Texas Beach Property Owners Get Their Land Back

Carol Severance, a Galveston property owner, recently was vindicated when the Texas State Supreme Court ruled in her favor.  After Hurricane Rita caused major beach erosion, Severance was told that her property was now on the public easement and, thus, subject to removal under the Open Beaches Act.  This law “rolls” landward as erosion occurs.  Severance claimed that her constitutional rights were being violated.

After years of arguments, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of property rights and against the custom of public beach access.  While the court specified this ruling was for Galveston Island, attorneys and others are wondering what the repercussions will be all along the coast line, especially the next time a storm comes.

Sewage Plant Owners Sue Insurance Company

The owners of the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant filed a lawsuit against American Alternative Insurance Corporation.  The owners are seeking more than $3.5 million and allege that the insurance company denied coverage for the collapse of one of the plant’s walls.  After the wall’s collapse, the inability to immediately use the insurance funds to replace the wall further damaged their reputation, plant and trust from the plant’s work force.

AAIC denied coverage because they determined it was a result of a faulty design, which is not covered under the policy.  The plaintiff’s and defendant’s engineers differ over the reason for the collapse and, thus, who should pay for it.  Additionally, AAIC claims that the sewage board knew of the structural problems when the policy took effect.  The owners are suing the builders as well in order to ensure they get their compensation from somewhere.

One Million Awarded for Surgical Death

Maria Garcia, a 66-year-old woman, died of a brain injury caused by the lack of oxygen during a surgery in 2008.  Subsequently, her family filed a malpractice suit against the anesthesiologist.

The trial took about two weeks and resulted in the family being awarded $1.2 million.  The jury found the doctor professionally negligent, and this negligence as the cause of death.  The doctor had failed to realize the breathing tube had moved and failed to treat very low blood pressure during the procedure.

Medical Malpractice Liability Extended

Recently, an appeals court in Utah extended medical malpractice liability of healthcare providers to the patient’s family, not just to the patient.  This case involved a murder where the husband, under medication, shot his wife.  The children sued the healthcare provider after their dad stated he would not have acted that way if he was not under the influence of medication.  While the defendants claimed the children cannot be party to the case, the court declared there is liability when their negligent prescriptions cause physical injury to nonpatients.

This decision will most likely be appealed and sent to the Supreme Court in Utah; nonetheless, this is an industry changing decision.  If the Supreme Court upholds the appellate court’s decision, insurance providers will now have to be more cautious about treating patients since their liability would now extend further.

Tampa Bay Ray is Out of Luck

Tampa Bay Rays players Matthew Bush and Brandon Guyer are being sued for $5 million each.  The Tufano family claims that after hitting 72-year-old Anthony Tufano, who was on his motorcycle, the defendants ran.  He further asserts that Bush was drunk, having a blood-alcohol content of 0.18.

Bush, who does not have a driver’s license and has two prior DUIs, was driving Guyer’s SUV when he hit the man.  Tufano is still in intensive care with 10 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a broken back and other injuries.  The $10 million figure is for the large medical bills the plaintiff is likely to sustain, and for pain and suffering.