November 2014 Archives

Texas Leads the Nation in Thanksgiving Deep-Fried Turkey Accidents

When I discovered that there were other ways to cook a Thanksgiving turkey than the traditional oven-roasting method, it was a revelation. You can smoke it, braise it, stuff it with other birds, or even roast it in a trash can piled with charcoal. None of these methods are as fast or (arguably) delicious as that Southern tradition, deep-frying. Unfortunately, none of these methods are as dangerous as deep-frying, either.

Babies from Mexico May Have Been Exposed to TB at an El Paso Hospital

The general director of the Juárez Health Department, Dr. Hugo Staines Orozco, said the state health department notified the Mexican government that 86 babies may have been exposed to a tuberculosis infected patient care technician who worked with the newborns at Providence Memorial Hospital in El Paso. Initially, Providence reported that 27 of more than 850 babies possibly exposed during that time were from Mexico. Of the Mexican infants identified, 45 are from Juárez. Another 24 infants are from Chihuahua City and the remainder are from 13 other Mexican cities.

Houston Attorney Honored by Anti-Defamation League

Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. was recently honored by the Anti-Defamation League at the second annual Houston in Concert Against Hate: A Theatre Tribute to American Civil Rights. Mr. Agosto was one of just six Houstonians awarded the ADL Civil Rights Medal for his work in advancing the cause of civil rights.

Death of Expectant Mother Attributed to Design Flaw in Vehicle

On November 11, 2014, Kayla White died when her 2003 Jeep Liberty was rear-ended and suddenly caught on fire with Ms. White trapped inside. According to investigators, Ms. White's car ignited when her vehicle's fuel tank, which is positioned below the rear bumper and behind the rear axle, was ruptured.

Feds Investigate Deadly DuPont Chemical Leak

Investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board are investigating the cause of the chemical leak which killed four workers and hospitalized a fifth at the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte last Saturday. According to DuPont, a valve on a container of the gas malfunctioned, but the CSB-the federal agency which is charged with investigating chemical accidents-is investigating how the leak was able to kill four people when there was no fire or explosion. In addition, a lawsuit was filed against DuPont today by the daughter of one of the victims.

Fracking Boom Causes Increase in Traffic Accidents

Studies have shown that the drilling and fracking boom has been a major contributor to fatal accidents for industry workers, and also for vehicle drivers on Texas roadways. Texas currently has one of the highest accident rates of any state in the country.

Defective Airbags Result in Fatalities

A lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles claims the Takata Corporation discovered a defect in its airbags around ten years ago and then destroyed the records of the study. Approximately 8 million cars have been recalled. Most of the recalled vehicles were built by Honda Motor, which is also named as a defendant in the suit.

Warehouse Worker Safety and Training Essential to an Injury-Free Work Environment

Warehouse workers are an invaluable piece of the American workforce. Throughout the country, they ensure that products are properly stored, shipped, and packaged. There is however, a high price for this profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is an average of 4.9-recorded nonfatal injuries per 100 warehouse workers each year. OSHA reports forklifts result in 100 deaths and over 95,000 injuries each year.

Unsafe Rear Shock Leads to Recall

Cane Creek has issued a recall for their DBINLINE Rear Shock. The shocks have labels which indicates the direction to turn a knob on the shock to adjust the High Speed Rebound ("HSR") damping. The adjuster works by turning the knob counter clock wise to increase tension and counter clockwise to decrease it. The problem with the labels is that they direct the rider to spin the adjuster in the opposite direction from the desired result. Put plainly, the plus and minus symbols are switched.

Pop-Up Hampers Causing Injuries

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received several complaints regarding pop-up hampers springing loose and causing serious injuries to consumers. There are now concerns that consumers are at risk of severely injuring their eyes or losing an eye. The injuries can be very serious and consumers should take precaution when purchasing and using these hampers.

Uber and Lyft are legal in Houston, but what about insurance?

After nearly a year of debate in the Houston City Council, ordinance permitting ridesharing apps such as Uber and Lyft* to operate legally in Houston became effective last week. Previously, ridesharing operators were considered to be operating unlicensed taxis in violation of Houston's vehicles for hire ordinances, and their attempts to change the law were opposed by traditional taxi companies and drivers as well as other interest groups. The argument covered topics ranging from accessibility to the disabled to driver compensation to driver background checks,* but perhaps no topic was more important from a public protection standpoint than insurance.

Medical Implant Manufacturer, Stryker, Settles Hip Implant Lawsuits for Over $1 Billion

Fortune 500 medical device manufacturer Stryker Corporation has reached an agreement to settle thousands of lawsuits with patients who have been forced to have surgery to remove their problematic hip implants. The medical implant manufacturer is expected to pay at least $1.43 billion to thousands of patients across 39 states. Indeed, according to attorneys that negotiated the deal, "the settlement represents one of the largest medical device settlements with an unlimited compensation fund."

Chrysler Automobile Recall

Chrysler is recalling more than 500,000 models. Problems with the recalled models include failing alternator, power mirrors that can start a fire, airbag sensors, and head restraints. The 2011-2014 Dodge Charger, Challenger, Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Chrysler 300 are among the models currently being recalled.

Defective Airbags Causing Major Injuries

Airbags are meant to help decrease major injuries during automobile accidents. Unfortunately since their introduction three decades ago, there has been much speculation as to their actual effect. The recent recall of Japan's Takata Corporation's airbags has caused this speculation to increase. After several incidents where airbags caused serious injuries and even death to drivers, an investigation took place regarding Takata's airbags.

Fedex Sued for Wrongful Death

On April 10, 2014, a FedEx truck collided with a chartered bus. Several high school students, their chaperones, and the bus driver were killed. Senio Taiao, the husband of Talalelei Lealao-Taiao, the bus driver, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against FedEx.

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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