How the Discovery Process Affects Your Excessive Tearing Claim


The discovery process is an important process that enables a lawyer to gather the right evidence in order to strengthen the value of your personal injury claim. This is especially true in cases dealing with the side effects of defective drugs made by pharmaceutical companies that put profits over people.

Such was the case when the manufacturer of the chemotherapy drug Taxotere–known as Sanofi-Aventis–failed to inform cancer patients about its negative side effects like chemotherapy tearing for decades

If you or a loved one has developed excessive tearing after being treated with Taxotere, you may be eligible for compensation. The makers of Taxotere should be held responsible for the harm their drug caused, and the National Taxotere lawsuit attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC aim to do just that by presenting solid evidence during the discovery process in order to help your case succeed.

What Is the Discovery Process?

The discovery process takes place prior to the start of the trial, giving both parties the chance to assemble information on the case. Discovery is important because it gives your attorney a chance to evaluate which evidence and strategies may be utilized in your favor.

When you initially file a lawsuit, the relevant information is not always easily accessible. However, the more evidence you obtain, the more you can support the claim. The discovery process allows you and your lawyer to gather as much information as possible from the pharmaceutical manufacturer through a request of production, interrogatories, and other sources to solidify your claim.

How Do Lawyers Gather Discovery Materials?

Attorneys on either side of the courtroom may follow a number of approaches to secure necessary information, such as:

  • Requests for Production (RFP) – RFPs are filed to acquire documents (e.g. electronic or paper files). RFPs need comprehensive details covering what documents a party wants to be made public by the opposing side.
  • Requests for Admission (RFA) – An RFA is a written statement that is given to the opposing party to push them to either admit or negate some information. RFAs are generally not meant to establish a confession of guilt, but rather to push the opposing party to admit that certain facts are true or that a document is legitimate.
  • Interrogatories – These are written questions that a party is obligated to respond to in writing and “under oath.” 
  • Depositions – These are oral, in-person interrogations. One side asks the other questions, and the other side has to give their answer. “Depos” are another part of the discovery process that is performed under oath.

What Information Can Be Found?

Throughout the discovery process, both sides will go after any vital information related to the claim in an effort to prove or disprove that Taxotere was the cause of your excessive tearing, even if it may not seem immediately relevant. The kind of information that a lawyer may request in discovery includes:

  • Witness Testimony — What a witness saw, did, or heard that is pertinent to the situation.
  • Witness History — A witness’s professional, educational, and personal background.
  • Other Injured Parties — The identities of people who may have knowledge of the life-changing side effects caused by the drug.
  • Specific Dialogue — Things that were mentioned at a specific time or place about the injury and product.
  • Procedural Business Information — Information about the business’s operations process.
  • Documentation — Documents relating to the claim, the injury, or the drug itself.

What Information Cannot Be Requested?

There are particular pieces of information that can’t be requested as a part of the discovery process. Limitations exist to prevent private information from being shared with the public, including:

  • Confidential Conversations — Exchanges between attorneys and clients, doctors and patients, religious advisors and advisees, and spouses can be withheld.
  • Personal Information — Details regarding health problems, sexuality, spirituality, religious beliefs, and immediate family relationships do not have to be disclosed.
  • Third-Party Information — information that, if revealed, would go against the privacy rights of third parties cannot be compelled.

Discover your Legal Options with Dependable Taxotere Lawyers of Hotze Runkle PLLC Today

If you were harmed after being treated with the chemotherapy drug Taxotere, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses. You can count on our National Taxotere lawsuit attorneys to give you and your case the attention you need to seek justice from the manufacturers of the faulty drug, Taxotere.

Don’t hesitate to contact the experienced Taxotere lawsuit lawyers of Hotze Runkle PLLC at (877) 919-0830 for a FREE case evaluation today if you or a loved one have suffered from chemotherapy tearing due to Taxotere treatment.

How Hearing Loss is Devastating Our Military Personnel

United States paratroopers airborne infantrymen in action in the desert

The sense of sound is one of the greatest gifts we are born with. The ability to hear can provoke so many different emotions; whether it’s the sound of roaring thunder, the joy of hearing your favorite song, or the sound of cries from your newborn, this sense is a monumental factor that can affect our quality of life.

Unfortunately, military personnel that served between 2003 through 2015 are facing appalling rates of hearing loss as a result of the defective 3M Combat Earplugs they were provided. Health issues associated with the product include hearing impairment, loss of hearing, and tinnitus, which is a constant ringing or buzzing in the ears.

