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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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