February 2016 Archives

Toyota Seatbelt Recall

Toyota recalled nearly three million RAV4 sport utility vehicles worldwide. This recall includes 1.33 million units in North America, 625,000 in Europe, 434 in China, and 177,000 in Japan. Uncovering a defect in the rear seatbelts resulted in the automaker's recall. In the event of a frontal collision, the seatbelts could be damaged or completely severed, leaving passengers unprotected. The automaker said in an email that the lap-shoulder seatbelts in the vehicles' second-row seats could come into contact with the metal seat cushion frame causing it to cut off. "There is a possibility that, in the event of a high-speed frontal collision, the seatbelt webbing could contact a portion of the metal cushion frame, become cut and separate," stated the company. "If this occurs, the seatbelt may not properly restrain the occupant, which could increase the risk of injury to the occupant."

Family Recovers $30M in Medical Malpractice Suit

The family of a six year old boy has settled a medical malpractice suit for $30 million against a physician who allegedly performed several experimental surgeries. Born in November 2009, the child had a leak in his esophagus, along with other conditions, none of which were life threatening. The child had surgery to repair the leak the day after he was born.

Texas a Lead State in Unfixed Cars with Open Recalls

There are more than 46 million vehicles on U.S. roads, with Carfax reporting about 20%, or 1 in 5, that have open recalls. California was reported to have 4.9 million open recalls, Texas 4.1 million open recalls, and Florida only half as many recalls. The NHTSA said that in the first 9 months of 2015 there were about 26,000 fatal car accidents on U.S. roads, 9 % higher than the previous year and the highest since 2008. While 94% of all car accidents are credited to human error, with defects like shrapnel propelling airbags (Takata Honda recall), the problem becomes much clearer.

Slick Moves: BP Personnel Most Likely to Completely Avoid Any Jail Time for 2010 Spill

In April 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded leading to the deaths of 11 workers, and spewed an estimated 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Federal prosecutors were able to secure an enormous settlement for the criminal and civil charges placed on BP, as a corporation, after this blowout. Despite the punishment against the corporation, 5 years have passed, and it is increasingly possible that not one person from BP will serve prison time.

Volkswagen Stonewalling in Emissions Case

Volkswagen has refused to provide emails or other communications among its executives to attorneys general in the United States, impeding U.S. investigations into the company's emissions-cheating scandal, citing German privacy laws. Volkswagen adds to their tumultuous relationship with American investigators, who this week inquired against the company in a civil suit through the U.S. Justice Department. Claims in the suit include that Volkswagen "impeded and obstructed" regulators' inquiries and provided "misleading information" regarding the nearly 600,000 diesel engine systems affected by the illegal emission controls in the United States.

Drunk Driving and the Dram Shop Laws

Drunk driving collisions are often some of the most horrific car accidents, leaving the victim of the drunk driver's actions severely injured or dead. Much has been done to combat drunk driving over the years and much more must be done to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. If a person is injured by a drunk driver in a car accident, they have a direct claim against the drunk driver, their insurance, their business, and their property. However, when a drunk driver has no insurance and no meaningful assets to cover the victim's injuries, the victim must look for other avenues to obtain compensation for what the defendant has done to them.

Hoverboard Explosions: The "Hottest" New Product

Amazon is offering full refunds to hoverboard purchasers. Due to the flammability of the lithium-ion batteries used to power the product, hoverboards have been implicated in multiple explosions and fires. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has investigated over forty fires and/or explosions caused by the popular product.

Hit-and-Run Driver Injures Child in East Aldine

A 12-year-old boy was struck by a car at the intersection of 7 Mile Lane and Sunny Drive in North Harris County. The driver fled the scene, and the child, identified as Jason Palmer, was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with multiple injuries including a brain hemorrhage.

Seamen's "Trinity" of Damages for Maritime Injuries

General maritime law provides injured seamen with a "trinity" of rights against employers and shipowners. First, maintenance and cure requires that the employers and shipowners of injured seamen pay for accident-related medical care and an amount for room and board. Second, when the unseaworthiness of the vessel or its crew cause the seamen's injury, then the seaman can sue for unseaworthiness in tort. Third, a Jones Act seaman has a statutory cause of action against his employer if the employer was even slightly negligent.

