San Antonio, Texas’ 4th Court of Appeals will soon have to decide whether an Austin, Texas, law firm should be disqualified from defending an insurance company in a workers’ compensation suit because one of the lawyers for the plaintiff was a client of the defense firm.

The case, In Re: Texas Mutual Insurance Co., involves a bad-faith suit that Luis Hernandez filed last year in the 229th District Court in Duval County. In his Jan. 30, 2008, original petition in Hernandez v. Texas Mutual Insurance Co., et al., Hernandez alleges that Texas Mutual delayed paying him workers’ compensation benefits for 11 months. In the petition, Hernandez alleges the delay caused him emotional stress, mental anguish and loss of quality of life. William Edwards, one of Hernandez’s lawyers, says Texas Mutual eventually paid his client $21,000.

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