June 2013 Archives

A&M Construction Site Collapse Sends 4 Workers To Hospital

A new building that was being built as part of the Texas A&M's Equine Center collapsed over the weekend, injuring at least four construction workers when the steel beams toppled over. The workers were trapped for just over 30 minutes before rescue crews could extricate them from the fallen building. The fallen structure had to be stabilized so as not to endanger more lives.

Doctors Perform Thousands of Unnecessary Surgeries

A USA TODAY study found that tens of thousands of times each year unnecessary surgeries are performed. Thousands of people each year fall victim to the wrong doctor, one that lacks the knowledge or competence to consider alternatives to surgery, or one who takes advantage of medical insurers by billing operations that were not necessary, enriching themselves in the process as well as altering the lives of the patients.

Energy Drink Maker (MONSTER) Sued for Teen Death

Major U.S. energy drink manufacturer, Monster Energy Company, faces allegations in a California court for wrongful death and product defect claims after 19 year-old Alex Morris died in his home last year from cardiac arrest. According to his surviving family, Morris consumed two or more Monster energy drinks every day for the three years leading up to and on the day of his death. An autopsy taken of Morris' body revealed that his heart stopped due to a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia. This same condition has been closely associated to individuals who ingest higher than recommended levels of caffeine, which for adolescents like Morris is around 100mg per day.

Oilfield Worker Fatally Crushed By Heater Treater In West Texas

Earlier this week, we talked about a fatal oil rig accident that claimed the life of a 40-year-old West Texas man. Another oil worker has also been fatally injured in a serious oilfield accident in the last week. A 59-year-old was pinned under a large heater tank and received fatal crush injuries in the oil-related accident in Athlon Yard.

Teen Impaled By Bull Statue Killed In Deadly Game Of Hide And Seek

There's a deadly bull at the Ranching Heritage Center on the campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock. A 14-year-old boy playing hide-and-seek with at least two other teens didn't see the bull while he was running and impaled himself on one of the statute's sharp horns. The teen tripped over a light on the ground and fell into the statue. The bull's horn penetrated the boys chest, fatally injuring him.

City of West Files Suit Against Fertilizer Company, Ammonium Nitrate Supplier

According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the city of West, Texas filed suit against West Fertilizer Co. and CF Industries seeking unspecified damages a week after federal authorities rejected the city's request for funds to rebuild schools and infrastructure damaged in the April 17 explosion. The lawsuit alleges products liability and negligence against CF Industries and negligence against West Fertilizer Co. This is the 11th lawsuit filed in McLennan County associated with the explosion that killed 15, injured 200, and destroyed or damaged over 350 homes, but the first to name a defendant other than West Fertilizer Co.

Drilling Rig Collapse Kills a West Texas Oilfield Worker

On June 21, 2013, a 40-year-old West Texas oilfield worker was killed when part of a drilling rig collapsed. Investigators said the victim was dead at the scene near Big Spring, Texas.

Casting Light on Unnecessary Surgeries

Every year, tens of thousands of patients undergo surgery that they do not actually need. Patients around the country need to reconsider the unconditional trust they place in their doctors, especially when facing an operation. Unnecessary surgeries may account for up to 20% of all operations in some specialties, including a wide range of cardiac procedures, as well as many spinal surgeries. Other common examples of unnecessary surgeries include knee replacements, hysterectomies, and cesarean sections.

Gas Tanks Valve Blowout Prompts Evacuation Of Corpus Christi Base

A sailor reported smelling gas early yesterday morning, prompting the evacuation of Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi. Gas tanks located just outside the walls of the base were discovered to have a leak caused by blown valves. Corpus Christi firefighters and workers from the Gas Division responded to the leak; an all-clear was sounded by 11.

Fire in Downtown Building

News accounts report that a fire in a downtown building burned five workers Thursday morning. The fire occurred in the AT&T building, located at 1121 Capital Street. The Houston Fire Department responded to the blaze. The five injured employees, some of whom are in critical condition, worked for CenterPoint. They were rushed to Memorial Hermann Hospital in the medical center.

