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Texas Babies Had Blood Taken Without Consent & Midday Update

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

A federal court is requiring Texas health authorities to destroy as many as four million blood samples taken from babies without parental consent and stored indefinitely for scientific research.

The Texas Civil Rights Project announced the settlement on Tuedsay. The project, acting on behalf of five plaintiffs, had sued the Texas Department of State Health Services and Texas A&M University.

The lawsuit alleged that the state's failure to ask parents for permission to store and possibly use the blood violated constitutional protections against unlawful search and seizure. A San Antonio federal court is now ordering any blood samples collected without parental consent to be destroyed by early next year.

The plaintiffs said there are at least four million such samples.

Judge appoints Houston attorney to monitor company

A federal judge has appointed a Houston lawyer to monitor an east Texas company cited for discriminating against black employees.

Tony P. Rosenstein of the Houston firm Baker Botts will serve as an ombudsman to investigate complaints from Lufkin Industries employees. The publicly-traded company manufactures oil field equipment and industrial gearboxes.

The appointment was detailed in an injunction issued Friday by U.S. District Judge Ron Clark of Beaumont as part of the resolution of black workers' class-action lawsuit against Lufkin Industries.

Company president and chief executive Jay Glick declined comment.

Clark ruled last June that Lufkin Industries' black employees are due $5.5 million in back pay and interest. The ruling cited the 107-year-old company for unlawful discrimination in awarding promotions.

Texas troopers watching for holiday DWI, speeders

Texas troopers will be out in force over the long Christmas and New Year's weekends to help keep travelers safe.

The Department of Public Safety on Tuesday said troopers will concentrate on drivers who may be intoxicated, speeders and people not wearing seat belts.

All available troopers will be on patrol from Thursday, Dec. 24, through Sunday, Dec. 27, and again on Thursday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

DPS troopers during the 2008 Christmas period arrested 651 drivers for DWI and issued 15,400 speeding tickets and 2,580 safety restraint violations. The New Year's holiday period resulted in 304 drivers arrested for DWI. Troopers issued 5,173 speeding tickets and 912 safety restraint violations.