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Southwestern Bell v Mitchell

December 19, 2008 – Case Report                               


Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Mitchell,  No. 05-0171 (Tex. 2008)


This case falls under the heading of “better late than never.”  In a five to three decision, the Texas Supreme Court overruled its prior decision in Continental Casualty Co. v. Downs, 81 S.W.3d 803 (Tex. 2002).  In Downs the Supreme Court held that Texas Labor Code Section 409.021(a) prevented an insurance carrier from contesting the compensability of an employee’s injury after seven days, unless, within seven days of receiving notice of injury, the carrier began to pay benefits.


Now, six years later, the Court holds that it wrongly decided Downs.   It is doubtful that this new decision will apply to many pending cases.  I will not address the discussion of the legal doctrine of stare decisis in the decision.  However, if you wish to read the case you may find it (hopefully) through the following link:



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