October 2012 Archives

Walmart Targeted for Wage Violations

Walmart, one of the largest retailers in the world, has been criticized for many years regarding its labor practices. It has been a constant target for various wage and hour litigation in the past few years. In fact, last year the Supreme Court blocked a class action brought on behalf of approximately 1.6 million women who worked at Walmart and who alleged that Walmart failed to provide training to female employees. Walmart has also made news for its hostile position toward unions.

BP Refinery Catches Fire in Texas City

A fire at BP's Texas City refinery broke out today at 1:30 p.m. Officials with the Texas City Office of Emergency Management were alerted to this hydrocarbon fire shortly after 1:40 p.m. and BP fire crews were called to the scene. No calls for further assistance have been made.

Surprising Causes of Deadly Accidents

We all enter this world in more or less the same way. But our modes of departure vary greatly and some deaths occur in ways one would never expect. Below are a few of the more surprising causes of death - a number of rather mundane activities - that occur more often than you'd think:

Supreme Court Denies Remedy to Women Who Were Sexually Assaulted

Three women who were sexually assaulted by guards when they were in a substance abuse program cannot sue the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for their damages, according to a recent ruling of the Texas Supreme Court.

Abraham Watkins Investigating Helicopter Crash in Kendall County

Authorities in Kendall County have confirmed two men and a woman are dead after their helicopter crashed into a heavily wooded area last week in the Texas Hill Country. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, a Robinson R44 went down near RR 1888 and E. FM 1376, about 15 miles West of Fredericksburg.

Fantasy Football, Or...

Parents and school officials are reeling in the San Francisco area regarding the breaking news about the fantasy sex league that was uncovered at Piedmont High School. Parents of kids at Piedmont High School were informed of the fantasy league in a letter and an email just last week from the school's principal. This story is now being reported everywhere. While not all of the details have been confirmed, it appears that the school officials felt that they had enough information to start warning parents and issuing letters.

Texas City Residents Hurt and Forced to Shelter from Hydrochloric Release

A reported release of 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid from the Texas City storage facility Dallas Group of Americas has sent several people to the hospital (current reports are nine people) and forced 45,000 residents of Texas City to remain indoors, turn off air conditioning units and make sure all windows and doors remained closed.

Arbitration Agreements: What Could They Mean for You and Your Elderly Loved Ones?

Paperwork seems to be a part of life. And because of the copious amounts that we often deal with at work in our daily lives, we tend to rarely read everything. Unfortunately, this means that we may overlook an important document - a document that could make a significant difference.

Is Texas Ready for 85-mph Speed Limit?

Earlier this year, the Texas Transportation Commission approved higher speed limits for some Texas roads. This Wednesday marks the opening of a new, 40-mile stretch of Texas Highway 130 toll road with the nation's highest speed limit: 85 miles per hour. While State officials say they are not worried about increased danger, many others are skeptical about the dangers the increased speed limit has in store for Texas motorists.

Texas Road Wear and Tear Has Reached New Extremes Due to Drilling Activity

Potholes, ruts and large cracks litter the pavement, making for rough travel and increasing the risk of an accident. Are these roads under construction? No, but they are under an incredible amount of stress from high volumes of large truck traffic - all of which they were not designed to support.

Target Recalls Disney Fleece Jackets and Shirts

Retail giant Target is recalling more than 6,000 sets of boys and girls fleece jackets and shirts featuring Disney characters from its stores. It is reported that the Disney fleece jackets and shirts sold at Target are equipped with zippers that contain unacceptable levels of lead. Exposure to excessive levels of lead can lead to injuries to children.

Suit Filed Against Evangelical Church Alleging the Church Concealed Sex Abuse

According to a report published by the Associate Press, three female plaintiffs claim in a recently filed lawsuit that an evangelical church group covered up allegations of sexual abuse against children. The suit further alleges that the church group failed to report accusations to the police and discouraged its members from cooperating with law enforcement.

Do Tougher Teen Driving Laws Mean Safer Roads?

Car accidents are the number one cause of death among teenagers. It is likely no surprise, then that, teenage drivers aged 16 to 19 have a crash rate four times that of older drivers - and that almost two-third of teen deaths in traffic accidents occur when teens are passengers in a car being driven by another teen.

Federal Regulators Plan to Block Suits from Well-Qualified Mortgages

In the years following the financial crisis, it came to light that the standards for qualifying loans for mortgages were insufficient at best. Foreclosures were very much at the heart of the 2008 financial collapse. Amidst this collapse, many homeowners have sought to block the bank's foreclosures of their home on the grounds that the lenders knowingly put them in mortgages that they could not afford. Banks claim that such suits have cost them billions of dollars. And, according to the banks, they have been hesitant to give out new loans to any kind of consumer. None of this addresses whether the suits were valid and whether banks had a legitimate interest in overselling loans in the first place. But instead of addressing these issues, Federal regulators have begun to explore means to insulate banks from any future liability.

Abraham Watkins Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month

The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend is proud to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. The firm celebrates this every year and its community, whose food, culture and tradition are woven within the landscape of our great country.

Reducing Teen Driving Accidents Through Technology

Teenage drivers tend to be inexperienced. This, of course, is not surprising given that most have not spent much time behind the wheel beyond required training or the occasional drive with their parents. Because of this inexperience, teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate potentially dangerous situations.

