DEFINITION OF ‘WHISTLEBLOWER’ HEADED TO HIGHEST COURTAugust 24, 2017
Federal whistleblower laws, which extend to private sector employees, could be heading for a huge overhaul during the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court term.“Whistleblowers” and the anti-retaliation protections afforded them are hot topics in our political landscape, and Texas is no exception. Read more
Texas Modification of New Hire Reporting RegulationsJune 30, 2017
Pursuant to state and federal laws, new hires and re-hires have long since been reported to the Employer New Hire Reporting Operations Center in the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Previously, “employees” were defined by whether federal income taxes were withheld from their wages. As a result, employers had not been required to report the hiring (or re-hiring) of individuals properly classified as “independent contractors” under these mandates.Read more
Changes to VA Employees’ Due Process Rights and Appeals ProceduresJune 26, 2017
On June 23, 2017, President Trump signed the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017". A full text can be found electronically at: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1094/text. This legislation received broad bipartisan support in Congress, passing the House by a 368-55 margin and receiving a unanimous vote in the Senate. Politicians, concerned citizens, and veterans' groups have lauded its passing, believing that such a measure is necessary to enact changes to the VA's employee infrastructure and turn around the much-maligned agency. Read more
Modification Of New Hire Reporting RegulationsJune 15, 2017
Pursuant to state and federal laws, new hires and re-hires have long since been reported to the Employer New Hire Reporting Operations Center in the Texas Office of the Attorney General. Previously, “employees” were defined by whether federal income taxes were withheld from their wages. As a result, employers had not been required to report the hiring (or re-hiring) of individuals properly classified as “independent contractors” under these mandates. However, effective May 1, 2017, the Office of the Attorney General implemented new reporting rules that could impact many Texas employers. The definition of “employee”, for the purposes of this report, has significantly changed. As it pertains to new hire reporting, the definition of “employee” has been broadened to include those individuals hired as independent contractors. Accordingly, Texas employers must submit new hire reports on both traditional employees and independent contractors within 20 calendar days of their hiring. Read more
Understanding the 2015 Clean Water Rule Controversy in a NutshellJune 12, 2017
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (“Clean Water Act”) was passed in 1972. It was estimated that, at the time of its passage, over 60% of the nation’s waters had become unsafe for fishing or swimming. The stated goal of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) was to reduce pollution and restore the biological, chemical and physical integrity of our nation’s waters. The law sought to achieve a zero discharge of pollutants into “navigable waters” by 1985 and fishable and swimmable waters by 1983. A noble goal indeed, and, while great strides have been made towards restoring our nation’s waters, we have not achieved the goals of the CWA. This short article is focused on the controversy surrounding the definition of “waters of the United States” in an attempt to explain the issue in an abbreviated, nontechnical manner. Read more
Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Filed Over Bard Perfix Plug, Ethicon Prolene MeshMay 25, 2017
Attorney Bradley L. Leger partner of the law firm of Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC, has filed a product liability lawsuit on behalf of his client, the Plaintiff, alleging that a number of severe and debilitating complications were caused by two different types of defective hernia mesh, including the Bard Perfix Plug and Ethicon Prolene Mesh. The complaint, which is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, names C.R. Bard, Bard Davol, Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and its Ethicon subsidiary as Defendants. The Plaintiff first received a Bard Perfix hernia plug in March 2015. However, days after the surgery, he developed problems like groin pain, a spreading rash and tests revealed that the hernia mesh had folded on itself and ultimately the hernia ruptured, resulting in the need for a second repair surgery. The Plaintiff then had to undergo another hernia surgery involving the use of Ethicon Prolene mesh. But the severe pain and complications continued following this procedure. Ultimately, it was determined that the mesh was reacting horribly within his body, resulting in yet another revision surgery. Read more
Environmental Due Diligence: Retaining Environmental ConsultantsApril 27, 2017
Today everyone recognizes that the owner or operator of a property/facility can, under appropriate circumstances, be held liable for the historical environmental conditions existing on that property. When acquiring real property, an ownership interest or leasehold interest in real property, or even a general business interest, the most effective way to manage the risk of environmental liability is to understand the property’s pre-existing environmental conditions prior to the intended acquisition. The only way to obtain the necessary level of understanding is through the environmental due diligence process. Keep in mind that managing environmental risk is more than simply identifying environmental conditions. Read more
Texas Auto Defects Attorney Bradley Leger Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against DodgeMarch 28, 2017
Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC trial attorney Bradley Leger filed a product liability, wrongful death lawsuit against Dodge on behalf of a Texas woman stemming from a December 25, 2015 rollover crash that claimed the life of her 56 year old husband. According to the lawsuit, at around 10 a.m. on Christmas day, while traveling eastbound on I-20, the man was involved in an accident that caused his 2007 Dodge Ram pickup to roll over several times. At the time of the accident, the man was properly seated and properly wearing the available 3-point seat belt. However, despite properly wearing his seatbelt, the man sustained fatal injuries when the vehicle failed to protect him due to a myriad of defects, including a defective and insufficient restraint system. The lawsuit further alleges that the Dodge truck was recalled for at least two steering defects and not equipped with side-curtain/rollover airbags. According to Mr. Leger, “the seatbelt failed, which along with the lack of proper airbags, caused the man to sustain fatal injuries. Notably, another vehicle involved in the crash contained two occupants and also rolled over, but both of those individuals survived. This is a tragic case of well-known defects and a lack of proper safety equipment causing a preventable death.” Bradley Leger is a nationwide personal injury attorney that primarily focuses on auto defects, product liability, truck accidents, airbag and seatbelt failures, rollovers, catastrophic injuries, RV/Boat and house fires, nursing home neglect, and medical malpractice. To learn more about LKC and Bradley Leger, please visit www.lkclawfirm.com.
