Arnold & Placek, P.C. Secures Another Dismissal on Mandamus

Written by A&P News on November 12th, 2010. Posted in Appeals, Judicial Review

11th Court of Appeals, Eastland, Texas

In an opinion handed down earlier today, the Eastland Court of Appeals granted the Petition for Writ of Mandamus filed by Arnold & Placek on behalf of its client, Texas Mutual Insurance Company. The case, In re Texas Mutual Ins. Co., et al, arose out of a suit for judicial review in the 188th District Court for Howard County. The employer intervened into an existing judicial review suit, attempting to seek review of DWC determination of non-compensability for other employees in the same accident. After Judge Robert Moore denied Texas Mutual’s Plea to the Jurisdiction, mandamus proceedings were instituted. The 11th Court of Appeals held that an employer has no standing to challenge the denial of compensability by their carrier, or to appeal a determination of non-compensability at the DWC. As a result, the court dismissed the petition in intervention of Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd., and ordered the trial court to dismiss the intervention by December 1, 2010.

This case is significant because it is the first case to directly examine the full scope of an employer’s standing to contest DWC determinations. The Eastland court looked first and foremost to the plain language of the statute to determine that no general standing exists for employers. In its opinion, the Eastland court considered, and rejected, each of the major arguments typically asserted by employers who attempt to institute judicial reviews. They further distinguished the Tyler Asphalt case, that many employers improperly rely upon for the proposition that payment of workers’ compensation premium establishes general standing for the employer to litigate claims before the DWC and in district court. The full opinion is available here.

Arnold & Placek Releases Article for Texas Comp Adjusters

Written by A&P News on October 22nd, 2010. Posted in Publications

The October 2010 edition of Arnold & Placek, P.C.’s occasional publication Outside Counsel features a new article by Scott Placek aimed at Texas workers’ compensation adjusters.  Titled “Take the Target Off Your Back”, the article offers twelve specific tips for Texas claims handlers to consider in investigating and managing workers’ compensation claims.  The article draws on the extensive trial and appellate experience of Arnold & Placek, and reflects both the current state of the law and anticipated developments that carriers and adjusters should consider.

The Outside Counsel publication is available to carriers, TPAs and licensed adjusters without charge.  To obtain a copy of the article, please e-mail Brandon McKay at bmckay ‘at’ arnoldplacek.com

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Obtains Dismissal of Bad Faith Claim on Mandamus Petition

Written by A&P News on July 26th, 2010. Posted in Appeals, Bad Faith

14th Court of Appeals, Houston, Texas

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today successfully obtained the full dismissal of all bad faith claims asserted against Texas Mutual Insurance Company by Adrian Harding. Mr. Harding suffered an on the job injury. After a brief dispute of his extent of injury, Harding sued Texas Mutual for delay of his surgery – despite the fact that he had never requested surgery while his dispute was pending.

After the trial court denied Texas Mutual’s Plea to the Jurisdiction, Arnold & Placek filed a petition for writ of mandamus arguing that the Brazoria County District Court had abused its discretion in denying the plea. After hearing oral argument, the 14th Court of Appeals agreed, and in a thorough and well reasoned opinion, explained that a worker cannot avoid seeking their DWC remedies during a pending dispute, and later claim the dispute caused them damages. Adrian Harding was represented in the trial court by Michael Doyle and Patrick Dennis with the firm of Doyle, Raizner LLP. Scott Placek represented Texas Mutual and argued the case before the 14th Court of Appeals.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Obtains Summary Judgment on Bad Faith Claim

Written by A&P News on July 23rd, 2010. Posted in Bad Faith, Trial

67th District Court for Tarrant County, Texas

Arnold & Placek, P.C. obtained a summary judgment on behalf of the Travelers Group in a workers’ compensation bad faith claim, establishing, as a matter of law that there was no bad faith on the part of Travelers.  Thomas Sauvlet sued Travelers in Tarrant County, Texas contending that their dispute of his unwitnessed bathroom slip and fall accident was a breach of the duty of good faith.  Through carefully tailored discovery, Arnold & Placek was able to establish that, as a matter of law, a reasonable basis existed to dispute the claim.  Judge Don Cosby granted Travelers summary judgment after Arnold & Placek had previously obtained the dismissal of an identical suit Sauvlet had filed in Dallas County.  Kyle Jones represented the Travelers Group.

Dallas County Jury Returns Unanimous Carrier Verdict in LIBS Case

Written by A&P News on June 20th, 2010. Posted in Judicial Review, Trial

14th District Court for Dallas County, Texas

Arnold & Placek, P.C. obtained a unanimous jury verdict for Texas Mutual Insurance Company, overturning the Division of Workers’ Compensation’s award of Lifetime Income Benefits to Javier Esparza.  Mr. Esparza, who was one of two survivors of a 10 fatality auto accident, suffered the amputation of one leg and an injury to his right arm.  The DWC found that Esparza had total loss of use of the right arm, and awarded lifetime income benefits – an estimated future expense of over $1,000,000.  Based on the medical evidence and surveillance video, Arnold & Placek was able to establish that, in fact, Esparza had sufficient use of his right arm that he could get and keep employment requiring the use of the arm.  Scott Placek and Kyle Jones represented Texas Mutual at trial.  Javier Esparza was represented by Randell Johnson.  Judge Eric Moyé presided over the trial.