January 2014 Archives

Fatal Eagle Ford Crash Kills Three, Injures Several

A school bus packed with children collided with a van carrying oil and gas workers in the Eagle Ford Shale region early Thursday morning, killing three of the people in the van. Reports of the fatal Eagle Ford crash indicate that children in the school bus suffered only bumps and bruises in the collision.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Toyota Break Failure Investigation

Over six years after Toyota produced the 2007 and 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid sedan, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has opened a probe into the intermittent brake failure experienced by some of the owners. The NHTSA said that it could affect up to 30,000 vehicles in the U.S. alone.

Amarillo Worker Killed in Forklift Accident

One worker was killed and another seriously hurt at a wrecker service in Amarillo on February 7 when a pickup truck fell from a forklift. The workers had been using the forklift to lift the truck while they worked on it.

Train Derailment and New Standards

Last month, a train carrying crude oil hit a grain train that had just derailed. Tank car after tank car exploded causing destruction, injury, and death. In response to this and other incidents, the National Transportation Safety Board, jointly with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, is demanding that new standards on trains carrying crude oil be enacted.

Software Malfunction Leads to Truck Recall

A Houston wrestling coach received a recall notice on his 2014 Chevy Silverado recently. Within an hour of receiving the General Motors/Chevrolet recall notice, his Chevy Silverado burst into flames. He is convinced the two are related, and the defect described in the recall matches the problems he encountered with his truck.

South Keystone Pipeline Begins Pumping Crude Into Texas

The Keystone Pipeline, run by TransCanada, reportedly began pumping this week as scheduled. It is delivering crude oil from Cushing, Oklahoma to Nederland, Texas, crossing a span of just under 500 miles. This is the southern portion of the Keystone Pipeline. Because it doesn't cross international borders (Canada), it did not require Presidential approval to begin transporting crude.

Another Death in a Police Chase

On Thursday, a man was killed in a motorcycle crash while fleeing police. It occurred in the Kingwood area around 7:00 a.m. After exiting the freeway, the man collided with a Mustang while attempting to cross an intersection. The Mustang then hit a pickup truck. Earlier, the motorcycle had been reported stolen. Fortunately, the police officer, and those in the Mustang and the truck, were uninjured.

High School Instagram Page Draws Lawsuit for Defamation

A north Houston family has filed a lawsuit against high school students who created an Instagram page titled "2014 Klein Hoes." The family's suit alleges that their sixteen-year-old daughter was defamed when her picture appeared on the Instagram page created and managed by the named defendants. The photo quickly received derogatory and sexuality inappropriate comments that were available for others to see.

The Federal Judicial Vacancy Crisis and the Need for Diverse Appointments

As of January 13, 2014 there are 94 judicial vacancies with only 52 nominees pending. For many years legal professionals have been warning of a judicial vacancy crisis and to date there is no end is in sight. Currently Pennsylvania leads the way with ten vacancies, followed by Texas with seven and without any pending nominations. With so many vacancies this is the perfect opportunity to increase diversity within our courts. The face of our nation is changing and the face of our judiciary should reflect these changes.

Loose 'Call Before You Dig' Regulations Causing More Pipeline Accidents

Texas has by far the most miles of underground natural gas pipelines of any state. Texas also has the greatest number of accidents that occur when these and other underground pipes are damaged or disrupted. Companies that dig, construct, and work around these pipelines have a duty to safely work around these pipelines, the locations of which can be determined by a simple phone call. Nonetheless, these calls are not being made in every instance and are consequently costing the lives of unsuspecting workers and millions of dollars in property damage each year due to blowouts, explosions, and toxic gas leaks.

Concerns Over XL Pipeline Not Enough to Delay Activation

According to the Texas Tribune, the Keystone XL pipeline is still raising concerns as its operator prepares to start pumping crude oil underground from Cushing, Oklahoma, to refineries on Texas' Gulf Coast. Citizen activists are calling for more testing of the line, saying that warning letters sent by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which regulates interstate pipelines, show the need for concern. However, PHMSA says it has properly vetted the project and sees no reason to delay the segment the project.

Texas Slated To Become 8th Largest Oil Producer In The World

The Eagle Ford Shale and Permian Basin have served as the backdrop to many million-dollar stories in Southwest Texas. Fracking technologies have given oil and gas companies access to the large stores of natural gas and oil deep below Texas' surface. Land that once would have sold for a couple thousand dollars an acre is now selling for much more than that or being leased to oil and gas companies in return for monthly royalty checks.

