September 2013 Archives

Delay Issuing Rules Highlights Deeper Issues

It is difficult to imagine a worse experience for a parent than to back over his child and injure or kill him. But, because toddlers can quickly get to unexpected places, this tragedy can and does occur. Almost 8,000 times each year. Statistics reveal about 100 deaths and about 7,600 injuries occur in this fashion annually.

The Statute of Limitations and Medical Malpractice

Generally, patients seeking to sue a hospital or healthcare provider have two years to bring forth a claim of medical malpractice. This is known as the statute of limitations. The two year statute begins running on the date the malpractice occurred.

Implantation of Cardiac Stents Provides Financial Incentive to Doctors

In a recent Bloomberg analysis, it was determined that the number of deaths associated with the implantation of cardiac stents has risen as statistics suggest doctors are overusing the stents. The article actually opened up telling the story of Bruce Petersen, a Texas patient. Mr. Peterson's cardiologist put 21 coronary stents in his chest over an eight month period, and a complaint was filed alleging those were unneeded stents which ultimately weakened Mr. Peterson's heart and exposed him to complications including clots, blockages and ultimately cost him his life.

Karnes County Oil Rig Explodes, Injures Six

An oil rig exploded earlier this morning near Falls City, Texas, leaving at least three injured workers suffering from second and third degree burns. At least six rig workers were injured in the blast by the explosion itself or the expulsion of scalding hot water and steam from the rig.

New Study Shows Medical Mistakes Are Third Leading Cause of Death in US

A new study conducted by NASA toxicologist John T. James has estimated that between 210,000 and 440,000 deaths are caused each year by medical errors. This number is a dramatic rise from previous estimate in 1999 that reported up to 98,000 people died from hospital mistakes.

Casino Valet Facing Liability for Drunk Driving Fatality

In Texas, bartenders can face substantial fines, civil liability, and even jail time for overserving visibly intoxicated patrons. In Pennsylvania, the Superior Court is reviewing whether this same principle should be extended to valet services offered at hotels, restaurants and other establishments where alcohol is served.

Ford and Toyota Announce Extensive Recalls

According to CCN Money, Toyota recently announced two recalls involving 369,000 vehicles to fix problems associated with its Highlander Hybrid SUVs and Lexus IS 350 models. No accidents or injuries have been reported as a consequence of the faults, but in those Hybrid SUVs recalled, the hybrid system can overheat, triggering a warning, and in some cases causing the vehicle to stop unexpectedly. The recall involving Lexus vehicles has also been found to unexpectedly stop the vehicle, due to loose bolts in the valve timing device.

Republicans to Force Keystone XL Pipeline Approval

U.S. House Republicans said they will use a must-pass debt bill to push for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Republicans would soon unveil a debt ceiling bill that contains language addressing Keystone XL. The Keystone XL provision could seek to force approval of or speed up a final decision on the controversial pipeline that would transport oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf Coast. Thursday marks the fifth year since TransCanada Corp. first asked the U.S. government for a permit to build the border-crossing project. "I'm proud that our leadership is now discussing and contemplating putting Keystone pipeline in whatever opportunities we may have with the debt ceiling," said Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., who has sponsored legislation to put a final decision on the pipeline in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "I appreciate continued focus on this type of a jobs bill." The debt ceiling bill is already a political challenge for Republican leaders. Adding hot-button topics like Keystone XL and the renewable fuel standard may help win a few votes in the House but aren't likely to advance in the Senate.

Hurt by the Government?

Many people believe that it is impossible to sue the government due to past traditional beliefs that the "King can do no wrong." This is untrue and not only has the Federal Government provided a way to bring a suit against the Federal Government, but the State of Texas has adopted a set of laws called the Texas Tort Claims Act which provides an possibility to seek a claim against the Government of Texas.

Recent Johnson & Johnson Recalls

Johnson & Johnson, who has in the past experienced some serious concerns and questions with regards to its quality control, has again announce two recalls of popular consumer products in the space of one week - liquid Motrin for infants and Risperdal Consta. These two most recent recalls appear to be on products that are made (or their ingredients are made) by outside companies, leading one to again question the quality control of J &J.

Oil Well Explodes, Injures 5 Oil & Gas Workers

An oil well operated by Houston-based Mosbacher Energy Company exploded in Mississippi earlier this week, causing work-related injuries to five oil-well employees. The flash fire occurred in Wayne County, northeast of Waynesboro, and is being investigated by Mosbacher and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA).

