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August 2009 Archives

Blinds, Shades Recalled After Deaths

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a wide recall recently on Roll-up and Roman window shades due to strangulation risks and deaths. About once a month a child in the U.S. dies from window cord strangulation. Children are becoming entangled in the inner cord of a Roman shade, which has resulted in deaths in many children. These shades are sold by such retailers as IKEA International, Williams-Sonoma Inc., and Target Corp. Some of these retailers have already pulled these products off their shelves. The CPSC works to recall products as quickly as they can. When there is a fatality, especially a child, it is of the utmost concern to the agency.

Press Release - Houston, Texas (August 27, 2009)

Houston, Texas (August 27, 2009) - As many lawyers know, law school can be not only demanding of one's time, but also on one's bank account. Fortunately, the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas Foundation (MABATx Foundation) hosted their Fourth Annual Luncheon benefiting Hispanic law student scholarships Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at the Downtown Doubletree Hotel in Houston. The scholarships are awarded to outstanding law students who best exemplify leadership, commitment, justice and equality within the Hispanic community and beyond. "It is important that we encourage a new generation of lawyers to have the courage and strength to be committed to their clients but also committed to their communities," said attorney bagosto@abrahamwatkins.com, Jr., founder of MABATx Foundation and partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston. Scholarships are awarded to law students from each of the three Houston-based law schools. The MABATx Foundation is a non-profit organization founded to encourage justice and leadership within the Hispanic community.

MABATX Foundation Celebrates Another Great Year

It is reassuring to witness people giving back to their communities. The Mexican American Bar Association of Texas Foundation (MABATx Foundation) stands on the principle that service to the Hispanic community by means of leadership, commitment, justice and equality is essential for the betterment of our entire populace here in Houston.

Harris County Grades Itself; Grade = D-

The family of Margarita Saavedra recently filed suit against Harris County for her death that occurred on January 12, 2008 while awaiting a trial date in the Harris County Jail. It was a death that was medically preventable, but the county's neglect eliminated every chance she had of survival. The suit alleges both medical malpractice and a violation of Mrs. Saavedra's United States' Constitutional rights. This suit was filed after the United States Department of Justice inspected the jail and found major Constitutional flaws.

Injured Victims, Beware! Protect Your Legal Rights Before You Sign Anything

This past week, I met with a young man who was recently injured on the job. He worked at a valve shop and was directed by his employer to burn materials in the shop. However, this young man was not given the proper equipment, training, or instructions by his employer. Consequently, the worker was badly burned, spent several months in the intensive care burn unit, had multiple skin grafts, and is now terribly scarred. After meeting with this young man and his fiancé for nearly an hour, and after hearing the full details of the incident and the subsequent treatment, I discovered something in the materials that changed the entire meeting.

Child Sleeper Bassinet Recall

The Federal Government issued a consumer safety warning to parents about Simplicity bassinets after two more infants were killed when they became trapped. Two young children died after getting trapped in previously recalled Simplicity close-sleeper/bedside sleeper bassinets, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released.

Hispanic Bar Association of Houston

The Hispanic Bar Association of Houston's (HisBA) goals are, in part, to provide legal services to the Hispanic community, to enrich and ensure the success of its members in the legal profession in Houston and to become involved in legal issues affecting the Hispanic community.

"When a Celebrity is Involved the Rules Change"

We recently filed a lawsuit against a famous rapper. When the lawsuit was filed, we made all attempts not to attract media attention. We wanted this to be low key so we could have the lawsuit served on the defendant. However, along the way the word got out. I can only assume that someone in the court system saw the lawsuit and posted the information on a blog on the internet. Once that happened, the news spread like a wild fire. I was shocked at the amount of national and world wide media attention that soon followed. For nearly a week my office was bombarded by calls from Los Angeles, New York and even London. I guess I should not have been surprised by the public's need for information when the event involved a celebrity. Bottom line is be prepared for anything when the issue involves a celebrity.

Follow Your Doctor's Advice

I am often asked from a legal medical perspective what is the first thing a client should do following an accident. The answer is fairly simple: Follow your doctor's advice and concentrate on your recovery. Although straight forward, this advice is sometimes difficult to follow.

Texas Supreme Court Protects Defendant

The Texas Supreme Court ruled that a jury cannot award damages to the family of a man killed by an employee leaving work after his employer had worked him to exhaustion. A trial court jury had awarded damages to the Escoto family after an employee leaving Nabors Drilling, U.S.A. veered across the centerline and killed Roberto Escoto.

"Understanding Juries"

I have just attended a State Bar of Texas seminar on "Understanding Juries." At the program, there was a mock trial presented to a mock jury to help us (the attendees) better understand how juries think and analyze cases. The case presented dealt with a manufacturing business (the plaintiff) that was having financial difficulties when it suddenly burned -- with one of the contractors killed at the origin scene of the fire. The defendant insurance company had denied the claim for the loss submitted by the plaintiff/business, contending the building burned as a result of arson, and the decedent was the actual arsonist hired by the business owner. The insurance carrier contended the decedent was paid not for consulting work, but was paid to burn the building down, and unfortunately got caught up in the fire he started. Both sides were ably represented by Texas lawyers and each made comprehensive, compelling presentations for their respective sides. The real interesting and educational portion of the program occurred when the mock jury retired for deliberations. The deliberations were broadcasted back into the seminar room, and the jurors' focus on the emphasized points and the subtle points reminded all of the attendees at the seminar of the value of performing a focus group/mock trial in cases that justify the study. In this mock trial, the jurors vigorously argued the strengths and weaknesses of each presentation. They combed through and frequently referenced the evidence given to them to consider. More importantly, they speculated on issues not addressed (and no doubt never thought of by the advocates), but these issues became extremely important in reaching their conclusions. These issues would certainly be addressed in the next presentation (presumably the real trial).

Appellate Court Affirms Judgment Rendered in Favor of Injured Constable

bagosto@abrahamwatkins.com, Jr., Chelsie King Garza and Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend undertook the representation of Eluid Cesar Hinojosa, a Sergeant with the Harris County Constable's Office, when he challenged a decision of the Texas Department of Insurance - Workers' Compensation Division regarding compensability of benefits in Harris County District Court. The injured worker was victorious at trial and the Texas 1st Court of Appeals has recently affirmed the trial Court's decision.

Retailer Brings Foreign Component Manufacturers Into Lawsuit

Last December the firm was retained on case involving the throttle malfunction on a Kawasaki dirt bike that had been retrofitted with addition aftermarket parts. The malfunction occurred while our client was operating the bike and was thrown of the bike, suffering catastrophic injuries that rendered him paraplegic.

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