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July 2013 Archives

Expedition Rolls, Kills One, Injures 5 Outside Houston

A fatal rollover crash on Highway 146 in Mont Belvieu seriously injured five people and killed a sixth earlier this week. Initial reports from the crash scene noted that there were several children involved in the fatal rollover crash, but no details were released as to how many or the extent of their injuries.

Ford Recalls 33,000 Cars for Failing to Meet Minimum Crash Standards

According to the New York Times, Ford has announced it will recall about 33,000 2013 C-Max models after tests by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found the cars did not meet the minimum federal safety standards for head protection in a crash. The vehicles affected by the recall were built in Wayne, Mich., between Jan. 19, 2012, and June 26, 2013. They do not have the optional panoramic roof. The automaker said it was not aware of any injuries related to the problem.

Propane Tank Plant Explosion Rocks Town During The Night

As many as 26 workers were on duty when a Blue Rhino propane tank plant erupted into a series of explosions last night. Seven were taken to local hospitals for evaluation and treatment following the Central Florida gas blast; one person was in critical condition. All workers have been accounted for following the explosions.

Houston Woman One Of 79 Killed In Fatal Spain Train Crash

The aftermath of the horrific train wreck in northern Spain has reached home in Houston, claiming the life of 58-year-old Myrta LaSalle Fariza. She had called the Houston-area home for the past 35 years and was originally from Puerto Rico.

Texas Woman Dies After Falling Off Roller Coaster

A 52-year-old woman died after falling off a roller coaster at the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park last week. Rosa Ayala-Goana's death resulted from multiple traumatic injuries after falling on the tracks of the 14-story-high Texas Giant ride in Arlington, Texas. Six Flags Entertainment Chief Executive Jim Reid-Anderson said the company was investigating the cause of the accident and that the ride had been closed. "You can rest assured that it will remain closed until we are certain it is safe to ride," he said.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is recognized After Intensive Care Unit Stays

Studies reveal post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a symptom after a patient has experienced an intensive care unit (ICU) stay. Often doctors, nurses, and caregivers overlook the psychiatric symptoms which may develop in patients after an intensive care unit experience. These symptoms can include, but are not limited to, intrusive thoughts, avoidant behaviors, mood swings, emotional numbness, sleep disturbances, and reckless behavior. Medical personnel are focused on the quality of a patient's current condition often leaving PTSD symptoms undiagnosed.

Jury Awards Woman $800,000 in Bedbug Suit

A Maryland jury awarded a 69 year-old woman $800,000 in her lawsuit against her landlord after a bedbug infestation. The lawsuit arose when the woman notified her landlord of the problem and, according to her, instead of taking care of the bedbugs, her landlord attempted to retaliate against her and even tried to evict her.

Third Party Claims and Workers Compensation

Thirteen workplace-related deaths occur across the United States every day. In Texas most employers are required to obtain workers compensation insurance in order to have some protection for their employees in the event of a workplace injury or death. This insurance sets limits on the amount of damages the family of a loved one can recover after a workplace death or for the employee in the event of a serious work-related injury. When a serious injury or death occurs while on the job, family members should find out if a third party is responsible for the incident.

College Athletes Used in Video Game Sue NCAA

According to its website, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was founded "to protect student-athletes." Recently, however, six college football players became the first current athletes to join a lawsuit against the NCAA for its unauthorized use and profit of athletes' identities in video games. The lawsuit, originally started by a group of former college athletes, alleges that the NCAA allowed video game manufacturer Electronic Arts (EA), commonly known as EA Sports, to exploit the names and traits of college athletes for use in video games in exchange for huge sums of money, none of which went to the athlete.

Alarming Number of Kids Injured by TVs

According to a recent AP article, falling televisions sent nearly 200,000 U.S. children to the emergency room in the last 20 years. Additionally, the injury rate has climbed substantially for these sometimes deadly accidents. Doctors and safety experts say better awareness is needed about the dangers and risks of putting heavier, older model TV sets on top of dressers and other furniture young children may try to climb on. Most injuries are in kids under 5. Head and neck injuries including concussions are the most common.

