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February 2012 Archives

Texas City Fire Leads to Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Texas City senior living apartment complex, Colonial Park Apartments, suffered a fatal fire on April 7, 2010. In that blaze, Melody Fitzgerald Rivera, 52, lost her life after the fire erupted in her room. The fire spread through the complex while Rivera was asleep in her room. Firefighters were onsite by 1:30 a.m. and able to stop the spread of the fire. However, Rivera, a Colonial Park resident, suffered third-degree burns to over sixty five percent (65%) of her body. Rivera was admitted to The University of Texas Medical Branch's (UTMB's) burn unit and underwent several skin grafting procedures prior to passing from sepsis.

Ford Sued for Negligent Design After Texas Woman Killed in Rollover Accident

A Texas man has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Ford Motor Company following the death of his wife in a rollover accident involving one of Ford's SUVs.

Goodyear Recalls 41K Wrangler Silent Armor Tires

According to Reuters, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company said it would recall about 41,000 of its Wrangler Silent Armor tires produced in 2009 over concerns that a number could tear, leading to crashes. Two people died in a 2011 rollover crash in Texas involving a vehicle equipped with these tires. It is estimated that about 27,000 of the tires are still believed to be in service. The tires are used on pickup trucks, vans and sport-utility vehicles, often at construction sites or for off-road applications. If you or someone you know has these defective tires on a vehicle, take them immediately to a Goodyear retailer to have them replaced.

FDA Advisory Committee Favors Approval of New Prescription Weight-Loss Medication

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recently recommended approval of the weight-loss drug Qnexa. Qnexa is a combination of two existing drugs. It is composed of the appetite suppressant phentermine, which was part of the fen-phen combination, and the anti-seizure medication topiramate, more commonly known by its brand name Topomax. Pre-approval studies show that using Qnexa led to an average weight loss of ten percent of body weight after one year. In addition, positive effects on blood pressure, blood sugar, and some blood lipids were also noted. However, the studies also showed that Qnexa increased heart rate which is a danger signal that the drug might actually be a dangerous drug if it increases the risk of heart attack.

Nursing Home Malpractice Case Filed for Failure to Properly Supervise

Recently in St. Louis, Missouri the daughters of a man who died after wandering away from a nursing home filed a wrongful-death lawsuit alleging negligence.

Johnson & Johnson Recalls Infant Tylenol

Johnson & Johnson is pulling all of its infant Tylenol from the United States market because of numerous problems associated with their newly redesigned bottles. The new bottles were supposed to make it easier and safer to measure doses through the syringe. The idea behind the new design was to limit how much of the liquid Tylenol could be drawn into the plastic syringe that was inserted into the bottle. Instead, there was a defect in the new design that allowed the plastic protective covers to give way, allowing the protective cover to be pushed into the bottle.

When there is a Collision, Call the Police

Whenever you are in a collision, the best practice is to call the police. This can help to avoid many issues later, but one is whether the proper information has been provided by the at-fault driver and any witnesses to the auto accident.

Rape Victim Wins $20 Million Dollar Verdict Against Apartment Complex

A Harris County jury recently awarded $20 million dollars to a young woman who was raped by a neighbor in her apartment complex. The jury awarded the victim $12 milion in personal injury damages: $7 million for physical pain and mental anguish and $5 million for future mental anguish; and $8 million for violating Texas' deceptive trade practices statute.

Houston Texans Honran a Benny Agosto Jr. con el NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

Los Houston Texans reconocieron a Benny Agosto Jr. con el NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award (Premio al Liderato Hispano de la NFL), por su trabajo en favor de los hispanos.

Keep an Eye on Your Children and Your Apartment Complex's Employees

In Georgia, the mother of a murdered seven-year-old is suing her apartment complex for hiring and retaining a maintenance man with a history of committing crimes against children. Joselinne Rivera, mother of slain Jorelys Rivera, is alleging that River Ridge at Canton, her apartment complex, failed to perform adequate background checks on its employees, including Ryan Brunn, and those failures resulted in the loss of a child: Jorelys Rivera. Brunn, who was twenty years old at the time of the crime, confessed to murdering Jorelys shortly before he took his own life while he was in custody.

Consumer Products Still Contain Toxic Levels of Lead

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, a recent federal analysis showed that 400 shades of popular lipstick contained trace amounts of lead. This analysis has exacerbated an ongoing dispute between regulators and consumer activists over how much lead is safe in cosmetics and how much makes the product defective. Five popular lipsticks made by L'Oreal and Maybelline, owned by L'Oreal USA, ranked among the top 10 most contaminated of the cosmetics, according to testing by the Food and Drug Administration. Two Cover Girl and two NARS lipsticks also landed in the top 10, as did one made by Stargazer.

Marijuana Use More Than Doubles Risk of Car Accident

According to a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, individuals who smoke marijuana within a few hours of driving are two times more likely than non-impaired motorists to be involved in a car accident resulting in serious injury or death. This study clarifies earlier studies which produced mixed results with respect to the correlation between the risk of motor vehicle accidents and recent marijuana use. Marijuana use makes it more difficult to assess distance between cars, often leading to tailgating and erratic driving, which when combined with a driver's reduced reaction time, leads to an increased risk of an accident.

Improving Teen Driving Safety, Part II

As we blogged about in our previous post, the number one cause of deaths among teens is automobile accidents. But statistics show that states with graduated driver's license (GDL) programs have fewer incidents of accidents involving teen drivers.

