U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Appeals Filed by KBR Attempting to Shirk Liability For Harm Caused To U.S. and British Soldiers In Iraq and Afghanistan
The Supreme Court last Tuesday declined petition for certiorari involving three appeals filed by military contractor Kellogg, Brown, and Root (“KBR”). KBR claimed the three lawsuits against them on behalf of injured servicemen should be thrown out because KBR was operating as an extension of the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan at the time. The High Court denied review and left intact a group of federal appeals court rulings allowing the lawsuits against KBR – including the Burn Pit multi district litigation – to go forward.
One of the lawsuits charged KBR with negligent homicide and was brought by the family of a U.S. Staff Sergeant. The Sergeant died at a military barrack in Iraq after suffering an electrocution while attempting to shower. Investigators discovered KBR failed to ensure the electrical work was performed by qualified electricians and plumbers.
A second suit was brought by a group of soldiers who suffered chronic illnesses and even death after prolonged exposure to hazardous smoke from an open-air “burn pit” designed to disintegrate waste. The burned material included asbestos, human remains, lithium batteries, tires, trucks, and more. The ruling will allow the multi district litigation involving burn pit claims to move forward.
The third lawsuit involved National Guard soldiers exposed to sodium dichromate while serving at the Qarmat Ali water treatment facility in southern Iraq. Jurors in Oregon have previously found KBR guilty of negligence in the poisoning of these soldiers and ordered the company pay $85 million in damages. Jurors determined KBR knew both of the presence and toxicity of sodium dichromate at the soldier’s work site. In all, more than 800 U.S. servicemen provided security for KBR contractors and were all exposed to chemicals like hexavalent chromium, causing significant health issues in the years since. Mike Doyle of Doyle Raizner LLP was lead attorney in this case.
Following the High Court’s determination, U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa Gilmore set a
Doyle Raizner Sues Intergulf For Wrongful Termination Following Plaintiff’s Initiation of A Workers’ Compensation Proceeding
Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against Intergulf Corporation (“Intergulf”) for its retaliatory actions against Plaintiff following his filing of a workers’ compensation claim for medical and wage compensation benefits.
Our client, a loyal and hard-working employee of Intergulf, tripped over a ground cable and landed on his elbow, and he quickly developed a hematoma. After suffering weeks of elbow pain, an MRI revealed surgery was necessary to repair a tendon.
Two weeks post-surgery our client started light-duty work within Intergulf’s administration office but began falling frequently due to a loss of leg strength. These knee problems were associated with the initial injury, but our client’s supervisors incorrectly told him he couldn’t report this issue as 30 days had passed since the original filing. To add further insult to injury, Intergulf began discriminatory actions against our client, culminating in his wrongful firing.
The claimed basis for our client’s termination was pretextual and in violation of the Texas Labor Code. Texas law prohibits an employer from discharging or otherwise retaliating against an employee for his or her involvement in a worker’s compensation proceeding.
Intergulf was aware our client’s injury was compensable yet engaged in actions designed to result in his termination. The mistreatment that took place now entitles our client to actual, punitive, and exemplary damages, along with other penalties under related provisions.
The Worker’s Compensation lawyers of Doyle Raizner LLP remain committed to helping this Plaintiff pursue justice against Intergulf. If you or someone you love has experienced a situation similar to this, please contact the attorneys at Doyle Raizner LLP, today.
A federal judge recently remanded Plaintiff’s case for retaliatory termination and workers compensation bad faith to Arizona State Court as the Federal Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Specifically, U.S.C. § 1445(c) provides; “A civil action in any State court arising under the workmen’s compensation laws of such State may not be removed to any district court of the United States.”
While working for Lowe’s Home Centers (“Lowe’s”), our client was descending a ladder when he suffered an Achilles tear. He immediately reported the issue and later filed for workers’ comp benefits. Lowe’s was insured through New Hampshire Insurance Company who then wrongfully denied the claim alleging it was a pre-existing injury, an improper basis under Arizona law and directly rejected by our client’s doctor.
To further add insult to injury, in response to the on-the-job injury, Lowe’s continually harassed our client regarding the claim because Lowe’s had a Self-Insured Retention for its workers’ compensation insurance – meaning Lowe’s actually paid the benefits to our client as opposed to New Hampshire. Eventually, Lowe’s terminated our client for filing the workers’ compensation claim.
In response, Plaintiff initiated suit in Maricopa County Superior Court for bad faith against New Hampshire and wrongful termination against Lowe’s. On November 21, 2014, Defendants improperly removed this case to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona citing diversity jurisdiction, under 28 U.S.C. § 1332, as the sole basis for removal.
In removing this case, Defendants completely ignored that our client’s claim for wrongful termination arises under the worker’s compensation laws of the state of Arizona. The Worker’s Compensation lawyers of Doyle Raizner LLP are pleased the Federal Court has determined this case in non-removable and look forward to fighting for this client’s relief in the proper venue.
