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US Department Of Labor Bulletin for Employers

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, the US Department of Labor issued a bulletin that provides a bit of grace for employers as they work to comply with the new sick leave and family medical-leave laws that went into effect last week.  In sum, the Department will not bring an enforcement action against an employer for violations of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act if the employer acts reasonably and in good faith to comply.  The attached bulletin provides the criteria the Department will consider in determining whether the employer acted reasonably and with good faith. The non-enforcement period expires on April 17, 2020, so employers have a limited window to get into compliance.  If you have questions about the Act or how recent events may impact your business, please call James in the Houston metro area at 832.764.7202 or Patrick in the San Antonio area at 210.504.4401.

Read the Full Field Assistance Bulletin Here


COVID-19 – Practical Business Tips

This summary provides an overview of some novel business issues our clients are experiencing amidst the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The following information is for illustration purposes and not legal advice. If you need more specific guidance on one of the issues discussed in this presentation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Corona Virus – Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Find more information here. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available. Read More Here.

Anadarko Change of Control Separation Benefits Representation

The Anadarko Change of Control has left many of its legacy employees questioning next steps. Many of these employees have found the transition to Occidental to be bumpy—having had their positions reduced and their duties transferred away. Many of these employees want to know their options and determine their eligibility for Change of Control Separation Benefits so that they can terminate employment and move forward. Alison Wills can assist with this transition. Alison is familiar with this Change of Control and how it impacts legacy Anadarko employees. If you need a thorough review of Change of Control documents, an analysis of your eligibility for Good Reason termination and entitlement to Separation Benefits, and representation in releasing claims, please contact Alison at awills@lkclawfirm.com or by telephone at (832) 764-7203.

Advantages and Disadvantages to CMBS Loans: Best Tips for Negotiating a CMBS Loan.

While a bank loan and a commercial mortgage backed security (CMBS) loan are similar in many ways, they are not created equal and come with some disadvantage to the Borrower. Traditionally, the CMBS loans have enticed commercial real estate borrowers by offering lower interest rates (not always the case), higher loan-to-value (LTV) ratios, and a seemingly endless availability of capital. If you are contemplating a CMBS loan, you should be aware of the disadvantages and some ways that you can mitigate those disadvantages. Read More

Recent Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) Victory

Leger Ketchum & Cohoon’s litigation group successfully prosecuted a Federal Torts Claims Act (“FTCA”) case against the United States of America. Attorneys J. Patrick Cohoon and Alison R. Wills represented F.E.I. Company in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania before the Honorable Yvette Kane. F.E.I. owned and operated a cold storage warehouse and stored amenable meat and poultry products for its customers’ supply chain needs. The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), as part of its regulatory powers, detained products in F.E.I.’s warehouse. Leger Ketchum & Cohoon established that the USDA was negligent in failing to remove the detention order in a timely manner and in violation of the USDA’s own policies and regulations. As a result of this unlawful extended detention period, F.E.I suffered harm, for which it was compensated. FTCA claims are complicated legal matters that require careful exhaustion of administrative remedies and litigation in federal courts. Contact Leger Ketchum & Cohoon to discuss your litigation needs and strategies.

Recent Appellate Victory

Patrick Cohoon with Leger Ketchum & Cohoon recently secured a Firm client’s trial court victory in an appeal made to Texas’ Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. In the underlying suit, the client’s principal was personally targeted for liability under commercial leases. Mr. Cohoon obtained dismissal of the suit in Travis County’s 201st District Court based on special appearance. Plaintiff appealed based on an undisclosed-principal theory. After briefing and oral arguments, the court agreed with the Firm’s client and upheld the trial court’s dismissal with prejudice.

Self-Storage Market Saturation?