But the soldiers that sacrificed for our country aren’t just dealing with the physical tolls of hearing loss but the emotional damages as well.

The committed and compassionate team of litigation lawyers at Hotze Runkle PLLC want you to know that you are not alone if you are dealing with damages caused by these defective combat earplugs. contact us today for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. We want to help you right their wrongs.

About Hearing Loss & 3M

Hearing loss is actually a common disability in the United States with over 200,000 new cases reported every year. In total, hearing loss affects more than 28 million Americans, and sadly, more than half of those are over the age of 75.

In a whopping statistic, hearing loss is the most common disability when it comes to American Veterans. In some cases, the hearing loss may be temporary and reversed through surgery or other medical means. In others, hearing loss is permanent, with the only support coming from hearing aids.

While there are various forms of hearing loss, those relevant to our topic are Conductive and Sensorineural (or mixed hearing loss when these both affect the victim).

  • Conductive hearing loss occurs when there is damage or blockage/infections in the outer and/or middle ear. The sounds cannot be conducted properly through the ear canal to the eardrum and affect hearing.
  • Sensorineural hearing loss, on the other hand, is caused by aging, diseases such as meningitis, exposure to certain chemicals, and by damages caused by extremely loud noises such as explosions, gunfire, jet engines, and other military-related activities.

Many US veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations between 2003 through 2015 were exposed to frequent blasts and gunfire. When coupled with the fact that many of them were provided with defective Duel-Ended Combat Earplugs from the company, 3M, many of these same individuals are now suffering hearing loss as a result of their experiences out in these warzones.

According to the Department of Justice, in order to comply with government standards, the company manipulated test results and were well aware that their earplugs were too short to properly fit within the ear. Regardless, this negligent and irresponsible company still sold the product to the military without disclosing the design defect. Now, veterans are suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus, a high-pitched ringing sound that never goes away.

While a settlement has been reached between 3M and the US military, veterans are still dealing with their damages and have yet to receive any compensation for the injuries they have suffered.

Additional Problems Caused By Hearing Loss

If the hearing loss wasn’t bad enough, our veterans are also having to deal with the consequences of these damages. The problems caused by hearing loss will differ from veteran to veteran, but for most who suffer hearing impairment and noise-induced hearing injury, they may deal with:

  • Issues with socializing as they are no longer able to communicate effectively. Social isolation can have a profoundly negative impact on veterans who are already dealing with a host of other issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Issues with pursuing higher education and other forms of training because of their damages.
  • Fewer job opportunities caused by their communication impairment. This can lead to financial issues.
  • Psychological and emotional issues can arise including shame, depression, and low self-esteem.
  • Physical issues such as headaches, muscle tension from stress, and increased blood pressure are also associated with hearing loss.
  • An increased risk of accident or injury.
  • A lowered quality of life.

The reality is that hearing is extremely important to the emotional, physical, and psychological well being of our veterans. They do not deserve to be mistreated as such and the manufacturers of these defective combat earplugs need to be brought to justice.

As a member of the armed forces, you sacrificed in your fight for freedom. Now you deserve somebody to fight for you. If you were a service member in an active war zone between 2003 to 2015 and have suffered severe hearing loss as a result of defective 3M combat earplugs, then call Hotze Runkel immediately at (877) 919-0830  for a free consultation.

We will fight to earn your trust and secure you full compensation for all you have suffered.

Defective 3M Combat Earplugs Result in U.S. Veteran Hearing Loss

Soldier walking on the battlefield. It´s a doll

U.S. military personnel that served between 2003 and 2015 in active warzones and who were provided 3M Combat Earplugs, Version 2, are experiencing hearing related issues as a result of these defective earplugs. Health issues associated with the product include hearing impairment, loss of hearing, and tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears).

Individuals in the military are especially vulnerable to hearing damage due to the constant sounds of gunfire, explosions, jet engines, blasts, and other such noises. Oftentimes, military personnel must deal with these sounds consistently over long periods of time.

Hearing damage can occur at 80 to 85 decibels, which is the level of noise present when moving in a tank. Even the best hearing protection can only cut noise intensity by 20 to 25 decibels. The peak decibel level of gunfire is around 150 decibels and other military weapons, such as grenades, can reach 180 decibels.

