February 2013 Archives

Family Receives Judgment Against Johnson & Johnson in Connection with Children's Motrin

A Massachusetts family has recently been awarded $63 million against Johnson & Johnson after a young girl suffered severe side effects from taking Children's Motrin. The family of Samantha Reckis will ultimately receive $109 million with interest as the injury occurred a decade ago.

Another DePuy Recall - LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve

On February 22, 2013, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) posted that it notified healthcare professionals regarding a Class I recall of the LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve. The LPS Diaphyseal Sleeve is a component in the DePuy LPS System, an end-stage revision knee product that allows surgeons to reconstruct severe soft tissue and bony defects.

Traffic Fatalities Rose in 2012

In an about-face after seven years of decline, traffic fatalities rose 5% in 2012 according to an analysis of preliminary state data by the National Safety Council. This is the first increase since 2004 to 2005, and many speculate there is a correlation between the improved national economy, a mild winter, and increased traffic on our roads. There are others who speculate that drivers were driving differently, and the economy put an increased number of bigger vehicles on the road - which are more often involved in serious injury and fatality wrecks.

Four Texas Teens Involved In Serious Motor Vehicle Accident

Out during lunch break from their Texas high school, four students' lives were suddenly and tragically changed when the 18-year-old driver of a Lancer collided with a pickup truck at a San Antonio intersection. At least one of the students died in the fatal motor vehicle accident; 17-year-old Gabriella Lerma was airlifted from the crash site but was pronounced dead when she arrived at University Hospital.

Four Texas Teens Involved In Serious Motor Vehicle Accident

Out during lunch break from their Texas high school, four students' lives were suddenly and tragically changed when the 18-year-old driver of a Lancer collided with a pickup truck at a San Antonio intersection. At least one of the students died in the fatal motor vehicle accident; 17-year-old Gabriella Lerma was airlifted from the crash site but was pronounced dead when she arrived at University Hospital.

Hundreds of Miles of Cast Iron Pipe Waiting to Fail

According to a recent story by Brett Shipp with WFAA in Dallas, Atmos Energy still has more than 800 miles of piping which is made of cast iron, a material that a federal agency advised gas providers to phase out as far back as 1973, citing issues with deterioration and corrosion. Following an explosion at a Dallas residence in September 2011, Atmos energy was cited by the Texas Railroad Commission because the company did not have a "cast-iron replacement program in place." On the night of the explosion, the family living in the home that exploded had just returned to their small apartment and turned on a light. The explosion knocked them to the floor, leaving them all hospitalized for weeks in intensive care with critical injuries. Mother and 5 year old child were close to death.

Hip Implants Are More Likely to Fail in Women

According to a recent study, hip replacements are more likely to fail in women than in men. Researchers found that although the overall risk of implants failing is low, women were 29 percent more likely than men to need a repeat hip replacement surgery within the first three years. The study, which was funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), was one of the largest studies of its kind in U.S. patients.

Texas Teen Fatally Injured In Early Morning Crash

A 19-year-old Texas college student was fatally injured after she collided with the median on highway 69, spun around in her car and was later hit by another passing truck. According to news reports of the crash, another driver had tried to assist the teen driver whose car was disabled on the road after the initial crash into the center barrier, but was unable to stop a dump-truck-size truck from hitting her.

Expert Report Question in Medical Malpractice Cases Clarified by Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court clarified an expert report question in medical malpractice cases on Friday, February 15, 2013 in the case of Certified EMS, Inc. d/b/a CPNS Staffing vs. Potts. Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson wrote the opinion which involved a patient who alleged that a hospital nurse, who was temporarily placed with the hospital by a staffing service, assaulted her. Ms. Potts sued the staffing service, who moved to dismiss her case because her expert reports did not specify how the service was directly negligent. The reports only covered the staffing service's vicarious liability.

