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BREACH OF CONTRACT Company awarded $21.3 million for licensee’s failure to develop brand A federal jury awarded $21,338,000 to a Mexican company that accused an American company of failing to develop its brand per the companies’ agreement. El Pollo Loco S.A. de C.V., the Mexican founder of a chain of chicken restaurants, licensed the name “El Pollo Loco” and related trademarks to El Pollo Loco Inc. of Irvine, Calif. The Mexican company terminated the agreement several years later, claiming that the American company did not take action to develop the brand, which allowed competitors to take over the Mexican market. The Mexican company sued the American company for breach of contract and for the Mexican causes of action “illicit acts” and “dolus.” The jury found for the plaintiff on all three claims in its July 26 verdict. El Pollo Loco S.A. de C.V. v. El Pollo Loco Inc., No. 5:04-CV-48 Court: U.S. District Court, Southern District, Laredo Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Jesse R. Castillo and Edward C. Snyder, Castillo Snyder, San Antonio Defense Attorneys: Andrew F. Spalding and Ileana Blanco, Bracewell & Patterson, Houston EMPLOYMENT Hearing-impaired supervisor mocked by boss recovers $165,500 On July 27, a federal jury awarded $166,500 to a woman whose supervisor mocked her hearing impairment. The EEOC brought suit on behalf of Tammy Gitsham who claimed constructive discharge from her position as an area supervisor for BobRich Enterprises, a franchisee of Subway restaurants in the Dallas area. Gitsham alleged that the owner and the human resources manager harassed her about her disability with such taunts as “Read my lips,” “Can you hear me now?” and “You got your ears on?” Finding constructive discharge and harassment, the jury awarded compensatory damages of $66,500 and punitive damages of $100,000. EEOC v. BobRich Enterprises Inc., No. 3:05-CV-1928 Court: U.S. District Court, Northern District, Dallas Plaintiff’s Attorney: Suzanne M. Anderson, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Dallas Defense Attorney: Jeffrey E. Cook, Sullivan & Cook, Dallas MOTOR VEHICLE Jury awards small amount to cop injured during funeral procession A sheriff’s deputy who was struck on his motorcycle while escorting a funeral procession recovered $1,925 at a jury trial July 25 in Harris County. Phillip Balthazar was on a police motorcycle, riding alongside the procession, when Kevin Cummings pulled out of the procession and struck the bike with his driver’s side door. Balthazar claimed that he had his lights and siren activated at the time and Cummings should have seen him, but Cummings denied this and counterclaimed for his own injuries. Balthazar, who sustained minor injuries to his right hand, sought $2,034 in medical bills and $10,000 for disfigurement and pain and suffering. Balthazar v. Cummings, No. 828,969 Court: Harris County Court-at-Law No. 4 Plaintiff’s Attorneys: David S. Knight, Knight & Scott, Houston; Teri A. Walter, Walter Law Firm, Houston Defense Attorneys: Patricia Olivares, Olivares Law Firm, Houston; Thomas Valentine, Daw & Ray, Houston MOTOR VEHICLE Driver hit by woman backing out of driveway recovers for injuries On July 13, a Dallas County jury awarded $10,060 to a woman who was injured when her car was struck by a vehicle backing out of a driveway. Amanda Goodwin was driving down the street when Elaine Bliss, reversing out of her driveway, struck the side of Goodwin’s car. Goodwin alleged that Bliss backed out when she was only a few feet away, giving her no time to avoid the collision. The defense claimed that Goodwin had sufficient time to react and should thus share in the liability. The jury disagreed, finding Bliss 100 percent at fault. Goodwin v. Bliss, No. 05-11282-H Court: 160th District Court, Dallas County Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Mark D. Cronewett and Lindsay Stansberry, Cowles & Thompson, Dallas Defense Attorney: Deborah B. Junek, Gwinn & Roby, Dallas MOTOR VEHICLE Child hit by drunk driver is awarded $1.25 million A motorist accused of driving drunk when he struck a child crossing the street settled with the child and her parents for $1.25 million. Xingkai Li was crossing a street in Bellaire when he was hit by Gregory Spence’s SUV. Li and his parents sued Spence for negligence and gross negligence, claiming that he ran a stop sign and was driving while intoxicated. Li suffered a shattered pelvis and complete separation of the posterior urethra, and his medical expert opined that he had a 25 percent to 43 percent chance of suffering from sexual dysfunction in the future. The defense argued that this opinion would not be admissible at