Texas Lawyers Blog


The Texas Lawyers Blog provides useful information on the law and Texas lawyers. For more information on this Blog or a legal topic, please feel free to submit an inquiry or send an e-mail message to blog@texaslawyers.com

Friday, September 25, 2009

Texas Business Tort Lawsuits, Breach of Contract Lawsuits, & Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits

Businesses are the driving force of the United States and Texas economies, and employ millions of Americans and Texans. These businesses face many legal and illegal challenges including fierce competition from other businesses that sometimes use unfair business practices as well as dishonest officers, partners, owners, and employees that breach fiduciary duties. From business torts such as fraud, theft of trade secrets, & misrepresentation lawsuits to breach of contract lawsuits, it is important to have a good Texas business litigation lawyer representing your business and protecting your business assets.

Texas Theft of Trade Secrets Lawsuits and Texas Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuits

Officers and employees that wrongfully steal intellectual property including theft of trade secrets, customer lists, patents, and copyrights can be held liable by Texas courts for breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, fraud, and other business torts. As the intellectual property owned by a business becomes more valuable and easier to steal through technology, it is increasingly important for businesses to protect their intellectual property as well as to make an example of officers, business partners, independent contractors, and employees that steal intellectual property.

In moving forward on a Texas Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit against a former corporate officer or a Texas Theft of Trade Secrets Lawsuit against a former employee and their new company, it is important to have an experienced Texas business litigation lawyer or Texas business tort litigation team that is able to review and prosecute your Texas Theft of Trade Secret Lawsuit, Texas Breach of Fiduciary Duty Lawsuit or other Texas Business Tort Lawsuit.

Texas Negligent Misrepresentation Lawsuits and Texas Fraudulent Misrepresentation Lawsuits

Texas has business tort laws against both fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation that can be brought against businesses and individuals that make false statements that cause significant damages. Under Texas negligent misrepresentation law, a business or individual "who, in the course of his business, profession or employment, or in any transaction in which he has a pecuniary interest, supplies false information for the guidance of others in their business transactions, may be subject to liability for pecuniary loss caused to them by their justifiable reliance upon the information, if he fails to exercise reasonable care or competence in obtaining or communicating the information." described by the Restatement (Second) of Torts Sec. 522. See Federal Land Bank Ass’n of Tyler v. Sloane, 825 S.W.2d 439, 442 (Tex. 1991).

In moving forward on a Texas Fraudulent or Negligent Misrepresentation Lawsuit against a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, professional corporation, individual, or other business, it is important to gather evidence of the misrepresentation and to have an experienced Texas business misrepresentation lawyer or business tort litigation team that is able to review and prosecute your Texas Fraudulent or Negligent Misrepresentation Lawsuit.

Texas Intentional Interference with a Business Contract Lawsuits and
Texas Unfair Business Competition Lawsuits

Unfair business competition actions arise when a business uses unfair business practices to damage another business or put them out of business. Examples of unfair business competition occur when a competing business intentionally steals trade secrets, releases false press releases, uses short term predatory pricing, demands exclusive contracts from suppliers, forces lenders to call in loans, steals business, or spreads false information in the business community to damage another business or put the business out of business. Because of the size of many small business, losing a major contract, having a supplier stop providing supplies, having a lender call in a loans, or one false press release can cause significant damage and even bankruptcy for the small business.

Texas Business Tort Lawsuits, Texas Business Tort Arbitrations, Texas Breach of Contract Lawsuits, Texas Decepetive Trade Practice Act Lawsuits, and Texas Unfair Business Competition Lawsuits

Texas Business Tort Lawsuits and Texas Business Tort Arbitrations are forms of commercial litigation that require specialized knowledge of not only the law, but an understanding of the businesses and parties involved in the commercial litigation. For more information on Texas Theft of Trade Secret Lawsuits, Texas Misrepresentation Lawsuits, Texas Unfair Competition Lawsuits, and other Texas Business Tort or Breach of Contract Lawsuits click on this link.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Texas Truck Accident Investigation Lawyer

Truck Collision Investigation and Commercial Vehicle Accident Investigation Information (Fatal Crash and Catastrophic Injury Accident Investigations)

After a fatal truck accident or serious injury commercial vehicle collision, an efficient and effective investigation can create advantages in the preservation of key evidence and information that can win a large verdict in a law suit or result in an early and large settlement of an insurance claim. For this reason, it is important to have professionals working for you that understand how to investigate a serious accident and preserve key evidence that can prove liability or damages.

