Harris County has retained three Houston area law firms including our firm, Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, to lead the effort in the suit filed against the Volkswagen Group of America and Audi of America, LLC. Firm partners, Benny Agosto, Jr. and Mo Aziz, will be working on this issue to ensure that the residents of Harris County are protected.
If you have paid attention to the news in Houston recently, then you have seen reports of a wide range of criminal activity at apartment complexes throughout the city including home invasions, sexual assaults, or shootings. Often times when these events occur the apartment complex can be found liable for not adequately protecting its residents. When these unfortunate events happen, there are certain things you need to look for in order to establish liability.
In early September there were hundreds of legitimate apps in the iOS App Store infected with malicious code. Apple is well known for strict security checks that rarely allow any negative damaging software into their merchandise. The technology giant is in the process of shutting down the first large-scale software breach that runs from iPhones and iPads via apps.
According to a report last spring from the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR), Houston is the most dangerous city in the United States when it comes to drivers running red lights. The report states that 181 people are dead because someone did not stop at a red light in Houston between 2004 and 2013. The other nine cities that ranked poorly were Phoenix, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Philadelphia, Tucson and Denver.
Volkswagen, the largest automaker in world, has recently come under investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for installing software in its vehicles to manipulate emissions tests. Volkswagen has been utilizing this software to trick regulators into believing that their vehicles comply with emission standards when in truth, their vehicles emit pollutants up to 40 times admissible EPA standards. Meanwhile, the Justice Department opened a criminal probe to discover the individuals responsible for the misconduct. Volkswagen and any other culpable executives or individuals may be charged with fraud and conspiracy, amongst various other criminal charges. Foreign regulatory agencies are also expected to open investigations.
The family of Heather Cater, a 22-year-old newlywed, filed a wrongful death lawsuit after Mrs. Cater was struck and killed by 19-year-old Deonte Jones, who was fleeing from the sheriff's deputies. A settlement agreement has been reached. Mr. Jones is currently facing charges of capital murder, leaving the scene of an accident with injury or death, delivery of a controlled substance and fleeing. His trial is scheduled for February of 2016.
It is clear that hospitals are dangerous places. Sixteen years ago, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences published a study, "To Err is Human," and concluded that at least 44,000 patients were killed (and many more injured) in hospitals each year because of medical errors. This was a shocking number then. But the numbers got worse.
Recently, there have been a myriad of well publicized, severe accidents along Texas highways that have involved motorists and 18-wheelers. In that vein there have been recent proposals in the United States Congress that could have an effect on the safety of the driving public throughout the Country and more specifically, Texas. There is currently a push by the trucking industry to change transportation regulations and allow bigger and heavier 18-wheeler trucks to travel the highways.
It seems that insurance companies get in the way of resolving problems. For example, cleanup of a chemical spill that shut down U.S. Highway 287 was delayed by insurance company concerns earlier this month. The issue: Who is paying for the cleanup? The accident, which occurred when a tanker truck overturned on 287 between Memphis and Childress, spilled 2,640 gallons of a toxic mixture of lead, calcium-zinc and Rea Tin 4435 onto the highway and adjacent ground.
A spokesperson for the company hired to do the cleanup noted that he had not seen a similar incident in 17 or 18 years. He also said that his company "was being hampered by insurance companies and authorization of work and what insurance limits will allow for the cleanup of this spill."
On September 17, 2015, a 22-year-old motorcyclist rammed into a Ford pickup truck as the truck was making a U-turn on Loop 1604 in San Antonio. The young man flew off the motorcycle, slammed into the Sea World 151 sign and severed both of his legs. He was flown to the hospital. Fault has yet to be determined, but preliminary details released by the police department indicate that the truck may have made an unsafe lane change and cut in front of the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist, who is still in critical condition, is lucky to have survived the crash.