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Archived Legal News and Events 2009

Date

Item/Information

 

 

December 2, 2009

San Antonio attorney Tom Rhodes of The Tom Rhodes Law Firm, P.C. has practiced as a lawyer in the field of civil trial litigation for his entire career. He recently won a maintenance supervisor who fell with a chain saw while trimming trees a verdict of $70 million dollars. This jury award appears to be the largest in 2009 in Bexar County. Mr. Rhodes sued Discover Property & Casualty Insurance Company along with JI Specialty Services for bad faith.

 

The jury found that Charles Tate suffered mental anguish when Discover Property & Casualty Insurance Company delayed paying him for his (it is reported) rehabilitative job training. On six occasions, the Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation sided with Mr. Tate. Of the $70 million verdict, $20 million was awarded for past and future mental anguish, $20 million in attorney’s fees and $30 million in punitive damages.

 

Mr. Rhodes is quoted as stating: “The Insurance companies need to be told they must be fair. Each one of us is at their mercy.”

 

August 31, 2009

On August 28, 2009, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Chief of Field Operations Joel Moreno terminated the employment of three TABC employees. The terminated employees were Agent Christopher Aller, Agent Trainee Jason Chapman and Sergeant Terry Parsons. The TABC also suspended its Ford Worth district supervisor Lt. Gene Anderson for three days without pay and reprimanded its regional captain Robert Cloud. Agent Aller had previously filed an official complaint against Administrator Alan Steen for publicly criticizing Aller’s and Chapman’s conduct at the Rainbow Lounge. An internal investigation into the merit of his accusations is pending according to the Austin American Statesman.

 

August 26, 2009

 

 

 

 

“Bad Faith Claims on the Rise: What You Should Know” presented by John D. Pringle; at the Insurance Council of Texas’ Workers’ Compensation Conference; Omni Austin Hotel at Southpark, Austin, Texas

 

August 10, 2009

The United States Attorney’s Office will not conduct on independent investigation into the Rainbow Lounge incident in June, nor will it review the Fort Worth Police Department’s internal investigation as had been requested by the Fort Worth Police Department. The U.S. Attorney stated it is the role of the FBI to investigate complaints of civil-rights violations.

 

For more information click on the following link:

 

http://www.startelegram.com/crime_courts/

story/152580.html

 

August 6, 2009

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) has issued a Press Release regarding its first Rainbow Lounge investigation.  According to the Press Release, on July 31, TABC Captain Andy Pena submitted an investigation report addressing whether TABC employees followed TABC policies and procedures in the bar inspection with the Fort Worth Police Department at the Rainbow Lounge on June 28, 2009, among other matters.

 

According to the Press Release, based on statements by TABC employees and the Fort Worth Police Department incident reports, the investigator (presumably Captain Pena) found evidence to support the allegations that three TABC employees, Agent Christopher Aller, Agent Trainee Jason Chapman, and Sergeant Terry Parsons violated various agency policies.

 

According to the Press Release, disciplinary actions are pending.

 

A separate investigation report will address the issue of the Agents' use of force at the Rainbow Lounge. That report, it is reported, will take into account statements by TABC employees, Fort Worth police officers, other eye witnesses, and expert witnesses.

 

Clicking on the following link should take one to the Press Release.

 

http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/home/press_

releases/2009/20090806.asp

 

Clicking on the following link should take one to the TABC Investigation Report:

 

http://media.star-telegram.com/smedia/2009/08/06/06/

rainbow-loungereport.source.prod_affilicate.58.pdf

 

August 1, 2009

The Dallasvoice.com is reporting that it received “a statement from Carolyn Beck, spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, on Friday evening” (July 31, 2009). The statement purportedly says that the TABC’s internal investigation into the raid on the Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth, Texas in June  is now complete. However, before the investigation results will be released, the investigation report must be reviewed by the agency’s General Counsel. This review is under way, and according to the Dallasvoice.com the report may be released as early as next week (August 3, 2009).

