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January 2015 Archives

Medical Mistakes and the Resulting Fatalities

Patient Safety America's founder John T. James, PhD, published a study on deaths associated with needless complications in hospitals around the country, stressing the need for more health care regulation. In the study, he estimates over 400,000 American lives are lost, with the Office of Inspector General quoting separately in 2012 that 86% are not even reported.

What We Know About Oil and Gas Worker Injuries and Deaths

An April 2014 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) explores injuries and fatalities among oil and gas workers between 2007-2011. The statistics provided by the report show that Texas, not surprisingly, had the greatest number of fatalities in those years among oil and gas employees. The only other state that came close was Oklahoma.

The Cost We Pay to Pay Less at the Pump

The city of Houston is by design a driving city. Traveling from one section of the city to another is near impossible without putting yourself behind the wheel of a car. One aspect of driving that should stand out is the greatly reduced cost drivers are paying at the pump. There are obvious benefits to lower gas prices, such as the affordability to drive more frequently or spend your now available money on goods and services. This in return gives a boost to the economy. However, the current gasoline price decline is not necessarily all positive.

Used-Car "Liar Loans" Prey on Vulnerable Borrowers, Destabilize Financial Markets

The financial crisis of 2008, widely considered the worst since the Great Depression, stemmed from the securitization of risky mortgage loans sold to investors at wildly inflated prices. In essence, mortgage companies eager for even more business began encouraging borrowers to take out mortgages on homes they could not afford. These subprime mortgages - called "liar loans" by some because they were often based on falsified paperwork and inflated incomes - were then bought by investment banks that bundled them up and sold to big investors at prices that did not reflect the creditworthiness of the borrowers. When the housing bubble burst and borrowers began defaulting on their mortgage payments, the value of those investments declined, throwing the entire financial system into chaos and millions out of their homes.

Marathon Refinery Dust Release

On January 13, over 216,000 pounds of a sand like substance was released into the air from the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Texas City. The release occurred around 8 am in the morning as a result of a valve in a cracking unit that malfunctioned in the plant. Residents and business owners of Bayou Vista found their cars and houses covered in dust from this release.

Sexual Abuse Victim Awarded $4.5 Million from Texas I.S.D.

A young man who endured years of sexual abuse at the hands of his elementary school principal has been awarded a multimillion dollar verdict from a federal jury last week. In 2011, former elementary school Principal, Michael Alcoser, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography. Alcoser's abuse of the unnamed student began in 2004, when the student was only 8 years old. Now an adult, the victim filed a lawsuit against the South San Antonio Independent School District for its failure to prevent this tragedy under Title IX of the Federal Civil Rights Act.

Website shows risks to children from oil and chemical industries

It should come as no surprise to Texas residents that the oil boom has resulted in numerous accidents and toxic emissions that have injured or killed workers and residents. One website, Earthjustice.org, tracks oil and gas production throughout the United States along with other issues that impact air, water and health. The site, with its associated blog, reports on oil and gas accidents and other industrial events that raise health and safety issues for workers and people living near industrial, oil drilling and chemical sites.

Victims File Suit Following Fatal Apartment Fire in San Antonio

Residents and their families sued Wedgwood Senior Living Apartments this week after a fire killed six residents and caused injuries to many others.

Hazing Lawsuit Filed by Former Kappa Alpha Psi

A former Kappa Alpha Psi member at Stevenson University in Baltimore County has filed a $4 million hazing lawsuit stating that he was beaten so severely that he was hospitalized for a week. The lawsuit alleges that between January and March of 2013, Johnny Powell II suffered through weeks of hazing, beating, and false imprisonment. Powell looked forward to joining the fraternity's charter class of Stevenson and never imagined that joining meant he would be put through weeks of trauma.

Suit Filed Against South by Southwest

The victims and their families are suing the organizers of the South by Southwest festival claiming that the deadly accident in 2014 could have been prevented. Four people (Jamie West, De 'Andre Tatum, Steven Craenmehr and Sandy Le) died. The suits were filed by four firms on behalf of eight victims.

