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April 2015 Archives

Takata Airbags and Recall Laws

Over the past 7 years, 17 million vehicles with defective airbags have been recalled by Takata Corp, who manufactures for over 10 automakers, such as Honda. At the slightest accident the airbags deploy with excessive force and irregular reports of shrapnel. One such incident caused a severely damaged hand, a broken eye socket and fractures, while the vehicle had only sustained a crack in the bumper. Despite the faulty part and due to the present law requiring the vehicle to be within a 10-year ownership mark, the vehicle was labeled "too old" to be included in the recall.

Downtown Drivers Ignore New Bike Lane on Lamar

As part of the increased efforts by Mayor Parker to make Houston a more bicycle-friendly city, the city recently completed the conversion of one lane of Lamar Street downtown to a two-way cycling route. This route connects the Buffalo Bayou trails west of downtown to Discovery Green. The lane stands out with its bright green paint and speed bumps separating it from the car-friendly lanes.

Alcohol Suspected in Fatal Weekend Crash

Alcohol use is suspected in a wreck that killed one and injured seven on Sunday. At about 10:30 p.m., a motorist driving a Chevrolet Trailblazer on FM 3083 allegedly drove off of the main portion of the road and onto the shoulder; in response, the driver then apparently suddenly corrected and veered leftwards, into oncoming traffic. He hit a Toyota head on.

School Bus Accidents: Not an Uncommon Occurrence

Accidents involving school buses in and around Houston are not an uncommon occurrence. This unfortunate truth was evident on Monday, April 13th. Shortly after school let out, two HISD school buses carrying children from Elmore Elementary and Burris Elementary in Houston collided. The accident occurred on a narrow, two-lane road. The impact caused one bus to be pushed into a ditch. Thirteen children and one bus driver were transported to the hospital.

Labor Department Considering New Safeguards to Protect Retirees

The U.S. Department of Labor is considering new rules to protect retiree-investors by cracking down on arrant investment brokers. The rules would help ensure that retired investors, many of whom rely on their retirement investment accounts to provide for them in old age, are not taken advantage of by brokers harboring undisclosed conflicts of interest. Under the proposed rules, the brokers would be required by law to do what commonsense and basic scruples should dictate anyway: act in the best interest of the retirees who give them their money to invest.

HNBA Now Accepting Applications for Legal Education Action Program

The Hispanic National Bar Association's Legal Education Fund (HNBA-LEF) is now accepting applications for its high school pipeline program the Legal Education Action Program (LEAP). This year LEAP is being held in Houston, Texas on June 21-28th. LEAP was started in 2013 in order to provide Hispanic students with a legal education-immersion program that allows students to learn about the legal profession from different perspectives. The goal of LEAP is to increase the number of Hispanics entering the legal field.

Jury Awards Verdict Against Children's Hospital Colorado

In February 2008, Naomi Pressey was scheduled for surgery. On the operating table, Naomi went into cardiac arrest. Doctors were unable to resuscitate her for 33 minutes. She suffered a brain injury, which caused cerebral palsy and other medical problems. Now seven, Naomi suffers from intellectual disability, cognitive impairment, and motor skill impairment. She requires around-the-clock medical care.

What's the Matter With Bell County?

construction road construction.jpgTexas Road Construction Season Invites Reflection

Driving in Texas after road construction season begins can be frustrating. Drivers can spend lots of time sitting in traffic and moving very slowly. However, for a few Texas drivers, road construction season results in deadly accidents, not just irritation. In 2013, there were 115 fatalities in work zones on Texas roadways. Additionally, there were 3,528 serious injuries as a result of crashes at road construction sites.

Tractor-Trailer Wrecks Linked to Increasing Speed Limits and Tire Design

Tractor-trailers driving faster than 75 miles per hour have been linked to higher rates of blowouts and wrecks due to increasing speed limits and tire design, the Associated Press reports.

Leaders from Across the United States Show Support for President Obama's Executive Order

President Obama's immigration plan has been at a standstill since mid-February when a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction. This injunction halted the implantation process of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) Program.

Sunday Streets: Celebrating the Streets of Houston

Houston is not known as a pedestrian- or biker-friendly city. Houstonians love to drive and traffic on busy streets can be horrific. Public transportation is shunned by many residents and cyclists are often afraid of the many road warriors clogging the streets. In an effort to reopen these busy streets to pedestrians, cyclists, joggers, and families, the city of Houston started a program called Sunday Streets.

18-Wheelers Are Driving Too Fast for Their Tires

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) closed an investigation into 16 tire blowouts on 18-wheelers. Government officials concluded that each blowout was caused by truck drivers exceeding the 75 mile per hour rating on their tires. While big rig tire blowouts have been linked to accidents in the past, recent changes in the maximum allowable speed limits for several states have caused a new inquiry.

Georgia Jury Holds Automaker Accountable for Car Fire that Killed 4-Year-Old Boy

After fewer than two hours of deliberation, a jury in Bainbridge, Georgia, found the manufacturer of a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee liable for the death of a four-year-old boy who was killed when his family's SUV went up in flames after being rear-ended, causing its fuel tank to leak. The jury ordered the Fiat Chrysler to pay $150 million in damages to the boy's family.

Recent Report Highlights the Use of Force on Students by School Police Officers

According to a recent report by the Houston Chronicle, police officers in Houston area school districts have used force on students and trespassers over 1,300 times over the past four years. Certainly, school police officers provide an invaluable service by protecting students and teachers. However, reports of the use of excessive or unnecessary force raise concerns regarding the safety local students.

Cell Phones Are a Big Distraction for Teen Drivers

Distractions play a larger role than previously thought in car accidents and were responsible for about six of every ten moderate to severe crashes, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Graco to Pay Millions for Defective Child Seats

Graco Children's Products is paying $10 million to settle the claims that Graco failed to recall promptly approximately four million child car seats that had defective buckles that could make it difficult to free a child in an emergency situation. Federal regulators, and in particular the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reported Graco would pay a $3 million fine, but would also spend an additional $7 million to develop safety programs.

Collision Results in Chemical Spill in the Houston Ship Channel

On March 9, the medium range tanker Carla Maersk collided with the supramax bulk carrier Conti Peridot in the Houston Shipping Channel off Morgan's Point. While news sources report no injuries, the collision ruptured Carla Maersk's tanks, spilling thousands of barrels of the flammable chemical MTBE. The spill caused the shutdown of an 8-mile portion of the 50-mile waterway for nearly two days, and resulted in a "shelter-in-place" order for residents of Morgan's Point.

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 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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