February 2014 Archives

More Than 200 Lives Lost To Texas Oil And Gas Boom

According the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 663 oil and gas workers have been killed in work-related accidents during the boom years of 2007-2012. It's estimated that just under half of those fatal oil and gas accidents (40 percent) occurred here in Texas. In total, there have been close to 18,000 reports of injury and illness related to oil and gas exploration, extraction and production in Texas since 2007.

Brain Damaged Russian Boxer's Family Prepares to Sue State of New York

Last Friday, the family of Russian prizefighter Mogomed Abdusalamov filed notice in the New York Court of Claims that they intend to file a claim against the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and the State of New York for injuries he sustained in a November 2, 2013 heavyweight bout against Cuban contender Mike Perez at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. The family alleges that the NYSAC, which sanctioned and oversaw the fight, negligently failed to stop the fight and failed to provide adequate medical attention to Abdusalamov during and after the fight, leading to Abdusalamov being placed in a medically-induced coma for weeks after emergency brain surgery to remove a blood clot and relieve brain swelling.

General Motors Issues Recall

In 2004, ten years before a recall was issued, General Motors knew that its Chevrolet Cobalt's ignition switch could inadvertently shut off the engine while driving. Additionally, the driver's power steering and brakes, along with other safety systems such as airbags and anti-lock brakes, would be cut off.

Rodeo Makes Efforts to Avoid Repeat of Tragedy

One year later, Bonnie Herndon, a longtime rodeo volunteer and committee member, remains in a coma following her ejection from a golf cart at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo last February. Firm partner Benny Agosto Jr. is representing Bonnie's family in their lawsuit against the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the driver of the golf cart, and the companies responsible for the golf cart's design, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution. The lawsuit specifically points out that "the vehicle was not equipped with seatbelts". Mr. Agosto advises those riding rodeo transit this year to be cautious, stating that "if you're going to be in one of those transportation vehicles, you better be careful".

Graco Recall Targets Over 5 Million Child Car Seats

Federal safety regulators are overseeing the largest recall for child car seats that this country has seen in the last 5 years. Graco, a leading manufacturer for children's products including baby monitors, strollers, swings and high-chairs, is recalling 3.8 million car seats because defective buckles are preventing parents from removing their children from the seats in emergency situations. Reports of these defective buckles began in 2012 when parents complained to regulators that they had to cut the straps in order to free their young children from Graco car seats.

Recent Changes to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure

The Texas Rules of Civil Procedure have recently undergone several changes that significantly affect the day-to-day litigation practice. Most of the changes center around the technology advances that have occurred over the last few years. We want to set out some of the most important ones that are in effect as of January 1, 2014:

Drunk Driving Deaths Increase

A Pennsylvania survey attempting to measure drunk driving has been embroiled in a lawsuit. But, what's interesting are statistics that that have emerged during the process about driving while intoxicated or impaired.

GM Recalls Chevrolet Cobalt, Pontiac G5 after Fatal Accidents

General Motors Co. is recalling almost 800,000 Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 compact cars to fix a problem that could prevent airbags from deploying in a crash. The automaker said it knows of 22 such accidents, including five in which six people died. Abraham Watkins is currently handling cases involving faulty airbag deployment.

CenterPoint Settles Suit After Children Burned by Guy-Wires

In February 2013, the three Zarsky children-ages 3, 5, and 7-were playing in their backyard when a CenterPoint Energy guy wire made contact with live components and electrocuted the two youngest children, as the oldest watched in disbelief. A year later, the Zarsky family and CenterPoint energy have agreed to a settlement.

Valentine's Day Can End in Tragedy on the Road

Every Valentine's Day couples make wonderful memories sharing in the great holiday of love. The experience of sharing a meal and an evening out on the town is typically a safe and fun activity. The night for many can involve the start of new relationships or the continuation of an old one. For some though, the night can end in tragedy due to the irresponsible decisions of others.

