On Dec. 18, 2013, a jury awarded $1,500 to a Pizza Hut delivery driver on his sexual and racial harassment claims, but he won’t see any of it. Jamel Blanton worked at the restaurant in San Antonio, and he claimed his female general manager harassed him. Because the jury also found that the defendants had an effective policy to prevent sexual and racial harassment and that Blanton unreasonably failed to take advantage of the policy, he took nothing. The employee handbook said that an employee being harassed by his supervisor should report the harassment to the supervisor’s supervisor. Blanton acknowledged that he had not read this policy. The general manager was fired after an investigation.
Blanton v. Pizza Hut of San Antonio Number 6 Inc., No. 5:12-cv-01103-XR
Court: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio
Plaintiff Attorney: Robert G. Lee, Lee & Braziel, Dallas
Defense Attorneys: Barry A. McClenahan and Shan Marie Calkins Egliskis, The McClenahan Law Firm, San Antonio
A doctor who performed a laparoscopic hysterectomy wasn’t to blame for hernias and a bowel obstruction following surgery, a jury found on Jan. 9. Erin Tanner underwent the surgery performed by Dr. Ruben Victores. Days later she was diagnosed with two abdominal hernias and a small bowel obstruction. She claimed that Victores’ failure to suture certain areas of the abdomen led to the hernias. The defense argued that abdominal hernias and small bowel obstructions are a known risk of the surgery and they sometimes occur even if the areas in question are sutured.
Tanner v. Victores, No. B-188,839
Court: 60th District Court, Jefferson County
Plaintiff Attorney: Craig Lewis, The Lewis Law Firm, Houston
Defense Attorneys: David J. McTaggart and Carol Verbeek, Shepherd, Scott, Clawater & Houston, Houston
A driver and passenger on Nov. 11, 2013 settled for $30,200 for their alleged injuries in a collision. Lionel Harris and his sister Ricci collided with Adam Wayne Graves. Graves attempted a left turn into a driveway and hit their left front quarter panel. Lionel went to the emergency room on the day after the accident. He claimed a herniated lumbar disk. He followed up with a chiropractor for about three months. Ricci claimed claimed cervical and left shoulder sprains and strains and whiplash. She went to a chiropractor for three or four weeks, about three times a week. Lionel settled for $22,500, and Ricci settled for $7,700.
Harris v. Graves, No. 70314
Court: 412th District Court, Brazoria County
Plaintiff Attorney: Deborah E. Bryant, Law Office of Deborah E. Bryant, Houston
Defense Attorney: Wade B. Williams, Lewis & Williams, Galveston
A passenger who claimed a shoulder injury when her parked pickup truck was struck by a sedan was awarded $3,500 on Jan. 14. Tracey Ellis was struck by Gerald Gambichler who was backing out of his driveway. Ellis claimed right shoulder sprains and strains, with acromioclavicular joint impingement. Ellis underwent a shoulder MRI, which showed degenerative changes and impingement of the acromioclavicular joint. Her attorney argued for a total award of $39,129.58. Defense counsel noted that Ellis’ prior medical records included right shoulder complaints and a diagnosis of acromioclavicular joint impingement. Also, photos showed minor damage to the vehicles, defense counsel noted.
Ellis v. Gambichler, No. 2011-68385
Court: 127th District Court, Harris County
Plaintiff Attorney: Bonnie Rogers, The Weycer Law Firm, Houston
Defense Attorney: Karl D. Drews, Cooper, Jackson & Boanerges, Houston
A driver who claimed two herniated cervical disks in a rear-ender was awarded $33,600 on Dec. 2, 2013. Charlotte L. Martin made a left turn out of a parking lot into the center turn lane of a street. She came to a stop when traffic in the lanes to her right prevented her from merging. Marcy L. Messer, driving a full-size sport utility vehicle, rear-ended Martin. Martin went to the emergency room on her own on the day of the accident and was treated and released. She claimed two herniated disks in her neck and an elbow bruise from hitting the door. She also said she bit her tongue on impact. She saw a chiropractor and an orthopedic surgeon and underwent epidural steroid injections.
Martin v. Messer, No. A193348
Court: 58th District Court, Jefferson County
Plaintiff Attorney: Ryan C. Scott, The Scott Law Firm, Beaumont
Defense Attorney: Jay A. McKendree, Soule, Baldwin & Fanaff, Houston
A man who claimed that he injured his back in a fall in a restaurant bathroom agreed to a $12,500 settlement on Dec. 11, 2013. Jose Cantarereo was at La Michoacana Meat Market when he leaned on a bathroom sink and it gave way from the wall. He claimed a protruding disk at L4-5 with compression of the L5 right nerve head. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that the restaurant failed to sufficiently maintain the restroom, causing the sink to become loose enough to fall off when subjected to ordinary use.
Cantarero v. Progreso LLC, No. CL-12-4149-D
Court: County Court-at-Law No. 4, Hidalgo County
Plaintiff Attorney: Jeffrey J. Grime, Law Office of William Bonilla, Corpus Christi
Defense Attorney: William H. Luck, Jr., Law Offices of William H. Luck Jr., Houston