Posts Tagged ‘Travis County’

Arnold & Placek Sues TEA On Behalf of Parents Challenging 2016 STAAR Results

Written by A&P News on May 22nd, 2016. Posted in News

Arnold & Placek, P.C. has filed suit against Texas Education Agency commissioner Mike Morath for declaratory judgment relating to the failure of the TEA to comply with the requirements of HB 743 in the design of STAAR assessments administered to over 2,000,000 Texas students in grades 3-8.  Four parents of Texas students subject to penalties resulting from these illegal assessments are asking a Travis County district court to declare that these assessments do not comply with section 39.023 of the Education Code. They are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief to prevent the TEA from penalizing, or requiring that districts penalize, students based on these illegally obtained results. They are seeking to prevent the results from being used for district or campus level accountability as well.

In 2015, the Texas legislature passed legislation requiring that the STAAR assessments be designed in such a way that (a) 85% of students in grades 3-5 could finish the assessments in less than two hours, and (b) 85% of students in grades 6-8 could finish the assessments in less than three hours.  Governor Abbot signed the bill into law on June 19, 2015.  Because the law was passed on an emergency basis, it took effect immediately.

However, when Texas students took the assessments over nine months later, the TEA had failed to change the design of the assessments, relying on the previous design with a four hour completion time.  Existing time studies demonstrate that the TEA knew these assessments would not be in compliance with HB 743.  Despite this, the TEA is insisting that school districts use the results to promote and retain students, assign them to summer school or other extra instruction, and that the districts themselves be rated for accountability purposes using the results from these illegally designed assessments.

Additional information regarding this suit is available below.

Press Conference:

Monday, May 23, 2016
10:30 a.m.
Outside the TEA Offices at 1701 N. Congress Ave., Austin, Texas

The press conference will be held on the sidewalk on the northeast corner of the intersection of 17th and Congress (the southwest corner of the block containing the TEA offices)

Availability:  Scott Placek, lead counsel for Plaintiffs; Ben Becker, Chairman, Committee to Stop STAAR

Media inquiries should be referred to Ben Becker at 254-744-5174.

Media Resources

The Committee to Stop STAAR has established a website at www.stopstaar.org to track the progress of the litigation.  The committee website is not affiliated with Arnold & Placek, P.C.

Committee to Stop STAAR Press Release (5/22/16)

Plaintiff’s Original Petition in Lewis et al. v. Morath

Prepared Remarks of Scott Placek on Filing of HB 743 Litigation

Arnold & Placek Obtains Complete Dismissal of Plaintiff’s Statutory and Common-Law Bad Faith Claims

Written by A&P News on July 2nd, 2012. Posted in Bad Faith

98th District Court, Travis County

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today prevailed on special exceptions which resulted in the Court striking all of Plaintiff’s claims against Texas Mutual. The Plaintiff, James Jones, filed claims including breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, violations of the insurance code, violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Mr. Jones’ claims stemmed from a dispute Texas Mutual filed at the Division of Workers’ Compensation regarding whether the Plaintiff’s compensable injury extended to one of his shoulders. Even though Mr. Jones did not seek treatment for his shoulder for many months after the accident, he claimed that Texas Mutual’s administrative dispute delayed him from seeking treatment when he was ready to finally have surgery performed on it.

On special exceptions, Arnold & Placek successfully argued to the Court that all of Mr. Jones’ statutory and common law bad faith claims were precluded, as a matter of law, under the Texas Supreme Court’s recent decision on rehearing in Ruttiger v. Texas Mutual Insurance Company, which was issued only ten days prior to the hearing. The Court agreed, striking all of Mr. Jones’ bad faith claims, and also finding that his allegations of delays in claims handling were insufficient to support his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. As a result, all of Mr. Jones’ claims against Texas Mutual were struck. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Kyle Jones of Arnold & Placek. Kyle Jones argued and obtained the ruling on special exceptions for Texas Mutual.

Arnold & Placek Obtains Judgment of Over $3,700,000

Written by A&P News on June 13th, 2012. Posted in Premium, Trial

261st District Court, Travis County

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today prevailed on summary judgment on behalf of its client and obtained a judgment of $3,712,042.00 and an additional $51,228.37 in attorney’s fees from the Defendant Pegasus Transportation Group, Inc. In the case, Arnold & Placek represented Texas Mutual on its claims against Pegasus, a trucking company, related to additional premiums owed on a series of workers’ compensation policies issued by Texas Mutual. Texas Mutual alleged that Pegasus had under-reported its payroll, thus obtaining workers’ compensation at a much lower premium than is prescribed by law. On summary judgment, Arnold & Placek demonstrated that the additional payroll which should have been disclosed to Texas Mutual would have resulted in additional premium of over $3.7 million. The Court agreed and also awarded Texas Mutual its attorney’s fees in having to pursue the breach of contract claims. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek, Kyle Jones and Matthew Foerster of Arnold & Placek. Matthew Foerster argued and obtained the ruling on summary judgment for Texas Mutual.