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Monster Trucks

Truckers that drive huge monster trucks hurl by slower drivers on Highway 349 in Midland/Odessa & play blind ‘highway chicken’. They endanger everyone’s lives.  Oil means prosperity.  And, we have lots of oil here in West Texas.  Right here in Midland/Odessa, TX,  just about everyone who is a farmer,  has been approached about drilling on their land. This vast oil area stretches all the way to Lubbock, TX.

There are currently 400 oil rigs going 24 hours a day – 8 days a week.  Oil workers like to joke that they work 366 days a year. 400  oil rigs are now our top record, which beats the last high of 399 rigs in 1981.  There is no sign  of a slowdown either.

So, why do I bring this up on a ‘lawyer blog’?  Several reasons. More oil activity means more auto traffic and car accidents.  More oil activity means more oil rig accidents.

Last weekend, when I drove from Midland to Lubbock & back again, it  gave me an anxiety attack.   It definitely tested my will and my nerves.   I drove on Highway 349,  a small road snaking past churning pump jacks, with only one lane each way. The trucks zip by at very unsafe high speeds, laden with oil field equipment, oil or oil workers.

The male drivers tick me off because they’re so impatient.  These men are driving gigantic dual  pick-up trucks  & they climb up your automotive rear and then rip by with a roar.  They almost run head-on into a truck going in the opposite direction.  It’s not uncommon for an impatient guy (it’s always a guy, (as far as I can tell) to pass four or five vehicles in a row in a sort of automotive blind chicken.  Really scary.

The Texas legislature should consider building a four-lane highway.  It would make driving safer for all of us.  The  monster truckers could  speed by at mach speed and the normal people could drive in the right-hand lane.  To be sure, it would cost of lot of money – but lives and sanity would be saved.

On a happier note, here is a montage of  fun at a Monster Truck Rally:

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Traffic Crashes in Permian Basin

Traffic Crashes in the Permian Basin

James Beauchamp, president of the Midland Odessa Transportation Alliance, said that people in tfhe Permian Basin were more than twice  as likely to be in a fatal traffic crash than in the state as a whole based on the number of miles traveled, which is based on a report by MOTRAN.

Crashes on Texas roadways resulted in 3,023 fatalities in 2010,  making an average of 1.29 deaths per 100 million miles traveled in the state. However, the Odessa District reported 93 fatalities, making an average of 3.2 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, according to MOTRAN, increasing to 100 fatalities in 2011.


The report noted the cost of 2011 crashes to individuals and human capital was more than $313 million, and the cost to the community was more than $762 million, but Beauchamp also said human losses cannot be measured just in a dollar amount.


At the end of the day, when somebody’s lost their dad or their child, there’s no dollar amount to that,” Beauchamp said. “We’re not going to be able to bring back or undo anything that’s happened.”


The inspiration for MOTRAN’s report was a task force created by the Texas Department of Transportation geared at focusing on energy-related transportation needs, which Beauchamp said he believed would be good news.


According to MOTRAN’s report, the result was that 7,374 accidents of all kinds were also reported in the Odessa District in 2011, up from 6,021 in 2010. But Powell said even money put into the Permian Basin would not guarantee fewer accidents and fatalities.


The wrecks that we’re seeing as a whole are not caused by road factors, for the most part,” TXDOT Odessa District spokesman Gene Powell said. “That’s not to say that we won’t add safety measures (after a wreck), but when you see people crossing the center line or going off the road and being ejected … safety measures won’t prevent people from making bad decisions.”   As residents of Texas, we enjoy a highway system that is the envy of other states. We must keep our part of the bargain to drive safely and be considerate of those we share the road with.


The alliance has started the Drive Smart program, encouraging people to realize the risks when they get on the road as well as follow traffic laws such as stopping at red lights and stop signs, to not text and drive, and to yield the right of way.


Ultimately, Beauchamp said he hopes to increase awareness of traffic issues through the report and public initiatives, both to the community and officials who allocate money.

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Sunny Side of Life

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Powerful Inspiration

I weep EVERY time I watch this. Even if you’ve seen it a bunch of times – watch it again. Inspire others.  This is an inspirational video of Derek Redmond – who tore his hamstring during the 1992 Olympics. His father ran out to the stands to help him.  Watch this & be inspired.



Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. Derek Redmond was favored to medal in the Olympic 400 meter sprint. 1500 meters into the race, Derek fell to the ground with a torn hamstring. He kept on running in pain. A man broke through security to help him. It was his father. With tears streaming down Derek’s face, his Daddy helped him finish the race.