Propane Tanker Truck Rolls Off Highway Ramp

Highway 225 outside of Houston was blocked in both directions when a tanker truck carrying propane overturned and fell from the southbound ramp coming off of Highway 146. The tanker truck plummeted 25 feet to the ground below; two people were airlifted to the local hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

Three Vehicle Crash Fatal For One, Causes Serious Injury To Another

Two semi-trucks and one pickup truck crashed near Highway 97 and Highway 72 in La Salle County yesterday. The fatal truck crash killed one driver and left another suffering serious injuries. Surprisingly, the two people in the pickup were the ones who were able to walk away from the crash.

Battle Between Apple and Samsung Continues

On Tuesday, June 4th the International Trade Commission (ITC) gave Samsung a win in its ongoing, multi-continent patent infringement battle with Apple, when it banned Apple from importing or selling AT&T versions of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. Apple was also banned from importing or selling the first and second generations of its wildly popular iPad. The ITC concluded that these older models infringed upon Samsung's patents.

Good News Regarding Hiring Should be Taken with Caution

As reported in the Houston Chronicle, Chevron Phillips is seeking additional workers due to a recent boom in the shale gas industry. In fact, an expansion estimated at more than $15 billion is underway at plants along the Texas Gulf Coast. Such expansions have prompted Greg Wagner, Vice President of Human Resources at Chevron Phillips, to go on record saying that Chevron Phillips is currently seeking "the best and the brightest"-whether in construction, or in more permanent jobs, such as plant operators, mechanics, and professional positions.

Fatal Accident Caused by "Huffing": Teenage Driver Runs Over 5 Year-Old Girl

On May 7, 2013, the surviving family of five-year-old Jaclyn Santos-Sacramento settled its lawsuit against teenage driver, Carly Rousso. The young driver who turned 19 last week was accused of losing control of her vehicle and striking the Santos-Sacramento family after inhaling, or "huffing", the fumes of a computer cleaning product. According to authorities, Rousso's vehicle swerved across several lanes of downtown Chicago traffic before it jumped onto a busy sidewalk and ran over a woman and her three children. A canister of the cleaning product was found inside Rousso's vehicle upon being searched at the scene.

Walgreens to Pay $80 Million Settlement

According to Reuters, Walgreen Co, the largest U.S. drugstore chain, has agreed to pay $80 million in civil penalties to resolve allegations that it violated federal rules governing the distribution of prescription painkillers. According to the DEA, the settlement is the largest in its history. The DEA accused Walgreen of committing an "unprecedented" number of record-keeping and dispensing violations of the Controlled Substances Act. As a result, the DEA said, Walgreen negligently allowed controlled substances such as the narcotic oxycodone and other prescription painkillers to be distributed to abusers and sold illegally on the black market.

Propane Leak Suspected In Home Explosion In Montgomery County

The sister of a Dobbin family injured in a home explosion pointed to a leaky propane tank as the source of the tragic early morning blast. According to her, the family's propane tank was just refilled, but a leak allowed the gas to escape, creating the conditions that lead to the home explosion.

Two Fatal Accidents Plague Gulf Freeway This Week

Monday and Tuesday morning were dangerous times to be travelling the Gulf Freeway this week. Two fatal motor vehicle accidents claimed four lives, three drivers and one passenger, on the Houston Interstate.

Petrochemical Plant Explosion In LA, Burn Injuries But No Deaths

UPDATE: As many as 73 people have been injured and one person was killed in the plant blast at Williams Olefins, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board Continues Investigation into West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 that they will refuse to provide additional money to help rebuild West, Texas, where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people-the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will continue investigating the ammonium nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas. The agency is currently conducting witness interviews and collecting evidence related to the explosion. CSB has already documented blast damage and patterns in the community. In addition, the investigation team plans to test and analyze the chemical samples to determine the actual and potential causes of the blast, as well as the nature and magnitude of the explosion. CSB's investigation include the following:

Voices Cry Out for Chrysler Recall of Jeep Grand Cherokee

Many of us driving in vehicles often take for granted that they are well constructed. We just assume that because they are sold to us, especially at a high price, they must be reasonably safe and reliable. However, this is not always the case. On June 3, 2013 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) came down with a ruling which states that Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee (1993-2004) is particularly prone to fires and fuel leakages when struck from behind. The NHTSA issued a demand to Chrysler seeking the recall of all Jeep Grand Cherokees from 1993-2004. This would be a big hit to Chrysler financially; however it is necessary to protect those who travel on the road in these vehicles.

