Partner James Bertsch and associate Tim Smith obtained an early dismissal for two construction clients from a multi-party lawsuit arising from a personal injury suffered by the plaintiff on a commercial construction project. They successfully argued that both of their clients, the general contractor and a sub-contractor, were entitled to the same immunity (workers compensation exclusive remedy) from the lawsuit as plaintiff’s employer since there was a Contractor Controlled Insurance Program in effect on the project in which both the general contractor and sub-contractor were enrolled.
Touchstone Bernays is pleased and honored to announce that Christian Shippee and Heather Drake Bocell have become partners in the firm. Christian is a 2001 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law and has been with the firm since 2008. Although he defends a wide variety of civil cases, he devotes a large part of his practice to professional liability claims and employment litigation, including Title VII, ADA, and ADEA. Christian has been selected as a Rising Star by Texas Monthly for the years 2012-2015. Heather Drake Bocell is a 2004 graduate of SMU Law School and has been with the firm since 2007. Although Heather defends a wide variety of civil cases, she devotes a large part of her practice to premises liability claims. Heather has been selected as a Rising Star by Texas Monthly for the years 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Touchstone Bernays proudly welcomes five new attorneys to the firm. Sarika Patel and Natalie Myers are both 2013 graduates from Texas Tech School of Law. Sarika received her undergraduate degree from Austin College and Natalie received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University. Jared Price is also an alumni of Texas Tech School of Law, graduating in 2015 magna cum laude, and received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech as well. Linda Villa has over 14 years of experience in coverage law and insurance defense litigation. She graduated from St. Mary’s School of Law after receiving her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas. Jeffrey Nanson is an alumni of SMU Dedman School of Law and received his Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Dallas.
On August 28, 2015, after a five day trial in which defendant stipulated liability for a serious motor vehicle collision between a tanker truck and a passenger car occurring on Interstate 35, a LaSalle County jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff, but awarded much less than sought in recovery. The car operated by defendant, a construction project manager on his way to Laredo, crossed the highway median and collided with plaintiff’s truck traveling northbound at highway speed resulting in a complete shutdown of the northbound lanes of the highway. Plaintiff was the driver of the tanker truck involved in the collision, and he claimed to have suffered significant injuries as a result of the collision which would require both neck and back surgery, and significantly limit his future ability to earn a living as a truck driver. The jury declined to award damages of $2,000,000 as suggested by plaintiff’s counsel, but instead awarded total damages of $260,625. Counsel for defendant suggested to the jury that the evidence established damages of $115,585. Partner Bart … Continue reading
Partners Wayne Gordon and Amie Fordan successfully obtained a summary judgment in favor of their manufacturing client on a product liability case arising out of a house fire in Galveston, Texas. Plaintiff had alleged the fire was caused by a defective battery in a golf cart stored in the garage which caused extensive damage to their home and contents. Plaintiff was unable to create a fact issue on any defect in the battery or that the battery was the cause of the fire. In a different suit, partners Wayne Gordon and Amie Fordan successfully upheld on appeal a summary judgment granted to their manufacturer client by the trial court in a product liability case arising out of a 18 wheeler accident in Dallas. The plaintiff had alleged the accident was caused by a blowout due to a defective tire. The trial court granted summary judgment on the basis that no fact issue was established by the plaintiff of either the defect or causation. The appellate court recently upheld the summary judgment.