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May 2016 Archives

Suit Alleges Bar Overserved Motorcyclist Leading to Passenger's Death

In August of 2015, Caitlin Clark, then 19 years old, died while a passenger on a motorcycle. Her father has filed suit against Tin Roof Acquisition Co. LLC for overserving alcohol to the motorcycle driver, who became "grossly intoxicated."

Supreme Court Applies Medical Malpractice Law to Handling a Corpse

Should the extensive protections afforded to negligent doctors under Texas' medical malpractice laws apply to a hospital's wrongful handling of a corpse? On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court said "yes."

Harris County Attorney Ryan's Team Members Named to Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in VW Lawsuit

Members of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan's litigation team, including Abraham Watkins' own Benny Agosto, Jr., (working alongside firm partner Mo Aziz), has been named to the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee in the air pollution lawsuit against Volkswagen for fraudulently manipulating emission controls in its vehicles.

The Basics of Medical Malpractice in Texas

If you believe your injury or medical condition was either caused by or worsened due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

"Manifest Disregard" Dead in Texas: Texas Supreme Court Disapproves of Common-Law Grounds for Vacating Arbitration Awards

In an opinion handed down last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court held that, where an arbitration is governed by the Texas General Arbitration Act, or "TAA," courts cannot vacate the arbitration award on the grounds that the arbitrator "manifestly disregarded the law." Justice Debra Lerhmann, writing for a unanimous Court in Hoskins v. Hoskins, reasoned that the language of the TAA "could not be plainer" in requiring that a "trial court 'shall confirm' an award unless vacatur is required under one of the enumerated grounds" in the statute, "which do not include an arbitrator's manifest disregard of the law."

Hawaii Sues Takata on Behalf of Consumers as Recall List Expands to 40 Million Airbags

Earlier this month, Takata Corp., the Japanese airbag manufacturer, announced that it would expand recalls for defective airbag inflators to 40 million.

Changes for Consumer Suits Against Banks on the Horizon

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection recently issued a proposed rule that would restore consumers' rights to bring class-action lawsuits against financial firms, such as banks and credit card companies. The proposed rule would prevent enforcement of arbitration clauses requiring consumers to present their disputes to private arbitrators favorable to the financial firms.

Yet Another Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico

Last week, a Shell oil facility leaked nearly 90,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, according to federal authorities. The spill has left a two-mile by thirteen-mile sheen in the Gulf, approximately 165 miles southwest of New Orleans. The spill was first noticed near Shell's Brutus platform on Thursday morning.

8 Dead, 44 Injured in Charter Bus Crash in Texas

Eight people died and 44 others were injured after a charter bus heading from the Rio Grande Valley to Eagle Pass rolled over on a south Texas highway last Saturday. Seven people were pronounced dead at the scene, an eighth person died at a hospital, and the 44 others were transported to hospitals in the nearby Laredo and Dimmit Counties.

Doghouse Slid Out of Truck and Caused Fatalities

Alyssa Chambers, a woman whose husband and 4-year-old daughter were killed after a doghouse fell out of a man's truck and caused a pileup, has filed a lawsuit. Mrs. Chambers has sued the man who had the doghouse in his truck, a woman who rear-ended the car she was in, and the woman's employer.

New Standards for Lawyers Seeking Texas Board Certification in Civil Trial Law

The Texas Supreme Court has approved new standards in regards to becoming board certified in civil trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Members of the Court, as well as the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and their Advisory Committee, worked with Exam Commissioners and the State Bar of Texas to update the certification criteria to make them more flexible. Because of the decreased availability of jury trials throughout not only Texas, but the nation, board certification organizers have been forced to alter criteria to continue to certify potential applicants.

A Call for Transparency in the Medical Profession

When you are involved in a car wreck, the police investigate. If there is an injury, by law the officers must prepare and file a Crash Report. That Crash Report is part of the public record. Policymakers and citizens can use it to make decisions to improve safety on our streets.

Contractor Fatally Injured at Exxon Mobil Plant in Beaumont

On Wednesday, May 11, 2016, a contractor was fatally injured at the Exxon Mobil plant in Beaumont, Texas. Emergency officials were called to the plant around 12:30 a.m. The refinery, chemicals plant, and lube plant are located on approximately 2,400 acres near downtown Beaumont. The refinery processes approximately 365,000 barrels of crude oil per day and produces 2.8 billion gallons of gasoline annually and employs approximately 2,000 people and more than 1,000 contractors.

Federal Judge Allows Women to Sue Uber for Alleged Sexual Assaults

A federal judge said two women whom allege sexual assault against Uber drivers can to sue the company for the alleged attacks. One sexual assault allegation comes out of South Carolina and the other from Boston. In San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston stated the accusations of sexual assault made against the Uber drivers may be valid due to the possibility that the drivers were acting in the scope of their employment when the crimes occurred. Uber argued that the divers are independent contractors, the company is not responsible for their actions, and the lawsuits should be dismissed. In addition, Uber made the argument that one of the drivers may not have even used the company cellphone app before the alleged assault, further indicating he was not working for Uber at the time of the alleged incident, independent contractor or not.

18-Wheeler Rules and Regulations

In the trucking industry, there are numerous regulations put in place in order to protect individuals from harmful and potentially deadly crashes. However, at times these regulations are not followed and can lead to death or serious injury if a person is involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler and/or commercial vehicle. Below are some of the highlights of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's regulations. A complete list of regulations can be viewed on the FMCSA's website.

Lawsuit Alleges Snapchat's Speed Filter Constitutes Negligence

In September of 2015, Maynard Wentworth sustained a traumatic brain injury when a teen driver, Christal McGee, struck his vehicle at 107 miles per hour. As a result of the accident, he was hospitalized for four months.

The Proliferation of Binding, Pre-Dispute Arbitration Provisions

Mandatory pre-dispute binding arbitration, also known as forced arbitration, clauses are becoming increasingly widespread in many different settings, including the vast majority of consumer contracts. Such consumer contracts include credit card and cell phone agreements, car sales documents, housing contracts, rental car agreements, brokerage agreements and most agreements to buy nearly anything on the internet. Courts have numerously enforced these mouse print contracts against consumers, employees, and patients.

"Textalyzer" Bill Introduced in New York Legislature

Earlier this month, a bill was introduced in the New York State Assembly that would allow police officers to scan the cell phones of drivers in a car crash to determine whether they were texting. Called "Evan's Law" after the late son of Ben Lieberman, one of the bill's proponents, the bill is aimed at the growing epidemic of distracted driving.

Distracted Driving in the U.S.

It is speculated that the United States has the world's worst problem with distracted driving. The past few years have shown a major increase in distracted driving accidents, with approximately 3,300 fatalities each year. The biggest distraction is texting while driving, which results in 500,000 injuries or deaths per year. As a result, personal injury lawsuits are on a rise. For example, a wrongful death lawsuit was recently filed in California after an Uber driver who was on the phone hit a mother and her daughter while they were crossing the street.

Danger on Area Roadways

This was a deadly weekend on area roadways. At least four people died in vehicle-related incidents. And, recent media reports indicate that more than forty drivers were charged in March with felony dwi.

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