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.

Arnold & Placek Obtains Judgment of $148,000 for Additional Premium

Written by A&P News on May 22nd, 2012. Posted in Premium

419th District Court, Travis County 

Arnold & Placek, P.C. successfully obtained a judgment today of nearly $150,000 on behalf of Texas Mutual Insurance Company.  The case arises from Texas Mutual’s claims that Covington Wireless, Inc., a satellite television installation company, did not report the payroll for a significant portion of their installers, thus obtaining workers’ compensation insurance at an artificially reduced price.  On summary judgment, Arnold & Placek demonstrated that the payroll that should have been properly disclosed and included in the premium calculations resulted in an additional premium of over $100,000.  The Court agreed, entered summary judgment for Texas Mutual and awarded it attorney’s fees on its breach of contract claims for a total judgment of just over $148,000.  Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Kyle Jones of Arnold & Placek. Kyle Jones argued and obtained the ruling on summary judgment for Texas Mutual.

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Eastland Mandamus

Written by A&P News on April 13th, 2012. Posted in Appeals, Judicial Review

The Texas Supreme Court today denied the Motion for Rehearing of Amerimex Drilling I, Ltd. in its request for mandamus review of the Eastland Court of Appeals decision in In re Texas Mutual Ins. Co.. In 2010, the Eastland Court of Appeals granted the petition for writ of mandamus filed by Arnold & Placek on behalf of Texas Mutual, holding that employers do not have a general right of standing to intervene in judicial review suits by their employees. The Eastland Court held that standing in a workers’ compensation suit must have a statutory basis. Accordingly, the Eastland court instructed the trial judge to dismiss Amerimex’s petition in intervention.

Amerimex then filed a petition for writ of mandamus asking the Supreme Court to reinstate their suit. The Supreme Court denied the petition on September 30, 2011, and denied the motion for rehearing today. Texas Mutual was represented by Scott Placek and Scott Arnold of Arnold & Placek, and by the firm of Graves, Dougherty, Hearon and Moody.

Arnold & Placek, P.C. Obtains Judgment that Impairment Benefits Cannot be Awarded for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Written by A&P News on April 11th, 2011. Posted in Judicial Review

274th District Court, Comal County

Arnold & Placek, P.C. today obtained a complete summary judgment on Texas Mutual’s appeal from an adverse decision of the Division of Workers’ Compensation in this judicial review action.  The claimant filed for workers’ compensation after witnessing the aftermath of a break in at the animal shelter where she was employed.  Texas Mutual accepted the claim and the claimant was eventually diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”). A designated doctor gave her a 35% whole person impairment rating based solely on her PTSD. The DWC upheld the designated doctor’s determination.

On appeal to the district court, Arnold & Placek filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of Texas Mutual, arguing that it was impermissible for the DWC to award any impairment rating for PTSD.  The court agreed and, in granting a full judgment for Texas Mutual, held that a claimant’s impairment rating, by statute, must be based on the American Medical Association’s guidelines, and those guidelines specifically state that it is not possible to assign an impairment rating for mental disorders such as PTSD.  Thus, the Court held that her impairment rating was 0%, as found by a second doctor that had evaluated the claimant.  Kyle Jones argued and obtained the summary judgment for Texas Mutual.