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Texas Civil Trial Blog

Drones Part 3: Civil Liability and Drones


In the second installment of our series on drones, we analyzed a recent opinion  in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding a verdict that will affect the legality of registering your drones. As we learned last time, owners of recreational "model aircraft" are not obligated to register with the FAA nor are they subject to civil fines or imprisonment for not doing so as it is a violation of 336(a) of the FAA Modernization Act.

Drones Part 2: Breaking News--Taylor v. FAA and Registering Drones with the FAA Rule Changes

20419335_blog.jpgIn the first installment of our series on drones, we took you through a brief history of drone and aircraft regulation, along with the current criminal laws that are in play in order to help you navigate safely without ending up in the slammer. We had planned to explore civil liability and insurance issues related to drone operation in our second installment; however, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit changed that when it issued its decision in Taylor v. Huerta on May 19, 2017 that changes the landscape regarding individuals and their use of drones by invalidating the FAA Registration Rule requiring drones and "model aircraft" to be registered with the FAA.

Drones: Radio Control Goes Mainstream - Part 1 Drone History and Criminal Law Today 05.23.17

Could that $99.00 drone helicopter you bought your child for Christmas be your ticket to JAIL??


So Little Johnny asked for the Batman drone quadricopter for Christmas. Christmas morning found it under the tree. After two months of your new flying Ace, call-sign "Maverick" buzzing the neighborhood, annoying the neighbors and crashing the drone into the house, the car, the neighbor's window-you have that sudden sinking feeling asking yourself, "Is this going to get me in trouble with the law?" and "Am I responsible if the drone causes damage?"

In this first installment of a series on drones, we take you through a brief history of drone and aircraft regulation, along with the current criminal laws that are in play, to help you navigate safely without ending up in the pokey.

Wearable Technology Devices in Personal Injury Cases: Defense

Wearable technology usage is on the rise. Today, "one in six consumers in the United States currently uses wearable technology." Devices such as Fitbit, Microsoft Band, and Apple Watch have technology capable of tracking an individual's daily physical activity. Wearable technology can be thought of "as partial witnesses, ones that carry their own affordances and biases."The data that is collected from these devices can be used in a lawsuit for either a Plaintiff or a Defendant. Due to the growing popularity of wearable technology, and its data collection capabilities, attorneys should begin to utilize these devices to prove or deny damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Defense will be the focus of this blog article.

Piwek L, Ellis DA, Andrews S, Joinson A (2016) "The Rise of Consumer Health Wearables: Promises and Barriers." PLoS Med 13: e1001953 doi. Available at: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001953

Kate Crawford, When Fitbit is the Expert Witness, ATLANTIC (Nov. 19, 2014), Available at:


Independent Medical Examinations: The Pros and Cons for the Defense

Requests for physical or mental examinations of an opposing party are governed by Rule 204.1 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 204.1. To be entitled to an examination, a movant must demonstrate that (1) good cause exists for the examination and (2) the party's condition is in controversy. Id. These requirements may not be satisfied by conclusory allegations in the movant's pleadings or by mere relevance to the case. Good cause for a medical examination requires the movant to demonstrate: (1) the examination is relevant to genuine issues in the case; (2) a reasonable nexus exists between the condition alleged and the examination sought; and (3) the desired information cannot be obtained through less intrusive means. In re Offshore Marine Contrs., Inc., 496 S.W.3d 796, 798 (Tex. App. Houston 1st Dist. 2016).

Back to Basics: Requests for Admission--Part 2

In Back to Basics: Requests for Admission-Part I, we examined the proper scope of Requests for Admission ("RFAs") under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure, 198.1, which allows a party "to serve on another party ... written requests that the other party admit the truth of any matter within the scope of discovery, including statements of opinion or of fact or of the application of law to fact...." Assuming the responding party does not have a valid objection, the responding party must either admit or deny the request or explain in detail the reasons that the responding party cannot admit or deny the request. While Part I examined the proper scope of RFAs, Part II examines the proper responses and objections to RFAs.


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