If you were a service member in an active war zone between 2003 to 2015, and have suffered severe hearing loss as a result of defective 3M combat earplugs, then contact Hotze Runkle PLLC today for a FREE, no obligation consultation.

Settlement Under the False Claim Act

The lawsuit brought against 3M was initiated by Moldex-Metric, Inc., a 3M competitor that was attempting to develop their own earplugs. In the process of developing their own earplugs, Moldex discovered that 3M had falsified their data and test results.

A lawsuit was brought under the False Claims Act.

As a result of the lawsuit, 3M was required to pay a $9.1 million settlement for selling defective combat earplugs to the Defense Logistics Agency. Although 3M and its predecessor, Aearo Technologies, agreed to pay, they did not admit any fault for allegations that they knowingly caused harm to U.S. service members by supplying them with ineffective products.

Nearly half a million veterans are currently receiving a distributed $1 billion in compensation from the Department of Veteran Affairs for hearing loss.

The Earplugs Technical Design

The dual-ended earplugs were created for selective-attenuation (hearing.) They are supposed to allow the users to select from two levels of hearing.

Inserting one end was said to allow individuals a normal hearing experience while still providing protection from noise damage. The other end was meant for higher level noises, like traditional combat earplugs that can filter and protect the ears from gunfire and explosions.

How Is the Product Defective?

The 3M Company and Aearo Technologies neglected to fix or discontinue the sales of their defective product even after it failed a safety test in 2000.

The Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2, are defective because they are too short to fit the ear canal properly. Due to poor design, the earplug gradually slips out of place. These loose fitting earplugs thus offer no hearing protection.

You may be eligible to file a claim if:

  • You served in the military between the year 2003 to 2015
  • You were issued 3M Combat Earplugs
  • You have since suffered from hearing loss and other related issues

Hearing impairment, loss, or tinnitus is affecting those that have served our nation at an alarming rate. Contact the hardworking product liability lawyers at Hotze Runkle PLLC to seek compensation for your 3M Combat Earplug hearing loss case.

Call (512) 476-7771 today for a free legal consultation if you have suffered hearing damages caused by the 3M defective earplugs.

Mesothelioma FAQ


At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we understand the devastating effects that mesothelioma can have on the lives of those suffering from the disease. Companies have immorally and illegally exposed hundreds of thousands of American workers and families to mesothelioma-causing asbestos.

Hold those responsible for your pain accountable for their actions.

If you are uncertain about what comes next and whether or not you can take legal action against the party that exposed you to asbestos, then please continue reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about mesothelioma lawsuits.

What is mesothelioma?

According to the National Cancer Institute, malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the thin tissue lining of the lungs, chest wall, heart, as well as the abdominal cavity.

How does one get mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma stems from exposure to asbestos. Individuals that are most likely to suffer from mesothelioma are those that were exposed to asbestos while on the job. Others that may be suffering from the disease may have been exposed to asbestos in their household, most likely without ever knowing.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a heat-resistant mineral that can be woven into fabrics. The mineral is mostly used in fire-resistant and insulating materials such as pipe insulation. Asbestos was used for decades in a number of industries. This use of asbestos was profitable for companies but dangerous and toxic for workers.

How much exposure does it take to get the disease?

Individuals with prolonged exposure to asbestos are at a greater risk of developing mesothelioma. Although, there have been cases in which people have had very little exposure.

It is important to understand that just because symptoms are not showing up right now does not mean that you are in the clear. People exposed to asbestos from the 1940’s-1970’s are now being diagnosed with the disease.

Symptoms of mesothelioma?

Some symptoms of mesothelioma that affect the lungs appear similar to pneumonia. It is essential that you seek medical care immediately to verify whether or not you are dealing with mesothelioma or some other health issue.

Symptoms of mesothelioma include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Fever
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss

Some symptoms that may affect the lining of the stomach include:

  • Swelling of the abdomen (due to the buildup of fluids)
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Obstruction of bowels
  • Anemia
  • Swelling of the feet

Some patients show no symptoms; if you have had excessive exposure to asbestos it is important to get a medical check including an x-ray.  A chest x-ray will show if you have a buildup of fluid in your lungs.

An x-ray or CT scan is helpful at showing signs of danger and are needed to properly diagnose your condition. However, a tissue sample is the only way to know for certain.

What are my treatment options for mesothelioma?

