Friday, October 19, 2012

Protect patients' rights, protect patients' lives - Mary Alice McLarty

Dear Friends:

I think most of you know that the current President of the American Association for Justice (the plaintiffs’ bar) is our own 2004 Trial Lawyers graduate, Mary Alice McLarty. In this election season, where lawyers who represent injured people often seem to have targets painted on their backs by the tort reformers, Mary Alice is out there fighting back. Mary Alice wrote a beautiful opinion piece for CNN about the victims of medical malpractice. She used the example of her home state of Texas to talk about how terrible the reforms there have been.

Betsy Greene
TLC '05 Grad


Opinion: Protect patients' rights, 

protect patients' lives

By Mary Alice McLarty, Special to CNN
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Fri October 12, 2012

Eliminating patients' rights is not the answer to the nation's health care problems, Mary Alice McLarty says.

Editor's note: Mary Alice McLarty is president of the American Association for Justice and a partner in McLarty Pope LLP in Dallas. She practices personal injury and civil trial law, concentrating on catastrophic injury cases.
(CNN) -- We are facing a medical malpractice crisis in our country.
More than 98,000 people die every year because of preventable medical errors. That is equivalent to two 737s crashing every day for a whole year. Preventable medical errors are the sixth leading cause of death in the United States and cost our country $29 billion a year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Discovering the story of the accused


Recently Maren Chaloupka (TLC '99 Grad & Faculty Member) represented a man, a religious man, a pastor of the church against the allegations of "rape" brought against him by his wife of 30 years.

The accusation that the accuser in this case made against her husband was that they were amidst a bitter divorce despite not separating and instead keeping the battle hot by continuing to live together in the same house. Her claim was simple enough, that he had violently raped her a total of 3 times over the course of 4 hours in their home. When asked why, she claimed that he had been emotionally and physically abusive, and had serially cheated on her, for 30 years and the rape was a natural progression of that pattern. One of the rapes she claimed was when after some 30 years of conventional sex he decided that it was time to introduce anal sex into the relationship.

Maren is very good at finding out dirty little facts and everything else there is on her cases. She will spend an incredible amount of time through conventional and TLC methods to discover the story. The real story. The back story. In this case the back story actually revealed that this woman was absolutely nuts and had been so for well over 30 years. Now the problem, how to get that story into evidence. Maren made that story a legal defense in the case. She did so by claiming that the dispute was whether the wife/accuser's craziness was relevant to show that she would make up a false rape story, or whether it was relevant to show the Pastor's motive to rape her, which was the prosecution's case. The Prosecution was cagey enough to turn her craziness into part of their theory by arguing that he raped her to punish her for making his life a living hell, and that the anal to oral sex was proof that he was deliberately punishing and humiliating her.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Learn more about TLC's President, Jude Basile

Profile: Jude Basile 

Nationally recognized trial lawyer stands up against corporate greed and government bullies 

     Nothing gives Jude Basile more satis­faction than finding the truth and using it to conquer greed and abuse of power. It’s been a mission of his since childhood, long before he became an acclaimed trial lawyer, to challenge those who unethically – and in many instances, unlawfully – exploit their positions of authority. 
     As a youngster growing up in a small, blue­collar town in western Pennsylvania, Basile experienced firsthand accounts of such abuse. To this day, one incident in particular involving his father’s business and a certain teen employee serves as the driving force behind Basile’s pursuits. 
     “My dad’s bar got shut down for me being underage and working there. I’d help him out on Friday nights making pizzas in the kitchen; I was 14,” Basile re­called. “The liquor board came in and shut us down for a month for me working there and for having gambling devices that were actually 50­50 church raffle tickets in the bar. And my dad couldn’t do anything about it.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Power of the TLC Soft Cross

Haytham Faraj, TLC '09 Grad & Faculty Member. 9/20/2012 

My recent jury trial victory in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia did not involve huge sums of money, at least not if measured by some of the verdicts we hear about, but it was every bit as important and significant to my client who stood to lose his livelihood.

The case arose from events that began in the summer of 2005. As the war in Afghanistan waged and as the U.S. government sought to establish some measure of normalcy in Afghanistan, it reopened the U.S. Embassy and put out solicitations to bring in contract guards to provide security for the Embassy. A large government contractor by the name of MVM won the contract. They then hired a startup company by the name of 3D Global Solutions -my client- to recruit guards from Peru to provide security outside the Embassy.

Now these are not mercenaries. They are mere guards; good and decent men whose sole function is to guard the Embassy and provide access control. They would receive a meager $1800 a month for their work. Another facet of the contract required the prime contractor to also provide senior guards who would provide security to high profile personnel and act as a roving force. MVM recruited elite former military Namibians with South African citizenship for that part of the contract. The Namibians are black. When the Namibians showed up, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) who is the State Department official responsible for security at the Embassy objected. He wanted "real expats." In other words, he wanted white mercenaries. You can imagine what he wanted, the khaki clad, muscle bound men donning Oakley shades and driving around in black 4X4 vehicles blowing away everyone in sight. After a few weeks of frivolous nitpicking, the RSO managed to terminate the contract based on a pretext that the guards provided by MVM did not meet the language requirement to effectively discharge their duties. MVM had spent nearly 7 million dollars to take over the Embassy security. The termination was devastating. MVM hired a top DC law firm and threatened to sue the State Department, effectively arguing that the guards were qualified and that the termination was pretextual to get rid of the black Namibian guards and bring in white guards.