LKC welcomes David Owens to the firm!March 23, 2017
LKC is proud to announce that attorney David J. Owens has joined our firm. Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, David graduated from West Virginia University with an undergraduate degree in biology and a graduate degree in quantitative ecology and statistical computer modeling. David is a graduate of the Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Before joining LKC, David was the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. He was also environmental counsel at several large law firms in Texas and Virginia, and in-house counsel for Exxon Corporation. Prior to practicing law, David was an environmental consultant for several large, national engineering firms and a manager of environmental control systems for Untied States Steel Corporation. David has nearly 30 years of experience practicing environmental law including litigation, permitting, compliance counseling, agency enforcement actions, and state and federal investigations. Some of his most notable matters included the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Litigation, Tronox Incorporated, et al. v. Kerr-McGee Corp., et al., In re: Oil Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010; and State of Montana v. State of Wyoming, et al. (Yellowstone Water Compact litigation before the United States Supreme Court – Original Jurisdiction). David will continue to focus his practice on environmental law, including environmental and toxic tort litigation, environmental remediation and restoration matters under RCRA and CERCLA, and private party actions for surface and groundwater damage. Click here to view David's profile
Landlords of Residential Properties Must Follow Strict Notice RulesMarch 6, 2017
In 2016, the Texas legislature changed the rules for Landlords when posting a notice to vacate prior to filing an eviction suit against a residential tenant. Landlords posting a notice to vacate on the OUTSIDE of a Tenant’s door under the alternative notice provisions of new Texas Property Code Section 24.005(f-1) must meet specific format requirements. Read more
Judge approves $36 million settlement for refrigerators that combust.February 2, 2017
UPDATE: Judge approves $36 million settlement for refrigerators that combust. LKC is taking additional DEFECTIVE REFRIGERATOR cases against NORCOLD. Please contact attorney Bradley L. Leger at 832-764-7201 or [email protected] for a FREE consultation. Read more
LKC Law Firm Partners with Boerne Kendall County Economic Development CorporationJanuary 26, 2017
As a strong supporter of the communities we serve, the Firm recently joined the Boerne-Kendall County Economic Development Corporation. The BKCEDC is a Public/Private Partnership sponsored by Kendall County, City of Boerne, Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce, and a dedicated group of over 80 private business investors who, like Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC are committed to promoting desirable economic development that will support a thriving, diverse and sustainable quality of life in Kendall County.
Did REFRIGERATOR cause deadly Oakland fire? Investigators focus on new lead as video emerges from inside illegal artist enclave just before blaze erupted.December 7, 2016
The deadly Oakland warehouse inferno that took the lives of 36 people during a party Friday night may have been caused by a refrigerator. Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern told reporters on Tuesday that investigators with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have identified a refrigerator as possibly being where the fire sparked. A video taken inside the enclave just hours before the tragedy, shows a few partygoers dancing and laughing among each other in a darkened room. The dark and grainy video appeared to back up stories from survivors who have previously told how they had to fight for a way out of the burning warehouse down a narrow staircase. One of the people who escaped told authorities there were flames coming from the refrigerator. Click here to read the full article.
New FLSA Overtime Rule Stalled, For Now.November 30, 2016
On November 22, 2016, Hon. Amos Mazzant issued an order enjoining implementation of the new FLSA rule changes set to begin on December 1, 2016. Those changes, among other things, more than double the minimum salary certain employees must be paid to be considered exempt from paying overtime. Judge Mazzant’s ruling is likely to be appealed. But it could be months or years before we know whether the Department of Labor’s interpretation of the FLSA is constitutional. For now, though, the new rule’s requirements are on hold. Please call Patrick Cohoon (San Antonio area) or Derek Flynn (Houston area) if you have questions about this important decision and how it may affect your business. A copy of Judge Mazzant’s opinion may be found by clicking here.
GM To Pay $900M In Criminal Settlement Over Ignition SwitchesAugust 17, 2016
General Motors Co (GM.N) agreed to pay $900 million and admit to misleading the government andthe public about the safety of its vehicles toend a U.S. criminal investigation into its handling ofdefective ignition switches linked to 124 deaths. The settlement and charges, which were detailed in papers filed on Thursday in Manhattan federalcourt, have transformed the relationshipbetween the automaker and the U.S. government, whichhad bailed out GM during the financial crisis. GM admitted to failing to disclose to its U.S. regulator and the public a potentially lethal safetydefect with the switches that kept airbags fromdeploying in some vehicles. The largest U.S. automaker also admitted to misleading consumers about the safety of vehiclesaffected by the defect. GM was criminally charged with scheming to conceal a deadly safety defect from its U.S. regulator,as well as wire fraud.
Volkswagen Says 11 Million Cars Worldwide Are Affected In Diesel DeceptionAugust 17, 2016
A scandal that has battered Volkswagen’s image in the United States spread to the automaker’s core market in Europe on Tuesday, when thecompany said that 11 million of its diesel cars wereequipped with software that could be used to cheat on emissions tests. That was more than20 times the number of cars previously disclosed. The company also said it would set aside 6.5 billion euros, or about $7.3 billion—the equivalent ofhalf a year’s profits—to cover the cost ofmaking the cars comply with pollution standards. In the United States, pressure was ramped up on Volkswagen, with attorneys general for New York and other states saying that they wereforming a group to investigate the deceit, and Senator BillNelson, a Florida Democrat, asking the Federal Trade Commission to begin an inquiryand look into remedies for owners.