Investigation at the Scene of the Accident

Immediately after an accident, the trucking company and their insurance company are typically in route to the accident scene to collect evidence that will help them avoid paying or limit the amount that they pay for any deaths or injuries that were caused by the accident. These individuals will be taking photos and video of key evidence that will help absolve their client of liability as well as attempting to take recorded statements of key witnesses in an attempt to lock in crucial testimony from witnesses.

Even though law enforcement professionals also investigate serious wrecks, their primary purposes at the accident scene is to get people to safety, protect people from other traffic, and to clear the accident scene for traffic to resume to move and flow. Sometimes these law enforcement professionals do an excellent job of accident investigation and can easily determine the cause of the collision or accident. At other times, they do incomplete interviews; accept the story of one or more biased witnesses; are influenced by the trucking company or insurance company's representatives; or are too busy getting the survivors of the collision to safety, clearing the debris & vehicles, dealing with tow truck drivers, and directing traffic to properly investigate the scene of an accident.

If possible, it is typically useful to have your own experienced accident investigator at the scene of the accident to observe the accident scene; take photographs and video of the debris, vehicles, & skid marks; and make a list of all potential witnesses with contact information. Whether this person is a family member, friend, truck accident lawyer, off duty police officer, or other competent person that you can trust, it is often important to have someone that can properly investigate the accident scene as close to the time of the accident as possible. For the experienced accident investigator, it is useful to have working cameras, measuring tape, a reflective vest, business cards, tape recorder, and a note book or device to take names, addresses and other information.

The experienced accident investigator will carefully search for not only obvious skid marks, drop offs, crush damage, and contact points, but also for inconspicuous clues such as damage to all vehicles, damage to guard rails, scuffs, scratches, and dried liquids. Carefully documenting and measuring this crucial evidence can be extremely important in proving liability in a fatal collision or catastrophic injury accident case.

Preserving Accident Wreckage and Electronic "Black Box" Data Recorders (Spoliation of Evidence)

After a fatal automobile accident or catastrophic injury truck wreck, a preservation letter is often needed to make sure that trucking companies and insurance companies do not destroy or get rid of crucial evidence that can prove fault in a truck accident or commercial vehicle collision. This letter/notice should have language regarding spoliation of evidence and instruct the potentially at fault parties to preserve all relevant information concerning the accident.

The trucking companies and truck drivers often try to get their vehicle away from the accident scene as soon as possible and try to repair any damage to the vehicle before a proper investigation can take place. This is because they can often hide evidence of maintenance problems, vehicle defects, and driver error by working on the vehicle after a fatal collision or catastrophic injury accident.

It is also important to be able to examine the passenger vehicle wreckage and all other vehicles that were involved in the accident. Each vehicle can contain key evidence in determining how a fatal wreck or catastrophic injury collision occurred.

The electronic "black box" data recorder is typically a crucial piece of evidence in any commercial vehicle accident. This is because most modern commercial vehicles with a heavy-duty diesel engine are equipped with an Electronic Control Module (ECM)/Engine Control Unit (ECU) that controls and monitors most of an engine's operations. This "diesel engine electronic brain" may contain important accident information such as engine RPMs just prior to the accident, vehicle speed at the time of and just prior to the collision, brake application prior to impact, throttle position, and clutch application. This information can be crucial in determining how the accident occurred and if driver error or maintenance problems were a proximate cause of the collision.

These recorders are not always turned on by trucking companies and truck drivers as many do not want evidence of their driving habits or safety violations prior to a potential accident. The data recorders also can be easily overwritten and crucial information can be lost. It is usually best to obtain the electronic "black box" recorder at the scene of the accident because the mere act of driving the truck to another location can erase the information stored in the recorder. Though it is not always possible to obtain the data recorder at the scene of the accident, it is important to request it and have a record of the request as soon as possible after the accident.

In addition to the black box information in large commercial trucks, most passenger vehicles have a black box data recorder that is typically referred to as the electronic data recorder (EDR). By the year 2012, all vehicles will be required to have an electronic data recorder.

In passenger vehicles the electronic data recorder is typically the airbag control module that is designed to analyze the collision, determine if airbag deployment is needed, and then to deploy the airbags. If the electronic data recorder has additional energy it will record additional information regarding the collision. To retrieve information stored in an electronic data recorder, accident reconstructionists use Crash Data Retrieval (CDR).

Obtaining and Preserving Documents (Spoliation of Evidence)

Like preserving wreckage and data recorders, it is important to make sure that crucial documents are preserved and obtained from all vehicle owners and drivers involved in the collision. Documents including key maintenance records, driver logs, communications with drivers, delivery schedules, driving records, police reports, witness statements, photographs, driver safety training materials, truck owner's and operator's manual, accident investigations, and medical records can all provide crucial information regarding the cause of a truck collision.

Therefore, after a fatal accident or catastrophic injury accident, a preservation letter is often needed to preserve crucial documents that can prove fault in a truck accident or commercial vehicle collision. A letter/notice should have language regarding spoliation of evidence and instruct the potentially at fault parties to preserve all relevant documents and information concerning the accident.

Truck Accident Investigation Lawyer, Catastrophic Injury Accident Investigations, and Fatal Collision Accident Investigations

If you have suffered catastrophic injuries or have had a loved one killed in a truck wreck or other commercial vehicle accident, it is important to make sure that a thorough investigation of the fatal truck accident or catastrophic injury collision is done. It is also typically a good idea to obtain excellent legal representation from an experienced Truck Wreck Investigation Lawyer to protect you or your loved one's rights and to make sure that an investigation as to the cause of the collision is done correctly.

For more information on Interstate Truck Accidents, Fatal Commercial Vehicle Collisions, and other Commercial Vehicle Wrecks, feel free to go to the following web site, Truck Collision and 18 Wheeler Accident Information and Investigation Center.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Hospice Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud Qui Tam Whistleblower Actions

Health Care Fraud Whistleblower Actions (Medicare Fraud Qui Tam Claims, Tricare Fraud Qui Tam Claims, Medicaid Fraud Qui Tam Claims, and other Fraud Law Suits)

Hospital administrators, nursing home administrators, doctors, coders, benefit coordinators, nurses, chief financial officers, and other health care professionals have been stepping up and blowing the whistle on health care fraud that costs taxpayers about $100 billion each year including Medicare fraud, Tricare fraud, Hospice fraud, and other types of fraud. These health care fraud whistleblowers are American Heroes that have knowledge of false and illegal billing practices, and have had the strength & integrity to file Qui Tam Whistleblower Actions. The result of these health care professionals has been recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars that have been stolen from Medicare, Tricare, and Medicaid as well as improvements in preventing future health care fraud which helps all Americans.

Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Hospice Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud in the News (Whistleblowers and Government Agents Strike Back Against Health Care Fraud)

The Department of Justice has been cracking down on Fraud and False Claims including Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Hospice Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud. Below is an update on recent Department of Justice recoveries.

Pfizer to pay record $2.3B penalty over promotions Repeat offender Pfizer paying record $2.3B settlement for illegal drug promotions By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press Writer On Wednesday September 2, 2009, 3:47 pm EDT

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal prosecutors hit Pfizer Inc. with a record-breaking $2.3 billion in fines Wednesday and called the world's largest drug maker a repeating corporate cheat for illegal drug promotions that plied doctors with free golf, massages, and resort junkets."

Announcing the penalty as a warning to all drug manufacturers, Justice Department officials said the overall settlement is the largest ever paid by a drug company for alleged violations of federal drug rules, and the $1.2 billion criminal fine is the largest ever in any U.S. criminal case. The total includes $1 billion in civil penalties and a $100 million criminal forfeiture.

More Than $1 Billion Recovered by Justice Department in Fraud and False Claims in Fiscal Year 2008

WASHINGTON – The United States secured $1.34 billion in settlements and judgments in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2008, pursuing allegations of fraud against the federal government, the Justice Department announced today. This brings total recoveries since 1986, when Congress substantially strengthened the civil False Claims Act, to more than $21 billion.

"Now, more than ever, it is crucial that taxpayer dollars aren't lost to fraud," said Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General for the Department’s Civil Division. "The billion dollars collected this year is only part of the story. By rooting out fraud and vigorously pursuing it, the Department, with the help of concerned citizens who report fraud in hotline calls and in qui tam complaints, undoubtedly saves the country many times that amount in aborted schemes and misconduct."

