TEXAS SUPREME COURT TO DECIDE SEAT BELT ISSUE Can a Texas defendant offer evidence to the jury to prove that a plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt was a proximate cause of her injuries? The Supreme Court of Texas will decide this issue in Nabors Well Services, Ltd. V. Romero. The El Paso Court of Appeals decided that the trial court properly excluded evidence that the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seat belt was a contributing cause of the damages sought by the plaintiff. The Court of Appeals reasoned that because the plaintiff’s failure to wear a seatbelt is not a contributing cause of the accident, then the evidence cannot be used to prove contributory negligence. The Court further reasoned that because the failure to wear a seat belt occurs before the injury, such failure does not fit within the failure to mitigate damages defense. Consequently, the evidence is not relevant to any particular defenses and is not admissible. On March 21, 2014, the Court granted the defendant’s petition for review, which means the … Continue reading
Touchstone Bernays attorneys Christian P. Shippee, Heather Bocell, and Lauren Borgan have been named 2013 Texas Rising Stars®. Law & Politics magazine produces the Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars® lists. Rising Stars® recognizes the top up-and-coming lawyers who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less. Rising Stars® is published in 18 states. Mr. Shippee’s practice focuses on professional liability defense, employment litigation, commercial litigation, premises liability, and personal injury defense. He earned his law degree from University of Texas School of Law with honors. This is Mr. Shippee’s third year to be selected as a Rising Star®. Ms. Bocell’s practice focuses on premises liability, personal injury defense, and general civil litigation. She earned her law degree from Southern Methodist University. Ms. Borgan’s practice focuses primarily on insurance coverage, including coverage opinions and coverage litigation. She also works as part of the firm’s appellate practice for general litigation. She earned her law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona.