R. Scott Placek has been Selected to the 2019 Texas Super Lawyers List

Written by dknight on September 6th, 2019. Posted in News

R. Scott Placek has been selected to the 2019 Texas Super Lawyers list. Mr. Placek is the managing partner of Arnold & Placek, P.C., a litigation law firm which serves the Austin and Hill Country areas from its offices in Round Rock and Burnet. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

Arnold & Placek Prevails on Summary Judgment and Obtains Dismissal of Judicial Review Appeal in Wilson County

Written by A&P News on January 30th, 2019. Posted in Judicial Review, News

Arnold & Placek prevails on summary judgment and obtains dismissal of judicial review appeal in Wilson County.

The Honorable Judge Russell Wilson entered judgment today on Texas Mutual’s summary judgment, dismissing in its entirety a judicial review lawsuit brought by a claimant. The lawsuit originated with a claimant that alleged he slipped and fell at work, hitting his head and purportedly causing multiple injuries. Texas Mutual disputed the claim in part on the grounds that the alleged accident never occurred. At the Division of Workers’ Compensation, the hearing officer agreed with Texas Mutual and found that claimant did not suffer an accident causing the injuries he alleged. The claimant appealed the decision to district court in Wilson County. After extensive discovery, Texas Mutual moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the claimant could not establish that the accident ever occurred and, even if he did, that any injuries occurred. After conducting a hearing and considering argument of counsel, Judge Wilson agreed and granted Texas Mutual’s summary judgment, dismissing the claimant’s judicial review appeal and all his claims. The dismissal has been appealed and Arnold & Placek is currently handling the appeal on behalf of Texas Mutual.

Arnold & Placek Of Counsel Attorney, Kyle Jones, represented Texas Mutual in the district court litigation and obtained the summary judgment.

Kyle M. Jones

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.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. wins summary judgment and affirmance on appeal in wrongful death case applying doctrine of issue preclusion.

Written by A&P News on February 1st, 2018. Posted in Appeals, Employer's Liability

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston, Texas today affirmed summary judgment for an employer that was the defendant in a wrongful death suit arising from a tank explosion. The decease employee was not formally married, but two women each claimed to be his common-law spouse and filed claims for workers’ compensation death benefits. The Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation held a hearing and determined that no common-law marriage existed. One of the women then filed a wrongful death suit against the employer seeking punitive damages as the surviving spouse. The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, which the court of appeals affirmed, because the same issue that was dispositive of plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim—that no common-law marriage existed—was also dispositive of plaintiff’s standing to sue for wrongful death as the surviving spouse. The court of appeals also affirmed summary judgment on the “survival claim” that plaintiff brought as the administrator of the estate, because workers’ compensation benefits are the exclusive remedy for any compensable death, and a survival claim is nothing more than the deceased employee’s claim for personal injury damages.

This is the first case in Texas applying the doctrine of issue preclusion (collateral estoppel) to a final decision by the Division of Workers’ Compensation on the question of whether a common-law marriage existed prior to an employee’s death. The case is In re Estate of Howard, No. 14-16-00676-CV, __ S.W.3d __ (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 1, 2018).

Arnold & Placek, P.C. partners Scott Placek and Matthew Foerster represented the employer in the trial court and in the court of appeals.