Gas-Fed Fireball Rips Through Kansas City Restaurant

Fifteen people have been injured and one person has been killed in a gas explosion that ignited a blaze covering an entire city block in Kansas City. JJ's restaurant, a popular eatery in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, was destroyed in the sudden, tragic explosion.

Fee For Emergency Services For Crash Victims In Houston Suburb

Each time the Missouri City Fire Department responds to a motor vehicle accident it will be sending out a bill for its services under a new 'crash tax' provision set to take effect March 1. The Houston suburb says the new tax will raise about $50,000 annually and help shore up budget concerns.

Merck & Co Agree to Pay $688 Million to Settle Class-Action Lawsuits

According to Reuters, Merck & Co have agreed to pay $688 million to settle two U.S. class-action lawsuits brought by shareholders who say they lost money because the company concealed the poor results of a clinical trial of the anti-cholesterol drug Vytorin.

Pop-Up Clothes Hampers Pose Hazard

Houston's KHOU 11 I-Team recently did an investigation on "pop-up" clothes hampers based on a pattern of people who continue to be seriously injured by these hampers. The I-Team found that such injuries are becoming more common because these hampers contain metal wire that is under constant spring pressure in order to maintain its ability to "pop up." A long piece of vinyl tubing typically surrounds the end of the wire spring to prevent it from breaking through the fabric, but is not always effective.

Cruise Ship Experience Reminds Public of Maritime Hazards

Last week, the news media reported to the public on a daily basis about the conditions onboard Carnival's disabled cruise ship Triumph. Fortunately, an unpleasant situation did not become a deadly one.

Frequent Fliers Clear Hurdle in Suit Against United

Following the merger of Continental and United Airlines, many loyal customers were left high and dry as United cut benefits for frequent fliers. A federal judge recently denied United Airline's motion to dismiss allowing a lawsuit brought on behalf of many United customers to proceed. The lawsuit is expected to be certified as a class action barring any settlement agreements.

You're Liable for Other Drivers - Like It or Not

"Leaving the keys out is like leaving out a loaded gun," Benny Agosto, Jr. was quoted as saying in an article on Fox Business. The article discussed the hidden dangers of the already unfortunate situation where an unauthorized person drives your car and gets into an accident.

Stolen Bedding, A Spike Strip And A Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash

A two-and-a-half-mile police chase that reached speeds in excess of 90 mph ended when the driver the police were pursuing crashed into another vehicle, fatally injuring one Texas teen and seriously injuring another. Both cars burst into flames after the collision; the 16-year-old had died at the scene and the 17-year-old had serious injuries and burns.

First DePuy ASR XL Trial is Under Way in Los Angeles

On January 25, 2013, opening statements began in a trial that will likely have major implications on more than 10,000 lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson.

An Apocalyptic Explosion Of A West Virginia Natural Gas Pipeline

A 400-yard long and 300-yard wide field of fire engulfed a West Virginia area near the home of Sue Bonham. A natural gas pipeline had become so weak after years of corrosion eliminated about 70 percent of the pipe thickness that it exploded, setting off the fire.

New York Landowners Threating to Sue Over Fracking

According to the Associated Press, a group of New York landowners says they are laying the groundwork for a lawsuit against the State of New York if regulators miss a Feb. 27 deadline to complete rules for shale gas development. Dan Fitzsimmons, president of the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, told members on the coalition's website that the decision whether to release the regulations or let them expire is being made for purely political reasons. The class-action lawsuit would claim an illegal government "taking" under the Fifth Amendment, which says private property can't be taken for public use without just compensation. The State of New York has had a moratorium on gas drilling using horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, since an environmental impact study began in 2008.

Disabled Carnival Cruise Ship To Be Towed To Alabama

The cruise ship Carnvial Triumph left port at Galveston last Thursday, destined to cruise the Gulf of Mexico. Instead it site, disabled, with passengers aboard complaining of flooding and feces on the luxury cruiseliner, about 150 feet miles of the Mexican coast. A fire broke out in the Triumph's engine room and turned the ship into a sitting duck. No serious injuries have yet been reported from the stranded cruise ship.