trial, as the likelihood of future sexual problems was not 51 percent or greater. The case settled on July 27. Shen v. Spence, No. 2006-22557 Court: 190th District Court, Harris County Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Kerry M. Guidry and Robert S. Kwok, Robert Kwok & Associates, Houston Defense Attorney: James Boanerges, Cooper, Sprague, Jackson & Boanerges, Houston MOTOR VEHICLE Plaintiff found partly responsible for intersection collision A man who was injured in an intersection collision recovered $3,929 at a jury trial July 26. Eric Preston was driving on Walker Street in Houston, approaching the intersection with Bigby Street. He entered the intersection as the light was turning yellow and was struck by Giovanni Benevides, who was turning left in front of him from Bigby Street. Preston contended that he had the right of way because he had the yellow light, whereas Benavides claimed that the light had turned red before Preston entered the intersection. The defense also noted that Preston had been involved in three prior car accidents. The jury found that Benavides was 65 percent at fault and Preston 35 percent. The gross award of $6,045 was reduced to reflect Preston’s comparative fault. Preston v. Benavides, No. 828,065 Court: Harris County Court-at-Law No. 4 Plaintiff’s Attorney: Jeff D. Crawford, The Crawford Law Firm, Houston Defense Attorney: Linda Tran, The Spurlock Law Firm, Humble MOTOR VEHICLE Driver making U-turn struck plaintiff, must pay damages A man who was injured when the pickup truck he was driving was struck by another pickup truck, whose driver was making a U-turn, recovered $20,317 on July 14. Lawrence Denmon claimed cervical strain from the accident, in which Christopher Bielecki broadsided him. Bielecki’s attorneys did not strongly contest liability but disputed Denmon’s damages claims, arguing that he had prior disk bulges. The jury’s award included $7,000 for pain and suffering and $7,000 for physical impairment. Denmon v. Bielecki, No. B-173,388 Court: 60th District Court, Jefferson County Plaintiff’s Attorney: Travis McCall, Waldman Smallwood, Beaumont Defense Attorneys: Gordon R. Pate, Pate & Spivey, Beaumont; Christopher J. Sachitano, Pate & Spivey, Houston PREMISES LIABILITY Product manufacturer to pay attorneys’ fees incurred by store On July 24, a federal judge ordered that the manufacturer of a glass shower door that shattered at Home Depot while a customer was examining it must pay the store $32,766 in attorneys’ fees. Home Depot shopper Afsaneh Nazari sustained cuts to her right hand when the glass door, which was part of a floor display, shattered as she attempted to slide it. She and her husband sued Home Depot and the door’s manufacturer, Kohler Co. Home Depot cross-claimed against Kohler for indemnity, claiming that it was merely a seller of the product and Kohler was responsible for the accident. Kohler denied liability but settled with the Nazaris. When the Nazaris then dropped their claim against Home Depot, the store sought to have Kohler pay its attorneys’ fees. Judge Sam Sparks granted the request. Nazari v. Home Depot USA, No. 1:05-cv-00924-SS Court: U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Plaintiff’s Attorney: pro se Defense Attorneys: Christopher W. Martin, Martin, Disiere, Jefferson & Wisdom, Houston; Arthur K. Smith, Law Offices of Arthur K. Smith, Allen SCAFFOLDS AND LADDERS Jury awards $136,500 to man injured in fall from ladder A man who sued his mother and the estate of his deceased grandmother after he was injured in a fall from his grandmother’s roof recovered $136,500 at a jury trial in Palo Pinto County. Larry Archer was repairing his grandmother’s roof when a rung broke on a ladder he was using, and he fell to the ground. Archer injured his wrists and neck, for which he blamed his mother, who was supervising the work, and grandmother, who died sometime after Archer’s accident. The defense contended that there was no way to foresee that the ladder’s rung would break. On July 10, the jury placed 70 percent liability on the grandmother’s estate and 30 percent on Archer, awarding him gross damages of $196,000, which was reduced per comparative fault. Archer v. Tadlock, No. C41304 Court: 29th District Court, Palo Pinto County Plaintiff’s Attorney: Leland A. Reinhard, Law Office of Leland Reinhard, Arlington Defense Attorneys: Amber Kelm and Todd Parks, Walters, Balido and Crain, Dallas The verdicts and settlements above are reported and written byVerdictSearch Texas . Send verdicts and settlements to [email protected] . Additional verdicts can be found inVerdictSearch Texas or at VerdictSearch.com, affiliates ofTexas Lawyer .

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