Diagnosis Fatalities

Contrary to popular intuition, surgical errors are not the basis for the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits, but in fact the leading causes of malpractice lawsuits are diagnostic issues. There are several diagnostic issues such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose. Diagnosis is key to knowing which treatment or procedure a patient needs, and so when there is a failure to accurately diagnose a patient, death commonly results. There are generally three types of problems with diagnosis and each can result in severe injury and/or death. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong disease. For example, a patient arrives in a hospital with gastric distress and is diagnosed with a stomach illness rather than a heart attack. Delayed diagnosis is when a doctor gets the right diagnosis, but due to some error or other event is not able to "catch" the disease in time. Finally, there is missed diagnosis. In cases of missed diagnosis, a patient is examined by a doctor and the doctor finds no serious problem. As a result, the patient leaves thinking there is nothing wrong but later finds that there was a latent illness that the doctor missed.

OSHA Fines Follow Halliburton Employee Work-Related Death

A Halliburton employee died while servicing a well on a North Dakota oil rig in January. As a result of the unsafe work conditions present at the time of his death, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a $14,000 fine to the company for two serious safety violations.

Houston-Based Halliburton Fined $14,000 By OSHA In Oil Worker's Death

An investigation into the death of an oil field worker by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) uncovered two serious safety violations that contributed to the worker's death: failing to prevent a struck-by injury by securing high pressure lines and failing to control the release of pressure from a pressure line. The Houston-basedHalliburton Company has been fined $14,000 for these serious workplace safety violations.

Houston Family Involved In Fatal Rollover Crash

A Clear Lake family vacationing in the northeast suffered a fatal crash while traveling to Boston, Massachusetts. Their van traveled into a grassy highway median, then returned to the roadway and rolled several times before stopping in the middle of the Thruway on I-90. Houston mother Jennifer Hodson was driving the van at the time of the fatal crash; her mother, Tanya Evans of Virginia, was killed in the fatal crash.

Corpus Christi Gas Explosion Levels Homes, Seriously Injures Two

Two miles from the KIII-TV studios in Corpus Christi, Texas, what is believed to be a natural gas explosion seriously injured at least three people and damaged many nearby homes. Broadcasters were on-air at the time of the blast and can be seen visibly frightened by the percussion of the distant blast.

Contaminated Food Kills Children

Dozens of parents and loved ones are grieving the deaths of 22 children in India. Food they were served in a school lunch program was contaminated with insecticides. In addition, about 25 other children were sickened, as well as some of the preparers.

Apple in the Hot Seat Again - This Time Over E-Books

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that Apple broke antitrust laws by conspiring with publishers to raise electronic book prices. Federal District Judge Denise Cote ruled that there was compelling evidence that Apple played a "central role" in a conspiracy to eliminate price competition and raise e-book prices. The court found that Apple's conspiracy with five of the major publishers forced Amazon to relinquish their pricing freedom, allowing Apple to raise the retail price for e-books for all consumers.

Teen's BAC Was Three-Times Legal Limit For Adults In Fatal Crash

Four people were killed in a fatal Texas wreck in which the teen driver had a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.24 - or three times the legal limit for adults in Texas. He was driving a truck with seven other teens when he crashed into a disabled SUV and three people who had stopped to assist the young driver.

US Averages 16 Oil Or Gas Spills Per Day

In 2012, 6,000 oil and gas sites sprung a leak, spilling 15.6 million gallons of wastewater, fracking fluid, oil and other liquids. That's roughly four million more gallons of spilled oil and gas products and waste products than were spilled in the Exon Valdez tanker crash in Alaska in 1989.

Water Sports Safety

If you have stepped outside lately, you probably noticed that summertime has arrived. For many, this means that more time will be spent in, on, or near the waters with family and friends. This also means that there will be more of a risk of injury. Boats, jet skis, and other watersport devices can be quite hazardous if used improperly. In fact, jet skis were associated with 764 injuries and 44 deaths in 2011; deaths and injuries that likely could have been avoided by following the rules, keeping a safe operating distance/speed, and keeping a proper lookout.

Asiana Airline Seeking to Avoid United States Lawsuits

According to a Bloomberg story, Asiana Airlines Inc. is attempting to avoid hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements by using a tactic under international law to bar Chinese and South Korean passengers from suing in U.S. courts.

Church Settles Sex Abuse Cover-Up for $2.25M

Earlier this week, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese put an end to 30 years of tribulation for Rosemary and Donald Teeman, surviving parents of Brian Teeman who took his own life in 1983 after being repeatedly sexually abused in his hometown church. At fourteen years old, Brian Teeman shot and killed himself in his parents' home. The only explanation of his death was found by his parents on a handwritten note that said, "I didn't want to be yelled at. Love, Brian." The diocese that was accused of knowing about and concealing the reported abuse settled for $2.25 million, just days before the case was set for trial.

