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EMPLOYMENT

Judge sides with Lockheed in discrimination suit

On Sept. 18, 2012, a judge threw out a woman’s claim that she was fired from her position at Lockheed Martin due to discrimination. Brenda Marks, a financial analyst, was 48 when she was terminated. She claimed that she was denied job transfers and promotions that were given to younger white male employees and that she received lower job evaluation scores. She claimed she was fired due to disabling injuries from a car accident. Defense counsel argued that all of Lockheed’s actions were done for legitimate business reasons. Marks was terminated because she failed to return to work when her already-granted leave expired, the defense argued.

Marks v. Lockheed Martin Corp., No. 3:12-cv-00042-G

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

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Conswella L. Edwards, Arlington

Defense Attorneys: Tony Campiti, Jennifer M. Hurley, Elizabeth A. Schartz and Stephen C. Schoettmer, Thompson & Knight, Dallas

Plaintiff alleging sexual propositions settles for $70,000

A woman who claimed that she was subjected to repeated sexual propositions while working the night shift at a textile plant agreed to a $70,000 settlement on Sept. 27, 2012. In 2009, Amber Love worked at Mount Vernon Mills in Cuero. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Love was assigned to the night shift where she was required to work in an isolated area with two older male workers. She alleged that they subjected Love to sexual propositions and remarks and unwelcome physical contact. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Love made prompt and repeated complaints about her co-workers’ actions to foremen, managers and human resources employees at the plant, but that no action was taken.

EEOC v. Mount Vernon Mills Inc., No. 6:11-cv-0052

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

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Patrick M. Connor, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, San Antonio; Kell Ascher Simon, Terry, Simon & Kelley, Austin

Defense Attorneys: Thomas A. Bright, Jessica M. Fisher and John R. White, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, San Antonio

MOTOR VEHICLE

Jury sides with pizza delivery driver claiming back injury

A pizza delivery driver who claimed that he was injured when a truck came into his lane was awarded $21,497 on Aug. 22, 2012. 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

Plaintiff awarded $85,418 for back injury

A tractor driver who claimed a lumbar herniation in a rear-ender was awarded $85,418 on Sept. 27, 2012. Baltazar Pineda was driving a bobtail tractor on Mines Road at the intersection with Killiam Boulevard in Laredo. Genaro Rodriguez was driving a tractor-trailer owned by Ruben Gonzalez-Villarreal, who was also his employer. Pineda was stopped at a red light when Gonzalez-Villarreal rear-ended him, pushing him into a cement truck in front of him. Pineda claimed a herniation at L5-S1. One year after ending physical therapy, he underwent additional epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections and a diskectomy at L5-S1.

Pineda v. Rodriguez, No. 2010-CVE-001451-D2

Court: 111th District Court, Webb County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: R. Blake Brunkenhoefer and Greg W. Turman, Brunkenhoefer, Almaraz & Turman, Corpus Christi; John R. Solis, Laredo

Defense Attorneys: William L. Pope and Roger W. Hughes, Adams & Graham, Harlingen

Truck driver awarded $2.2 million for PTSD claim

A truck driver who claimed that he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of an accident was awarded a little more than $2.2 million on Oct. 10. James G. May was driving his tractor-trailer when Gregory Hruby, also driving tractor-trailer, which was owned by Ag-Tech Farms Inc., was heading toward him. Hruby was hauling a 30,000-pound wind-turbine hub that was not properly secured. He braked while coming around a curve, and the turbine came off the trailer and crushed the right front cab and right side of May’s vehicle. May claimed post-traumatic stress disorder and sustained glass embedded in his arm. May claimed to experience panic attacks, severe anxiety, night terrors with associated heavy sweating, and constant thoughts of dying.

May v. Hruby, No. 57019

Court: 412th District Court, Brazoria County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Jon J. Bailey, The Bailey Law Firm, San Angelo; Jeff Befort and Lindsay Itkin, Befort Law Firm, Houston, Randy E. Moore, Lake Jackson

Defense Attorneys: William S. Bush and Lisa M. Takeuchi, Bush & Ramirez, Houston; Christopher “Chay” LeUnes, The LeUnes Law Firm, Cypress

Jury sides with defendant’s version of events

On Oct. 9, 2012, a jury sided with a driver who claimed the plaintiff was in her lane and made a left turn in violation of her right of way. Blanca L. Saravia claimed that she had stopped while waiting to make a left turn when Isobel Cuppan swerved into her lane and struck her head-on. Defense counsel maintained that photos showed damage to the left front of Cuppan’s car, and argued the damage would have been on the right front if events had occurred as Saravia claimed. Saravia claimed cervical and lumbar disk protrusions.