To treat malignant mesothelioma, there are four types of standard treatment options: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Each of these treatments are used for certain types of mesothelioma.


The surgical option is usually used for those that have Stage I malignant mesothelioma. Surgical treatments are used for mesothelioma in the chest and include:

  • Wide local excision is a surgery used to remove the cancer as well as some of the healthy tissue around it.
  • A pleurectomy and decortication removes the lining of the chest, as well as part of the surface of the lungs.
  • Extrapleural pneumonectomy is surgery to remove one entire lung and some lining on the chest, lining on the diaphragm, and lining around the sac of the heart.
  • Pleurodesis is a treatment that drains the fluid between layers of the pleura (thin layered tissue).


The patient may be given either chemotherapy or radiation therapy in order to kill any cancer cells that may be left after surgery. Usually used for Stage II, III, or IV malignant mesothelioma, doctors may use two types of radiation therapy, external and internal.


Hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy is used when mesothelioma has spread to the tissue that lines the abdomen and the organs of the abdomen.

Targeted Therapy

This therapy option causes less damage to healthy cells than chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Can I sue if I have mesothelioma?

Every situation is different and dependent on a number of factors including:

  • How you were exposed.
  • Where you were exposed.
  • The party responsible for your exposure.
  • Time frames of exposure.
  • When you were diagnosed.

Contact Hotze Runkle PLLC today to see if you are eligible.

Do I need a lawyer?

In any situation which you will be filing a lawsuit, hiring an attorney is a good idea. Especially one that has plenty of experience in mesothelioma lawsuits. This guarantees that your rights will be protected and that you will obtain the compensation needed to help ease your situation.

If you or a loved one are suffering from malignant mesothelioma after being repeatedly exposed to asbestos, contact Hotze Runkle PLLC today at (877) 919-0830 for a free consultation.

ChemoTherapy Drug Taxotere Facing Multiple Lawsuits

ChemoTherapy Drug Taxotere
Your product liability lawyers at Hotze Runkle PLLC have been following the news regarding chemotherapy drugs that cause excessive tearing. Several drugs used during the course of chemotherapy treatment have been shown to cause permanent closure of a patient’s tear ducts. This, in turn, has lead to patient’s developing a number of eye-related complications such as:

  • Severe cases of excessive tearing (epiphora)
  • Pain and swelling inside the corner of the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Mucus or pus build up and discharge

One of these drugs, known as Taxotere, which is manufactured by the pharmaceutical company, Sanofi, is already facing a mounting number of lawsuits from breast cancer patients and survivors who are dealing with other severe side effects. Breast cancer patients have launched a legal attack on the negligent company claiming they failed to effectively notify users of how severe these side effects could be.

While the national litigation team at Hotze Runkle PLLC is focusing primarily on helping victims of excessive tearing and permanent tear duct closure, we believe that is important to highlight that this is not the first time the manufacturer of Taxotere has wrongly hurt users.

Why People are Filing Taxotere Lawsuits

There are currently over 8,000 pending lawsuits against Taxotere for false marketing and downplaying the severity of its side effects.

One of the most drastic side effects cancer patients have faced has been permanent hair loss. While hair loss is a commonly noted side effect of chemotherapy, in the case of breast cancer patients taking Taxotere, there was an increased risk of chemotherapy-induced alopecia – or permanent hair loss. For most patients, hair usually begins to grow back after 3 to 6 months but for some Taxotere users, this permanent loss of hair has lead to truly traumatic experiences.

Having to deal with the physical and psychological pain and suffering of chemotherapy treatment is challenging enough. The breast cancer survivors who have to deal with alopecia have suffered intense damage to their quality of life. Studies have shown that cancer survivors dealing with alopecia often face higher rates of anxiety, poor body image, and lowered self-esteem.

Sadly, these psychological effects make it difficult for survivors to transition back into their everyday lives – and even work.

Warnings about the risk of alopecia were not specified until 2015, nearly 20 years after the chemotherapy drug had been in the market. Unbelievably, the manufacturer knew as early as 1998, when they funded a study that confirmed a potential for permanent hair loss.

Still, the pharmaceutical company failed to warn patients about the findings. In fact, the company marketed the drugs as a safer, more effective alternative to other chemotherapy drugs in the United States. Even with studies and warnings coming in from foreign countries, Sanofi continued to downplay the effects and essentially ignore studies that showed otherwise.

