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November 2011 Archives

Texas Supreme Court Upholds Business Margins Tax

In a highly anticipated opinion, the Texas Supreme Court upheld the business margins tax that taxed limited partnerships. The tax payers primarly challenged the classification of the tax. Opponents of the law in Allcat Claims Service, L.P. vs. Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General, argued the franchise tax on limited partnerships constituted an unconstitutional personal income tax. Allcat also argued the state comptroller's application of the tax violated the state constitution's mandate that taxes be equal and uniform.

Highway Safety

Last week, while getting into a car to leave a restaurant after lunch, I heard a "thump." Glancing over to the southbound lanes of I-45 North from the parking lot, I saw two vehicles quickly stopping next to an exit ramp. At first, I could not tell what had happened. But as I looked further, I saw a man on the ground. I quickly told my companions to call 911 and raced to the scene. There, I found a couple of motorists leaning over a construction worker lying on his side on the pavement. Initially, he was motionless, so I feared that he had been killed. Then, as he rolled over on his back, I could see him start to breathe. I will not recount the details, but it was obvious that he was very seriously injured. Others were coming to help, including a lady who appeared to have medical training. Minutes - that seemed like hours - later, we could hear the siren of an emergency vehicle approaching the area which, by then, was heavily congested with traffic.

Fatal Accident Caused by Drowsy Truck Driver Spreads Awareness for Sleep Apnea

Forty-five years of marriage ended when a distracted, fatigued semi-truck driver took his eyes off the road and drove his 18-wheeler into the back of a Hyundai.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax too much, causing abnormal breathing. Apnea refers to each pause in breathing throughout the night which can last for several seconds or minutes at a time. People who suffer from sleep apnea wake up frequently during the night and those who suffer from severe cases might wake up close to 100 times in one night. As a result, people with this condition experience interrupted and inadequate sleep, daytime sleepiness, slower reaction time, vision issues, fatigue and drowsiness.

Safer Storage Needed: How Oil Companies Can Improve Storage Tank Safety (Part II)

This post is part two in a two-part post; last week, we blogged about the number of innocent teenagers and kids that were killed due to explosions and fires at unsecured storage sites for oil and gas tanks.

20% of Commercial Vehicles in Texas Deemed Unsafe

According to records from the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas inspectors pulled one out of five 18-wheelers and buses off the road this year because they were unsafe, posing a potentially dangerous risk to drivers and passengers across the state. DPS said Thursday that of 331,505 commercial vehicles inspected since Jan. 1, 66,189 were deemed unsafe. Inspectors also removed from the road 12,301 commercial drivers for safety violations, DPS director Steven McCraw said. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed as a result of an 18-wheeler, contact our office for a free consultation.

Safer Storage Needed: Unsecured Oil Storage Tanks Lead to Deaths of Young Adults and Children (Part I)

After a number of deadly incidents at oil and gas storage facilities over the course of the last 20 years, federal investigators are these facilities to better secure their storage sites.

CooperVision Recalls More Than 5 Million Avaira Brand Contact Lenses

CooperVision recently announced that it is expanding its recall of the Avaira brand of contact lenses due to the level of silicone oil residue on the lenses. Over 4.9 million Avaira Sphere contact lenses were added to the August recall of over 780,000 Avaira Toric lenses that were linked to blurred vision, eye injuries, and severe eye pain. This recall comes after the Food and Drug Administration issued a Class 1 warning about the products, the most serious kind of recall involving problems with a reasonable chance of serious injury or death.

Owners Can Sue for the Sentimental Value of their Dog

The law treats pets as property. Therefore, the value of pets would normally be the "market price" for the animal. Unless a pet is a pure bred show animal, its market value is likely to be a very small sum.

More Problems for Toyota

Toyota Motor Corp. is once again issuing a recall, this time announcing the recall of more than 420,000 vehicles in the United States in connection with potential steering problems. The problem is involved with the "crankshaft pulley on the V6 engine" and affects over 550,000 vehicles worldwide - 283,200 Toyota and 137,000 Lexus vehicles. According to Toyota, if not corrected, the outer ring of the engine's crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning signal to light up. The belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley, making it suddenly more difficult to turn the driving wheel. This latest recall includes the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. The Lexus recall affects the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.

Death at Privately Run Texas Juvenile Detention Center Raises Questions

The death of a 14-year-old boy at a juvenile detention center in Texas now the public wondering whether official will take a closer look into what exactly is happening in these Texas juvenile centers.

Immigration Law Review Article Written by Houston Attorney bagosto@abrahamwatkins.com, Jr. Has Been Published in the Texas Journal of Law & Policy

The article titled "But Your Honor, He's an Illegal! Can the Undocumented Worker's Alien Status Be Introduced at Trial?" co-authored by Houston personal injury attorney bagosto@abrahamwatkins.com, Jr. of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend has recently been published in the Spring 2011 issue of the Texas Hispanic Journal of Law & Policy.

Perry's Numbers on Doctors are Misleading

According to the Associated Press, an analysis of Perry's radical initiative in Texas which destroyed patients' rights reveals a more complicated bottom line than his campaign rhetoric he's feeding the country. State medical data shows that the number of physicians practicing in the entire State of Texas has increased, but the numbers are considerably less than the total Perry cites. Additionally, the information Perry provides is misleading since the majority of the doctors are in larger cities where health care was already abundant. Perry clearly doesn't want the country to know about large rural swaths of Texas still without doctors. The only ones who benefitted from the elimination of medical negligence law are the insurance companies.

New Guidelines for Child Safety Seats

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a new set of guidelines for child safety seats. These updated guidelines are based on age instead of seat type which supported the previous guidelines. It is advised that parents keep their children in each of the seats for as long as possible before moving them to the next level of car seat.

Domino's

The son of a Domino's Pizza delivery driver has sued Domino's Pizza and Deutsche Bank following the brutal murder of his father in Boston on September 1, 2010. The $15 million lawsuit alleges negligence and wrongful death against Domino's Pizza, as the delivery driver's employer, and Deutsche Bank, as owner of the site where the murder occurred.

Settlement Reached in 2009 Helicopter Crash

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. reached a settlement with the widow of co-pilot Vyarl Martin last week for a confidential amount. The helicopter crash occurred near Morgan City, Louisiana in 2009 and killed eight people, including the pilot and co-pilot, and catastrophically injured the lone survivor.

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