EMPLOYMENT

Worker claiming sexual harassment settles for $43,000

A worker at a dry cleaner who claimed her boss sexually harassed her agreed to a $43,000 settlement on June 25. Belinda Ayalay was an assembler and presser at Oasis Dry Cleaners in McAllen. She claimed that the general manager put his hands on her, rubbed his body against her, made sexual comments and showed her pornographic material. She complained to a supervisor, and then her hours were reduced. Less than a month after filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she was fired.

EEOC v. Mora, No. 7:11-cv-00290

Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Pablo J. Almaguer, Edinburg; David C. Rivela and Judith G. Taylor, EEOC, San Antonio; Kathryn J. Youker, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Inc., Brownsville

Defense Attorney: James P. Grissom, Law Office of James P. Grissom, McAllen

MOTOR VEHICLE

Jury awards $4,700 to plaintiff claiming neck and back injuries

A driver who claimed cervical and lumbar strains in a rear-ender was awarded $4,700 on June 25. In 2008, Keara Thompson was rear-ended by Donal McCoy who was driving a sport utility vehicle. Thompson claimed that she was stopped at a red light and he hit her because he fell asleep at the wheel, which he denied. Thompson underwent chiropractice treatment that cost $4,939. The defense’s chiropractic expert opined that Thompson’s medical expenses were excessive and that 10 days of treatment and $2,189 in charges were reasonable.

Thompson v. McCoy, No. 429-03834-2010

Court: 249th District Court, Collin County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Tyler Carleton, Ben Abbott PC, Garland

Defense Attorney: Young Christian Jenkins, G. Patrick Collins & Associates, Dallas

Jury awards $55,734 for injuries in rear-ender

On June 26, a jury awarded $55,734 to a woman who claimed a concussion and a bulging disk in a rear-ender. Margaret O’Donnell was struck by an uninsured motorist. She sued her insurer, Allstate County Mutual Insurance Co., when it disputed her damages claim. She claimed memory problems and said she was forced to quit her job. She asked the jury for nearly $350,000. Defense counsel argued that she only sustained soft-tissue injuries. The defense suggested an award of the medical bills, plus $35,000 for pain and suffering.

O’Donnell v. Allstate County Mutual Insurance Co., No. 236-248134-10

Court: 236th District Court, Tarrant County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Jason C.N. Smith and Art Brender, Law Offices of Art Brender, Fort Worth

Defense Attorneys: Jason Bowes and Young Christian Jenkins, G. Patrick Collins & Associates, Dallas

NURSING HOMES

Retirement home hit with $2.2 million verdict for resident’s fall

An elderly woman who fell at an assisted living complex and wasn’t discovered for nearly 24 hours was awarded $2.2 million on June 22. Edna Anderson was discovered by relatives in her apartment at the Parkwood Retirement Community. She claimed that she fell the day before and that there was no response to her use of her emergency call device. Anderson claimed that due to her extended immobility she developed rhabdomyolysis and a urinary tract infection. She’s in a wheelchair and unable to care for herself. The jury found Parkwood and Telesis Management Corp. negligent and grossly negligent.

Anderson v. Parkwood Retirement Community, No. 153-242312-09

Court: 153rd District Court, Tarrant County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Brian W. Butcher and Mark Sudderth, Noteboom – The Law Firm, Hurst

Defense Attorney: Tim Ryan, Schell Cooley, Addison

PRODUCTS LIABILITY

Jury sides with breathing apparatus makers

The makers of a hookah diving system weren’t to blame for the drowning of a diver, a jury found on June 26. Christopher Logan died while diving for golf balls in a pond. He was working for A-Plus Golf Ball Retrieval and used equipment that supplied air from a compressor. The family sued A-Plus, claiming it supplied dangerous equipment, and the employer settled. The case proceeded to trial against the compressor manufacturer, Thomas Industries; the motor manufacturer, American Honda Motor Co.; and the reserve air tank manufacturer, Keene Engineering Inc. The family claimed that Logan died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The jury found A-Plus mostly to blame, but sided with the other defendants on the products liability claims. Therefore, the plaintiffs will take nothing of the jury’s $3.46 million award.

Logan v. Seeders, No. DC-10-02350

Court: 14th District Court, Dallas County

Plaintiffs’ Attorneys: Kyna Adams, Greg Carboy, Hilaree A. Casada, David J. Metzler and John M. Pease, Cowles & Thompson, Dallas

Defense Attorneys: Larry D. Grayson and Abigail Matthews, Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer & Kern, Dallas; Tim Krippner and John A. LaBoon, Segal McCambridge Singer & Mahoney, Chicago; L. Cullen Moore and Laura Slay, Rymer, Moore, Jackson & Echols, Houston

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