Nissan Recall

In a recent recall, Nissan has recalled 39,000 Versa small cars because of a dangerous condition that has been detected. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety regulations require a driver's foot must be on the brake before the car can physically be shifted into gear, but Nissan found that in the 2012 model cars made from June 9, 2011 through January 13, 2012, the transmissions can be shifted out of park without the driver's foot on the brake. It appears this recall applies only to those cars made and sold in the United States and Canada.

Fifth Circuit Allows Suit to Continue

On Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a patient's suit against the maker of a defective medical device, a hip replacement product, to proceed with part of his case, despite an objection by the product maker that the claim was preempted by federal regulations. The case was Bass v. Stryker Corporation (No. 11-10076).

New Lawsuit Filed Against the Catholic Church

Ten people recently filed a lawsuit claiming they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests and nuns in central and eastern Montana. According to the Associated Press, the defendants include a priest who was on a board that reviews allegations of child sex abuse for the church. It is the fourth sex-abuse lawsuit filed against the Catholic Church in Montana since last year and the second against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. The ten unnamed plaintiffs are now adults and say the abuse took place from the 1960s to the 1980s at schools, missions, churches and homes.

Family Files Suit Against Apartment Complex

The family of slain Middle Tennessee State University basketball player Tina Stewart has filed suit against an apartment complex and its management company following Stewart's murder at the complex. The family believes that the apartment complex and its management company failed to act when they should have and that such failure caused Tina Stewart's wrongful death.

Hispanic National Bar Association President Participates in White House Sessions with U.S. Secretary of the Interior and Vice-President

On January 18, 2012, Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) President Benny Agosto Jr. met with Senior White House and Agency Officials along with other Latino leaders from across the nation to discuss several policy areas affecting the Latino population. Agosto was also among a select group of Latino leaders to participate in an intimate question-and-answer session recently with Vice-President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

FDA Issues Warning Regarding Transvaginal Mesh

According to a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning, transvaginal placement of surgical mesh might not be the best treatment option in patients suffering from pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Transvaginal mesh is a type of surgical mesh that is permanently implanted in patients suffering from POP or SUI to strengthen the weakened vaginal wall. Although doctors routinely use transvaginal mesh to treat such conditions, the FDA warns that thousands of women are at risk of developing serious health complications despite the fact that much safer and similarly effective alternatives exist.

All About Burn Injuries: Burn Injury Awareness Week (Part I)

Three thousand, five hundred. That is how many people die each year from fires and burn injuries. Of those, 3,000 deaths usually occur in residential fires and 500 occur from car crash fires, aircraft crashes, electrocution and contact with dangerous chemicals or hot liquids.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent? - Harris County Jury Sentenced Innocent Man to Life in Prison

By now, this may be old news - given the rapid media cycle and twenty-four hour coverage by national networks. However, this story deserves being revisited. LaDondrell Montgomery was sentenced to life in prison by a Harris County jury in November of 2011 for committing an armed robbery. The undisputed fact is that LaDondrell Montgomery could not have committed that crime because he was already being held in jail on unrelated charges. There was a trial, a prosecutor, a judge, a defense attorney, a video of the crime and the perpetrator, and there were "eyewitnesses." What went wrong? How did the defense lawyer miss this? Why did the prosecutor charge and bring a trial against a man when he was already in jail at the time of the robbery? This is a comedy of errors; unfortunately for LaDondrell Montgomery, there is nothing funny about it.

Ear Doctors Performing Face-Lifts

According to an article published in the New York Times, ear doctors are performing face lifts. The Times reported the case of Joan, now 59, who after moving from New York to Los Angeles in 2010, believed she needed to freshen her look. As a result, she got a face-lift and a tummy tuck from a board-certified doctor in Beverly Hills.

Jury Orders Kelsey-Seybold to Pay $1.9 Million for Secret Surgeon

On Friday, January 20, 2012, a Harris County jury ordered Kelsey-Seybold Medical Clinic, PLLC and its employee, Jim Patrick Benge, MD, to pay $1.9 million for permanently injuring Lauren Williams and for her past and future damages, including a lifetime of colostomy care and medications, made necessary by a surgical error. In August 2008, Ms. Williams went in for a hysterectomy understanding Dr. Benge would be her surgeon. After she went under anesthesia, a resident came in and performed at least 50% of the surgery without the patient's knowledge. This was the first time the resident had performed the procedure. "The jury rejected Kelsey-Seybold's position that an unknown resident can perform surgery on a patient without full disclosure to the patient," said Williams' attorney Randall O. Sorrels.

Worst Maritime Disasters in Last 100 Years

For some, the recent tragic cruise ship accident of the Costa Concordia in Italy has echoes of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Of course, the circumstances were completely different, but with the death toll at 17 and a number of crew and passengers still missing, the Costa incident is proving to be one of the most fatal cruise liner accidents in recent history. Many are wondering how such tragic boating accidents can occur in such a modern day age. And while technology has made great strides since 1912, it has not eliminated such maritime disasters from occurring during the past 100 years.

Pfizer Recalls 28 Lots of Birth Control Pills

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has issued a recall of 28 lots of birth control pills due to problems with the ingredients and sequence of the medication. The recall covers Lo/Ovral-28 Tablets and Norgestrel and Ethinyl Estradiol Tablets. The company said the daily dosage of the contraceptives could be incorrect, leaving women at risk for pregnancy, although no health-related risks are present. If you or your spouse are currently taking the recalled medication, contact your physician and pharmacist to obtain new medication.

Welcome to our Houston personal injury law blog

We established this blog to share stories and information about topics relevant to our practice. Our intent is to highlight local stories, as well as national subject matter, that we think you will find interesting. We will regularly update this blog and encourage you to share your thoughts on these posts.

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.

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  • $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.

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