Honda's Engine Failure Recall

Honda is announcing a recall on one of its newest automobile models before it even hits the U.S. public market. The 2016 Honda Civic compact vehicles equipped with two-liter-four-cylinders engines have poorly installed or lack their piston pin snap rings. The cause of this dangerous mechanical error stems from neglect during factory construction. An improperly installed or missing ring can cause the pistons to rub against the engine block resulting in the vehicle to either stall or fail while being driven. The friction can also lead to the possibility of the engine igniting while being operated.

Family Mourning the Death of a Young Woman

Loved ones are mourning the untimely death of a young woman who was killed today in a motor vehicle accident in the northwestern part of our county. Law enforcement reports indicate that the driver was just 21 years old.

Medical Curtain and Sexual Harassment

Most people go to the doctor to get well - not to get sexually harassed. But a recent study found that sexual harassment by the medical profession does occur. The decade of 2003-2013 had reports of over 1,000 counts of sexual harassment, many of which were repeat offenses. The U.S. Physicians Report states that a little over 87% of victims were female, and lie in the age group of 20-39. Of the 1,000 reports, about a fourth of offenders received no punishment.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Over Gas Leak

The family of Zelda Rothman has sued the Southern California Gas Company alleging that a gas leak exacerbated Ms. Rothman's health. Ms. Rothman was suffering from lung cancer when natural gas began to leak from a well in Aliso Canyon approximately three miles from her home.

Federal Officials Warn About Shipping Hoverboards

This holiday season saw self-balancing scooters known as hoverboards became extremely popular gift items, but a federal regulator issued a safety warning on the shipping of the toys after hundreds were found improperly labeled and packaged in cargo containers. The alert was triggered when investigators with the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration intercepted 32 cargo containers filled with hoverboards that were "improperly prepared for shipment of a hazardous material" due to containing lithium batteries.

Do You Need a Maritime Injury Attorney?

If you find yourself asking whether you need a maritime injury attorney, the answer is most likely yes. Maritime and offshore accidents involve different sets of laws than other personal injury or workers' compensation claims. Depending on the case, there is often a complex framework of federal, state, and sometimes international laws that govern an injured claimants' rights. Those laws include the Jones Act, the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act, the Limitation on Liability Act, and federal general maritime law. To exercise your full rights under these laws, it is crucial to have an attorney with the experience and understanding necessary to navigate a maritime injury claim.

Carbon Monoxide Leak at Beaumont Middle School

On January 28, 2016, over one hundred students and staff members of Marshall Middle School in Beaumont fell ill after there was an apparent carbon monoxide leak. The leak was said to have originated from a boiler within the school. Around sometime in the late morning, students and faculty members started feeling ill and had trouble breathing. There have been reports that a few children were found unconscious in the hallways and nurse's office, which caused school personnel to call the Beaumont Fire Department. Upon arriving, the firefighters noticed an elevated carbon monoxide levels, and immediately evacuated the school to a nearby High School auditorium before any serious injuries occurred.

Parking Lot Injury Claims

Every day most of us will use a parking lot or a parking garage for some purpose, whether it be shopping, going to a movie, or one of a number of other activities in our daily lives. Most of the time when we step out of our car to walk to our destination we pay no mind to the dangers we could be facing in those places.

Texas Supreme Court: Owners of Totaled Vehicles May Now Claim "Loss of Use" Damages

In a triumph of common sense over legal formalism, the Texas Supreme Court held for the first time that the owner of wrongfully destroyed property may recover damages for the loss of the use of that property. This decision brings Texas in line with the majority of jurisdictions that have rejected the traditional rule limiting the owners of totally destroyed property to a recovery only of the market value of the property.

$20M Verdict Upheld by Appellate Court

Pengxuan "Dean" Diao was 23 years old when a Southern California Gas Co. employee opened a natural gas valve that activated a gas line that ran to the garage apartment where he was sleeping on January 19, 2011. The room filled with natural gas and exploded when Diao woke up and lit a cigarette.

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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