Texas Attorney Helps Fellow Texan Defeat Favorite for AAJ Post

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Victory should help focus national attention on the state of civil litigation in Texas

It's been a tough road in Texas, especially for workers and their families who have been poisoned by asbestos exposure and who have mesothelioma. It's getting harder and harder for victims like this to have their day in court.

In a stunning upset this week, Dallas attorney Mary Alice McLarty won a top leadership post of the American Association of Justice at the group's annual convention in Vancouver.

"This is quite unusual," said Richard Dodd, an attorney from Cameron, Texas who worked on McLarty's campaign at the convention. "Mary Alice had to unseat someone who served AAJ through the ranks."

McLarty defeated Richard M. Golomb, a Pennsylvania attorney, for the vice-president's post. Golomb had served at the group's secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian.

"Usually, once an AAJ officer makes vice-president, that attorney is a shoe-in for the presidency," said Dodd, noting that McLarty has in the past worked with Dodd and with his firm, Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP.

Dodd said that the victory is important to Texans because it will help focus much-needed national attention on legal issues in this state. He said that he and attorneys like him have been working for years to protect the rights of working people but the legal landscape has made it difficult.

"It's been a tough road in Texas," he said. "Especially for workers and their families who have been poisoned by asbestos exposure and who have mesothelioma. It's getting harder and harder for victims like this to have their day in court."

Dodd said that by having a larger leadership role in the largest group of attorneys who represent victims in North America and the world, it should help further victim's rights in Texas. "This should be an important step to help victim's rights against big corporations.

AAJ's mission is to promote "justice and fairness for injured consumers, safeguard victims' rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and to protect the democratic values inherent in the civil justice system."

Dodd is a senior partner in Cappolino Dodd Krebs LLP in Cameron and Port Lavaca, Texas.

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