New trial and discovery rules will take effect on March 1, 2013 for cases in which plaintiffs seek monetary relief of a total sum of $100,000 or less. For cases to which these new rules apply, the plaintiff cannot recover any judgment that exceeds $100,000, the trial of such action may take no longer than 5 hours per side, and the permitted discovery is limited. The Texas Association of Defense Counsel opposes these Rules because the rules are compulsory and allow the plaintiffs to unilaterally force the defendants to litigate under the expedited rules.
Congratulations to Ron Johnson, Mark Smith, Wayne Gordon, Rocky Feemster, James Bertsch, and Michael Tanner, all of whom have been named as 2012 Texas Super Lawyers®. Super Lawyers® are selected through a rigorous, multiphase rating process, which includes independent research and peer evaluations. These outstanding attorneys have attained success in their field, uphold all ethical standards, and are recognized by their peers for their achievements. Only 5% of the attorneys in Texas are named as Super Lawyers®.
Touchstone partner Wayne Gordon and associate Amie Fordan successfully obtained a summary judgment and upheld such summary judgment on appeal on behalf of an elected official. The elected official was a county judge and had been sued for defamation and tortious interference with a contract by a business owner who claimed the actions and remarks by the county judge were false and had harmed his reputation and caused damage to his business interests. Gordon and Fordan have successfully handled numerous claims and suits against governmental entities and officials.
Touchstone managing partner Ron Johnson and associate Christian Shippee obtained judgment in favor of an athletic facility in a wrongful death lawsuit. The parents of a youth who died while participating in a basketball tournament brought suit alleging that the facility was negligent for failing to have medical personnel present or an AED on hand and for ineffective ingress and egress for emergency responders. The federal court granted summary judgment in favor of the facility, holding that the failure to have medical personnel or an AED were allegations of negligent activity, not a premises defect, and the facility could not be sued for negligent activity when it was merely the venue for the basketball tournament. The court also found that there was no ineffective ingress or egress or any other dangerous condition or defect on the premises of the facility.
Ron Johnson and Christian Shippee successfully defend a charter school in a worker’s compensation retaliation suit by a former employee. The court granted a plea to the jurisdiction after it was successfully argued that, due to recent changes in the law, political subdivisions are entitled to governmental immunity and charter schools are considered political subdivisions for purposes of immunities. Ron Johnson and Christian Shippee successfully defended a religious institution in an administrative action and suit filed by a former employee. After being terminated, a teacher in the institution’s preschool sought unemployment benefits and damages for breach of her employment contract. In a hearing before an administrative law judge, Mr. Johnson successfully argued that the religious institution’s preschool was considered a “church” as defined by statute and, therefore, exempt from Texas’s unemployment law. Mr. Johnson also demonstrated that Plaintiff’s termination was not in breach of her employment contract, and she subsequently dismissed all of her claims.