Supreme Court Prohibits Damages for Value of Pet

The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled that an owner of a pet who was negligently killed may not recover damages for the loss of the pet, other than the pet's economic value. The decision came in the case of Strickland v. Medlen, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2013).

NHTSA Says Recall Defective SUVs, Chrysler Says No

At least 53 people have died in fatal fuel-fed fires that have occurred after a rear-end collision in certain Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Liberty model years. The reason these collisions weren't minor accidents but serious, catastrophic car collisions is a defective fuel system design that has the fuel tank exposed on the back end of the SUV.

Boy Tragically Killed by Airport Sign in Birmingham, Alabama

The family of ten year old Luke Bresette is suing Stafford based Fish Construction, Inc., and eight other defendants after an airport sign in the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport crushed the boy, killing him. The Kansas native died after the three hundred pound arrival/departure sign toppled over on top of him and his family. In addition to killing Luke Bresette, the sign also injured his mother and his two brothers when it fell.

Man Killed In Rear-End Crash Off Sam Houston Parkway

Broken down and waiting for help on a feeder road to the Sam Houston Parkway, a man sitting in his disabled Jeep was fatally injured when a tow truck rear-ended his vehicle. Initial reports say the man was to the far right of the road, but do not indicate if he was stalled in a traffic lane or on the road's shoulder.

Two Major Bus Crashes Add to the List of Recent Bus-Line Incidents

Two major bus crashes occurred within a four-day span in April, leaving two people dead and more than four dozen injured. One crash, near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, occurred when the driver lost control of the vehicle and the bus struck a median, which caused it to overturn. The driver during this crash was also the driver in another incident in which a bus struck a person helping at an accident scene. The second major crash occurred when the driver lost control of the bus, which swerved off of a winding mountain road and hit a tree. Reports say that the tree was the only thing that kept the bus from tumbling down a ravine.

Chrysler Refuses to Recall Jeeps Despite Fire Hazard

Just this past Tuesday, Chrysler announced that it was refusing to recall 2.7 million Jeep models that, according to the government and other safety groups, are defective and pose a fire risk. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contends that the 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models are prone to fires in the event of a rear-impact collision. While massive recalls have become more and more common, it is truly a rare event for an auto manufacturer to refuse a recall request from the governmental agency that regulates vehicle safety.

Small College Suffers Large Natural Gas Explosion

A major gas explosion is to blame for injuries to seven people at a college outside of New York City yesterday morning. At least one student was thrown out of a second-story window from the force of the blast. That student is reportedly being treated for head and neck injuries; no life-threatening injuries were reported.

Parents of Employee Killed in Gas Explosion Files Wrongful Death Suit

The parents of Megan Cramer, a hostess killed in the February blast at JJ's restaurant in Missouri, have filed a wrongful-death suit against six defendants that include five companies and one person.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed In Deadly Gas Pipeline Explosion

In February, a gas pipeline explosion beneath JJ's, a popular restaurant in Kansas City, injuring 15 and killing one person. The family of Megan Cramer, a hostess at JJ's who was killed in the blast, recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the six defendants whom they believe played a role in failing to prevent the tragic explosion that claimed their 46-year-old daughter's life.

Man Dies of Brain Hemorrhage from Taking Heart Medication

In 2009, at the age of 54, Jed Grisham began taking Plavix for the treatment of blockages in his arteries. Approximately two years later, Grisham suffered from a large left brain hemorrhage and died from his injuries.

Supreme Court Limits State's Share of Disabled Child's Malpractice Settlement

The parents of a disabled North Carolina girl won a victory over the state's subrogation interest, as the Supreme Court struck down a law allowing state officials to seize one-third of a medical malpractice settlement.

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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    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.

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    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.

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    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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