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APRIL 18, 2019
Court of Appeals, First District of Texas at Houston
Milan represented the Defendant/Appellee who was sued as a result of a rear-end collision which occurred on June 6, 2015. The Defendant/Appellee was served with the lawsuit after the two-year statute of limitations expired. Milan raised the affirmative defense of "statute of limitations" on behalf of his client. He argued that while the lawsuit was timely filed, the Plaintiff/Appellant did not serve his client until after the statute expired, and that the Plaintiff/Appellant could not prove "due diligence" in both the issuance of citation and the service of citation as a matter of law. Pursuant to Proulx v. Wells, 235 S.W.3d 213, 215 (Tex. 2007), Milan contended that a timely filed suit does not suspend the running of limitations unless the Plaintiff exercises due diligence in the issuance and service of citation, and specifically argued:
1. The statute of limitations expired on June 6, 2017;
2. The Defendant/Appellee was not served with the Original Petition until September 14, 2017 - 100 days after the expiration of the limitations period;
3. Plaintiff/Appellee first requested service of process on June 9, 2017, which was 10 days after filing the Original Petition and 3 days after the limitations expired.
The 215th District Court agreed with Milan's arguments and dismissed Plaintiff's/Appellant's lawsuit with prejudice based on the affirmative defense of Statute of Limitations and an appeal followed. The Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas (No. 01-18-00122-CV) overruled all 5 points of error raised by the Plaintiff/Appellant, affirmed the final order of the trial court, and ordered the Plaintiff/Appellant to pay all appellate costs.
Milan G. Marinkovich presented a 2 hour CE lecture on Epidural Steroid Injections (Part II) at the annual TASIU Gulf Coast Insurance Fraud Seminar on April 10, 2019. This lecture was a follow-up to his 2017 presentation, "Deconstructing the ESI Buildup: A Proactive Approach."
MILAN OBTAINS $300,000 JUDGMENT FOR MINOR - VICTIM OF ILLICIT SEXUAL CONTACT
FEBRUARY 20, 2019:
Harris County, Texas, 334th District Court
Milan represented both the mother as next friend of the minor child, as well as the minor child in an illicit sexual contact case. On August 25, 2013, the mother dropped off the minor child (the "Minor"), a seven-year old girl, at the defendant's home where he and his wife lived. The defendant's wife was a regular babysitter of the Minor. Later that day, the defendant unlawfully and intentionally assaulted the Minor by engaging in illicit sexual contact. By definition, a person commits an assault by illicit sexual contact by touching the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. The minor made an outcry later that evening to her mother, testifying that the defendant kissed her on the lips and fondled her vagina with his hand. Prior to the outcry, the Minor had already taken a shower and her clothes were laundered. Thus, there was no DNA evidence available. During closing arguments, Milan asked for $250,000 as compensation for the Minor's damages. After 2 days of testimony, a unanimous jury voted 12-0 finding that the defendant committed an assault against the minor. The jury awarded her $300,000.00 in damages.
COURT GRANTS NO-EVIDENCE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN PREMISES LIABILITY CASE
MARCH 7, 2019:
Montgomery County, Texas, 284th District Court
Milan represented two defendants who were alleged to have operated a home day care facility in a rental home. The Plaintiff alleged she fell on an unknown substance in the rental home, sustaining serious injuries. The Plaintiff filed suit under the theories of premises liability and gross negligence. After filing a no-evidence motion for summary judgment on behalf of his clients, the court dismissed the Plaintiff's claims.
APPEALS COURT AFFIRMS TRIAL COURT'S SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER
FEBRUARY 8, 2019:
Court of Appeals, Fifth District of Texas at Dallas
Milan G. Marinkovich represented the security company at Stonebriar Centre Mall ("Mall") in Frisco, Texas. On the evening of March 4, 2015, a winter storm moved through North Texas causing temperatures to fall below freezing and turning rain into ice and snow. The Plaintiff's lawsuit alleged she sustained various personal injuries after a slip and fall accident at the Mall from ice on March 6, 2015. After the trial court granted summary judgment on behalf of the security company and other named defendants, the Plaintiff/Appellant appealed to the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas.
The central issue was whether the ice, which caused Plaintiff/Appellant to fall, was the result of natural accumulation. The Texas Supreme Court has held that whether a condition on a premises owner’s property, like a natural accumulation of ice, poses an unreasonable risk of harm is a “matter of law” determination. See Scott and White Mem. Hosp. v. Fair, 301 S.W.3d 411, 419 (Tex. 2010). In Fair, the Texas Supreme Court concluded “naturally occurring ice that accumulates without the assistance or involvement of unnatural contact is not an unreasonably dangerous condition sufficient to support a premises liability claim.” Id. at 414. A natural accumulation of ice is one that accumulates as a result of an act of nature, and an unnatural accumulation refers to causes and factors other than inclement weather conditions. Id. at 415. However, salting, shoveling, or applying a chemical deicer to a natural ice accumulation does not transform it into an unnatural one. Id. at 419. “To find otherwise would punish business owners who, as a courtesy to invitees, attempt to make their premises safe.” Id.
Responding to the appeal, Milan contended that the security company owed no duty to the Plaintiff, and that the natural accumulation of ice was not an "unreasonably dangerous condition" to support Plaintiff's/Appellant's premises liability claim. The appellate court agreed, affirmed the trial court's judgment, and overruled ten issues that the Plaintiff/Appellant raised on appeal. In addition, the appellate court awarded Milan's client their costs of this appeal.
