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November 2012 Archives

Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Drug Recall

Dozens of lots of the generic version of the cholesterol drug Lipitor have been recalled because they may contain tiny glass particles. Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. is operating under increased scrutiny from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of possible multiple quality lapses at several of its factories over the past several years.

BP in Court on Manslaughter Charges

According to the Houston Chronicle, after 2 1/2 years since the deep-water Macondo well blew out in the Gulf of Mexico, oil giant BP faced a U.S. judge Tuesday as it answered to manslaughter and other criminal charges. At a brief arraignment hearing before a federal judge, BP lawyer Mark Filip said the company's board had authorized him to enter a not guilty plea as a procedural matter, but the firm still intends to plead guilty at a later date. BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle the criminal charges and related Securities and Exchange Commission charges.

Black Elk Explosion Update: Another Worker Has Died

The Philippines Embassy confirmed this week that another worker died as a result of last week's explosion on a Black Elk Energy oil platform. This death brings the confirmed fatality count to two while a third worker remains missing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Toyota Recalls 2.77 Million Vehicles One Month After World's Largest Recall in Past 16 Years

Toyota has announced plans to conduct two safety recalls involving 2.77 million vehicles worldwide due to a water pump problem and a steering shaft defect. This announcement comes just one month after Toyota announced its biggest recall ever. In that recall, a total of 7.43 million vehicles were involved, more than a third of those in the United States, making it the largest recall in the world for the past 16 years.

Fatal Thanksgiving Pile-Up: Was High Speed Trucking To Blame?

Although Texas authorities have yet to complete an investigation into the tragic pile-up that claimed the lives of a Houston couple on Thanksgiving Day, inside perspective from truck drivers suggests that high speeds played a role. Despite the dense "pea soup" fog, eyewitnesses said that traffic was still moving around 70 mph.

New York Luxury Condo Building Involved in $35 Million Hurricane Sandy Suit

A condo resident in Manhattan's Financial District made homeless by Hurricane Sandy is suing his condominium board and the company that manages his building, alleging fraud and gross negligence.

Supreme Court Rules Against Injured Worker

The Texas Supreme Court has recently ruled against a fire fighter who was injured on the job. The gist of its opinion is that, once again, a workers' compensation carrier cannot be liable under the main enforcement provisions of the Texas Insurance Code and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (dtpa). In addition, the insurance company does not have a common-law duty of good faith and fair dealing to the injured employee.

Credit Card Company Seeks to Further Limit the Right to Trial by Jury

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by American Express over a disagreement which credit cards retailers must accept. Many high-end retailers want to be able to accept certain American Express credit cards which require payment of the entire balance each month, while not accepting newer credit cards from American Express which do not have such a requirement. These retailers say that these newer cards are not used by high-end clientele, and thus the high fees imposed by American Express are not worth the cost.

Oil Rig Explosion Was Black Elk's Fourth Incident Since 2011

In the wake of last week's explosion on a Black Elk Energy oil rig in the Gulf Coast, new information is surfacing about the company's safety record on its platforms. This explosion is the fourth notable incident and the second fire to have involved Black Elk facilities in the last two years alone.

Rescuers Cancel Search For Missing Oil Worker, Death Toll At 2

After more than five days of searching, rescuers in the Gulf of Mexico have stopped looking for the second victim of a deadly oil rig explosion at a Black Elk Energy facility. The explosion happened early Friday morning while workers were performing maintenance tasks on one of the facility's pipes.

Ford Recalls Two Models of SUVs

In its latest recall, Ford Motor Co. found another serious safety issue in its newly launched 2013 Escape sport utility vehicle, as it may have contained an improperly installed part that could trigger a fire in the engine compartment. This recall, which is the third for this car, affects about 7,600 Escapes, mostly in the United States, equipped with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine. The recalled models were built between October 5, 2011 and August 31, 2012. In a small number of these models, the cup plug on the engine cylinder head might come loose. This would lead to loss of engine coolant, causing the engine to overheat. In some cases, the ethylene glycol in the coolant may combust.

BP to Pay Record Criminal Fines

According to a recent article on fuelfix.com, BP has agreed to pay over $4 billion to the U.S. government to resolve all criminal claims stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill. It is by far the largest criminal penalty in American history. Additionally, at least three BP workers were expected to face criminal charges in connection with the disaster and its aftermath. A criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department singled out two BP well-site leaders for the failure of a pressure test on BP's blown-out well, and a BP executive for providing government officials with flow estimates that were lower than what the company actually knew at the time. The complaint itself charged BP with seaman's manslaughter and other counts, but did not specify charges against individuals.

Texas Girl Writes Letter To Drunk Driver Who Left Her Paralyzed

Several days before her eighth birthday, a Texas girl woke up in the hospital after a horrific drunk driving accident. The crash left her paralyzed from the chest down, requiring months of treatment and rehabilitative therapy.

Black Elk Energy Oil Rig Fire

Early Friday morning, an explosion and fire ripped through an offshore energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy LLC. Initial reports suggested that the explosion occurred when maintenance workers were using a torch to cut into a pipe with 28 gallons of oil inside. United States Coast Guard Captain Ed Cubanski said that approximately 22 workers were onboard the platform at the time of the accident.