Shortly before the finish line, Derek’s father let him complete the race alone. He received a standing ovation from a crowd of over 65,000 people. Even though he was in agony, Derek finished the race.

I try to work hard and inspire others. I only hope that I’ve inspired my children as much as Derek’s father helped him. You may never know how what you do – will help others. You cannot fail when you never give up.

Find an inspirational quote that really appeals to you.   Write it on a piece of paper.  Once you’ve written it down, you should cut it out and put it somewhere where you’ll see it several times a day.  I put things on my bathroom mirror.  But, others place it  on their refrigerators.  Only by reading it several times a day and by believing it will it become a part of your belief system.

But, don’t just read it ..…  Feel it! If you put it in context with the personal issues you are dealing with right now it will give you a new and more positive perspective on your current situation.


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Breakfast in Texas

Normally we’re serious an’ all on this website. Couldn’t resist putting this on the blog. This is an amazing video that shows a neat-o couple that feeds the deer breakfast in Texas. It’s almost too amazing to believe how these deer just mosey up to the table and start slurping up their gruel (a mixture of corn and “Record Rack Professional Deer Feed”). It has a proprietary nutrient formulation and includes protein, lysine, fat and vitamins.

This is from the Pryce’s in Kingsland, Texas. They have a website that’s displayed prominently on the video – so I thought that I would plug them as well. You can go here or type it in yourself. Your choice. Evidently,  Prince Charles thinks that Alison Pryce is swell too. There’s a pic on their blog. He thanks her for her work with Welsh music in California.

I did enjoy how friendly these deer were. There were many cautionary tales when this video was posted. They ranged from:

“What a really fast way to get a prion disease! Prion diseases are usually rapidly progressive and always fatal. Or a brucella infection. You can get TB or lyme disease from deer. Did you see the woman petting the deer and then picking up her toast? Isn’t it DEER?”


“This is a neat thing to watch, however, it is also very sad to me. I counted 17 deer give or take. That is 17 deer that are going to associate humans with food, and 17 deer who are going to associate human deer hunters as a food source. The point is, it is a wonderful thing to observe wild life in the wild, however when you begin to interfere, as these people have, the outcome is never good. Judging from the other posts, it is not even necessary for me to mention the threat the deer pose to the people. Please ENJOY wild life, but do so from a distance.”


“That’s very cute! but the problem is, these animals are wild. They need to get their own food. If you keep feeding them, they will teach there kids how to beg instead of get food on their own. then they will starve when your not there to feed them.”

Although I think this is heartwarming video, I would never feed wild animals for all of the reasons stated above.  No matter what you think, be sure and watch this video to see the animals eat breakfast in Texas.

Let us know what you think!

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Does Your Company Meet New EEOC Guidelines?

How can your company meet the new EEOC guidelines?  Susan Prince – a Legal Editor for, explains the newly updated Enforcement Guidance on arrest and conviction records from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They address criminal background checks–specifically, the use of arrest and conviction records to make employment decisions.  Susan Prince explains the Guidance, along with 6 best practices outlined by the EEOC for employers who are considering criminal record information when making employment decisions.

The EEOC’s Updated Guidance:

1. Disparate Treatment (Intentional) Discrimination
2. Disparate Impact (Unintentional) Discrimination
3. The EEOC’s Best Practices Recommendations

What this means for your company:

>No blanket disqualificaton from every job for any conviction.

>Employer should screen for specific and job related criminal records within a defined period of time.
(1) If there would be possible harm from the offense. For example – if the theft caused property loss.
(2) Tasks performed to do the job and under what circumstance? For example, with or without direct supervision.
(3) The duration of exclusion sufficiently tailored based on the facts and circumstances.

>Individualized assessment – unless there is a “demonstrably tight nexus” beteen criminal conduct and the job in question.

The EEOC left an ambiguity between whether the employer MUST do an “Individualized assessment” or whether they do NOT have to do one. It’s best to err on the side of “Individualized Assessment”.

>You need to do a more balanced assessment. How does your Title VII risk compare to others? Be sure to go to EEOC guidelines to ensure that you reduce the risk from litigation in regards to Title VII. Figure out what are the different considerations. Are you screening rules nuanced enough that you can argue that they’ll meet this targeted screen?

There are intelligent ways to look at the potential employee’s information in a different sequence to wean out potential criminal background issues. Make sure that you have good written program materials. Have good record-keeping methods to prove that you don’t have an “across the board ban” on hiring all employees with criminal backgrounds.

