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March 2014 Archives

GM Recalls 1.8 Million SUVs

Still recuperating from controversy involving a faulty ignition switch, General Motors announced three new recalls recently involving another 1.8 million vehicles. The biggest of the recalls affects 1.2 million of its popular SUV models that need to have wiring for their seat-mounted airbags fixed. The models involved are the 2008-2013 Buick Enclave and the GMC Arcadia, along with the 2009-2013 Chevrolet Traverse. Those vehicles have a warning light that reads "Service Air Bag". If a costumer ignores the light it can eventually result in the non-deployment of the airbags and other safety features in case of a side impact collision.

Legal Action Commenced in Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 Case

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014 heading to Beijing. After an exhaustive search, the Malaysian government announced on March 24, 2014 that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean with no hope of survivors.

Oil Spill

The recent spill of 168,000 gallons of heavy oil into the Houston Ship Channel creates immediate and obvious environmental concerns. In addition, it has disrupted shipping for several days, with the channel only now being partially reopened.

BREAKING: Five-Alarm Fire Burning Out of Control in Montrose Apartment Complex

fire is currently burning out of control at an apartment complex currently under construction at West Dallas and Montrose in Houston. There is no word yet on injuries, but one construction worker was rescued from the third floor and potentially another worker was sighted on the roof. It is clear that the complex will be a total loss.

Oil Spill Reaches From Galveston Bay to Gulf After Collision

A weekend oil spill in the Houston Shipping Channel left one of "the nation's busiest seaports" closed for at least part of the day today. The spill was caused by the collision of a ship with a barge and dumped as much as 168,000 gallons of oil into the water. The capacity of the barge, the Summer Wind, was close to 900,000 gallons; only about a fifth of the barge's oil cargo was spilled into the water after the wreck.

Galveston Oil Spill

Around 12:35 p.m. on Saturday, March 22, 2014, the watch standers at Coast Guard Sector Houston/Galveston received a call from the captain of the 585-foot bulk carrier Summer Wind who reported a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of oil had collided with a ship. The barge contained 924,000 gallons of fuel oil and was towed by the motor vessel Miss Susan.

Houston Is a Dangerous Place for Cyclists

Houston has become increasingly dangerous for cyclists. According to the Houston Chronicle, at least 23 cyclists have been killed in the past 5 years by motorists. This number does not include the scores who have been injured by automobiles.

Graco Child Seat Recalls

Graco Children's Products has added more than 403,000 child seats to last month's recall of 3.8 million to replace faulty harness buckles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that the red release button in the center of the harness can become difficult to release and become stuck. The concern is that the stuck latch can make it difficult or impossible to remove the child quickly in an emergency. Graco said it found that "the food and dried liquids can make some harness buckles progressively more difficult to open over time or become stuck in the latched position." In some cases parents have had to cut the harness to get their children out. Abraham Watkins has experience in handling cases involving faulty car seats and buckles.

Florida Supreme Court Strikes Down Caps on Non-Economic Damages as Unconstitutional

On March 13, 2014, the Florida Supreme Court issued a 5-2 ruling that invalidated Florida statutes that place caps on the recoverable non-economic damages in medical negligence (malpractice) cases. In 2003, then-governor Jeb Bush called a special session of Florida lawmakers to reform medical malpractice cases. One of the laws to come out of the "special session" was a statute that limits the amount of non-economic damages from death or injuries caused by medical negligence to $500,000 to each plaintiff, and no more than $1M from all defendants the lawsuit.

General Motors Recalling Another 1.5 Million Vehicles

According to a recent article in USA Today, General Motors announced three new recalls involving nearly 1.5 million vehicles. GM said the trio of new recalls is "a result of (CEO) Mary Barra's request for a comprehensive internal safety review following the ignition switch recall." Last month's switch recall involves 1.37 million vehicles in the U.S. and has triggered lawsuits and federal investigations into why GM knew of a switch problem as early as 2001 but only recalled the cars last month GM says it knows of 31 crashes and 12 deaths linked to the switch recall and new probe in Canada could add a recent death there.

