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January 2016 Archives

Child Killed in Golf-Cart Crash in Trinity County

A six-year old girl has been killed in a golf-cart crash in Trinity County, Texas. The tragic accident occurred in the afternoon on Sunday, January 17th 2016. The little girl was visiting with her family on a trip from Bacliff, Texas. According to ABC13, "Officials say two children were in a golf cart when it overturned onto its side while making a turn."

First Trial Involving General Motors Recall Thrown Out

General Motors issued a recall last year for faulty ignition switches that resulted in fatal accidents for many affected cars. The switch would fall out of place from its 'On' placement, and knock out power steering, cause a stall while driving, or disable airbags. Despite their claims of fixing the problem, new information alleges that GM knew of the defect for over a decade before acting on it, when a case was brought against them. The information was revealed in an investigation following the claim, as well as shedding light to an estimated 30 million cars carrying the defect.

Ford is Being Investigated by Federal Agency Concerning Doors that Will Not Close

On January 20, 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it will conduct an investigation on 2012-2013 Ford Focus cars, which have been reported to have faulty latches on the car doors. There have been complaints on over 400,000 Ford Focus cars. A Ford spokesman has stated that Ford will cooperate and assist the NHTSA on finding out how the issue occurred and how to fix the problem. Currently, the NHTSA is just investigating the complaints regarding the 2012-2013 Ford Focus cars; no recalls have been issued by either Ford or the NHTSA.

Explosion in Pasadena, TX

On Saturday, January 16, 2016, an explosion occurred in Pasadena, Texas in the Bayport complex at a plant run by PeroxyChem. The explosion happened at a tank holding an oil-based cleaning solution. Three people were injured and one person died.

How Speeding, Overinflated Tires, and Failure of an Airbag to Deploy Left One Man Dead and Son Severely Injured

This case arises out of a fatal, near head-on, automobile crash that occurred in January of 2013 in Texas. On January 9, 2013, a father and his son were traveling home from work in their Ford truck. At the same time, another man, while in the course and scope of his employment, was traveling in the opposite direction on the highway in his Dodge truck.

The El Faro Disaster Demonstrates Why the Limitation on Liability Act Should Be Repealed

On October 1, 2015, the El Faro sank near the Bahamas during Hurricane Joaquin. Thirty-three crewmembers perished. Investigations since the accident have raised questions over whether the vessel was seaworthy and why it would sail into the path of a category four hurricane. The vessel is known to have experienced engine failure before her disappearance.

Pasadena Chemical Plant Explosion Leave One Dead, Three injured

A contractor was killed on Saturday in an explosion at a chemical tank at the PeroxyChem's Bayport plant in Pasadena, Texas. Two plant employees and a second contractor were taken to a hospital for injuries sustained in the explosion and an ensuing chemical spill.

Chipotle's Next Move

Chipotle is going back to the basics in an attempt to reboot their image after several outbreaks of E. Coli, Salmonella, and norovirus that caused illness to many customers across the country. The fast casual food chain announced that they are going to temporarily close their restaurants on February 8th to give employee training and discuss food safety protocol. The company has already established a new cooking method and hired a food safety expert to test produce before it is distributed to restaurants. Many food safety organizations believe a shut down dedicated to employee knowledge and training will show that Chipotle takes the health and safety of their customers seriously.

Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Personal Injury Protection and Why You Need It

BAM! You were suddenly involved in a car wreck that was someone else's fault and you are injured. What do you do? Well, other than seeking medical treatment, most people know that you should get the other person's insurance information if you are able to, in order to make a claim. However, there could potentially be two issues that arise with this: 1) the at-fault driver may not have liability insurance to pay for your injuries, or 2) the at-fault driver may not have ENOUGH liability insurance to pay for your injuries. What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones? 

Listeria Found in Blue Bell Facilities, Not Product

The final phase of market entry for Blue Bell ice cream is set for a two week period starting January 18, 2016. During this time frame, Blue Bell ice cream products will become available in parts of Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. This comes after a CBS report in December stating that the Unites States Department of Justice was allegedly investigating any Blue Bell Officials that may have had prior knowledge of Listeria contaminated products and factories before the massive recall, but the company had declined to comment on it.

Collapsed Scaffolding Results in Death of Three Men

On March 23, 2015, construction workers were working on an 11 story building when the exterior lift system collapsed. Three men died; their families have filed suit against some of the construction companies involved.

Trader Joe's Ginger Brew Recall

New Years is generally celebrated with bubbling champagne at midnight. An explosion of ginger ale on the other hand isn't a great substitution of this old time tradition. Trader Joe's of Monrovica, CA recently announced a voluntary year-end recall of its Triple Ginger Brew due to the bottle's seemingly spontaneous combustion. This comes after the walnut recall from the beginning of the year for salmonella concerns.

Blue Bell Being Criminally Investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice

TexasBarToday_TopTen_Badge_Large.jpgOn June 10, 2015, the popular Blue Bell ice cream company was linked to a listeria outbreak after it was found that their product caused 10 patients to be infected with the disease. Blue Bell voluntarily recalled all products a month before. Blue Bell opened up its plants in November after extensive retraining and cleaning of the plant. However, on December 24, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) began its own criminal investigation on the deaths that occurred as a result of the listeria infection.

Pedestrian Killed Today

The year 2016 began tragically for the family and loved ones of a young man who was killed this morning. The unnamed person was struck as he was walking across the street. The incident occurred near the intersection of Taft and Westheimer. Preliminary news reports indicate that, at about 12:30 a.m., the deceased was crossing Westheimer with a green light. According to witnesses, a dark sedan was traveling fast as it headed eastbound on Westheimer. The car ran the red light and hit the pedestrian. The vehicle did not stop afterwards, and the man, who appeared to be in his twenties, died at the scene. The Houston Police Department is looking for the driver of the car, who could be charged with a felony.

United States Files Complaint Against Volkswagen for Alleged Clean Air Act Violations

On January 4, 2016, the Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche (collectively known as Volkswagen). The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impaired their emission control systems and caused emissions to exceed EPA's standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. The complaint further alleges that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States, motor vehicles that are designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The lawsuit asks for penalties of up to $37,500 per car totalling a possible $90 billion, significantly higher than estimates made last September.

First Case in GM Ignition Switch Recall

The first of six bellwether trials for claims remaining against General Motors Co. will begin this month in New York City. The plaintiff in this first trial, Robert S. Scheuer, suffered a vehicular collision in Oklahoma. Mr. Scheuer blames a faulty ignition switch for preventing his airbags from deploying during the crash. It will be the first from hundreds of lawsuits filed against GM after it revealed in 2014 that faulty ignition switches in Chevy Cobalts and other small cars required recall. The ignition switches can slip out of the on position and cause the cars to turn off the air bags, stall, and stop the power steering.

Cruise Ship Illnesses and Injuries Require Maritime Lawyers

Numerous vacationers are stricken each year with illness or injury while traveling aboard cruise liners. Recently, outbreaks of norovirus aboard cruise liners have brought to light inadequate sanitation, cleanliness, and training of cruise liner employees. The Centers for Disease Control tracks norovirus outbreaks for international cruises lasting longer than three days where more than 3% of the vessel population is affected. In 2015, the CDC reported twelve separate norovirus outbreaks involving widely used cruise lines, such as Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line.

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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