OKC Law Firm Joins in E-Database

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Andrews Davis Legg Bixler Milsten & Price has launched Meritas with about 200 other business law firms.

Operating for 10 years as Commercial Law Affiliates, Meritas is a group of law firms that will provide business clients with worldwide access to legal services.

"As more companies do business worldwide, both large and small companies alike are finding they need coordinated, knowledgeable global legal services," said John Fischer of Andrews Davis "It used to be that the only options for companies were to build up their own in-house legal department, use large national firms, or develop personal networks of preferred legal providers."

Meritas has an online database of attorneys, searchable by legal skill and industry expertise.

Membership in Meritas is by invitation only. Member firms participate in common governance and are subject to an annual recertification process.

"The advent of Meritas is a natural evolution from Commercial Law Affiliates, allowing us to achieve economies of scale and cost- efficiencies for clients," said Fischer.

Methamphetamine summit

The Oklahoma County district attorney's office has been selected to host a summit on how to reduce methamphetamine use, officials said.

Oklahoma is one of only four states chosen to host a summit, which will take place this summer.

The Drug Enforcement Administration, National Crime Prevention Council and Community Oriented Policing Services has created a partnership with District Attorney Wes Lane to develop a plan to prevent and reduce methamphetamine use.

Lane said he began promoting the county for the program in September while he was in Washington.

The goal of the summit is to create a strategic plan for meth prevention, treatment, enforcement and education.

The summit is planned to create a coordinated countywide effort to mobilize resources to prevent and reduce the methamphetamine problem.

Oneok reviews jury decision

Attorneys for Oneok are reviewing options regarding a possible appeal of a jury's decision to award $3.6 million to a man who was injured when his home exploded after a buildup of natural gas.

The Tulsa County jury on Monday granted William Lee Hopwood $2.4 million in actual damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages. Hopwood, 47, was blown from his rented duplex by the blast Aug. 1, 2000. He also suffered third-degree burns to 35 percent of his body.

Evidence indicated that on the day of the blast, employees of construction companies were excavating with a backhoe in the back yard and struck a gas line that belonged to the property owner -- not to Oneok. About 40 minutes before the explosion, Oneok's Oklahoma Natural Gas subsidiary received a phone call from a motorist who reported the odor of natural gas at or near the site, records show.

Hopwood's lawsuit alleged that ONG had enough information to compel properly trained employees to treat this as an "immediately respond" emergency but that the call was not given to a service technician until about a minute before the explosion. …