek, Mr. Chaltain, partner Matthew Foerster, and senior counsel Scott K. Arnold represented the parents and submitted the briefing on appeal.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Prevails on Summary Judgment Regarding Insurance Coverage for Pre-Natal Injuries, in Case of First Impression for Texas

Written by A&P News on March 20th, 2018. Posted in Employer's Liability, News

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Prevails on Summary Judgment Regarding Insurance Coverage for Pre-Natal Injuries, in Case of First Impression for Texas

Judge Gray Miller for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, recently ruled for Arnold & Placek, P.C. on cross-motions for summary judgment concerning an insurance coverage dispute over a pre-natal injury. A pregnant employee, while working for a group home for disabled children, was struck in the stomach. She later sued the group home in Texas state court on behalf of her child, who was born prematurely with mental and physical injuries. While the employers’ liability carrier assumed defense of the group home in the underlying lawsuit, the group home’s commercial general liability carrier denied both defense and indemnity. On cross-motions for summary judgment, Arnold & Placek P.C., on behalf of the employers’ liability carrier, argued that the general liability carrier shared a duty to defend because the child was alleged to suffer an injury, in part, that was not a result of any injury to the parent-employee. The court granted the employers’ liability carrier’s motion and denied the general liability carrier’s motion, holding that the general liability carrier had a duty to share in the defense of the group home in the underlying lawsuit.

This is the first written opinion in Texas addressing insurance coverage of pre-natal injuries sustained while the parent-employee was in the course of their employment. The court’s opinion can be found at https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/texas/txsdce/4:2017cv00886/1419773/28/.

Arnold & Placek P.C. partner R. Scott Placek represented the employers liability carrier in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, with briefing on the cross-motions for summary judgment also worked on by senior counsel Scott K. Arnold and associate Jonathan Chaltain.