December 2013 Archives

Plant Blast Reported Near Houston Ship Channel

A La Porte plant erupted in flames this morning after a gas pipeline burst at Enterprise Products. At least two injuries have been reported in the workplace blast; firefighters have been on scene fighting the blaze since this morning. Two contract workers were treated onsite by emergency responders; their injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Drunk Driving Causes Fatal Injuries

At approximately 2:20 a.m. on December 22, 2013, a female driver lost control of her Chevy Impala and struck the guard rail on the North Loop. When she stepped out of her vehicle to examine the damage, a Kia slammed into the Impala, which then struck her. The female driver died as a result of the traumatic injuries sustained in the collision.

ND Oil Train Crashes, Fires Prompt Evacuation Of Nearby Town

Here in Texas, particularly in the Eagle Ford Shale and the Barnett Shale plays, increased truck traffic that is the byproduct of the booming oil and gas industry has caused headaches, damage and serious accidents on rural and large roadways. In North Dakota, where the Bakken field has led to a substantial boom in shale production, increased train traffic is causing similar problems. Train transport is used to move approximately two-thirds of North Dakota's shale oil from the fields into production sites.

Dangerous Tire Recall

Michelin North America seems to have discovered a dangerous tread separation trend and is recalling 1.2 million tires in the United States. According to information found on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, many of these recalled tires include some tires used as original equipment on full-size Ford vans, and the investigation has revealed the tread may be coming apart.

Fires Continue to Threaten Lives

A candle that was knocked over caused a fire that consumed a wooden boarding house where dozens of poverty-stricken boys lived. In the terror of the blaze, about 50 residents rushed for the door and neighbors tried to extinguish it by throwing buckets of water on it. There were 41 survivors; eight of the nine who died were children. Official reports from Senegal, where the fire occurred, indicate that the structure had not been inspected.

Gas Explosion Destroys Retired New Jersey Couple's Home

NBC10 Philadelphia reports that the explosion of a New Jersey couple's home will result in lawsuits against a propane gas company and its contracted affiliates. According to the couple, the McCarthy's, the gas company was responsible for removing the propane tank months before the explosion.

Federal Government Takes 52 Dangerous Bus Lines Off the Road

Federal bus safety regulators announced last week that it will be shutting down 52 motor coach companies deemed to be a hazard to the riding public. After a nationwide investigation called "Operation Quick Strike," feds uncovered bus companies whose drivers routinely drove more than 800 consecutive miles without rest and bus fleets that failed to meet even the most basic maintenance requirements. The inspection results were released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) just one month after it was blamed for failing to crack down on tour bus and truck companies, whose vehicles later crashed, killing 25 people.

Distracted Drivers Put Bicyclists and Pedestrians at Higher Risk for Injury and Death

Two recent incidents in Houston have shined a spotlight on an increasing danger faced by pedestrians and bicyclists everywhere: distracted drivers. On Monday, a teenage girl in north Houston was left in serious condition when she was hit by a vehicle while crossing the street in front of a middle school. Then, on Tuesday morning, a man was killed when he was hit by a car after getting off a Metro bus and then trying to cross the street. As reported by KHOU, both incidents are still under investigation and decisions are still being made on whether any charges will be pressed against the drivers involved.

Black Box Technology

When people hear the term "black box" they often associate the technology with airplanes and airplane crashes. But what many people don't know is that their own personal vehicles may contain a black box as well. Black boxes in vehicles have been used to monitor airbags for nearly two decades, and black boxes or Event Data Recorders (EDRs) are in 96 percent of vehicles that have been produced in the last year.

Toyota Finally Talking Settlement of Acceleration Cases

According to the Associated Press, after 4 years, Toyota is entering settlement talks on nearly 400 state and federal lawsuits. The lawsuits allege sudden unintended acceleration problems with its vehicles led to deaths and injuries. Joint motions filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana and Los Angeles County Superior Court indicated both sides would begin an "intensive settlement process" next month. The Japanese automaker, which has recalled millions of cars since 2009 over the acceleration issue, agreed to the negotiations to make resolving the cases more efficient, spokeswoman Carly Schaffner told The Associated Press on Friday. Cases that don't settle after a two-stage mediation process will go back to court for trial, said plaintiffs' co-lead counsel Mark Robinson Jr., but most of the 375 claims will likely get resolved.

