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August 2015 Archives

Company Refuses to Name Possible Chemicals Released in Explosion

Two weeks ago an explosion occurred in Conroe, Texas at a drilling fluid supplier. Officials have not said what caused the initial fire, if any chemicals washed into nearby water sources, or what chemicals escaped into the air. Currently, the investigation into this incident is ongoing.

Damage Caps and the Limits on Personal Injury Awards

In June, an Oklahoma jury awarded $14,000,000 to an injured man who lost his arm while operating a crane within the course and scope of his employment. $9,000,000 was awarded for economic damages, and $5,000,000 was awarded for non-economic damages (i.e. pain and suffering). The jury was shocked when the judge announced that the award was reduced from $14,000,000, to $9,350,000. What the jury was not aware of, was that all civil actions filed in the state of Oklahoma after November 1, 2011, have a non-economic damages cap of $350,000, when a defendant's liability is found to be neither grossly negligent nor intentional.

Toyota to Recall Nearly 3 Million Cars for Defective Takata Airbags

Last month, Toyota issued another recall on various vehicle models due to defective front passenger airbag inflators. The defect has been linked to a number of reported injuries and deaths, heightening pressure on auto manufacturers of cars that use the offending airbags, as well as on government regulators to press for industry action.

Conroe Chemical Plant Explosion Believed Accidental, Investigation Continues

On Friday, August 14, Conroe was rocked by a massive explosion at the DrillChem Drilling Services plant on North Loop 336. Investigators now say that they do not suspect foul play.

E. Coli Recall Issued on Bottled Water

Niagara Bottling LLC, a California-based bottled water producer, has issued a recall on bottled water with the date range June 10th through the 18th. The recall was prompted from an E. coli scare when one of the plants tested positive for the bacteria. Stan Bratskeir, spokesman for Niagara, stated that the Department of Environmental Control and the Department of Agriculture notified the company of the plant's positive test results. This finding prompted the family-owned company to issue a voluntary recall. Bratskeir also stated the company has terminated all business relations with Far Away Springs, the water source. In addition, Bratskeir said the recalled water was from two Pennsylvania plants that account for less than 3% of Niagara's overall intake volume. The CDC recommended not drinking any of the recalled products and that people should contact their local or state health department if suspected to have consumed contaminated water.

Truck Driver Fatigue Can Cause Serious Accidents

According to the Department of Transportation, there was an average of 868 big rig crashes per day in 2012. This resulted in an average of 11 fatalities and 200 injuries every day. A 2006 Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were found to be fatigued at the time of a serious crash..

Hospitals and the Growing Rate of Anti-Biotic Resistant Bacteria

Every year, well over half a million people come down with infections during hospital visits, with 75,000 dying from them. Part of the problem is the ease at which bacteria can spread at hospitals, with sick people flowing into where compromised people already are. Many treatments weaken immune systems, allowing the bacteria to fester at a rapid pace. This also allows for super bugs to grow resistance to medications while killing off a person's protective bacteria.

Kroger Recalls Products Tested Positive for Salmonella

Kroger, the grocery store chain, has a nationwide recall on several of its spices that have tested positive for Salmonella. The four spices in question are: Kroger Ground Cinnamon, Kroger Garlic Power, Kroger Bac'n Buds, and Kroger Coarse Ground Black Pepper.

Teenage Drunk Driving

Teenagers who have been drinking and subsequently decide to drive can pose a major threat to other drivers and themselves. Due to summer break, teens have extra time for fun activities and have more time on their hands than during the school semesters.

2015 Ford Motor Company Vehicle Recalls

Ford Motor Company (Ford) released a report July 8, 2015 recalling 432,096 of its vehicles because of an engine defect. The 2015 Ford Escape vehicles manufactured between April 1, 2014 and June 12, 2015, 2015, the Ford Focus vehicles manufactured between June 17, 2014 and June 12, 2015, and the 2015 Ford C-Max vehicles manufactured between April 22, 2015 and June 12, 2015 fail to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) requirements in the "Theft Protection and Rollaway Prevention" section. Specifically, the engine defect in these vehicles causes the cars to continue running after the key is removed or the start/stop button is switched off.

Chrysler Required to Pay for Recalls

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are to pay a record $105 million for mishandling 23 separate recalls. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 11 million vehicles have been affected, and Chrysler has admitted to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) that they had violated federal safety laws. Over the years, the automaker has been criticized for their lagging response over handling recalls. It has been announced by the NHTSA that Chrysler has agreed for the next there years to "submit to rigorous federal oversight" as well as hire an independent, 3rd Party monitor.

Small Hatchbacks Top List of Deadliest Cars

Earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety published its findings in a study of death rates in accidents over 3 years for occupants of vehicle models from the 2011 model year. Proving that sometimes size really does matter, the three deadliest cars in the study were all subcompact hatchbacks built by Asian manufacturers.

Woman Hurt on Amusement Park Ride

A woman was hurt after an amusement park ride flipped over. Claiming the ride operators did not keep the riders safe, she is now taking legal action.

Cellphone Distractions in the Operating Room

While texting and driving is almost universally agreed to be one of the most dangerous habits of this current generation, dangerous texting has begun to branch out into other areas of people's lives. Interviews have shown that the medical field has had an increasing rate of errors in the operating room related to the use of personal technology, such as checking social media. Celebrity Joan Rivers, who died of cardiac arrest after her oxygen was cut off, appeared in photos with her surgeon during surgery while under anesthesia. Another incident in Dallas was reported where an anesthesiologist was emailing and texting instead of watching the patient's vital screens. This lack of attention led to the death of the patient whose dropping oxygen levels went unnoticed for 20 minutes. From checking text messages to online shopping, cellphone distractions in the medical field are rising. The handheld computer is being cemented into daily routines at a growing rate, and business policies are struggling to catch up.

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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