Judge Sanctions Texas Mutual, Company Will Appeal Decision

January 11, 2008

Texas Mutual Insurance Company says it respectfully but strongly disagrees with the sanctions against it ordered by Dallas Judge Martin Hoffman on Jan. 9, 2008, in the case of Texas Mutual v. Juan Narvaez. The company says it is immediately appealing the order to the Dallas Court of Appeals.

According to the judge’s order (Cause No. 04-06061-C) filed with the 68th Judicial District Court in Dallas County, Texas Mutual “committed fraud on this Court and the Defendant by falsifying a critical medical record, and then using that record throughout discovery, depositions and trial.” The court maintained the company knew the record was false and ordered Texas Mutual to pay $30,000 in sanctions to the defendant in the underlying case, Juan Narvaez.

In a statement, Texas Mutual insisted that the judge’s “sanctions order is simply wrong. Texas Mutual did not falsify any documents, did not deceive the court, and did not take any improper actions to gain an advantage.”

The company says the conflict over the document the court found to be “falsified” concerned a medical record for the defendant that included “a printed three-letter notation of what the doctor who treated Mr. Narvaez originally wrote in hard-to-read handwriting about how long Mr. Narvaez told the doctor he had been having problems: the letters ‘mos.,’ the abbreviation for ‘months.’ The printed letters exactly match what the doctor wrote and do not change the meaning of the document one iota. The doctor has confirmed that the printed letters match what he wrote.”

Texas Mutual says that at a hearing with the Texas Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) held before the case went to court, Navarez “testified under oath that he had told the doctor he had been having problems for several ‘months,’ confirming that the doctor’s notes were accurate.”

Texas Mutual maintains that neither it, “nor its lawyers attempted to deceive the court or anyone else about the ‘mos’ someone hand-printed on the document. There is no evidence that any Texas Mutual employee made the notation or was even aware of it. Whoever printed ‘mos.’ on the document could not have been trying to deceive anyone, because ‘mos.’ accurately reflected what Mr. Narvaez told the doctor and what the doctor wrote.”

The order, however, affirmed a previous finding by the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commision, now the DWC, that Narvaez had “sustained a compensable injury on August 29, 2003, and had a disability from September 2, 2003 and continuing through the date of the Contested Case Hearing.”

In an e-mailed statement, Doyle Raizner LLP, one of the law firms representing Narvaez, said Texas Mutual sued Narvaez in 2004 “to overturn the benefits awarded to Mr. Narvaez, and attempted to recoup past payments and block Mr. Narvaez from obtaining future benefits related to the injury.”

Texas Mutual was ordered by the court to post a link to the court order on it’s Web site, www.texasmutual.com, within seven days of the of the order’s issuance.

Source: Doyle Raizner LLP, Texas Mutual Insurance Company, Dallas County District Court

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.