Lance Armstrong Suit Settles

Lance Armstrong and an insurance company that sued the cyclist and his company Tailwind Sports Corp. have settled that litigation, according to Mark Kincaid, a partner in Austin’s George Brothers Kincaid & Horton who represents Acceptance Insurance Co. “It was settled to both sides’ mutual satisfaction,” said Kincaid, who declined to quantify the dollar figure of the deal. Tim Herman, a partner in Austin’s Howry, Breen & Herman who represents Armstrong and Tailwind, did not return a call seeking comment. Acceptance Insurance Co. had named Armstrong and Tailwind as defendants in a fraud lawsuit in the 126th District Court in Austin, Acceptance Insurance Co. v. Lance Armstrong. In a July 19 amended petition, Acceptance alleged that Armstrong had “cheated by taking performance enhancing drugs-doping” to compete in Tour de France bike races, thus he and Tailwind engaged in fraud against the insurance company to gain a policy “to cover $3 million … contract performance bonuses” if he won races. Acceptance had cited fraud and breach of contract among its allegations, which Armstrong and Tailwind had denied.

“The Lawyer That Rocks”

The telephones at David Komie‘s firm have been ringing off the hook since he launched a billboard campaign around Austin about 18 months ago. The 10 billboards feature a portrait of Komie in a leather jacket with his shoulder-length hair twisted in thick dreadlocks. His name is written in all caps in a death-metal font, followed by the slogan, “The Attorney That Rocks.” “People either love it or hate it, but they definitely notice it, and they are definitely talking about it,” said Komie, partner in Komie & Morrow in Austin. “There’s lots of times at my little firm that our phone is ringing incessantly, and we’re six lines deep.” Komie lives up to the billboard’s “super rock-and-roll” image, as the lead singer in the hard-rock band, Dharma Kings. Aside from bringing in new personal-injury cases, the billboards attracted a reality TV crew that wants to produce a show about Komie. The advertisements also brought success for the band, which is signing a record-label contract and has booked increasingly bigger shows, he said. When asked why the ads brought so much legal business, Komie replied that he thinks most lawyers are “invisible” with the same haircut, outfit, speech and interests. Komie is clearly different. “My advertisement is who I am, plain and simple. I just have to get that out there for people,” he said. “Everywhere that you go, there’s some closet individuals that don’t trust the regular lawyers. If I only get 2 percent of that market, I’ve got more business than I can handle.” Within his firm, Komie said he tries to avoid “prejudice” from judges and other lawyers. His partner and associates go to court and meet in person with opposing counsel. Komie supervises and directs the firm’s litigation and spends a lot of time with clients. “I’m very passionate for the clients,” Komie said. “I truly understand what I do gives me the privilege and honor to help people, regular people, during the hardest time of their life.”

Yoga for Prisoners

About six months ago, Austin solo Jim Freeman finished a personal-injury case and told himself, “I’m done.” He stopped practicing law full time and devoted himself to a new life goal: to launch a yoga program for inmates in every prison in Texas. “The people I want to help are the ones who have been thrown away, the ones that are in there forever,” said Freeman, founder of Conviction Yoga in Austin. “It’s a desire to improve life inside that pushes my button.” Eventually, he wants to organize Conviction Yoga as a nonprofit and conduct fundraising that will support prison yoga teachers across Texas. For now, three days per week he drives around the state to towns with “clusters” of prisons. He can visit three prisons in one 16-hour day. Freeman, a practicing Buddhist, teaches the inmates yoga as a meditation technique to focus their minds on the sensations in their bodies. He often leads his students through repetitions of Sun Salutation, a yoga move which starts with a person extends his arms to the side and overhead before bowing over to touch his toes. But many inmates must alter the move to practice in their cells. “I always ask them, ‘What does your cell look like?’ Some of them have big cells; some of them have very small cells,” explained Freeman. “The front of your yoga mat is bars, and the back of your yoga mat is where the sink and toilet is.” Freeman said he thinks inmates suppress their emotional sides because of trauma from growing up in troubled homes, leading a life of crime and living among prison violence. He said that yoga allows inmates to release their traumas and reconnect with their feelings. “What yoga has done for me is open me up and not only show me I can feel again but that I want to feel again,” said Freeman. “That’s really what I want to help them cultivate: the ability to have compassion.”