Tag Archives: attorney

Court revives robbie tolan civil lawsuit in mistaken shooting by bellaire officer

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday reinstated a lawsuit filed by a Bellaire man who claims his constitutional rights were violated when he was shot by a police officer in the driveway of his parents’ home.

In 2008, Robert “Robbie” Tolan was shot by Sgt. Jeffery Cotton of the Bellaire Police Department. A U.S. District Judge tossed out Tolan’s lawsuit claiming Cotton had used excessive force. The decision was upheld by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme court reinstated the case and remanded it to the Fifth Circuit.

“The Supreme Court essentially gave new life to Robbie Tolan’s lawsuit against Sgt. Cotton and the Bellaire Police Department,” said KPRC Legal Analyst Brian Wice.

In a written statement Tolan’s attorney said, “We’re pleased the Supreme Court agreed that the case should go forward. A jury should decide whether Robbie’s civil rights were violated. Robbie continues to suffer from the after-effects of the shooting, and we hope this decision will bring him closer to having his day in court.”

A jury acquitted Sgt. Cotton in the criminal case.

Cotton’s attorney told KPRC Local 2 that SCOTUS decision was based on procedure.

“It doesn’t change any of the factual findings and it certainly doesn’t mandate a new trial,” said William S. Helfand.

Tolan, who was 23 and unarmed at the time of the shooting, is the son of a former major league baseball player. He planned to pursue a professional baseball career, but was sidelined by his injuries caused by the shooting.

Tolan’s attorney said the family plans to hold a news conference early next week to discuss the high court’s decision.

Local 2 put in a call to the Bellaire city attorney’s office, but has not received a response by the time this story was published.

Computer Forensics Expert

Computer Forensics Expert Can Save You Money in Litigation

Computer Forensics ExpertWhen a business has to call for the services of a Computer Forensics Expert, CFE, people are as involved as the computers. Long before filing a lawsuit, you need to make some choices including how best to handle situations which may involve employees. Finding out from a competitor that your employees are accused of stealing proprietary information is bad. A visit by law enforcement regarding misconduct by employees is worse. Both are times when you need to carefully think about what your next course of action will be. Taking action as early in the process as possible will be cost-effective and help make sure that the correct data is saved and protected.

A first step would be to consult with your company’s attorney. Your lawyer may also be able to put you in touch with a computer forensics expert. Bringing the expert in during the very early part of an investigation doesn’t mean that an unlimited amount of money has to be spent. A initial window of opportunity can be used for determining which parts of the system are relevant and how to best preserve them. While deeper analysis and processing may come later, getting a snapshot of where everything stands in the beginning can provide you and your team with a good map to follow as the investigation unfolds. Having some direction in place will also save you some money.

If you and your business are the defendants in a case of computer fraud or the loss of confidential business information, then the forensics expert you hire becomes more important. One overlooked task of your expert is to have them interface with the plaintiff’s computer forensics expert. Together, they can lay out a course of investigation which may allow for being on site at the same time and, with the requirement that the prosecution provide you with the evidence, you may also save some extra money with the two working together.

Regardless if your expert is able to work with the other side’s expert, you need to work out and negotiate an efficient and effective protocol for inspection. Another consideration such as saving mobile data or dealing with encryption challenges are two situations with which your expert should help you deal with during the pre-litigation phase or later in discovery projects.

Invest some of your time in talking with IT administrators and custodians to ensure you are knowledgeable of how well legal hold instructions are being followed. Your expert can provide a trained eye to supervise non-lawyers which are conducting discovery tasks. Monitoring the legal hold process, documenting systems and tracking data sources will give you more tools with which to respond if future attacks are made on your preservation steps.

Your CFE should be involved in the entire process. Forensic analysis that is performed with the work being done by your team may help lead to success. Often, discovery and analysis are seen as separate steps in the process. Your team has the best grasp of issues as they work through your system, so it is important that your expert also work closely with your team members.

A main key to staying within budget during the stressful investigation and subsequent actions is to work closely with your CFE at each stage and make sure you get the most effective analysis without unnecessarily running up the bill.

civil litigation

Civil Litigation Lawyers – Do You Need One?

civil litigationIf you find that you should take some legal action and just aren’t sure how to go about it, you probably want to get in touch with a civil litigation lawyer. A lawsuit can be a tricky, intricate process and a knowledgeable attorney’s advice can save you time — and money.

What to Expect From a Civil Litigation Lawyer

A civil litigation lawyer will walk you down the path of filing and following up a non-criminal lawsuit. A lawyer can best advise you about where your case is best suitable. Not all civil lawsuits need to end up in court. Some situations where a civil litigation attorney would come in handy are:

  • Alimony
  • Personal injury
  • Debt settlement
  • Discrimination

The filing of criminal cases, as opposed to civil cases, are normally handled by governmental agencies such as the prosecutor’s office.

Find Out if You Need a Civil Litigation Lawyer

If you’re thinking about beginning a lawsuit, it’s always a good idea to get advice from an attorney. They can tell if you the odds of your case being successful as well as the procedures and required paperwork that will need to be completed. The attorney can also tell you if your case is one of those that are better off being handled through an alternate method of conflict resolution such as mediation.

What Does it Cost

Attorneys approach the question of billing in different ways. How they invoice and how much they ask in payment is left, within guidelines, up to each lawyer. Some civil litigation lawyers charge by the hour and others charge a contingency fee. If an attorney accepts your case on contingency, they you don’t pay anything until the case is settled and the lawyer gets a percentage of any winnings. Of course, you and the attorney will agree to their percentage prior to them taking the case.

If your attorney agrees to take you on as a client on a contingency fee basis, then they feel you have a fairly strong case. Regardless, make sure you ask about rates, charges and how they’re arrived at, up-front.

What Should You Expect

The outcome can depend on many factors, but that’s why you have an attorney. They can advice you at each step of the process. With their assistance, your case might be determined privately, out of court, or you may end up in court. If you win, you might receive financial compensation.

Since litigation attorneys know the local law and the procedures used locally, their expertise will put you in a good position to win your lawsuit. Definitely a much better position than if you try to handle the matter on your own.