COURT GRANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN PREMISES LIABILITY CASE
FEBRUARY 1, 2019: Milan G. Marinkovich represented six named defendants in a slip and fall case occurring at The Galleria Mall in Houston, Texas (“Mall”). The Plaintiff’s lawsuit claimed that while on the Mall premises, she slipped and fell in a puddle of standing water on the floor and sustained various personal injuries and damages as a result. Plaintiff brought a premises liability action for personal injuries resulting from Defendants’ alleged negligence and gross negligence. Although the Plaintiff’s Original Petition was timely filed on April 24, 2018, (one day before expiration of the statute of limitations), Plaintiff failed to request citations for the named Defendants. The Plaintiff did not request civil process for any of the defendants between April 24, 2018 and June 1, 2018 (a period of 39 days). Because the statute of limitations expired on April 25, 2018, the Plaintiff’s request for citations on June 1, 2018 was indisputably after the statute of limitations expired. This untimeliness was fatal to Plaintiff’s claim. The Texas Supreme Court previously held that a timely filed suit “will not interrupt the running of limitations unless the plaintiff exercises due diligence in the issuance and service of citation.” Proulx v. Wells, 235 S.W.3d 213, 216, (Tex. 2007). A traditional motion for summary judgment was filed based on this affirmative defense. On February 1, 2019, the trial court granted summary judgment as to all named Defendants. The Court’s Order effectively dismissed the Plaintiff’s case with prejudice. Because the due-diligence issue was recognized early on in the litigation process, Milan’s clients benefited from significant savings in litigation expenses.
COURT GRANTS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN PREMISES LIABILITY CASE
SEPTEMBER 17, 2018: Milan G. Marinkovich represented the defendants in a premises liability lawsuit. The Plaintiff claimed various personal injuries arising out of an alleged slip and fall on or about March 19, 2016, at The Galleria Mall, in Houston, Texas. After Milan filed both traditional and no evidence motions for summary judgment on behalf of all named defendants, the Court dismissed all of Plaintiff's claims.
FIRST FAVORABLE DEFENSE VERDICT IN 2018
MARCH 7, 2018: After demanding between $275,000 and $300,000 at trial, the Plaintiff only recovered $3,500.00 from the jury that deliberated for one hour.
FIFTH FAVORABLE DEFENSE VERDICT IN A ROW TO END 2017
AUGUST 23, 2017: Plaintiffs' submitted $39,573.17 in combined admissible medical specials, recovering only $20,727.90 from the jury. This award represents a recovery of only 52.38% of their combined medical specials, with nothing awarded to either Plaintiff for past physical pain.
FIRM OBTAINS SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN COLLIN COUNTY PREMISES LIABILITY CASE
JULY 28, 2017: Plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging that in March 2015, she slipped and fell on ice outside a nationally known department store, located at a well known mall in North Texas. The icy conditions resulted from a three-day snow and ice storm that had struck North Texas. Our client (the security services company at the mall) was sued in addition to the owner of the mall and the mall's janitorial services company. At her oral deposition, the Plaintiff testified that she fell on ice on the sidewalk handicapped access ramp leading to the department store entrance. The Plaintiff sustained a fractured right wrist which required surgery to place metal rods into her wrist and four months of physical rehabilitation after the surgery. The Plaintiff was seeking in excess of $500,000 for her injuries. Although the Plaintiff repeatedly claimed throughout the case that all defendants were on notice of a prior fall, her bare assertion was the only evidence of notice she could produce. We demonstrated that the Plaintiff knew of the icy conditions before traveling to the mall on the morning of the incident, and that her fall was caused by the slipperiness of the ice itself, and for no other reason. The trial judge agreed and granted a full summary judgment in our client's favor because: (1) the Plaintiff was unable to establish any duty between our client and herself and (2) the cause of her fall was due to the ice and no other reason such as a premises defect or negligent activity.
4th FAVORABLE DEFENSE VERDICT IN 2017 - SECOND TAKE- NOTHING JUDGMENT IN A ROW
MAY 31, 2017: Milan G. Marinkovich obtains his second take-nothing judgment in a row after Plaintiff demanded $44,966.20 at trial.
THIRD FAVORABLE DEFENSE VERDICT IN 2017 - A TAKE-NOTHING JUDGMENT
MAY 23, 2017: Milan G. Marinkovich secures a take-nothing judgment after Plaintiff demanded $32,010 at trial.
2017 TASIU GULF COAST INSURANCE FRAUD SEMINAR
Milan G. Marinkovich presented "Deconstructing the ESI Buildup: A Proactive Approach" on Thursday April 6, 2017, at the 2017 TASIU Gulf Coast Insurance Fraud Seminar and Vendor Expo at the Pasadena Convention Center. The class examined how the Plaintiffs’ bar utilizes unnecessary ESI’s (Epidural Steroid Injections) to increase their clients’ medical specials and how these lawyers obtain "future” surgical recommendations for their clients. Milan's proactive approach provided the audience with specific, case-proven mechanisms to combat the ESI Buildup as well as suggestions for defending cases where ESI's are part of the treatment protocol.
SECOND FAVORABLE DEFENSE VERDICT IN 2017
MARCH 2017: Milan G. Marinkovich obtained a favorable jury trial verdict in Harris County, Texas in a personal injury (automobile accident) case filed by two Plaintiffs and three minor children ages 4, 3, and 2.
DECEMBER 19: 2016: Milan G. Marinkovich is published in VerdictSearch Texas for the second time. Vol. 17, Issue 1. Maria Chavez vs. Amanuel Drar, No. DC-15-12731, Dallas County, 162nd District Court
JUNE 22, 2015: Milan G. Marinkovich is published in VerdictSearch Texas as the "Featured Verdict." Vol. 15, Issue 26. Antoinette B. Dupree and Robert Dupree vs. PrimeFlight Aviation Services, Inc.; the City of Houston; United Airlines Inc.; and Kone Inc., d/b/a Kone Elevators & Escalators of Houston, No. 2013-13442, Harris County, 334th District Court
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