Texting While Driving Ban to Be Discussed During Texas Legislative Session

For the fifth straight legislative session, Texas lawmakers will consider bills proposing a state wide ban on texting while driving. At least that is what is being reported across the state in the local and regional publications. There is more momentum than ever to get it passed, but a difference of opinion among the state's new leadership regarding how to get this done may stand in its way.

Driver Headed Wrong Way Caused Fatal Head-on Collision

Two people are in critical condition, and a passenger was killed, in yet another "wrong way" collision on area highways. This is the third in a week.

Houston Cyclists Remain at Risk Despite New "Safe Passing" Law

Houston is not known to be a bike-friendly town, a problem that has continued to grow along with the city's population as the roads get more crowded. Despite increased attention to the issue, reports of cyclists being killed and seriously injured by reckless drivers have become all too frequent in recent years.

Harris County Roadways Account for More Deaths than Any Other Texas County in 2014

According to a recent report by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Harris County roadways accounted for 394 roadway fatalities in 2014, with 169 believed to be alcohol related. Both of those numbers outpaced all other Texas counties by a wide margin. By comparison, roadways in Dallas County, with 2.4 million residents, saw 223 total fatalities with 71 believed to be related to alcohol.

Auto Recalls Expected to Reach Record Numbers in 2015

The new head of the U.S. Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently stated that recent attention on defective automobiles will likely result in over 60 million vehicles being recalled in 2015.

Deadly 150-Car Pile-Up on I-94 in Michigan

A deadly freeway pile up of 150 vehicles occurred this past week in Michigan. The pile up occurred along a snowy section of Interstate-94 between Battle Creek and Galesburg, Michigan early Friday morning. According to authorities, the initial crash was small involving only a few vehicles in the eastbound lanes of traffic. The situation quickly worsened as more vehicles piled up behind the original crash, including a tractor hauling a load of fireworks and another hauling acid.

Child Severely Brain Damaged in Drunk Driver Crash Dies after Six Years

Eight-year-old Abdallah Khader of Arlington, Texas, died last Sunday morning. Abdallah had been in a near vegetative state for nearly six years since being brain damaged in a 2009 crash with a drunk driver, nearly brain-dead, strapped to a chair, and frequently suffering from pneumonia which necessitated the use of oxygen. The immediate cause of death has not been published, but it had been expected for some time that the child would ultimately die of lung failure.

Doctors Rarely Face Criminal Charges for Illegal Prescribing

Despite a 2010 law created to crack down on illegal prescribing, many Texas doctors who violate prescription drug laws have little to fear from prosecutors, even if their patients die of an overdose. In the past three years, less than a third of the 83 doctors punished by the Texas Medical Board for drug law violations involving two or more patients were charged criminally.

Keurig Recalls Over 7 Million Brewing Systems After Users Report Burns

Keurig Green Mountain announced a recall of more than 7.3 million of its single-serve coffee brewers after receiving numerous reports that the systems sprayed hot liquids onto the user and caused burns.

Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Brake Issue Leads to Recall

A brake issue has developed in certain Harley-Davidson Dyna and Softail motorcycles and, as a result, the company has recalled 19,000 of these motorcycles. Harley-Davidson believes the brake issue could increase the risk of crash.

FELT Bicycle Recall

On December 02, 2014, the California based bicyclical company FELT issued a safety recall on two of their cyclocross bicycles. Both the 2015 F65X and F85X have been recalled due to defects with the frame of the bicycle. The frame on the bicycle may potentially weaken and crack or even break when put through the regular stress of everyday riding. This could lead to serious injury due to the rider loosing control of the bike resulting in a fall.

Got a New Keurig for Christmas? Some Things You Need to Know about the Recall on Older Models.

Chances are you have attended a gift exchange event where a Keurig coffeemaker was a gift. Keurig coffeemakers have been a hot item for various Christmas gift exchanges for several years now. The Keurig coffeemaker derives its popularity from its simple no-mess setup that delivers a single-serving cup of coffee in a matter of moments. Ideal for home and office use, it's no surprise there are millions in circulation throughout the country.

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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