Have You Been Improperly Detained?

false imprisonment

Have you ever walked around the store and felt like the employees were watching you too closely? Ever wonder what would happen if one of them stopped you and held you against your will as you were trying to leave? Well, the answer to that question will depend on a few things.

As soon as someone is falsely accused of theft they believe its false imprisonment, and immediately look to file a false imprisonment claim. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as we fully encourage any person who believes they were wronged, to investigate and weigh their options. However, there are some preliminary questions that should be answered before one brings a false imprisonment claim.

First, one has to ask whether it was reasonable to believe that you were trying to commit theft. If so, a store employee is authorized to detain you in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable time to investigate ownership of the property. However, the detainment must be REASONABLE and this authorization to detain, commonly known as the “shopkeeper’s privilege” does not authorize the employee to assault you.

Second the reasonableness of the manner of detention has to be evaluated. Where and how were you detained? There’s a big difference between being escorted to the employee breakroom and being handcuffed in a locked janitor’s closet. The former is probably excusable while the latter will probably result in liability.

Lastly, one has to look into the reasonableness of the duration of the detention. As mentioned above, having to wait in the employee breakroom during an investigation may not be too big of deal. However, if you are forced to remain in that same breakroom for five hours while employees “investigate” your actions, you could argue that your detention was clearly unreasonable.

If you’ve been unreasonably accused of theft and held against your will for an extended period of time, give us a call

Strict Deadlines in Nursing Home Cases

nursing home abuseLife keeps us all very busy. Financial and personal responsibilities often result in many people having very little time for themselves or their families. As a result, when an older loved one falls ill, despite the typical American’s strongest efforts, they are unable to take care of them at home. Combine this with the fact that the “baby boomers” are aging and you get a spike in nursing home populations.

However, because not all nursing homes are created equal, you also getaspike in nursing home deaths and mistreatment. In fact, a quick google search will return thousands of stories about the preventable deaths and mistreatment that occurs in nursing homes. Many of these victims’ families are looking for some recourse and run into difficult with Texas’ Chapter 74.

It’s important to know that if you or a family member has been mistreated in a nursing home, that there are deadlines under Chapter 74 Texas Civil Practices and Remedies code. This statute, commonly referred to as Chapter 74, creates strict deadlines and limits damages in nursing home cases. An experienced litigator is necessary to effectively navigate this statute and one should be contacted as soon as possible.

Nothing here is intended to be legal advice and should not be interpreted as such. If you think that you may have a claim against a nursing home or elder care facility, give us a call

Cujo

cujoIt’s happened to us all. We go for a walk or run through the neighborhood and Cujo, the local barking dog frees himself from captivity to chase us down the street! Did you know that if Cujo bites you, you may have claim against his owner?

In Texas, there are two causes of action which may be brought for dog bites: strict liability and negligence. In a strict liability case, the plaintiff must satisfy a 3-part test: (1) the animal is of a vicious, dangerous, or mischievous nature; (2) the owner has actual or constructive knowledge of such characteristics; and (3) the injury or damage resulted from such propensities of which the owner had knowledge.

In a negligence case, the plaintiff must show that the owner had actual or constructive notice of facts which would put an ordinary person on notice that allowing the dog to run at large would cause someone injury. However, a dog on its master’s premises is not “running at large,” and the owner of a domestic animal is not liable for injuries caused by the animal when it is in a place where it has a right to be.
If you or anyone you know has suffered a dog bite, feel free to give us a call.

The Dangers of Tort Reform

pinto

Very few people think about their right to sue and hold a corporation accountable until…. Well, they need to sue and hold a corporation accountable. Like many other rights, this right is taken for granted and because it is taken for granted, few Americans realize that everyday certain groups that are funded by corporations, lobby congress to limit these rights!

Imagine this, you get in your car, start it up and it explodes. You’re critically injured in a way that require multiple surgeries and a lifetime of medical care. You then find out that the car company KNEW that this defect was killing people but decided that rather than design the vehicle in safer way, it could save money by keeping it the same and paying out settlements.
Everything stated above is the true story about Ford Motor Company’s 1970 Subcompact vehicle called the Pinto. People DIED and Ford did nothing to prevent it because their math told them that doing nothing was more profitable.

Now imagine that you try to sue your car company and you’re told, that the most you can sue for is a $100,000.00 and that if a jury awards you more than 100k, the judge will reduce it to that amount. Alternatively, imagine a jury awards you 5 million dollars, the car company appeals and pro-company appellate judges who’s campaigns were financed by corporations, state that jury was unreasonable and reduce your award.

This is the work of tort reform. It is an issue that is rarely discussed but that we should all be concerned with.