Judge Grants Plaintiff’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment against ACE American Insurance Company for Breach of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
A federal judge recently granted Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment finding that ACE American Insurance Company (“ACE”) breached its duty of good faith and fair dealing after its claims handler failed to issue retroactive payments in a timely manner even after discovering her miscalculations. On March 13, 2012, our client fell on a cement surface at work, injuring her head and knee. At the time she worked for the Boeing Company. Boeing contracted with ACE to insure Boeing’s employees receive workers’ compensation. ACE’s assigned adjuster greatly miscalculated our client’s wage replacement benefits, underpaying Plaintiff by over $23,000 in benefits. The adjuster considered her error an “honest mistake,” but failed to correct the issue even after the Industrial Commission of Arizona (“ICA”) required our client be paid the proper amount, “immediately.” Months later the adjuster received emails from Plaintiff’s legal representatives asking for wage correction, but after again promising to pay benefits in short-time, ACE’s adjuster waited another 9 months before correcting her errors. The federal judge found there is no genuine issue of material fact as to whether the adjuster’s improper claims handling actions occurred and were intentional. He also noted that findings of bad faith require that the unreasonable conduct includes failure to “immediately conduct an adequate investigation,” failure to “act promptly in paying a legitimate claim,” and “forcing an insured to go through needless adversarial hoops to achieve its rights under the policy.” The judge determined the adjuster’s conduct meets each qualification. Also, because the Defendants didn’t disputed that our client was owed retroactive payments, the Judge found the insurance claim isn’t “fairly debatable.” The experienced worker’s compensation lawyers of Doyle Raizner LLP are pleased with this result and honored to represent the client in this dispute.
Doyle Raizner Sues Underwriters At Lloyd’s of London For Violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Related Laws Following Major Water Loss To A Supermarket
Doyle Raizner LLP has initiated suit against Certain Underwriters At Lloyds, London (“Underwriters”) for mishandling Plaintiff’s claim of loss after his supermarket sustained extensive water damages.
Our client, owner of the grocery store containing both perishables and nonperishables, was sold a commercial insurance policy by Underwriters which provided coverage for damages to business property and lost business income caused by “accidental water discharge.” On May 25, 2014, there was a sudden discharge of water from the facility’s subsurface fire sprinkler system which caused substantial damages including loss of nearly 1 million dollars in inventory. Immediately, Plaintiff filed an insurance claim under the policy believing the claim would be handled pursuant to policy terms and benefits.
Underwriters responded by assigning an improperly trained adjuster to the case. This employee violated the Texas Insurance Code by failing to conduct an adequate investigation of damages caused by the water and by refusing to acknowledge any damages to inventory. Underwriters falsely misrepresented the terms of its policy in a denial letter by stating “Food Spoilage” was added to the “Property Not Covered Section.” In fact, coverage for food spoilage is what the Policy was intended to cover due to the nature of Plaintiff’s business inasmuch as it is a food center and supermarket.
After delaying the claims process, on September 19, 2014, Underwriters declined to continue evaluating the claim and refused to issue any payments under the Policy. The insurance provider violated its duty process our client’s claim in by choosing to delay and deny timely payment even after liability was clear. The repeated delays of payment have caused our client significant economic impact, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damage.
If you believe you’ve experienced improper delay or denials of a Texas commercial property insurance claim, contact Doyle Raizner LLP today for a free consultation.
The Supreme Court of Texas recently denied Spectraseis’ petition for review, rejecting Spectraseis’ demand that it could evade all responsibility for injuries sustained by a UK resident, Chris Mulgrew, while working on a Spectraseis project in Canada. Mr. Mulgrew was working on a Spectraseis-managed seismic survey project in Saskatchewan, Canada. Spectraseis utilized a number of contractors to perform the work, but was responsible for management of the operation and provision of safe work gear. Unfortunately, as the weather reached -45 degrees Mr. Mulgrew sustained serious frostbite injuries due to the inadequate gear and work schedules in the extreme outdoor conditions. Spectraseis’ negligence in management of the Health Safety Environment (HSE) aspects of the project led to multiple amputations of Mr. Mulgrew’s fingers, impacting both his ability to earn a living and future abilities to carry on his life. After Mr. Mulgrew was injured working on Spectraseis’ project, Spectraseis told the government authorities in Canada, and Mr. Mulgrew, that he was not employed by Spectraseis and they were immune from all liability for his injuries. The Houston Court of Appeals had previously overturned a dismissal of the case at the trial court level based on an alleged lack of jurisdiction over Spectraseis, a company with global operations headquartered in Houston, Texas. The appellate court found that the claims of Spectraseis that it was immune from the jurisdiction of the Texas courts for its negligence in Canada were unfounded. With the Texas Supreme Court now refusing the last demand of Spectraseis that it be able to evade accountability in every jurisdiction, Doyle Raizner’s case for Mr. Mulgrew is headed back for trial in the district court of Harris County, Texas.
Doyle Raizner Files Commercial Property Suit Against Nationwide Property and Casualty For Breach of Contract, Fraud, and Insurance Bad Faith
Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against Nationwide Property and Casualty (“Nationwide”) and its assigned claims adjuster for multiple violations of the Texas Insurance Code and related laws protecting consumers against fraud and other deceptive business practices.
Our client owns a wholesale distribution store and purchased insurance from Nationwide whereby the company agreed to provide coverage for the building, warehouse, inventory, and lost business income resulting from burglary.
