Arnold & Placek wins summary judgment in judicial review case affirming the principle that an alleged beneficiary must diligently pursue her claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Written by A&P News on November 11th, 2015. Posted in Judicial Review

269th Judicial District, Harris County, Texas

Arnold & Placek, P.C. won summary judgment, ending a plaintiff’s lawsuit for judicial review of a Division of Workers’ Compensation’s decision. The plaintiff claimed to be a beneficiary entitled to death benefits as a common-law spouse, but she never filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits until a year after the filing deadline. The plaintiff and her team of lawyers asserted a wide variety of legal and equitable theories in the judicial review suit, including that “good cause” excused her late filing because they “had to” litigate probate and wrongful-death claims before proceeding with a workers’ compensation claim.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. filed a motion for summary judgment because none of the plaintiff’s theories satisfied the standard for good cause, which exists only when a beneficiary has exercised the degree of diligence that an ordinarily prudent person would have exercised under similar circumstances. Arnold & Placek also asserted that the claimant’s representation by counsel defeated the reliance element of her estoppel claim. The district court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s suit. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Matthew Foerster of Arnold & Placek. Matthew Foerster argued the summary judgment motion for the carrier.

Arnold & Placek Obtains Dismissal of Claims for Death Benefits on Plea to Jurisdiction.

Written by A&P News on October 15th, 2015. Posted in Judicial Review

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today obtained a dismissal of all of a plaintiff’s claims for death benefits against Texas Mutual in Harris County Probate Court. The claimant originally filed for workers’ compensation death benefits after the decedent was killed when he fell from a ladder while cleaning gutters at a residence. Texas Mutual disputed the claim on the basis that the decedent was not in the course of employment to Texas Mutual’s policyholder, but rather was employed by a co-worker’s side business which performed handyman services. At the time of the accident, the decedent was performing those services while working on the residential premises of the policyholder’s owner. Texas Mutual prevailed at the Division of Workers’ Compensation.

After the claimant appealed to the probate court, Arnold & Placek filed a plea to the jurisdiction on behalf of Texas Mutual, arguing that the probate’s court is limited to only certain matters related to the decedents estate. Arnold & Placek further argued that the judicial review action, which by law can only be brought by the purported beneficiary, was wholly unrelated to any claim by the estate– therefore, the probate court had no jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims against Texas Mutual. The court agreed and dismissed all the claims against the insurer. The probate court litigation was handled by Scott Placek, Kyle Jones and Jonathan Chaltain. Kyle Jones argued the plea the jurisdiction for Texas Mutual.

Arnold & Placek obtains mandamus relief directing district court to dismiss employer’s coverage suit against Texas Mutual Insurance Company.

Written by A&P News on August 15th, 2015. Posted in Appeals

Ninth Court of Appeals, Texas

When an injury occurs during an alleged gap between two workers’ compensation insurance policies, the Division of Workers’ Compensation has exclusive jurisdiction to determine whether a carrier must pay benefits or reimburse the employer for medical expenses incurred in connection with the injury. That was the opinion of the Beaumont Court of Appeals on Texas Mutual Insurance Company’s petition for writ of mandamus, after the district court abused its discretion in denying Texas Mutual’s motion to dismiss a coverage lawsuit brought by the employer. The per curiam opinion was the first appellate decision applying the Texas Supreme Court’s seminal holding in In re Crawford & Company that the Workers’ Compensation Act’s process and remedies for disputes over benefits or the “investigation, handling or settlement of a claim” are “exclusive” of all other remedies. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Matthew Foerster at both the district and appellate levels. The petition for writ of mandamus was conditionally granted without oral argument.

In re Texas Mutual Ins. Co., No. 09-15-00265-CV, 2015 WL 4760174 (Tex. App.—Beaumont Aug. 13, 2015, orig. proceeding).

Arnold & Placek Secures Voluntary Dismissal of All Claims Against Local Hotel Owner.

Written by A&P News on June 15th, 2015. Posted in News

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today obtained a dismissal of all of a plaintiff’s claims against a local hotel owner in Williamson County Court. The plaintiff originally claimed that the hotel had violated an agreement under which the plaintiff agreed to help renegotiate a large SBA loan obtained by the hotel owner. The hotel owner claimed that, due to the plaintiff’s unconscionable actions, it had to fire the plaintiff and renegotiate the terms of repaying the loan itself. The hotel owner further claimed that the plaintiff’s improper acts excused the hotel from having to compensate plaintiff.

Unsatisfied with the progress made by its original counsel, the hotel retained Arnold & Placek, P.C. to represent it. Arnold & Placek immediately engaged in intensive discovery and motion practice, resulting in the Court ordering monetary sanctions against the plaintiff. As a direct result of obtaining those sanctions, Arnold & Placek was able to negotiate a settlement of the entire litigation which involved the hotel paying no money to the plaintiff and getting a dismissal of all claims against it. The litigation was handled by Scott Placek and Kyle Jones. Kyle Jones argued the motion for sanctions and handled the negotiations.

Arnold & Placek Welcomes Jonathan Chaltain to its Team of Attorneys

Written by A&P News on September 12th, 2013. Posted in News

Arnold & Placek is proud to announce that Jonathan Chaltain is joining the firm as an associate attorney. Jon graduated with honors from both the University of Texas at Austin (with a degree in Asian Studies) and the University of Texas School of Law where he was a member of the Texas Law Review . For the past two years, Jon served as a briefing attorney for the Honorable Justice Terry Jennings of the Texas First Court of Appeals, where he assisted in drafting numerous opinions covering a variety of legal issues . Jon’s strong academic and professional credentials reflect Arnold & Placek’s commitment to excellence in its professional staff. Please join us in welcoming Jon to the firm.