$361.5 million from Merck & Company to resolve allegations that the pharmaceutical manufacturer knowingly failed to pay proper rebates to Medicaid and other government health care programs, and paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe the company’s products. The settlement resulted from two lawsuits brought under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Hospice Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud in the News (Whistle Blowers and Government Agents Strike Back Against Health Care Fraud)

Health care fraud Whistleblowers, federal agents, and other American heroes have been striking back against Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Hospice Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud. Below are some recent stories in the news regarding health care fraud and qui tam claims.

Dozens Arrested In Medicare Fraud Busts Across US digg Share this on Facebook Huffpost - Dozens Arrested In Medicare Fraud Busts Across US

KELLI KENNEDY | 07/29/09 10:31 PM | AP

"MIAMI — Federal authorities arrested more than 30 suspects, including doctors, and were seeking others in a major Medicare fraud bust Wednesday in New York, Louisiana, Boston and Houston, targeting scams such as "arthritis kits" – expensive braces that many patients never used.

More than 200 agents worked on the $16 million bust that included 12 search warrants at health care businesses and homes across the Houston area, where the bulk of the arrests were made.

Federal authorities say those businesses were giving patients "arthritis kits," which were nothing more than expensive orthotics that included knee and shoulder braces and heating pads. Patients told authorities they were unnecessary and many never even received them. But health care clinic owners billed between $3,000 to $4,000 for each kit.

Houston's other scam involved billing Medicare for thousands of dollars worth of liquid food like Ensure for patients who can't eat solid food. Authorities said clinic owners never distributed the food to patients. In some cases, clinic owners billed patients who were dead when they allegedly received the items.

It's the third major sweep since Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced in May they were adding millions of dollars and dozens of agents to combat a problem that costs the U.S. billions each year.


"SouthernCare Inc. and its shareholders have agreed to pay the United States a total of $24.7 million to settle allegations that the Birmingham, Ala.-based company submitted false claims to the government for patients treated at its hospice facilities, the Justice Department announced today. SouthernCare operates approximately 99 locations that provide hospice services in 15 states."

“The Medicare hospice benefit is intended to provide compassionate end of life care to terminally ill patients,” said Gregory G. Katsas, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division. “This settlement sends a clear message that the Department of Justice will not allow health care providers to take advantage of beneficiaries in their attempts to game the reimbursement system.”

This settlement results from two qui tam suits filed by two former SouthernCare employees on behalf of the United States. The False Claims Act authorizes private parties to file suit against those who defraud the United States and to receive a share of any recovery. The United States will pay $4.9 million to the individuals who filed the actions against SouthernCare.


HCA Inc. (formerly known as Columbia/HCA and HCA - The Healthcare Company) and HCA subsidiaries agreed to pay the United States over $1.7 Billion including $631 million in 2003 for civil penalties and damages arising from false claims the government alleged it submitted to Medicare and other federal health programs. In 2000, HCA subsidiaries pled guilty to substantial criminal conduct and paid more than $840 million in criminal fines, civil restitution and penalties. HCA will paid an additional $250 million to resolve overpayment claims arising from certain of its cost reporting practices. In total, the government will have recovered $1.7 billion from HCA.

Blowing the Whistle on Those that Commit Fraud Against the United States Government, First to File Provisions of the Federal False Claims Act, and Preserving Relator Rights to Share in Recovery of Funds (Qui Tam Medicare Fraud, Hospice Fraud, Nursing Home Fraud, Tricare Fraud, and other Health Care Fraud Claims)

If you are a Health Care Administrator, Hospital Administrator, Nursing Home Administrator, Doctor, Coder, Benefit Coordinator, Nurse, Chief Financial Officer, or other health care professional that has knowledge and evidence of a Health Care Provider, Hospice Provider, Nursing Home, Hospital, Medical Supply Company, or other health care contractor or subcontractor that is defrauding Tricare, Medicare, or the United States Government out of millions or billions of dollars, it is important to gather evidence of the fraud and blow the whistle on the fraud.

In blowing the whistle on health care fraud, Medicare fraud, Tricare fraud, VA fraud, or other fraud against the government, it is typically best to contact a Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, and Hospice Fraud Qui Tam Whistleblower Claim Lawyer like Jason S. Coomer and the firms that he works with to help investigate the fraud and pull together a disclosure and complaint to file.

For information on this Qui Tam Whistleblower Medicare Fraud, Tricare Fraud, and Hospice Fraud Claims, go to FederalGovernmentContractorFraud.com