Recent Plant Explosion in La Porte

On Saturday, February 9, 2012, there was an explosion at the Laporte, Texas Air Liquide plant that occurred at approximately 7:40 am. Current reports indicated that one employee was killed, and another was seriously injured. Unfortunately, these types of events are far too common in our community.

BRP Recalls Ski-Doo Snowmobiles Due to Fire Hazard

On Thursday, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. (BRP), a manufacturer out of Valcourt, Canada, has recalled several of their 2013 Ski-Doo snowmobile models due to a fire hazard. The recall was prompted by reports that under certain conditions, the fuel pump inlet fitting can potentially come into contact with the oil tank and break. This may lead to a fuel leak. If such leakage occurs, fuel vapor in the presence of an ignition source could result in fire and can potentially cause serious injuries to the Ski-Doo snowmobile rider as well as bystanders.

Houston Woman Rear-Ends Disabled Car In Fatal Accident

Off the field, it's been a tough season for those connected to the NFL and the SuperBowl was no break from seemingly consistent occurrence of fatal motor vehicle accidents. No players were involved in this particular crash; the fatal accident victims were relatives of Delanie Walker of the San Francisco 49ers.

Thousands of New Yorkers Wait for Sandy Flood Insurance Settlements

According to Newsday, more than three months after the hurricane, Long Islanders trying to rebuild from Sandy are still waiting for final insurance settlements, which leaves them struggling to pay contractors and frustrated at having unfinished homes. Many of these homeowners have been paying premiums for years, even decades, to the government-run National Flood Insurance Program. While most have received some money, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA") reports that nearly half of all New Yorkers who filed flood claims after Sandy have yet to be paid in full.

Bringing The TX Railroad Commission Into The Energy Century

It may be time for a face-lift for Texas' 122-year-old Railroad Commission. The energy industry has changed dramatically over the last few years, let alone the last century, and it's time for this Texas agency to catch up.

Don't Wait For A Law To Tell You To Stop. Choose Not To Text And Drive.

A Text Free Texas (#TxtFreeTX) doesn't have to wait for the Legislature and Governor to agree on a bill making texting while driving against the law throughout the state. It can start right now. All you have to do is choose not to text, tweet, email, post to Facebook, surf the internet or otherwise drive distracted.

Supreme Court Rules against another Patient's Family

Once again, the Texas Supreme Court has disregarded a jury's verdict in a health care case and ruled against the loved ones of a psychiatric patient. The decision came in a suit entitled Rodriguez-Escobar v. Goss, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2013).

Oilfield Accident Results in $5.7 Million for Injured Person

A Bakersfield man who suffered severe injuries in a 2009 oilfield accident received a $5.7 million settlement. The settlement was approved by Kern County Superior Court Justice Sidney Chapin. A news release said Darrell Wilson, who owned Wilson Industrial Pumps in Bakersfield, was hired by Salinas Energy to "troubleshoot" a wastewater pump in a Monterey County oilfield. Wilson was inspecting the pump, when a pressure surge caused an explosion that propelled a 12-inch section of the valve into his body. The prominent metal in his abdomen knocked him unconscious.

Amid Continuing Design Problems, Toyota Recalls Faulty Air Bags and Windshield Wipers

Toyota, the world's largest automaker, continues to suffer design problems with its vehicles. A few years ago, Toyota found itself embroiled in a public relations nightmare when its cars began experiencing unintended acceleration. As a result, Toyota issued a massive recall.

Deaths of Teen Drivers Jumped in 2012

The Associated Press recently reported that deaths of younger teen drivers increased sharply in the first six months of last year. This was based on a report released earlier this week by state highway safety officials.

Texting Student May See Prison Time Instead Of Graduation

A 28-year-old student may be facing several years in prison rather than building his career after graduation. He's set to go to trial on charges of second degree automobile homicide in May after he hit and killed a pedestrian with his pickup truck.

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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