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December 2016 Archives

Continued Danger from Fires

Although we have virtually completed 2016, two more residential fires are in the news. One occurred last night in the Klein area. The blaze consumed the house. Thankfully, no people were reportedly injured, though a family's pets are missing. The second occurred about dawn today, and three individuals are deceased. Authorities are investigating to determine if foul play was involved in that incident.

Boating Incident Leaves Man Paralyzed

In 2010, Scott Vandenberg and his wife, Patricia Vandenberg, filed a lawsuit in Cook County, Illinois in the Circuit Court. The lawsuit stemmed from an incident that occurred the prior year, in 2009, when Mr. Vandenberg was catastrophically injured while attending his company's party on a yacht. Mr. Vandenberg fell from the top deck of the yacht to the bottom deck, and unfortunately, he broke his neck from the fall and was rendered quadriplegic. The yacht was owned by Brunswick Corporation and was being chartered by RQM, L.L.C.

Thirteen People Injured After Crash Involving Two Buses and a Semi-Truck

The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating a bus crash that involved two passenger buses and a semi-truck that occurred on December 21, 2016. Thirteen people were taken to the hospital.

E-Cigarette Explosions

Four New Jersey residents who suffered third-degree burns when their e-cigarette batteries ignited "like a rocket" are suing the shops that sold the "defective" devices.

More Than Two Dozen Killed in Fireworks Blast

Explosions ripped through the San Pablito fireworks market north of Mexico City on Tuesday, killing at least 29 people and injuring dozens more. The explosion occurred in Tultepec, about 25 miles north of Mexico City. The town is known for its pyrotechnics industry and the market is popular for fireworks sales. The market was especially crowded as locals shopped for fireworks to mark Christmas and New Year celebrations. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known; however, this is the third such explosion to occur at the market since 2005.

South Texas Prison Bus Crashes After Coming Upon Another Crash Scene

Early in the morning on Friday, December 16, 2016, a prison bus crashed in Willacy County, Texas carrying sixteen prisoners and two correctional officers. Of those, sixteen were taken to the hospital due to their injuries. Early reports indicate that the bus swerved to avoid yet another crash that the bus was approaching. As a result the bus careened off of the road and into a pole. The bus was laid onto its side with injured prisoners still shackled inside.

Houston Hit-and-Run Driver Kills One and Injures Another

Two pedestrians were struck at around 2:15 a.m. early Friday morning by a pickup truck while trying to cross the street on Highway 249 near Fallbrook. One of the pedestrians, a 45-year-old woman, died at the scene, while the other, an 18-year-old-male, was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The woman was hit by another car after falling to the ground, but the driver of that car stayed at the scene and cooperated with law enforcement. The pickup, which Harris County Sheriff's deputies say is possibly an older-model red Chevrolet based on parts that fell off the vehicle, fled the scene after the collision.

Workplace Injuries

More than 350,000 workplace fatalities and more than 270 million workplace injuries occur annually worldwide. Efforts by the United States government to ensure workplace health and safety were minimal until President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on December 29, 1970. The Act created the three agencies that administer it which are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions.

Hospital Acquired Infections

In 2011, about 650,000 people across the United States developed infections after being admitted into hospitals. Of the 650,000, 75,000 patients died as a result. About 5% of those deaths were due to infections from central lines, a direct IV to a person's larger veins during an emergency. Since patients with such IVs are already in delicate conditions, an infection is very often fatal-especially if it is from a drug resistant bug that is becoming more and more common. Central line infections are also very expensive to treat, averaging over $45,000 per patient. Consumer Report places Texas at the middle for the national target for avoiding central line infections, with Louisiana being the worst and Hawaii being the best.

Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. Files Second Lawsuit Against Church's Chicken

On or about October 17, 2015, a family and their children visited a Church's Chicken restaurant located at 1949 FM Road 2234, Missouri City, Texas 77489, to purchase their family dinner for the evening. This Church's Chicken was owned, operated, managed and/or controlled by Defendants MSK Enterprises, Inc. and Silvestri Investments, Inc. The family's little boy was outside the restaurant with his cousin, while the rest of his family waited inside for the food order to be completed. The little boy was next to an exterior wall composed of cement bricks. Suddenly and without warning, the wall began to collapse, and cement bricks fell on top of the little boy, burying him beneath. He was 9 years old at the time and weighed only 39 pounds. As a result, the little boy sustained serious and permanent injuries, including but not limited to, a right subtrochanteric femur fracture necessitating surgery and nail and screw locking implants.

Exhausted Driving is As Dangerous and Drunk Driving

For years, we have all heard about the dangers of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In the last few years, concerns with texting and driving have become newsworthy with many municipalities making it illegal. New studies now show that sleep deprived drivers are just as dangerous as drivers who have had three to four alcoholic drinks.

Driving While Intoxicated Leads to Death

Friends and family members are saddened by the death of a passenger who was killed in a wreck this past weekend involving an intoxicated driver. And the driver is facing felony charges.

OSHA Safety Regulations Ignored as Injuries and Deaths Increase

Firm partner Benny Agosto, Jr. and firm attorney Jay Jackson, filed a new lawsuit on behalf of the wife and family of a worker who lost his life in an excavation/trench collapse earlier this year. The man's employer has been sued for gross negligence in the lawsuit filed by Mr. Agosto.

Mazda Recall Over Gas Leak Problems

Mazda North America is recalling nearly 70,000 of its RX-8 sports cars because they are prone to fuel leaks that carry the potential to spark fires according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Children's Homeopathic Ear and Teething Relief Products Recalled Due to Belladonna

Recently, the FDA posted a voluntary recall from Raritan Pharmaceuticals of homeopathic children's remedies containing belladonna extract. Belladonna, also known as "deadly nightshade," is a plant traditionally used in herbal remedies that can be poisonous, and even fatal, if consumed in a sufficiently large dose. The recall affects the following Raritan products: Kids Relief Homeopathic Ear Relief Oral Liquid, CVS Homeopathic Kids' Ear Relief Liquid, and CVS Homeopathic Infants' Teething Tablet.

Ford Recalls Cars Over Seat Belt Safety

Ford is recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles due to a possible defect in the front seat belts of several models. The company says the pre-tension deployment system can fail, preventing the seatbelts from properly restraining an individual in a car accident. The pre-tension system automatically tightens the seatbelts when a driver stops a vehicle, preventing the buildup of slack in the restraints. The recall covers certain 2013 to 2016 Ford Fusion, 2013 to 2015 Lincoln MKZ and 2015 and 2016 Ford Mondeo cars.

Fifth Circuit Rules on Applicability of the "Collateral Source Rule" for Medical Benefits Paid Under a Workers' Compensation Insurance Policy Required by the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the "collateral source rule," which prevents a defendant from reducing his liability by the amount a plaintiff recovers from independent sources such as health insurance, does not apply when the defendant's workers' compensation insurance carrier pays benefits pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). Under the court's ruling, written off portions of billed medical expenses are not recoverable when the remaining portion of the billed medical expenses were paid through LHWCA workers' compensation insurance.

E-Cigarette Explosion Injury

In December 2015, James Dardini's e-cigarette exploded a few hours after he arrived at work. Mr. Dardini, who had smoked his e-cig during his 60 mile commute, suffered burn injuries to his leg. In July 2015, James Lauria also suffered serious injuries to his mouth, face, and hand when his e-cig exploded while taking a break from his job as a concierge at the Beach House in Destin, Florida. Both men have filed suit.

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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When you are hurt and you choose a law firm to represent you in court or at the negotiation table, you need to carefully consider the firm's record.

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