Saravia v. Cuppan, No. CC-10-06302-B

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

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

Defense Attorneys: Brian D. Garner and Robyn M. Wise, Law Offices of Brian D. Garner, Hurst

Plaintiffs recover for back and neck injury claims

Two plaintiffs claiming minor back and neck injuries in a left-turn collision recovered $4,335 on Sept. 18, 2012. Christian Luna was driving with Adrian DeLeon as a passenger. Jonathan Sanchez was traveling in the opposite direction. He attempted an unprotected left turn on a green light and struck the driver side of the plaintiffs’ vehicle. Sanchez was uninsured. The plaintiffs filed an uninsured motorist claim with Luna’s carrier, Allstate Indemnity Co., which disputed the claim. The jury found Sanchez negligent and awarded $9,835. Allstate was entitled to a credit of $2,500 against each plaintiff’s medical award. Thus, the credit reduces the verdict to $1,296 for Luna and $3,039 for DeLeon, for a total of $4,335.

Luna v. Allstate Indemnity Co., No. 2011-CCV-617784

Court: Nueces County Court-at-Law No. 4

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: David A. Huerta, Huerta Guerra Beam, Corpus Christi

Defense Attorney: Todd Hermes, G. Patrick Collins & Associates, Houston

Driver recovers for back injuries

A driver who claimed lumbar and thoracic strains in a collision recovered $1,321 on Oct 11, 2012. Phil Cross was driving in Dallas when he was struck by a vehicle driven by Jerome McFadden and owned by Ashley Green. McFadden was uninsured, and Cross was covered by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. Cross claimed that he was making a left turn into a private driveway when McFadden, who was driving behind him in the lane to his left, failed to keep a proper lookout or control his speed and collided with the driver side of his vehicle. The jury found Cross 25 percent liable and McFadden 75 percent liable. Cross was awarded $1,762, which was reduced for comparative liability.

Cross v. McFadden, No. DC-11-12605

Court: 134th District Court, Dallas County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Lucas Lafitte, Ben Abbott PC, Mesquite

Defense Attorney: Malcom Renwick, Renwick & Pierret, Arlington

Plaintiffs awarded $910 for chiropractic visits

On Aug. 15, 2012, a jury awarded $910 to a mother and daughter who claimed soft-tissue injuries in a rear-ender. Marina Serbantez and daughter Elana Ruiz were struck by Allison Bennett, who didn’t dispute liability. Instead, defense counsel argued that the impact was nothing more than a minor bump. Counsel also emphasized the plaintiffs’ lack of impairment, noting that Elana was able to play a full season of volleyball after the accident. The award consisted of the cost for each of their chiropractor visits.

Serbantez v. Bennett, No. 61142

Court: 239th District Court, Brazoria County

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Savannah L. Robinson, Law Office of Savannah L. Robinson, Danbury

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

Plaintiff recovers for disk bulges

A driver who claimed cervical and lumbar disk bulges in a broadside collision recovered $9,648 on Sept. 12, 2012. Beatriz Godinez was driving in Collin County when a van driven by an employee of Premier Dryclean Express came out of a parking lot and struck her driver side. Godinez claimed 3-to-4-millimeter disk bulges at C3-4 and L5-S1. She underwent chiropractic treatment and epidural injections. The jury found the employee negligent and that Godinez’s damages were $35,184.69. Her insurer was entitled to a $25,000 credit, which reduced Godinez’s recovery.

Godinez v. Premier Dryclean Express Inc., No. 417-04649-2010

Court: 417th District Court, Collin County

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Lucas Lafitte, Law Office of Ben Abbott PC, Garland

Defense Attorney: Jessica Stettler, Herald, Farish, Palmarozzi & Hughes, Irving

Driver who fractured rib, claimed head injury settles for $29,650

A driver who fractured a rib and claimed a head injury led to temporary double vision settled for $29,650 on Sept. 1, 2012. Sharon Corley was broadsided by Silvestre Martinez at an intersection. He did not contest liability. Corley was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where she remained for three days to observe internal contusions of her abdominal wall. She also claimed contusions of her back and neck. Corley underwent several computed tomography scans, but the contusion was found to resolve on its own. She underwent therapy for three to four weeks to treat the double vision. She also treated with home exercises for the back and neck injuries, which she claimed mostly resolved.

Corley v. Martinez, No. 1019185

Court: Harris County Court-at-Law

Plaintiff Attorney: Patrick “Pat” Huzinec, Law Office of Robert D. Clements Jr., Alvin

Defense Attorney: None at the time of settlement

PREMISES LIABILITY

Jury awards $107,171 to nanny who fractured arm in fall down stairs

A nanny who fractured her arm in a fall on her employers’ stairs was awarded $107,171 on Oct. 5. Maria Roldan worked for Eric and Deborah Gadin in Houston. She claimed that the staircase’s polished wood with no carpeting and the lack of a handrail created an unreasonably dangerous condition. Roldan sustained a comminuted fracture near the top of the humerus of her dominant right arm. The fracture was treated with internal fixation and the replacement of a portion of the bone with a prosthesis.

Roldan v. Gadin, No. 2011-05180

Court: 157th District Court, Harris County

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Scott J. Braden and R. James Amaro, Amaro Law Firm, Houston

Defense Attorney: Jeff A. Fanaff, Soule, Baldwin & Fanaff, Houston

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

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