Metal Pieces in Kids' Cereal - Frosted Mini-Wheats Recall

Kellogg's has issued a voluntary recall of its Frosted Mini-Wheats Bite Size and Mini-Wheats Unfrosted Bite Size products because these food items may contain metal fragments. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, the recall is "due to the possible presence of fragments of flexible metal mesh from a faulty manufacturing part." Kellogg said the likelihood of metal in the cereal is "low" and added "we understand and apologize for your concern." Kellogg has also stated that it has not yet received any reports of injuries due to metal pieces found in its cereal.

More Partners Joining the Message of the Dangers of Distracted Driving and Creating Events Geared at Teens

Did you know that more drivers under the age of 20 are involved in fatal distracted driving accidents than any other group? In fact, new data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has shown that drivers 15 to 19 are responsible for 13 percent of distracted driving crashes that result in death.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Issues Safety Advisory about Counterfeit Airbags

On Wednesday, the United States Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a consumer safety advisory to alert consumers about the dangers of counterfeit airbags. According to the NHTSA, consumers who have been involved in an automobile accident and who have either had the airbags in their vehicle replaced by a repair shop that is not part of a new car dealership or who have purchased a replacement airbag online within the past three years may have had a counterfeit airbag installed in their vehicle. While these airbags look nearly identical to certified, original equipment parts, NHTSA testing showed consistent malfunctioning ranging from non-deployment of the airbag to the expulsion of metal shrapnel during airbag deployment.

Honda's Week of Recalls and Watches

Honda Motor Company has just completed a week in which it recalled hundreds of thousands of motor vehicles it manufactured. In no particular order, here are the highlights of the Honda vehicles:

Investigation into Honda Pilot SUV and Odyssey Vehicles As a Result of Park Failures

According to an article published in the New York Times, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has initiated an investigation of about 577,000 Honda Pilot SUV's and Odyssey minivans after reports that their park interlocks failed, allowing them to roll away. NHTSA's investigation was announced just days after Honda added nearly 600,000 Accords to an ongoing recall relating to a fire hazard.

"Share, Not Scare": Teaching Teens How to be Safer on the Roads

That's the theme of the sixth annual National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) which starts next week on October 14th and runs through the 20th. In honor of the annual push to help make teens more aware of the dangers on the road and learn to drive safer, we will be posting a series of blogs over the next two weeks that discuss different aspects of teen driving and provide thoughts on what everyone can do to make the roads safer.

Ambulance Response Time Leads to Man's Death

Following 57-year-old, Bogdan Kaniewski's, death from a heart attack, his daughter, Alexis, filed a lawsuit against Glenview fire and police departments, Cook County, and the Cook County Forest Preserve District. Mr. Kaniewski died in early September when he sustained a heart attack after biking in a forest preserve area.

GM Car Defect Might Lead to Fuel Leaks and Fire Hazards

General Motors is recalling vehicles again. This time, GM is recalling over 40,000 vehicles for a fuel leak defect which can lead to a fire hazard. The recall stems from defective plastic parts that may crack and lead to a fuel leak in warm-weather states. Specifically, the plastic parts connected to the fuel pump may wear and crack in these warmer climates. The obvious concern is that a large crack near the fuel pump can result in fuel leakage and a possible fire.

Continuing Question of Eminent Domain and Property Rights When it Comes to Texas Pipelines

A few weeks ago we blogged about how Texas landowners basically have no choice when the huge oil and gas companies come to seize their property to install pipelines. The saga in this tale continues to be battled in Texas courthouses - and is likely to be picked up by state lawmakers when the legislative session starts.

What Do You Know About Your Hospital? Arm Yourself to Make an Informed Decision

Most people comparison shop when it comes to car insurance, homeowners insurance or even where the best weekly deals are to buy groceries. But how many comparison shop as carefully when it comes to choosing a doctor or a hospital?

First Civil Lawsuits Filed Against Theater in Colorado Mass Shooting

On Friday, September 21, three of the victims wounded in the July 20 Colorado movie theater shooting filed the first known civil lawsuits against Cinemark USA, the owner of the theater. In the lawsuit filed in Denver federal court, the victims claim that Cinemark was aware of previous criminal activity at or near the movie theater including "assaults and robberies" and at least one gang-related shooting. The lawsuit said that although the movie theater was screening a midnight premier of the Dark Knight Rises and was expecting large crowds of people to attend, no security personnel was present for the midnight screening. In a written statement released by Keating, Wagner, Polidori and Free, the law firm representing the shooting victims, "readily available security procedures, security equipment and security personnel would likely have prevented or deterred the gunman from accomplishing his planned assault on the theater's patrons." The lawsuit also alleges that "there was no action taken by theater employees to safely evacuate many people" in the theater once the shooting spree got underway.

How to Prepare for Trial in an Auto Wreck Case

Although most auto accident lawsuits settle out of court well before scheduled trial dates, a smart personal injury lawyer never banks on settling a case. Instead, the lawyer always keeps the potential trial in mind when handling pre-trial issues. Doing so enables the lawyer to gather the facts, documents, and testimony necessary to establish the required elements of the plaintiff's case to win the trial.

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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