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Bankruptcy Stay Partially Lifted in Hurricane Rita Evacuation Bus Fire Multidistrict Litigation

On September 23, 2005 a bus carrying elderly passengers from a nursing home in Bellaire, Texas headed to Dallas, Texas caught fire on IH - 45. As a result of the fire, 23 passengers died and several others were injured. Suits were filed in several counties by families of the deceased and the injured passengers. All the cases were transferred to 206th Judicial District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas. The Law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels and Friend represents several plaintiffs and is on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee.

After three years of litigation, Motor Coach Industries, Inc. (MCI) the manufacturer of the subject bus, recently filed for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. As a result of the filing, the Texas litigation was automatically stayed.

However, on December 2, 2008 Judge Rose Reyna signed an order compelling mediation in the case after the parties agreed to modify the automatic stay to allow the continuation of a pre-petition mediation. This followed the signing of a similar order by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to allow withdrawal of the automatic stay without prejudice. The case is currently set for mediation on December 11, 2008.

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  • 2016-2017 Equal Access to Justice Champion

    The Equal Access to Justice Champions Program was started by the Houston Bar Association in 2006, to help ensure placement of Houston Volunteer Lawyers cases with pro bono volunteers. Originally, firms were tiered according to size, and firms within each tier committed to accept a certain number of pro bono cases from HVL each year for five years.

  • The National Trial Lawyers | Top 100 Trial Lawyers

    The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 is an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil plaintiff and/or criminal defense trial lawyers. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective and uniformly applied process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research.

  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum

    Established in 1993, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum (which includes the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum) is one of the most prestigious groups of trial lawyers in the United States. Membership is limited to attorneys who have won million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. There are over 4000 members throughout the country. Fewer than 1% of U.S. lawyers are members.

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers America | Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz | 2017

    Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review. Their methodology is designed to capture, as accurately as possible, the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area.

  • Lead Counsel Rated

    In order to earn the Lead Counsel Rating, an attorney must not only demonstrate significant legal experience, but must also receive multiple peer recommendations advocating his or her ability. This is a key component in the screening process.

  • Texas Super Lawyers | Texas Monthly

    Each year, Super Lawyers recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.

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