Asiana Airlines Added to List of Deadly Plane Crashes

Two people dead and more than 180 people sent to hospitals, after Asiana Airlines' Boeing 777 crashed Saturday morning while landing on runway 28 left at San Francisco International Airport. There were 307 people on board, including 16 crew. The passengers included 61 U.S. citizens, 77 Korean nationals, and 141 Chinese nationals. Among the injured, 49 are in serious condition and five, including a child, remain in critical condition. The cause of the crash has not been determined, but investigations are under way.

Fatal Texas Truck Accident Ends In Fiery Crash On Highway 36

A Texas truck driver was killed in a fiery crash outside Temple after, according to investigators;, the driver was blinded by the setting sun on Highway 36. The driver collided with safety barriers before hitting a guardrail. The truck caught fire and the driver, 69-year-old Lee Meeks of Pampa, was unable to escape from the cab of the semi-truck; he died at the scene of the fatal truck accident.

Semi-Truck Collides With Good Samaritans, Kills Off-Duty Officer

An I-10 semi-crash claimed the life of a Pasadena police officer back in April who, along with a colleague, had stopped to assist the victims of a prior car accident. The driver of the 18-wheeler slammed into the parked cars of several who stopped to render aid to the victims of the first crash involving a U-Haul trailer pulled by a Honda Fit and a Chevy Silverado. According to one witness, the truck driver never hit the brakes until barreling into the parked cars.

New Trucking Regulations Take Effect

As of Monday, July 1, 2013, the most recent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations addressing truck driver's schedules and hours of service are taking effect. The FMCSA is a part of the United States Department of Transportation. The new federal regulations are composed of three main parts and are designed to improve safety for the motoring public by reducing truck driver fatigue:

Nonsuiting Claims Tolls the Statutory Deadline for Filing an Expert Report in a Medical Malpractice Case

In a recent unanimous decision, the Texas Supreme Court made it clear that the 120-day clock for filing those reports stops when plaintiffs nonsuit their claim. The decision, CHCA Woman's Hospital D/B/A The Woman's Hospital of Texas and Woman's Hospital of Texas v. Scott and Angela Lidji, issued on June 21, means plaintiffs will not lose their medical-malpractice claims if, for example, they nonsuit a case while searching for a doctor to write the statutorily mandated expert report.

Home Demolished In Suspected Natural Gas Explosion

One man was injured and a family left homeless after a suspected natural gas leak resulted in an explosion that destroyed his home over the weekend. The man is reported to have suffered burn injuries in the natural gas explosion.

Two Tires Separate From Truck, Killing Two Texas Teens

Two teens were killed in a fatal truck accident on I-40 when the dual wheels of the semi broke free and collided with the Jeep in which the teens were traveling. There were four teens in the Jeep at the time of the truck accident; the driver was in critical condition but the fourth did not suffer serious injuries.

Side-Shooting Fireworks Cause Burn Injuries To Spectators

As many as 28 people have been reported as suffering injuries -some very serious - after a Fourth of July fireworks malfunction fired the festive explosives into a crowd of people rather than into the sky above. Initial reports claim that the early detonation of one display triggered a chain reaction that resulted in the serious holiday accident.

Dog Kills Local Woman

The community was saddened to learn of the death of a woman in Liberty County due to an attack by a dog. This case reminds us that, while dogs can be treasured members of our families who provide loyal companionship, when uncontrolled, they can also pose a serious hazard.

Jury Awards Man $14 Million in Hyundai Airbag Case

A jury awarded a Virginia man $14 million after finding that his serious brain injuries were due to a defect in the design of his Hyundai's airbag system.

Study Suggests that Driver Fatigue Has Stronger Links to Crashes than Previously Thought

A 100-car driving study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that driver fatigue is a cause of about 20 percent of car crashes-much higher than the two or three percent previously estimated. Drivers in the eighteen to twenty-year-old range account for significantly more fatigue-related crashes than any other age group. This is due to the shifting sleep patterns in that age group to later hours, while school hours stay virtually the same, resulting in daytime sleepiness. According to Charlie Klauer, group leader for teen risk and injury prevention at the transportation institute's Center for Vulnerable Road User Safety, many extreme symptoms were apparent: "eyelid closure, head-bobbing, severe loss of facial musculature, micro-sleep-which is when your eyelids drift shut, then pop up. This was not just yawning. The drivers were asleep." These results suggest that drivers who drive while fatigued are four times more likely to experience a crash or near-crash.

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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