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Products Liability and Personal Injury Cases

In re Volkswagen of America

Siegel argued this appeal to the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (17 judges) in May 2008.  The resulting decision set the standard in this circuit for deciding motions to transfer venue and established the framework for appellate review of transfer decisions by the district courts.  A panel of the court of appeals initially denied Volkswagen's petition for writ of mandamus seeking to order the district court to transfer the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), then reversed itself and issued the writ mandating transfer.  Siegel persuaded the full court of appeals to rehear the petition en banc, though the court ultimately split 10-7 in favor of Volkswagen.  See 545 F.3d 304 (5th Cir. 2008) (en banc).  Siegel's brief is here.


Monga v. Perez

Israel and Angelica Perez's son suffered severe neurological damages at birth caused by their medical providers' negligence in failing to induce earlier delivery or order a C-section.  Siegel persuaded the court of appeals to reject the Perezes' consulting obstetrician's claim that their expert witness's opinion on their son's condition in utero was flawed and required dismissal.  After the appeal, the case settled favorably. See 2018 WL 505263 (Tex. App. [14th Dist.] 2018).  Siegel's brief is here.

Kindred Healthcare v. Morales

Siegel represented a maintenance worker injured while repairing hospital plumbing.  The hospital argued that the worker's claim fell within the Texas medical malpractice tort reform statute, requiring him to retain an expert witness and serve a pre-discovery report establishing the hospital's negligence, but the court of appeals agreed with Siegel that the worker's claim was not a medical malpractice claim covered by the statute. See 499 S.W.3d 475 (Tex. App.-- Houston [1st Dist.] 2016).  

O'Neill v. SeaRiver Maritime

Douglas O’Neill obtained a significant award under the Jones Act after he was injured by exposure to hydrogen sulfide while working aboard an oil tanker in the Persian Gulf. SeaRiver appealed, raising difficult issues involving the proof necessary to establish causation in toxic exposure cases and related Daubert questions.  In a complete victory for O’Neill, the Fifth Circuit rejected SeaRiver’s arguments, affirmed the trial court’s evidentiary and Daubert rulings, and upheld the award. See 2007 WL 2491011 (5th Cir. 2007).  Siegel's brief is here.

Bianchetti v. Delta Airlines

Under the Warsaw Convention, airlines may be liable for death and injury caused by “accidents” that occur onboard during international flights. An “accident” is defined as “an unexpected or unusual event,” but case law is unsettled as to when an airline’s failure to abide by its own policies constitutes an accident under the Convention. In this case in federal district court in San Francisco, Siegel convinced the court that Delta’s failure to expedite medical assistance to a passenger stricken with deep vein thrombosis precluded summary judgement on the “accident” question. See 2007 WL 3027351 (N.D. Cal. 2007).

Ayala v. Ford Motor Co.

In this wrongful death case, Ford argued that it complied with applicable federal safety standards and was therefore immunized under Texas law.  When the plaintiffs responded that Ford’s inadequate disclosures to NHTSA rebutted this legal presumption of nonliability, Ford replied that Texas law is impliedly preempted under the reasoning in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Comm., 531 U.S. 341 (2001), a position the Sixth Circuit and other courts have adopted. Siegel convinced the district court that federal law doesn't displace Texas law in this situation, and that Buckman preemption is inapplicable. His brief is here.

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