 

According to the Dallasvoice.com,  “the report will not address the question of whether TABC used excessive force during the raid, or whether its agents were responsible for the injuries to Chad Gibson.”  The Dallasvoice.com goes on to report that the TABC “has apparently undertaken a separate ‘use of force’ investigation.”  The Dallasvoice.com states Ms. Beck “said she can’t give a firm estimate on when the use of force investigation will be complete.”

 

July 19, 2009

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) accused of the use of excessive force prior to the June raid on the Rainbow Lounge by the Fort Worth Police Department and TABC.  The Austin American-Statesman reported that the Cowboy Cantina in East Texas had been open for business less than six months when, on New Year's Eve 2005, local sheriff's deputies and undercover agents from the TABC staked out the bar. The owner, Oscar Jimenez, a former police officer ended up with cracked ribs after one of the TABC agents kicked him while he lay on the ground, Jimenez said.

 

The Austin American-Statesman also reported that in Midland, David Baesa complained that TABC agents hit and kicked him during his arrest for public intoxication. The TABC's review of the July 2003 incident concluded that agents did nothing wrong — although the internal affairs investigator conceded not everyone might see it that way: "This utilization of the (agent's) foot and hands to average citizen might appear in a different light."

 

In February 2003, after agents from the TABC were accused of kicking a prisoner on the ground in Odessa, the agents who witnessed the arrest said it had been handled appropriately. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper whose dashboard video camera recorded the arrest disagreed. The TABC agent was suspended for one month.  Oscar Jimenez filed a federal lawsuit against the TABC which settled the case for $135,000.00.

 

July 18, 2009

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) Administrator Alan Steen admitted TABC agents committed “clear violations” of agency policy during last month’s raid on the Fort Worth Rainbow Lounge. Administrator Steen is reported to have said that the raid should never have been conducted. Administrator Steen also apologized for the agents’ actions that sent Chad Gibson, to the hospital with a severe head injury.

 

July 14, 2009

The Associated Press reported that Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief apologized for a raid on the Rainbow Lounge by the Fort Worth Police Department (Police) and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC). The raid sparked claims of brutality and procedure violations. Mayor Moncrief apologized at a City Council meeting and stated that neither the TABC nor Police had finished investigations into the raid, which initially had been called a routine license inspection.

 

 

July 3, 2009

City of Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief requests the acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, James T. Jacks, to independently review the findings of the Fort Worth Police Department’s internal investigation into the Rainbow Lounge inspection of June 28, 2009, with Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) agents.  Mayor Moncrief encourages the TABC to “follow the same course.”  For more information click on the link to the Mayor’s website here.

 

July 2, 2009

City of Fort Worth Police Chief, Jeffrey W. Halstead, has ordered an inquiry into the June 28, 2009, inspection by Fort Worth Police Officers and Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents of the Rainbow Lounge as well as suspending operations with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.  For more information click on the link to the New York Times article here.

 

July 1, 2009

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) reported on inspections occurring in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 28, 2009, in the City of Fort Worth.  For more information click on the link to the TABC website here.

 

 

John D. Pringle is now practicing law under John D. Pringle, P.C. Pringle & Gallagher, L.L.P. is no longer providing professional legal services. John D. Pringle will continue to represent clients in defense of administrative violation allegations before Texas regulatory agencies, alcoholic beverage matters, business formation and start up, cases before the Comptroller of Public Accounts, insurance defense, preparing wills and probating estates, and workers compensation.

 

February 9, 2009

The Texas Medical Board announced that Mari Robinson, J.D., will become Executive Director of the agency, effective March 1, 2009. Ms. Robinson has been serving as Interim Executive Director since October, 2008.

 

The Board also named Alan T. Moore, M.D., as Medical Director of the agency, also effective March 1, 2009. Dr. Moore has been serving as Interim Medical Director since October, 2008. State law requires that, if the agency executive is a non-physician, a Medical Director be hired.

 

February 6, 2009

Work Loss data Institute (WLDI) announced the release of the 2009 ODG product line, including the 14th annual edition of Official Disability Guidelines and the 7th annual edition of ODG Treatment in Workers’ Comp.

 

For more information click here

 

 

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