Drunk Driver kills 2, Injures 23 at Austin's SXSW

The South by Southwest Music Festival brings thousands to the Texas capital every March. People get together to celebrate music, the arts, and film. Known as SXSW, this annual festival started in 1987 and has grown exponentially every year since its inception 27 years ago.

New York Times v. Sullivan Turns 50

In last Sunday's edition of the New York Times, the editorial board published an op-ed celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its landmark victory in New York Times v. Sullivan, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held in 1964 for the first time that the Constitution's protection of the rights to freedom of speech and of the press applies to civil suits for defamation. The doctrine announced in Sullivan, as well as the long line of subsequent decisions expanding its reach, still looms large to this day in the law of defamation in America, and its effect has not been without cost to the public.

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death

In the most unfortunate of circumstances, a loved one is lost due to the negligence of a third party. Remedy or recovery for such a loss is addressed by bringing forth a Wrongful Death action which is addressed in Section 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.

Gas Leak Suspected In Fatal NYC Blast

A call came into the gas company at 9:13 am this morning, reporting a suspected gas leak. The utility company dispatched workers to investigate just two minutes later. Before they arrived on scene, an explosion occurred, injuring at least 16 and triggering the collapse of two buildings.

NHTSA Questions General Motors on Possible Knowledge of Ignition Problems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) seems to be demanding more answers from General Motors over the recent recall of older vehicles. The government administration is requesting that General Motors turn over thousands of documents and other data to determine whether the company knew and when they knew about the dangerous ignition problems that has been linked to 13 car crash deaths. General Motors reply is due by April 3, 2014. According to General Motors, they are cooperating, however this does not seem to of been the level of cooperation that was demanded of General Motors over the last decade.

Drilling Boom, Deadly Legacy

The boom that has brought prosperity to Texas has left a trail of death and devastation for many of the more 100,000 workers in oil and gas exploration jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, in 2012 the death toll peaked at 65,000, which was a 10 year high and nearly 60 percent more than 2011. For 22 years the federal government has failed to implement safety standards and procedures for onshore oil and gas drilling, even as offshore accidents have been on the rise. Abraham Watkins is currently handling cases involving oil field explosions.

Crash Occurs during Police Response

A truck driver and a police officer were sent to the hospital after a crash last week. The wreck occurred on Eastland Street at Hanna Street, in the northeastern part of our city, when the officer was responding to a call.

Seaway Pipeline Doubling With Addition Of Parallel System

From Cushing, Oklahoma to Freeport, Texas, the Seaway Pipeline cuts through East Texas, just missing Dallas and Houston along the way. The pipeline is 500 miles long and 30 inches in diameter, according to the Seaway Crude Pipeline Company and claims to serve all Houston-area refineries by way of the Jones Creek Terminal.

Low Levels of Attention Causes Spike in Nursing Home Injuries

According to a report released by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, roughly one-third of nursing home patients released from hospitals were harmed by their caregivers. National Public Radio further reports that most of the harms result from neglect and errors in judgment.

GM Knew About Defects Long Before Recalls

According to the New York Times, nearly nine years after the death of young girl, General Motors has recalled nearly 1.4 million cars in the United States, including Cobalts, saying that the ignition switch can shut off a car's engine and electrical system, and disable its air bags. Amber Rose's death was the first of 13 linked to the problem, and was an early warning in what would become a decade-long failure by G.M. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to address a problem that engineers and regulators had been alerted to years ago.

Nightclub Found Liable in $5.4 Million Rape Case

A Santa Monica jury awarded $5.4 million to a victim who was allegedly raped by an employee of a West Hollywood nightclub in 2009. After a 15-day trial, jurors found that the nightclub's negligence played a substantial part in the assault and would therefore pay 40% of the total verdict. At trial, the victim's attorneys argued that the nightclub had turned a blind eye to sexual activity that was happening in the unisex restroom areas. Additionally, attorneys argued that security guards were not circulating through these areas as they were required to do under company policy.

Popular Anti-Depressants (Paxil) Side Effects May Be Player in Breast Cancer

The prescription drug Paxil has been used by many doctors across Texas and the United States to treat depression, anxiety disorders, stress disorders, and other mental conditions.

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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  • $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.

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    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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