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November 2013 Archives

Former NHL Players File New Concussion Suit

This week, attorneys for ten former National Hockey League players filed a class-action suit in federal court in Washington, D.C. against the NHL alleging that they have suffered long-term brain injuries attributable to fraud and negligence on the part of the league. This comes months after the announcement of a $765 million settlement in similar concussion litigation against the NFL.

55 Killed In Fatal Oil Explosion In China

Earlier this year, Forbes reported that oil and gas production in Texas accounted for 34.5 percent of overall oil production and 27 percent of natural gas extraction in the United States. These numbers likely have much to do with the booming Eagle Ford Shale play along with the oil and gas wells and rigs that dot the landscape across Texas and into the Gulf of Mexico.

NHTSA Will Require Seat Belts on Motorcoaches

Last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a final rule requiring lap and shoulder seat belts for each passenger and driver seat on new motorcoaches and other large buses. The final rule, which amends Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 208, applies to new over-the-road buses and other types of buses with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 11,793 kilograms (26,000 pounds), except transit buses and school buses. Beginning in November 2016, newly manufactured buses will be required to be equipped with shoulder and lap belts for each driver and passenger seat.

Well Known Complication or Medical Malpractice?

It is well known that there are often risks involved with medical procedures. Infection and bleeding are two complications that come to mind. But can a complication of a procedure turn into medical malpractice?

Oil And Gas Boom Puts Budget Strain On Some Eagle Ford Counties

While many people associate the oil and gas boom as a renaissance for Texas and the cities and towns that have benefitted from the influx of jobs and infusion of resources, the boom also has its drawbacks. A recent report by the KENS5 I-Team noted that the burden on rural counties, particularly in the Eagle Ford Shale region, is acute.

Study Shows Spinal Fusion Surgeries Linked to Financial Incentives

According to government data, more than 465,000 spinal fusions were performed in the United States in 2011. Some experts say that a portion of them, perhaps as many as half, were performed without good reason. The government study of Medicare billings showed that financial incentives for doctors may be one of the reasons for a rapid rise in spinal fusion surgery.

Discovering the True Cost of Energy - Oil & Gas Industry Fatality Rate 7x Higher

The residents of the north Texas town of Milford are only the latest Texans to fall victim to a drilling accident. On November 14th, about 700 residents of the rural north Texas town were evacuated after a Chevron gas pipeline exploded at a drill rig. Though details and an investigation are still pending, incidents similar to this one are the reasons why the occupational fatality rate in the oil and gas industry is seven times higher than the rate of all US workers.

Family Receives $18M Following Fatal Drunk Driving Accident

Last week, a Corpus Christi jury issued a historic verdict that awarded $18,750,000 to the surviving parents of a victim killed in a drunk driving accident. The verdict was issued against the bar that over served the drunk driver, as opposed to the driver himself, under the Texas Dram Shop Act. Under this act, victims of alcohol-related injuries may hold the liquor serving establishment responsible for serving patrons it knows to be already intoxicated.

Fatal Refinery Fire Kills One, Refinery Still Working

One refinery worker was killed early this morning when an unexplained explosion occurred at Chevron's Pascagoula Refinery in Mississippi. The man had been an employee of the refinery for the past five years and was currently working in the Cracking II Processing Unit when the blast and resulting fire occurred.

Johnson & Johnson Settlement in Progress

According to the New York Times, Johnson & Johnson has tentatively agreed to a settlement that could reach up to $4 billion to resolve thousands of lawsuits filed by patients injured by a flawed all-metal replacement hip implant.

North Texas Gas Line Explosion

Authorities have not received word yet on any injuries from the gas pipeline explosion that occurred this morning near Milford, Texas. The explosion occurred at a drilling rig near Milford in Ellis County and involved a Chevron pipeline. It was reported that flames shot into the air, and some vehicles at the work site were burned.

Proposed "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act" Short Circuits Judges

This week, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas introduced into Congress a bill entitled the "Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act" ("LARA"). If passed, this bill will amend Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to remove federal judges' discretion in awarding sanctions for improper pleadings and remove the "safe harbor" provision of the rule which allows parties or lawyers to voluntarily withdraw or amend pleadings when the other party has filed a motion for sanctions. While the purpose of this bill is purportedly to combat "lawsuit abuse," its only effects will be to clog our courts with unnecessary hearings and to increase litigation costs for both plaintiffs and defendants.

In Certain Instances, Insurance Companies May Be Reimbursed For Medical Bills

When people are hurt, they often seek medical attention. The same is true even if the injury is due to the negligence of a third party. However, people are often surprised to learn that when insurance companies follow certain steps, they are entitled to be reimbursed when a patient makes a financial recovery against a negligent third party.

Head Trauma and Concussions

Concussions happen often and are frequently overlooked as just a simple head impact. Some concussions result even when a person's head is not struck directly but experience a significant blow to the body that causes the head to snap back and forth. What many people do not realize is that a concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI). A traumatic brain injury is a serious health condition and can be extremely dangerous if not treated properly. Utmost care and medical treatment should be sought out if a person believes they have any type of brain injury.

Gas Leaks Result in Severe Explosions for Local Houston Homes

According to Click2Houston.com, two previous gas line explosions resulted in severe injuries for two Houston area residents over a two-year span. As reported by ABC 11 News, one explosion resulted in disfigurement and severe burns to the body of a 3-year-old boy, leading to 15 surgeries. A subsequent pipe line explosion which took place in Pasadena, just outside of Houston, resulted in the death of a 67-year old woman.

Honda Odyssey Minivan Recall

Honda has recently announced its decision to recall 344,000 of its 2007-2008 Odyssey minivans due to a computer malfunction that has reported to have caused heavy and unexpected braking without the driver pressing on the brake pedal. Further, it does not appear that the back brake lights come on or "illuminate" as it is described in the recall. The recall is part of a worldwide recall of 381,000 Honda vehicles and is being coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) here in the United States.

Small Greenville Pipeline Leak Forces Family Out Of Home

Ten barrels of crude oil came rushing out of a pipeline leak north of Greenville, Texas earlier this week forcing at least one family to evacuate. The oil spill is much smaller than the 17,000 gallon leak that occurred last week, near Austin, but will take clean-up crews several days to remediate.

Consumers Being Misled About Supplements

According to the New York Times, Americans spend an estimated $5 billion a year on herbal supplements that promise everything from fighting off colds to curbing hot flashes. But now there is more reason for supplement buyers to beware. DNA tests show that many pills labeled as healing herbs are little more than powdered rice and weeds.

Local Trucking Company Agrees to Pay $9.5 Million

A.W. Trucking and Jet Maintenance may be rethinking how it hires and manages its drivers after the company agreed to pay $9.5 million to settle a case with two families that were injured in an accident caused by one of its drivers.

Kids Are Twice As Likely to Be Hit By a Car On Halloween

Every Halloween children and their parents make wonderful memories trick or treating. The experience of having your children dress up and walk about the neighborhood is a typically safe and fun activity. The night for many can involve minor injuries from cuts and scrapes to falling. For few a though, the night can be tragic with a debilitating injury or the death of a child.

After Oil Rig Explosion, Seriously Burned Worker Files Suit

A former pipefitter is suing Black Elk Energy LLC of Houston, after a 2012 oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico left him with serious burns covering much of his body as well as his face. In the same explosion, three other oil workers, who were employed by Grand Isle Shipyard, Inc. were killed.

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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