On or about January 21, 2014, five suspects broke into the Property by smashing the glass with sledgehammers, threatened the employees with guns, and stole a substantial amount of money, inventory, and other items from the building. Plaintiff immediately filed an insurance claim for damages to the building, along with lost inventory, items and cash from the register, and more.
Nationwide responded by assigning consultants to Plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. These actions violated the Texas Insurance Code’s requirement to conduct an adequate investigation. Further, Nationwide utilized biased consultants that overlooked the extent of loss and grossly undervalued the damages it did accept. The insurance company also violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and committed fraud by representing that certain damages were not covered under the Policy when in fact they were.
Given the repeated delays of payment, our client has been subjected to significant economic impact, worry, distress, and continuing economic and physical damage. In addition, this commercial business owner suffers continuing financial harm and damage as a result of the repeated delays.
If you believe you have endured improper delay or denials of a Texas commercial property insurance claim, contact Doyle Raizner LLP today for a free consultation.
Doyle Raizner Sues BL Technology for Retaliation Against An Employee Following His Filing Of A Worker’s Comp Claim
Doyle Raizner LLP has filed suit against BL Technology, Inc., (“BL Technology”) for wrongfully terminating Plaintiff in response to his filing for compensation benefits following an at-work injury.
Our client, a loyal and hardworking field technician for BL Technology, fell and injured his spine while installing cameras at an oil plant in La Porte, Texas. The fall caused him severe back pains and an inability to fulfill workplace duties. After an MRI revealed surgery was needed to repair a herniated disk, our client filed for benefits under Texas Worker’s Compensation laws to meet this financial obligation.
Texas law prohibits employers from firing employees in response to their involvement in a worker’s compensation proceeding, but employers still do it all that time. If you can show that your employer has terminated you or taken any other action specifically against you because you filed a good-faith claim for benefits, you are entitled to damages.
After our client underwent surgery, BL Technology offered him a light-duty position. He accepted the position, but indicated it would be pending the results of physical therapy and medical clearance. While he was in a worker’s compensation dispute to obtain therapy benefits, BL Technology fired him for not showing up to work.
The company was aware our client couldn’t fulfill this request, but designed a scheme to result in his termination. Actions of harassment and wrongful terminations may entitle victims to actual, punitive, and exemplary damages, along with other penalties under Texas Worker’s Compensation law and the Texas Labor Code.
At the law office of Doyle Raizner LLP, we have protected the rights of injured Texas workers for decades. Our employment lawyers have extensive experience in representing men and women who have suffered a loss because of a job related injury, including those wrongfully terminated. If you believe you are a victim of similar retaliation in the workplace, contact Doyle Raizner LLP today for an in-depth assessment of
We are pleased to announce that Attorneys Jeffrey Raizner, Patrick Dennis, and Mike Doyle for being recognized as Top Lawyers of 2014 by Houstonia Magazine! Houstonia uses Avvo’s proprietary algorithm which rates all attorneys on a 10-point scale, factoring in peer endorsements as well as litigation experience, education, specialized training, speaking, publishing, and awards. Each year Houstonia releases a list of those leading the list and all three Partners of Doyle Raizner LLP were awarded this distinction.
Lowe’s Home Centers, New Hampshire Insurance, and Sedgwick Claims Liable for Worker’s Comp Bad Faith Following At-Work Injury
Doyle Raizner LLP has filed lawsuit against Lowe’s Home Centers (“Lowe’s”), New Hampshire Insurance (“New Hampshire”), and Sedgwick Claims (“Sedgwick”) for violations of the Arizona Workers’ Compensation Act, duties of good faith and fair dealing, and wrongful termination from the workplace.
Our client, a loyal and hard-working employee of Lowe’s, was descending a ladder after stocking shelves when he suffered tears to his achilles. He immediately reported the issue to his supervisor and later filed for workers’ comp benefits as he was unable to continue working.
Lowe’s required our client see a company doctor that provided Vicodin before releasing him back to full work duties though he was unable to walk without severe pain. New Hampshire and Sedgwick responded to the workers’ comp filing by placing an inadequately trained adjuster in charge of claims processing. This adjuster required our client visit the insurer’s Independent Medical Examiner (IME), who improperly concluded that scar tissue found around the ankle proved the Achilles injury occurred long before the date it was reported.
Our client visited a podiatrist through use of his personal insurance who concluded the tendon tears took place while working at Lowes, and that scar tissue in the ankle is unrelated and normally forms throughout a person’s lifetime. Relying only on the information of its hand-picked physicians, the adjuster emailed our client denying all benefits as “pre-existing.” In addition, she caused a Notice of Claim Status form to be filed with the Industrial Commission of Arizona, which ceased and denied all medical and income benefits.
This denial violates the duty of “good faith and fair dealing” by intentionally and knowingly terminating benefits without a reasonable basis. Pre-existing damages are still covered under workers’ compensation as long as an at-work accident aggravates and/or accelerates a prior condition. The defendants chose to misinterpret the rules and obligations of the Arizona Worker’s Comp Act to escape providing our client wage compensations and medical benefits.