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Sunday, August 25, 2019

Texas court backs Ace American Insurance in electric shock case

State Court

By Charmaine Little | Jul 29, 2019


HOUSTON -- The Texas First District Court of Appeals affirmed July 9 a judgment for an insurance company facing a lawsuit from a man’s injuries that stemmed from electric shock.

Osie Rush filed the appeal after the Grimes County District Court ruled in favor of Ace American Insurance Company following Rush’s challenge to Texas Department of Insurance, Division of Workers’ Compensation ruling. The legal back-and-forth started after Rush said he suffered an electrical shock while working at Trinity Industries Inc. 

A hearing officer for the DWC determined that Rush’s injury wasn’t beyond a right shoulder strain, disc protrusions, tendinosis and partial thickness tear on his right shoulder and memory loss. It also determined that Rush didn’t suffer disability. Rush appealed, and the appeals panel affirmed the hearing officer’s ruling. The DWC made a similar ruling shortly after. The trial court sided with Ace, and Rush filed a motion for a new trial. The lower court denied that motion.


Texas First District Court of Appeals Justice Julie Countiss | facebook.com/JulieCountissforJustice/

While the appeals court said Rush undoubtedly suffered an injury from an electric shock Nov. 4, 2013, it pointed out that the hearing officer determined it didn’t include the injuries mentioned above. It added, “Because Rush had the burden of discrediting each independent ground asserted in Ace’s directed-verdict motion and failed to do so in the instant case, he has waived any error related to the trial court’s directed verdict on his extent-of-injury issue and we must affirm the trial court’s ruling,” the court said.

Rush's appeal also said the lower court erred when it green-lighted a verdict concerning his possibly sustained disability from the injury. It pointed out that Rush had the responsibility of “discrediting each independent ground asserted in Ace’s directed-verdict motion and failed to do so in the instant case,” he forfeited any potential err with the lower court’s ruling directed to his disability.

Rush also didn’t properly display his validity concerns to the administrative appeals panel or the appeals court. Considering this, the appeals court said it couldn’t address the concern at this phase of the case either.

Justice Julie Countiss authored the opinion. Chief Justice Sherry Radack and justice Gordon Goodman concurred.

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