There has been a lot of buzz about the self-storage market in the U.S., but you have to ask yourself when will the market be saturated? Only 8% of the U.S. population use self-storage and that is expected to conservatively grow to 9%. I have watched 3 new properties be built close to my home and it was amazing to see them go up so quickly and I often wonder how quickly they fill up. Whenever I see a particular asset-type saturate with a new product, I always advise my clients to look at the secondary market because that is usually where the value-add play will be the most profitable. My prediction would be that the older self-storage units run by families and private owners will be anxious to sell as they lose business to the newer, shinier units. You know the ones I mean, they are usually run down, out-dated security, lacking climate-controlled units and not the prettiest properties on the market. This creates an opportunity for the savvy investor who knows how to turn an old product into something better. It is basic real estate economics. It is a less expensive entry into a product, as opposed to new development, and if you know how, you can turn that product into something competitive to the new product at a better entry price. Most of the Mom and Pop operators will sell to an investor seller-financed with a small portion upfront in cash. This gives the investor a lot more room to add value. For those of you who are used to the multi-family market, you will know that some of the most profitable operators are those that are buying C or D properties and turning them into B or C properties. These operators know that right-sizing the expenses creates wealth. C or D self-storage units have the same economics, but they are infinitely easier to turn around. Some clean-up, fresh paint, new signs, new security, and better operations and you have yourself a wealth creator. I think this will continue to be an asset class to keep your eye on in the future, especially the secondary market. I know I am watching it closely. Tell me what your favorite asset class is. – By Pete Larsen

Texas Rising Stars 2019: Alison R. Wills

We are pleased to announce that Alison R. Wills has been selected as a 2019 Texas Rising Star. Membership to this list is reserved for those who are under 40 years of age or have been practicing for 10 years or less, and who exhibit excellence in their work. Only 2.5% of attorneys in Texas receive this distinction. Alison and Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC are excited to continue providing our clients top-notch legal representation for all of their labor and employment needs. Please contact attorney Alison Wills at info@lkclawfirm.com for a free, confidential case evaluation.

3M Combat Earplugs Caused Hearing Injuries

In July of 2018, the United States Department of Justice announced that 3M had agreed to pay $9.1 million in order to resolve allegations that they knowingly sold the Dual-Ended Combat Arms™ Earplugs, Version 2 to the U.S. military without disclosing defects that hampered the effectiveness of the hearing protection device. The ear plugs were originally manufactured by Aearo Technologies, which was acquired by 3M in 2008.
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MDL Panel Sends Military Service Members’ Lawsuits Faulting 3M Earplugs to Northern District of Florida

A federal judicial panel has sent more than 640 lawsuits to Florida that allege defective earplugs caused hearing problems in U.S. military service members.
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America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys®

Announcing the selection of BRADLEY L. LEGER among America’s Top 100 Personal Injury Attorneys® for 2019. Read more

DOL to Increase Salary Threshold for Overtime Eligibility

The Department of Labor (“DOL”) just issued its long-anticipated Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding overtime pay. The new rule proposes an increase to the existing salary threshold for employees to be eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Read more

3M Combat Earplugs Caused Hearing Injuries

If you, or someone you know, was in active military service from 2003-2015 and suffered hearing loss of any amount and/or tinnitus, contact LKC trial attorney Bradley Leger immediately. We are working on these cases now. 3M knowingly sold defective earplugs to the military and veterans have suffered as a result. Our firm feels strongly about military veterans and their rights. You can contact LKC trial attorney Bradley Leger directly at bleger@lkclawfirm.com or 832-761-7201. Read more

Boerne Attorney Mr. J. Patrick Cohoon Honored by Texas Bar Foundation

Mr. J. Patrick Cohoon with Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC has been elected to membership in the Fellows of the Texas Bar Foundation. Fellows of the Foundation are selected for their outstanding professional achievements and their demonstrated commitment to the improvement of the justice system throughout the state of  Texas. Read more

Hernia Mesh Lawsuit Filed Against Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc.

Attorney Bradley L. Leger, partner at 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 a defective hernia mesh, the Ethicon Prolene Mesh. Read more

Product Defect Attorney Bradley Leger Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against GM

Leger Ketchum & Cohoon, PLLC trial attorney Bradley Leger filed a product liability wrongful death lawsuit against GM on behalf of a Texas family who lost their 66 year old mother when she was killed in a June 24, 2017 rollover crash. Read more


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 Regulations

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 Procedures

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 Regulations

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 Nutshell

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 Mesh

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 Consultants

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 Dodge

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!

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 Rules

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.


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 bleger@lkclawfirm.com for a FREE consultation. Read more

LKC Law Firm Partners with Boerne Kendall County Economic Development Corporation


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.

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.

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 Switches

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 Deception

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.