New Federal Trucking Regulation Targets Patterns of Safety Violations

On January 22, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new regulation which enables FMCSA to shut down trucking or bus companies that "show egregious disregard for safety compliance, permit persons who have shown egregious disregard for safety compliance to exercise controlling influence over their operations, or operate multiple entities under common control to conceal noncompliance with safety regulations." This regulation allows FMCSA to revoke carriers' registration not only if they engage in a pattern of safety violations themselves, but also if they hire an executive who has a pattern of safety violations with another company.

Two Injured, Homes Destroyed In Gas Pipeline Blast

A gas pipeline owned by Columbia Gulf Transmission was determined to be the cause of a Kentucky gas pipeline explosion that occurred yesterday. At least one person was taken to the hospital for treatment of burn injuries; another was reported injured but may have been treated at the scene. The gas explosion leveled homes in the rural area and destroyed farm buildings and vehicles.

Children's Car Seats Recalled

According to the New York Times, Graco is recalling 3.8 million car seats because of faulty buckles. Federal regulators said the recall did not go far enough, and have asked for an additional 1.8 million seats to be included because they use the same buckles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) told Graco in a letter that unless those additional seats were fixed it would take legal action to force a recall.

Tragic Death at Baylor's New $250 Million Football Stadium Leaves Plenty of Unanswered Questions

The law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend is investigating the tragic death of Jose Dario Juarez, whose body was recovered from the Brazos River following a construction accident on a pedestrian bridge that leads to Baylor University's brand new $250 million football stadium. The stadium is scheduled to open later this year.

Alleged Drunk Driver Causes Accident

At approximately 2:35 a.m. on Sunday morning, a silver Cadillac rear ended a Honda Accord that was about to exit Airport Road on Texas 288. The driver of the Accord and a toddler who was in the car were taken to the hospital. A 12-year-old passenger who was sitting in the back and the front seat passenger died at the scene of the collision.

Unintended Airbag Deployment Results in Honda Accord Recall

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating a series of complaints regarding the unintended deployment of side air bags on the 2008 Honda Accord when the front doors are closed. Currently, it is estimated there are 363,000 of the popular midsize Accords on the roads, and the NHTSA reports it has received 28 complaints. At least two injuries have been reported as the force of an airbag deployment has the ability to cause serious injury.

DWI Suspect Crashes into Police Car

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, a female motorist turned down the wrong side of Almeda, and drove against traffic. She swiped the patrol car of an officer who tried to avoid a collision, and then ended up in a ditch. Not surprisingly, she failed field sobriety tests at the scene and was arrested, according to reports. Fortunately, no one was injured.

Ozone Level Violations Predicted In Eagle Ford Shale Play

For the third year in a row, San Antonio is likely to be in violation of permissible ozone levels as set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to some predictions. If so, it's also like that the 20,000 square mile Eagle Ford Shale play just south of San Antonio is at least partly responsible for this continuing air quality problem.

22 Million Vehicles Recalled in 2013

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a report on Monday indicating almost 22 million vehicles were recalled in the United States last year by automakers. Of those 22 million vehicles Toyota topped the list, recalling more than 5 million of its vehicles in 15 different recalls in 2013. Chrysler Group came in a close second, with about 4.6 million vehicles recalled in 36 different recalls. Rounding out the top five spots on the list were Honda, Hyundai-Kia, and Ford. The number of vehicles involved in a 2013 safety recall increased by more than 5 million from 2012.

Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Cover-Up for $3.15M

Last week, a settlement for $3.15 million was reached between a sexual abuse victim and the Archdiocese of Chicago. The victim who was repeatedly sexually abused throughout his adolescence by then-Reverend Daniel McCormack filed a lawsuit in 2010 against the Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George for both failing to remove McCormack and allowing him continued access to children after receiving multiple complaints that he had sexually abused minors.

West Virginia Sues Drug Maker Over Pain Pill Epidemic

According to the Associated Press, two West Virginia agencies have joined the lawsuit against drug company Cardinal Health alleging its negligent practices have helped fuel the state's pain pill abuse epidemic. The Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety recently signed on as plaintiffs in the attorney general's lawsuit. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey recused himself this summer from the lawsuit filed by the office because his wife lobbies for the company in Washington, D.C. The suit was filed during former Attorney General Darrell McGraw's last term.

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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