Women's Contraception and Hastily Introduced Pharmaceutical Drugs

Every year pharmaceutical companies bring to market a vast numbers of new drugs. With these new drugs the pharmaceutical industry is hoping to provide the next cure to a disease or health problem, but sometimes it is to just have the most marketable product to sell. Due to the ever competitive multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry, these companies, at times, hastily place new drugs in the market. As a result, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has enacted standards and procedures to ensure the drug meets certain requirements. Typically, the drug that makes it into the hands of the end user is safe and does exactly what it was designed to do. Even with the FDA's involvement, sometimes the new drug can lead to a debilitating injury or the death of the user due to side effects. For example, recent advances in women's contraceptives, such as NuvaRing, have shown that with time the data shows a higher risk for blood clots and even death with its use.

Suspected Drunk Driver Claims the Life of a 12-Year-Old Autistic Boy

The Houston Chronicle reports that Alvester Bowens, 12, was hit and killed on a highway overpass by a pickup truck Saturday night while Bowens was separated from his father during an evening bike ride. The driver of the truck, Gilberto Aguirre, was charged with driving while intoxicated, and the Harris County District Attorney's Office is considering whether to add a charge of intoxication manslaughter.

Wrongful Death Claim Over Construction Accident

David Lee White and Lomax Phillips were working on an overpass when the wagon lift they were in collapsed. The men fell 90 feet to their death. Mr. Phillips' wife and two children filed suit against Mr. Phillips' employer, which is the contractor hired by the state for the construction project. The manufacturer of the wagon lift was also named in the suit.

Laser Hair Removal Lawsuits on the Rise

The New York Times recently ran a story on the dangers of laser hair removal at the wrong places. Noting that nearly 500,000 such treatments performed by dermatologic surgeons in 2011, the article really focused on the unquantified number of procedures performed each year by non-physicians who have minimal training and experience. And when performed improperly, laser hair removal procedures can cause disfiguring injuries and severe burns - including in sensitive areas like the bikini line, the mustache area above the lips, and under the arms.

Yet Another Study Confirms the Dangers of Texting or Dialing While Driving

In a new study conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the data again confirms the dangers of texting, dialing, or reaching for a cell phone while driving. The study is being touted as "sophisticated" and "real-world" because it utilized video cameras, global positioning systems (GPS), lane trackers, and other gadgets to track speed and acceleration. The sample group included 42 newly licensed drivers in the 16 to 17 year old range and 109 adults averaging 20 years of experience driving automobiles.

EPA Steps Up Regulation Of California Fracking

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking small steps to oversee the safety of the booming fracking industry. Companies who engage in hydraulic fracturing in the waters off the coast of Southern California will be required to report, beginning March 1, if they dump chemicals into the ocean. But, there's a catch. The rule only applies to new drilling jobs; existing rigs will be grandfathered in under the new rule and are exempt from the reporting requirements.


Today, local news organizations have reported that an 18-wheeler jack-knifed and is clogging traffic on the East Loop 610. Just four days ago, another tractor-trailer was involved in a crash with a Smart Car. The result was not the inconvenience of a traffic jam; instead, the driver of the car was sent to the hospital in critical condition.

Houston Jury Rules Proposed High-Rise is Nuisance for Neighbors

After years of litigation, and a month long trial in December, a Houston jury has ruled that the Ashby high-rise project constitutes a nuisance for some of the neighboring residents. In its decision, the jury awarded almost $1.7 million to 20 of the 30 households that filed suit. The plaintiffs who were awarded damages will only receive them if the high-rise is actually built.

Fatigued Truck Drivers Present a Danger on Our Highways

In order to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue, new regulations have been implemented on commercial truck drivers' hours of service. Because of these new regulations, drivers are not allowed to drive more than 11 hours following a 10-hour break. The driver cannot be on duty more than 14 hours following that same 10-hour break, even if that entire time doesn't involve driving. These new regulations have been put into place in an effort to keep drivers fresh and alert.

Texting, Dialing or Reaching Increases the Risk of a Crash

According to a recent study from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, dialing, texting or reaching for a cellphone while driving raises the risk of a crash or near-miss. The risk of a crash among young drivers increased more than sevenfold if they were dialing or reaching for a cellphone and fourfold if they were sending or receiving a text message. The risk also rose if they were reaching for something other than a phone, looking at a roadside object or eating.

Injured on a Ship

Every day people are injured while shipping goods and fuel for the nation on ocean going ships. The role of a seaman does carry certain risks and accidents with it, and injuries do happen. As members of the ship's crew, the owner of the vessel and the employer owe certain duties to its crew members.

Reuters: Suspended Feed Additive Zilmax Suspected in Cattle Hoof-loss, Deaths

In early August 6, 2015, Tyson Foods, citing "ambulatory" or "behavioral" problems, announced that its slaughterhouses would no longer accept cattle that had been fed Zilmax, leading Merck & Co. to suspend sales of the popular feed additive. Details on the "ambulatory problems" that prompted Tyson's decision were not forthcoming until today's report by Reuters: The day before the announcement, fifteen Zilmax-fed cattle delivered to a Tyson slaughterhouse in Washington state were discovered to have lost their hooves. Two more were discovered the next day.

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.

  • $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.

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