This situation clearly highlights the extent to which pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Sanofi are willing to go to make a profit off the pain of others.

Taxotere and Other Chemotherapy Drugs Under Scrutiny Again

Taxotere already has a history of leaving breast cancer patients struggling with permanent cases of hair loss, and yet the drug continues to be heavily recommended and used. Now, Taxotere and other chemotherapy drugs are being associated with excessive tearing and permanent tear duct closure.

But you don’t have to quietly accept your situation.

The product liability attorneys of Hotze Runkle PLLC are here to make sure that the negligence of Sanofi does not go unpunished. With years of experience in product liability representation, trust in our ability to fight for your civil justice.

Contact our law offices today at (877) 919-0830 to schedule a consultation. At Hotze Runkle PLLC, we don’t demand your trust, we earn it.

Human Trafficking in Texas

hotze-runkle-human-trafficking-lawA eye-opening study conducted by the Institute on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, and released in late 2016, revealed a startling discovery—Texas had more than 300,000 cases of human trafficking victims, including almost 79,000 minor and youth victims, and over 230,000 adult victims of labor trafficking.

Human trafficking is generally defined as a person being deceived or physically, emotionally, or psychologically coerced into situations of prostitution, forced labor, or domestic value. The United States Department of State considers human trafficking to be a form of modern-day slavery and punishes perpetrators severely; in Texas a convicted offender can receive a sentence of five years to life, substantial fines, restitution to victims, and possible asset forfeiture.

Texas statutes prohibit a number of activities related to the trafficking of humans including: recruiting, transporting, enticing, and providing.

Understanding the Problem

One of the biggest problems of understanding the complications of human trafficking has been to adequately track data. Most databases are only able to provide information on identified victims, which only helps to offer slight insight into the greater problem.

To better address the dilemma of human trafficking, especially in the state of Texas, which is a hub for human trafficking in the nation, the initiative known as the Statewide Human Trafficking Mapping Project of Texas was developed. Various agencies including IDVSA, the Bureau of Business Research at IC2 Institute at UT, and Allies Against Slavery, joined together to better understand the pervasiveness of human traffickings and its socioeconomic impact on the state.

With funding provided by the Criminal Justice Division at the Texas Office of the Governor, researchers were able to analyze numerous databases, work with social service agencies that assist victims, and develop other methods to track human trafficking cases more effectively.

While the authors of the study did note that their estimates were conservative, they hoped that their findings would still be able to offer some support in helping law enforcement agencies better deal with such a devastating and complex crime.

An Unfortunate Reality

The IDVSA research exposed some dismal benchmarks for human trafficking in the state of Texas including:

  • An estimated 313,000 victims of human trafficking reside in Texas
  • Children and young adults who are homeless or in foster care have the highest risk of falling victim to human traffickers
  • The largest number of victims in labor trafficking were found in construction, cleaning services, and restaurant kitchen work
  • $600 million is exploited from victims of labor trafficking in Texas
  • An estimated $6.5 billion is spent on the lifetime costs of care to victims and survivors of minor and youth trafficking in Texas

Bruce Kellison, Director of the Bureau of Business Research stated, “The economic and social costs of human trafficking in Texas emphasize the importance of preventative solutions and help inform how to prioritize resources to support those who have experienced exploitation.”

When Tragedy Strikes

One of the most recent landmark human trafficking cases in Texas includes a Houston motel that has been accused of knowingly accommodating human traffickers and their victims, and which now faces a civil lawsuit filed by the victim’s family including two younger daughters. The lawsuit against Plainfield Inn, located in Southwest Houston, will be the first of its kind in Texas.

KHOU 11 News reported that the lawsuit claims the owners of the hotel were aware of prostitution, human trafficking, and other criminal activities occurring on their property, yet willingly continued to rent rooms to known criminals. The lawsuit also states that Houston Police responded to over 400 calls in just a two-year period at the Plainfield Inn for numerous crimes.

The news station confirmed that the motel has been sued multiple times by the city and state in an attempt to “clean it up.”

To better develop a case against the defendants, investigators will be able to utilize hotel records, which provide evidence of which rooms were rented out to human trafficking criminals and their victims. Phone records will also help to link traffickers to their victims and to confirm the timeline of events.

If you or a loved one fallen victim to human trafficking, contact the law offices of Hotze Runkle PLLC toll-free today at 877-919-0830. Our attorneys can help you find the justice you deserve.