Make sure that your program is fair and you balance compliance with Title VII and respect the rights of those who are protected against your other business interests.

Background check programs implicate a number of companies that restrict hiring because of credit. The is some vagueness is how the law is interpreted. Be sure to hire a reputable background check company that adheres to the new EEOC rules and guidelines for arrest and conviction records. Otherwise, you might leave your company open to a discrimination lawsuit.

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When Are Autopsies Required By Law?

By Edward Tan, JD

300.ab.houston.021212  I saw this good opinion on and thought it would be useful because I’ve always wondered exactly when an autopsy would be required by law.  Of course, we all know that celebrities like Whitney Houston needed to have an autopsy done.  We had to remove all doubt of foul play. *Miss Houston had a beautiful voice and will be sadly missed.

The following is the blog from Edward Tan about autopsies on

“People usually have a lot of questions when a loved one dies, especially around the cause of death. Finding out involves a medical examination by a coroner, but when is an autopsy required?

The answer isn’t always a clear one. When a person dies, an autopsy can be ordered depending on the situation — such as in the case of famed painter Thomas Kinkade, who recently died.

You might be surprised to learn when autopsies are mandated by the law.

The situations that require an autopsy can vary from state to state. Typically though, a medical examiner or coroner can require an autopsy in the following situations.

1) Suspicion of Foul Play

Whenever it appears a person died from something other than natural causes, like a murder, an autopsy can be ordered. The foul play doesn’t have to be obvious either. A police investigator can have one done against a family’s wishes if foul play is suspected.

2) Infectious or Contagious Disease

If it’s suspected that a person died as a result of a disease, an autopsy can be ordered for public health purposes. The reason is because stopping the spread of diseases is important to the government.

3) Infant Death

Some states, such as California, allow doctors to request an autopsy when an infant dies.

4) Inmate Death

Under federal law, CEOs of prisons may order an autopsy of an inmate if they died from murder, suicide, illness, accident or any unexplained death. But the autopsy must be done according to the laws of the state where the prison is located.

5) Family Request

And of course, families can always request an autopsy for their late loved one, as well.”

Now you know when autopsies are required by law.  Check it.

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Divorce After The Age of 50

divorce after the age of 50

I recently listened to a radio show called “Talk of the Nation”.  Susan Brown and Janice Green co-authored a book. They talked about divorce after the ago of 50. One in every four people over the age of 50 gets divorced. They call this trend the “Gray Divorce Revolution”. The divorce rate among people over 50 has doubled in the last 20 years.

Older adults today are perhaps less willing to remain in what is termed empty-shell marriages. Empty-shell marriages are somewhat satisfying – but the couple no longer has the same goals and interests that they used to have. So they really feel no need to stay together.

Their religious beliefs may differ considerably. What one of the partners might have put up with for 30 years no longer has the same value. People change and if the couple doesn’t shift together, they lose the intimacy they once had. The person that we were compatible with in our 20’s has changed.

I think the days of staying with one mate for 60 or more years may be over because – SURPRISE! – We’re living longer. As women become more financially independent, there’s not much reason now to stay in an unhappy marriage.

The idea is that a marriage is much less about an economic exchange or a financial bargain than it was in the past. Men and women don’t really need to be married like they did 30 and 40 years ago.

Recommendation Before Divorce:

However, before filing for a divorce – make sure that your financial affairs are in order. I can attest to the fact that divorce over the age of fifty can be devastating to your pocketbook. Especially if the normal “income-earning years” were spent raising children.

I categorically recommend that young women put their children in daycare and go off to work. I know that sounds mean and it’s definitely not in the best interests of the child.  But. if you don’t spend your child-bearing years earning a living, you may find out that you won’t be able to financially support yourself in later years. Let me tell that your grown children will NOT want to support you.

I think you need a good adviser to guide you through the emotional roller coaster that you go through when you get a divorce after the age of 50. You need someone who can look at what’s happening in your life and give you direction. It is extremely difficult to be unemotional during and after a divorce.

The main thing to focus on is your income. One of my money rules — is that your job is your most important investment. Your earning power is key. Focus on that. Focus on getting yourself out in the work place and earning some money. It’s good for you not just financially, but it will give you some control back both during and after a divorce.

Feel free to comment on divorce after the age of 50.  😉
GERALD FUGIT @ 432-301-9252

Need A Divorce?

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