May 2009 Archives

Supreme Court Reverses Jury Verdict for Plaintiffs Again

Last week, in the case of Texas Department of Transportation v. York, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2009) (5/22/09), the Supreme Court reversed a verdict in favor of the family members of a woman who was killed when her car went out of control after it hit loose gravel a day after TxDOT applied a "spot seal coat" to repair a highway; her car crossed the centerline and hit an oncoming vehicle. The Supreme Court reversed a verdict of $1,033,440 and held that there was "no jurisdiction" over TxDOT by stating that "loose gravel is not a special defect as a matter of law. . . ."

Summer Warning - Be Safe with Swimming Pools

With Summer upon us, everyone needs to take extra precautions when swimming in pools, especially those with young children.& nbsp; Additionally, parents who have swimming pools in their neighborhoods need to take extra precautions to ensure that their children are safe. I recently handled a case where the clients' four-year-old son drowned to death in a neighbor's artificial, backyard swimming pool. While we were able to get the clients a favorable settlement for the policy limits of defendants' homeowners liability insurance, there was no way to bring back their son. As such, this blog is intended to serve as a Summer warning to all parents.

LegalAid - Texas Access to Justice Commission

I was recently appointed to serve a three year term on the Texas Access to Justice Commission. The purpose of this organization, also known as LegalAid, is to provide legal aid to the poor in civil matters. Its mission is to develop and implement policy initiatives designed to expand access to, and enhance the quality of, justice in civil legal matters for low income Texans. Due to the economy and the historic low interest rates, there is an epic economic crisis that threatens a devastating blow to the funding of our legal aid offices in Texas.

"Modern Day David v. Goliath"

•1. Last Thursday I had the privilege of introducing the speaker for our monthly TTLA Advocates Luncheon. We were fortunate to have David J. Berardinelli, author of the book "From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves, The Dark Side of Insurance" come and discuss his epic battle with Allstate Insurance. From 2001 to 2006, Mr. Berardinelli waged war with one of the country's largest insurance companies. The battle all stemmed over Allstate's failure to produce documents that have become known as the "The McKinsey Slides." The basic outline of the story is that Mr. Berardinelli's clients were policy holders with Allstate for nearly 40 years when they were struck by an uninsured drunk driver. His clients made a claim on their own insurance which was denied on the basis they didn't have coverage for uninsured motorists. Mr. Berardinelli's clients insisted that the agents who sold them the policy promised that the coverage they had was the same as uninsured motorists coverage. During litigation, the agents admitted under oath in their depositions that they had mislead the clients and had actually been trained by Allstate to misrepresent the coverage they were being provided. As a result of this testimony, Mr. Beradinelli requested copies of the training documents used by Allstate. Allstate refused. After years of court battles, Allstate finally turned over the precious "McKinsey Slides." After reading what's in them, it's clear why Allstate didn't want to the public to see them. The story of the Jose and Olivia Pincheira, Allstate's insureds, is one that can't be told in this blog, but is one that everyone should read. I strongly recommend reading Mr. Beradinelli's book so you can clearly appreciate what you as a consumer are up against when it comes to insurance.

Aviation Litigation Update

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend has a long history of successfully litigating cases involving aircraft crashes. Our extensive experience includes cases against Braniff Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Swiss Air Boeing airplanes, various military aircraft manufacturers, numerous private plane manufacturers. The causes of these crashes involved pilot error, manufacturing defects or both. Over the years we have developed and maintained close professional relationships with several experienced and knowledgeable experts on aircraft failures, involving both the pilot error/negligence and products liability issues. In short, our firm is well equipped, given our experience, knowledge and resources needed, to competently and successfully litigate these complex cases.

Stanford Update

1. United States District Judge Godbey last week established the briefing schedule for arguments on whether Allen Stanford should be able to obtain money to pay his attorneys. John Little-the court-appointed Examiner representing the interests of CD investors-has been given until today (May 4) to file his response. Since the Court denied the proposed interventions of the CD investors two weeks ago, they do not have the right to respond. Allen Stanford's attorneys have been given until May 8 to reply. Allen Stanford has also filed an appeal with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to lift the Order freezing his assets, and Judge Godbey has questioned whether he has authority to amend that Order while it is being appealed. There is no date set to decide that issue.

Recent Trial Victory - A Win for the Injured Worker

On April 22, 2009, I tried my client's case to a Harris County jury. Johnny Garza and I picked a jury that morning, and we proceeded to trial that same day. We split up the duties for directing the witnesses, Johnny conducted voir dire (jury selection), and I handled opening statement and closing argument.

FDA Says Stop Using Hydroxycut

The US Food and Drug Administration has just warned consumers to immediately stop using the dietary supplement Hydroxycut, because of an association between the Hydroxycut products and a number of serious liver and other injuries. Made by Iovate Health Sciences Inc. (Oakville, Ontario) and distributed by Iovate Health Sciences USA Inc. (Blasdell, N.Y.), the manufacturer has agreed to recall their products from the market. The actual FDA warning can be found at The FDA received several reports of serious health problems including: Jaundice Elevated liver enzymes Liver failure Seizures Cardiovascular disorders Rhabdomyolysis There was a report of liver damage so severe it caused one person to die of liver disease and an undisclosed number of people who required liver transplants. These lower-cost Hydroxycut products were marketed for weight-loss, as fat burners, as energy-enhancers, as low carb diet aids, and for water loss under the Iovate and MuscleTech brand names. Although the FDA has not received reports on all of the associated products, Iovate agreed to recall the following products:

Awards & Recognition

  • 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.

Get Your Free Case Review 713.587.9668

Let Us Help You Today! Request a Free Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented nearly 100 victims who suffered personal injuries and damages to property from a large fire and explosion resulting in a settlement of more than $50 million. The firm served as lead lawyers on the steering committee in this litigation.

  • $80 Million Personal Injury Large Plant Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 270 plaintiffs', taking a lead role in the plaintiffs' steering committee, who suffered injuries in a large plant explosion resulting in a settlement of nearly $80 million.

  • $50+ Million Personal Injury Plant Fire and Explosion

    The firm successfully represented 45 personal injury victims in a plant fire and explosion, serving on the plaintiffs' steering committee, concluding with a settlement of more than $50 million.

  • $22+ Million Personal Injury Work Site Accident

    The firm prevailed in a personal injury trial for a worksite injury client with the jury returning a verdict and resulting in a judgment of over $22 million for the firm's client.

  • $12 Million Auto Accident 18-Wheeler Collision

    The firm successfully achieved a $12 million settlement for the family of a man who died in an 18 wheeler collision.

  • $30 Million Personal Injury Burn Victims

    The firm prevailed on behalf of three burn victims with settlements totaling nearly $30 million.

Our Record Of Success.

When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

More Success Stories