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Reading is difficult. As a writer, I help the reader every way I can think of. As a reader, I work hard not to miss the big things in the middle of the road.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Texas Supreme Court Changes a Common-Law Rule

In the beginning was Carnation Co. v. Wong, 516 S.W.2d 116 (Tex. 1974) holding that evidence of use or nonuse of seat belts would not affect plaintiffs' recovery in auto negligence suits.  Eleven years later the legislature enacted a law that evidence of use or nonuse of seat belts was not admissible in a civil trial, then swept that pro-plaintiff rule away in 2003. So the Carnation rule sprung up again, but the Texas Supremes reverse it now, arguing that the rule was to protect plaintiffs from the old rule that any responsibility of the plaintiff would cause the plaintiff a total loss. Now that rule is gone, and seat belts are required by law. Justice Jeff  Brown wrote for a unanimous court.  Well Services v. Romero, No. 13-0136 (Tex. Feb. 13, 2015)

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