Howell v. Tex. Workers’ Comp. Comm’n

143 S.W.3d 416 (Tex. App.--Austin 2004, pet. denied)

On behalf of Continental Casualty Company, we helped to obtain a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against a notorious chiropractor from South Texas that specialized in treating workers compensation claimants. The case began when the chiropractor filed suit in Travis County challenging the constitutionality of certain rules of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission governing the resolution of medical necessity disputes between carriers and health care providers. The chiropractor then filed approximately 723 suits against carriers in Cameron County (South Texas) justice of the peace courts seeking payment of medical bills, in addition to attorney’s fees in for each of the suits. It was held that the Commission’s rules are constitutional and that the chiropractor is required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit in district court. The chiropractor was enjoined from filing new suits and pursuing the suits already filed in Cameron County, except as allowed by rule or statute, based on a finding that the chiropractor and his attorneys filed the suits as part of a plan of vexatious and harassing litigation. Attorney’s fees sanctions were also awarded against the chiropractor’s attorneys.