Check out this short video produced by the Center for American Progress. Using personal stories of everyday Texans, it powerfully demonstrates the devastating impact severe restrictions on access to our courts have had on families from every corner of our state. The film features Texas Watch citizen activists, as well as our Executive Director Alex Winslow.
A sharply divided Supreme Court of Texas handed down an opinion today that is devastating for workers exposed to cancer-causing asbestos. In Bostic v. Georgia-Pacific, the Court creates an exceptionally high causation standard for asbestos-related cancer cases, effectively blocking many workers and their families from having their day in court. (See Case No. 10-0775, majority, concurrence, dissent.)
Alex Winslow, Executive Director of Texas Watch, a citizen advocacy organization active on civil justice issues, stated:
“The Texas Supreme Court is closing the courthouse doors for workers who are going to die a terrible death simply because they showed up for work and did their job. This decision breaks the promise of meaningful accountability for workers who, through no fault of their own, were poisoned by asbestos-laden products. In the words of Justice Lehrmann, this opinion ‘does not just offend logic – it offends justice.’” (more…)
In this edition of the News of the Week, Greg Abbott shuts down access to information about hazardous chemical facilities, we have tips to get you ready for your summer road trip, OSHA issues a scathing report into a construction worker’s death at Kyle Field, and an Arlington man who had the wrong kidney removed seeks accountability in the courts. (more…)
Families who live and work near hazardous chemical facilities no longer have access to information about the type or amount of dangerous toxics in their community. According to a report by WFAA-TV, Greg Abbott recently issued a legal opinion barring the disclosure of such information despite federal law permitting disclosure and longstanding state practice to make that information available to anyone who requests it.
Abbott’s decision reflects an about-face from proclamations made by other state leaders to beef up disclosure of chemical facilities in the wake of last year’s disastrous explosion of an ammonium nitrate storage facility in West, Texas. (more…)
In this edition of the News of the Week: Senators take testimony on the response to the West disaster, the State Fire Marshal issues a report detailing ways to improve safety after West, nursing home residents face abuse and neglect at an alarming rate with little recourse for repeat offenders, and a video about the importance of class action lawsuits in protecting consumers. (more…)
The disaster last year in West, Texas has put a spotlight on gaping holes in the safety and accountability of industrial facilities that handle and store dangerously toxic materials like ammonium nitrate.
Lawmakers have spent the better part of the last year discussing whether and how to beef up oversight of these facilities, as well as how to ensure accountability if another disaster occurs. This is a public safety issue that requires reasonable and responsible reforms to ensure our communities, schools, and families are protected and are able to rebuild after a catastrophe. We know what the solutions are and they are pretty straight forward: Implement basic safety precautions and construction standards and require facility owners to have meaningful liability insurance so that communities have resources to rebuild. (more…)
Should local authorities be able to police polluters who poison the local water supply? Or should that authority be shipped to bureaucrats in Austin with a history of kowtowing to industries known to pollute the air and water?
That’s a no-brainer, right?
Well, lawmakers are holding a hearing today on just that issue. (more…)
In this week’s News of the Week: Lawmakers hold a hearing to discuss whether local authorities should retain the right to sue polluters, safety regulators know almost nothing about the most dangerous job you’ve never heard of, and a columnist loses his friend to a hospital infection. (more…)
In this week’s News of the Week: Polluters undermining local authorities, spike in traffic deaths related to Texas’s tracking boom, Corpus families denied restitution after exposure to benzene and other toxics, and a member of Congress who wants answers about the lingering health effects of the West disaster. (more…)
In this week’s News of the Week, our compilation of the must read media clips of the past week: sociopathic doctors, surgical mesh, sweetheart deals, chemical company denials, and an unsafe Texas nuclear plant. (more…)