Vapors Ignited on Oil Platform, Leads to Fatal Accident

A fire on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico has caused two deaths and led to the disappearance of two other rig workers. In addition, 11 workers were treated for injuries. Some are still hospitalized in critical condition.

Black Elk Energy Oil Rig Fire

Early Friday morning, an explosion and fire ripped through an offshore energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico owned by Houston-based Black Elk Energy LLC. Initial reports suggested that the explosion occurred when maintenance workers were using a torch to cut into a pipe with 28 gallons of oil inside. United States Coast Guard Captain Ed Cubanski said that approximately 22 workers were onboard the platform at the time of the accident.

Recent Explosion in Indianapolis

Dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed in Indianapolis on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Two homes were leveled in the blast that killed two people, but has rendered homes for blocks uninhabitable. While it is not clear what caused the explosion that rocked the neighborhood at 11 PM on Saturday, these types of explosions are often linked to gas releases. Our firm has seen these types of blasts occur in neighborhoods on numerous occasions, and lives are often significantly affected.

Helicopter Crash: 5-Year-Old Girl May Have Caused Fatal Wreck

When an aircraft crashes, lawsuits look at a wide range of factors to determine who is responsible for what went wrong. In one recent crash, however, the National Transportation Safety Board pointed to an unusual problem. It concluded that a billionaire's 5-year-old daughter likely caused a helicopter to crash, killing the girl, her three family members and the pilot.

Motorcyclist Dies in Collision with Tanker Truck Outside Lubrizol Corp. Plant

In the early morning hours on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, a motorcyclist collided with a big-rig tanker truck outside the Lubrizol Corporation chemical plant in east Harris County. Anson Guillory, the driver of the motorcycle, sustained life-threatening injuries and died as a result of the two-vehicle crash.

Another DWI Injures Children

In the early morning hours on Sunday, four children were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries. Lourdes Lopez, the driver of the Jeep in which they were passengers, allegedly was intoxicated. Heading north on Fry Road, she allegedly ran a red light at the eastbound service road of I-10. One boy was ejected, raising concerns about whether he was properly wearing a seat belt. Charges have not yet been filed against Lourdes.

Small Town Task Force Responds To Texas Oil Boom Crash Fatalities

As we have discussed in previous posts, the Eagle Ford Shale oil boom is boosting economic activity around the state - but one dangerous side effect of this boom is a surge in fatal traffic accidents.

Additional Drugs Found to be Contaminated

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced that two additional drugs made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) were contaminated. The new drugs that have been found to be infected with multiple strands of bacteria are preservative-free betamethasone, a corticosteroid used to relieve severe itching, and cardioplegia solution, a drug used to stop the heart during surgery. This discovery follows on the heels of the earlier determination that NECC's injectable steroid was contaminated.

Too Little, Too Late

A local Houstonian that was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned has reached a settlement with the city of Houston, according to the Houston Chronicle. George Rodriguez will receive $3.1 million in a compromise settlement, according to Mayor Annise Parker. George Rodriguez spent 17 years in a state prison after being wrongfully convicted for the 1987 kidnapping and rape of a 14-year-old girl. He was convicted based on faulty evidence from the Houston Police Department Crime Lab.

Houston Drivers Create Dangerous Conditions for Ambulances

The City of Houston says that Houston Fire Department ambulances were involved in almost 300 car accidents over the last two years. KHOU 11 News installed cameras on one ambulance to find out just how big the problem is. According to ambulance drivers as well as the camera footage, Houston drivers are the biggest problem.

The Dangers of Pradaxa

Pradaxa is a prescription drug taken by many as a blood thinner (anticoagulant). This blood-thinning medication lowers the chance of blood clots forming in the body. It is commonly used for individuals who have an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (AFib) when it not caused by a problem in the heart valve.

We Encourage You to Serve as a Poll Worker This November

Voting is one of our most fundamental rights and the basis of our democratic system. Recent voter suppression efforts threaten the integrity of our electoral process and the disenfranchisement of millions of voters throughout the nation.

Just Off Center: A Hidden Car Crash Danger

Two deputies from the Harris County sheriff's office wound up in a head-on collision earlier this week. While head-on collisions can be very dangerous, it turns out that so-called "overlap crashes" are potentially worse. An "overlap crash" is a head-on collision that involves the outer 25 percent on either side of a car's front end.

Two Houston Trick-or-Treaters Injured by Repeat Drunk Driver

A drunk driver ran over two children on Halloween night. This was the driver's second alleged DWI offense after she received another conviction in 2010. While authorities expect both children to recover from their injuries, there is no excuse for this kind of driving negligence.

Texas and Texting - The Laws of the State

Last legislative session, Governor Rick Perry vetoed a bill passed by both houses that banned texting while driving anywhere in the state. Perry acknowledged it was inappropriate to text while driving, but did not want government to become a micromanager of adult behavior. Texas is one of only 11 states that do not ban texting while driving. State Representative Tom Craddick (a Republican from Midland) has indicated he will try to pass the bill again in the 2013 legislative session. But the governor's veto has not deterred cities throughout the state from passing their own bans.

Meningitis from Epidural Steroid Injections Spreads to 18 States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported six new cases of fungal meningitis in an outbreak tied to contaminated steroid injections that has led to 25 deaths in the United States.

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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