EMPLOYMENT

Worker who had relationship with boss gets $150,000

On Sept. 20, a Harris County employee agreed to a $150,000 settlement on her claim that her pay was cut after she refused to take a transfer because she had dated her boss. Heather Saucier, who worked for the Harris County Flood Control District, admitted she had a brief relationship with her supervisor, which caused the district director to pressure her into a lower paying job or to leave county employment altogether, she said. Saucier filed a claim with the state Workforce Commission. As a result, her pay was then cut by 12 percent in retaliation, she claimed. The defense argued that all actions were done for legitimate business reasons.

Saucier v. Harris County, No. DC-2012-34404

Court: 55th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Ellen Sprovach, Rosenberg & Sprovach, Houston

Defense Attorneys: Barbara Ann Callistien and Lisa Hulsey, Office of Harris County Attorney, Houston

MOTOR VEHICLE

Pizza delivery driver injured when truck came into his lane

A pizza delivery driver who claimed that he was injured when a truck came into his lane was awarded $21,497 on Aug. 22. James Truax was driving a sedan on Tomball Parkway in Tomball when Mauricio Martinez came into his lane in a pickup truck. Truax’s left front quarter panel collided with Martinez’s passenger door. Truax went to the emergency room and was treated and released. He followed up with a chiropractor about 13 days later. He claimed a lumbar sprain/strain, and he recovered with treatment. The defense argued that Truax was not hurt as badly as he claimed.

Truax v. Martinez, No. 2011-23251

Court: 190th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Casey Brown, The Callahan Law Firm, Houston

Defense Attorney: R. Javier Valenzuela, Law Offices of M. Nathan Barbera, Houston

Jury awards driver only a small portion of damages sought

On Aug. 29, a jury awarded $1,135 to a driver who claimed soft-tissue injuries to his lower back and shoulder. Oliver Bolanos was driving with his 18-month-old son when they were struck by a car that allegedly made an unsafe lane change. The defendant stipulated to liability. Bolanos claimed that his son suffers from the trauma of the collision. He testified that his son has a fear of riding in cars. He and his son sought more than $20,000 in damages. The defense emphasized Bolanos’ treatment delay and inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the medical records. Also, six days after the accident, Bolanos said in a recorded statement that all he had was a “bump on the head” and that his son was not injured, the defense noted.

Bolanos v. Barillos, No. 2010-76135

Court: 152nd District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Nicola Thompson Drake, Houston

Defense Attorney: R.J. Blue, Soule, Baldwin & Fanaff, Houston

Jury awards $25,078 to cop hit by drunken driver

On Sept. 4, a jury awarded $25,078 to a police officer who was struck by a drunken driver. San Antonio police officer Tracey Lewis was struck nearly head-on by Lewis Richarte in a pickup truck. Another officer witnessed the accident and performed the accident investigation. Richarte had a blood alcohol level of 0.17. The investigating officer said he had been following Richarte, intending to pull him over and conduct a sobriety test. Lewis was diagnosed with sprains and strains of the wrists and thumbs, which were probably from gripping the steering wheel at impact.

Lewis v. Richarte, No. 374367

Court: Bexar County Court-at-Law No. 2

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Thomas A. Crosley, The Crosley Law Firm PC, San Antonio

Defense Attorney: Grant E. “Tres” Adami III, Adami, Goldman & Shuffield, San Antonio

Plaintiff claims permanent injuries after rear-ender

A driver who claimed that he sustained permanent sprains and strains in a rear-ender was awarded only $100 on Sept. 11. Johnny Hayward was stopped for a light when he was struck by Damaya Parramore. Hayward claimed sprains and strains of his lumbar and cervical spine. He drove himself to a hospital the day of the accident and was treated and released. He treated three times with an orthopedist over the next several months. He claimed he couldn’t work as a prison guard for 20 days. The defendant argued that the impact was light and could not have caused the claimed injuries.

Hayward v. Parramore, No. 201158425

Court: 55th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Mickel Newton Jr., The Law Office of Mickel Newton Jr., Houston

Defense Attorney: Jennifer Regueiro, Dietz, Aliseda & Associates, Houston

The verdicts and settlements above are reported and written by Verdict Search, a Texas Lawyer affiliate.

Previous VerdictSearch reports:

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