Deadly Combination Apparently leads to Traffic Fatality

As many people were waking up on Sunday morning, a passenger was killed in a local traffic collision. It occurred around 7:00 o'clock in the morning in the 15,200 block of Woodforest Boulevard, on the east side of Houston near Channelview. The fatality may have resulted from a deadly combination of drinking and failing to wear a seatbelt.

Oil Rig Fire In Eagle Ford Shale Burned For Three Days

An oil rig in Lavaca County blew out on a Wednesday in the Eagle Ford Shale and crews were still working to cap it off and put out a resulting fire on Friday. There were no injuries reported as a result of the oil rig explosion at a site owned by EOG Resources.

Texas Supreme Court Overrules the Unlawful Acts Doctrine

The unlawful acts doctrine has been overruled by the Texas Supreme Court. In a 6-3 decision, the court said that there is no longer use for the unlawful acts doctrine. In the past, the doctrine barred plaintiffs from recovery in suits in which plaintiffs were involved in the commission of a crime at the time of the incident. However, Texas has a statute which recognizes proportionate responsibility and reduces the need for the common law doctrine. Proportionate responsibility allots a percentage of negligence to each individual responsible for the damages sustained by a plaintiff, including, and not limited to the plaintiff himself.

Toyota Issues Second Recall of Over 800,000 Vehicles

Thirteen months after issuing the first recall, Toyota has issued a second recall of the same RAV4 SUVs and Lexus sedans. Over 800,000 vehicles in the U.S. and Canada are affected by this second recall.

Texas Supreme Court Rules against Common Law Unlawful Acts Doctrine as a Defense

In a new move, the Texas Supreme court ruled that in personal injury and wrongful death suits defendants can no longer use the unlawful acts doctrine as a complete bar against plaintiff's recovery. The Texas Supreme Court found that the common law unlawful acts doctrine conflicts with the statutory proportionate - responsibility scheme.

Texas Cleans Up 'Junk' Car Insurance Policies

Starting next year, a new law will take effect aimed at protecting Texas drivers from injuries and accidents caused by uninsured and underinsured motorists. The law, recently enacted by the Legislature and signed off by Gov. Rick Perry, is intended to clarify the rules, and frequent misuse, surrounding named driver policies. Unlike standard liability car insurance that covers the vehicle and any driver operating it, named driver policies - or "junk" policies as they're often called - cover only one specified driver. As a result, when any family member or uninsured person uses a named driver's vehicle, they do so without insurance protection for themselves or other motorists on the road.

Medical Malpractice Committed on U.S. Veterans Reaches 12-Year High

According to Bloomberg, payouts on medical malpractice cases for VA claims is at an all-time high. Christopher Ellison went to a veterans medical center in Philadelphia to get eight teeth extracted in 2007. What should have been a routine dentist visit left him permanently incapacitated. The $17.5 million Ellison and his family received in a malpractice judgment against the Department of Veterans Affairs was the largest against the agency in a dozen years -- and one of more than 400 payments the U.S. government made last year to resolve VA malpractice claims, according to agency records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The total cost came to $91.7 million, also the highest sum in at least 12 years.

Home Leveled By Natural Gas Explosion Caused By Gas Buildup In Pipes

Two homes were seriously damaged when an underground natural gas pipeline exploded in a residential neighborhood late last week. The fire department was notified by a nearby homeowner who called with the apt, but odd, information, "I think the house blew up next door."

Medication Filling Errors

Based on the National Observational Study of Prescription Dispensing Accuracy and Safety in a 50 pharmacy test, an estimated 6.5% of all medical prescriptions are filled incorrectly to a point to be of clinical importance. The same study shows that there are roughly 4 mistakenly filled prescriptions per every 250 prescriptions filled daily. Nationally, that is an estimated 51.5 million errors occurring during the filling of 3 billion prescriptions each year.


Last Wednesday night, on August 28, an explosion set a 2003 Ford Taurus on fire in Lake Worth, Texas, with five people inside. The occupants, four men and a woman, were on fire when they jumped out of the vehicle, and were treated at the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Texas Tort Reform

Ten years ago, Texas passed tort reform, which capped damages in medical malpractice suits, as reported by the Houston Chronicle on September 1, 2013. Specifically, damages for pain and suffering, or non-economic damages, were limited to a maximum of $250,000.00 in recovery.

New Texas Laws for Hit-And-Run Fatalities

New laws went into effect on September 1 for Texas drivers. One of the new laws provides drivers with a greater incentive to stay at the accident scene and help the injured. The new law increases the penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run fatalities or those who fail to stop and render aid. Advocates are hoping that Texas drivers will acknowledge the tougher penalties and keep drivers on scene of a motor vehicle accident. This is a significant step in making the roadways safer.

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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