Federal Regulators Shut Down 52 Unsafe Bus Companies

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced that they shut down 52 motorcoach companies and removed 340 vehicles from the road in a major nationwide crackdown on unsafe carriers. The shutdown comes just eight months after the agency launched "Operation Quick Strike," a campaign focused on shutting down companies that put passengers at risk and educating the public on safe motorcoach travel.

Fracking Sites Create Pollution, Headaches For Denton Residents

Just north of Dallas, the city of Denton, Texas thought it was taking steps to protect its citizens and their property from the side effects of fracking and the shale oil boom by passing an ordinance prohibiting the building of wells within 1200 feet of a home. However, the ordinance grandfathered in existing wells and some of these are within a 200-foot radius of some residents' front doors. The city referred to these sites as having "vested rights."

Why Doesn't Insurance Just Take Care of It?

When talking to someone who was injured in an auto collision, a question we often hear is, "Why isn't the other guy's insurance just paying for this?" To answer this question, we need to look at how auto insurance works and the difference between auto liability coverage and other types of auto insurance coverage.

Important Deadlines to Consider for Specific Medical Malpractice Cases

In 2003, the state of Texas passed tort reform. This legislation created special considerations specific to medical malpractice claims, which includes the notice letter, medical authorization, and a tolling of the statute of limitations.

Unsafe Mexican Trucks Endanger the American Public

In 2011, the United States and Mexico signed a trade agreement that opened the border to Mexican trucks provided that they would comply with American safety and environmental regulations. Despite having this agreement, to protect the American motoring public, Mexican trucks have been reported as having a number of violations.

Texas Law on Car Accidents Caused by Negligence

In Texas, if you are involved in a car accident, you should be familiar with the laws of the Texas in order to file a claim against a driver that you believe to have been at fault, or often called negligent, and caused the accident. Negligence deals with every driver's duty or obligation to every other driver in Texas. Every driver has a responsibility to exercise care, caution and control when driving. If a driver negligently causes a car accident, that driver may be responsible for any damages or injuries caused by the car accident.

FDA Announces Recall of Emergency and In Home Defibrillators

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall of automated external defibrillators after learning that they may fail to deliver a shock in the event of an emergency. This recall includes devices that are used by first responders (such as EMS personnel) as well as devices that are used by individuals in the home as well as large public places likes schools and airports. The FDA has recalled the Philips HeartStart FRx AED, the Philips HeartStart HS1 Home AED, and the Philips HeartStart HS1 OnSite AED.

Motorcyclist Killed on Katy Freeway

A woman entering the Katy Freeway on Saturday while headed in the wrong direction collided with a motorcycle that was exiting the freeway. The motorcyclist was killed in the crash, and the woman was arrested.

Propane Explosion Levels Home, Kills Johnson County Resident

A propane-fueled home explosion fatally injured a North Texas woman this week. The leaked propane gas ignited when it came in contact with a water heater in the woman's basement in Johnson County, according to investigators.

Family Receives $39M Following Fatal Construction Accident

This month, a jury directed manufacturer Advance Cast Stone to pay $39 million in damages after a Milwaukee parking garage panel collapsed killing a teenager and severely injuring two others. After a five-week trial, the jury found that Advance Cast Stone intentionally concealed and misrepresented that the concrete panels of the garage had been defectively or deficiently installed. The threat of this danger came to life when an entire 13-ton panel collapsed onto the group of pedestrians.

Yellow Cab Under Investigation by Texas

According to a series of reports from ABC News 8 in Dallas, public records reveal that Yellow Cab may be in violation of a statewide passenger safety requirement that mandates taxi companies carry $750,000 in insurance when transporting Medicaid patients. The state of Texas is now investigating News 8's findings to determine if Yellow Cab is in compliance with insurance standards for a contract that's paid the taxi company nearly $82 million over a four-and-a-half year period. This follows a series of reports, from News 8 that the city of Dallas has given Yellow special treatment for 12 years, allowing the taxi company to operate without sufficient insurance intended to ensure the safety of passengers. The city of Dallas forced Yellow to obtain new insurance coverage after it learned Yellow's existing policy was insufficient.

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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