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April 2017 Archives

Suspected Propane Explosion Levels Home in Dawson, TX

On April 20, 88-year-old Dwain Spruiell and his wife, Cathy, were hosting out of town relatives when their home suddenly and unexpectedly exploded. The force of the blast leveled their home and shattered the windows at a nearby church. The Navarro County Sheriff's Office is still investigating the explosion, but the home's propane system is suspected to be the root cause.

Families of Track Student Athletes Sue for 25 Million

On March 24, 2017 students from Pleasant High School were returning home after a track meet. The bus was carrying 32 students. An 18-wheeler owned by Rooney Trucking sideswiped the Mount Pleasant High School bus and the collision resulted in the deaths of two people.

Wrong-Way Driver Dies and Seriously Injures Another in a Head-On Collision

On early Sunday morning, April 9, 2017, the driver of an SUV entered I-45 at Richey and headed north in the southbound lanes, causing a fatal head-on collision. The incident occurred on the northbound and southbound lanes of I-45 around 5:45 a.m. The impact caused the driver of the SUV's vehicle to spin and catch fire trapping them in the vehicle. The driver of the SUV died on impact, and the driver of the other vehicle was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital by helicopter in serious condition.

Recent Study Demonstrates the Value of Seeking a Second Medical Opinion

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that more than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion had previously been misdiagnosed by their primary care physician. During the two-year study, researchers examined the records of 286 patients who had seen primary care physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 2009 and 2010. Nearly two-thirds of the patients were under the age of 64, and the majority of patients were female. After receiving an initial diagnosis, each patient sought a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic's General Internal Medicine Division. Of the 286 patients, only 36 patients (12 percent) had received confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct. In 63 cases (21 percent), the diagnosis was completely changed meaning the patient had been misdiagnosed by their primary care physician. In the remaining 188 cases (66 percent), patients received a refined or redefined diagnosis. Researchers did not find any significant differences between provider types.

Self-Driving Cars: Who is Responsible When They Crash?

We have heard a lot lately about the coming age of the "self driving car." With Google, Tesla, and Uber fielding autonomous cars, and traditional automakers like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Infiniti not far behind, there has been a lot of concern over whether self-driving cars are safe. With the first self-driving cars have come the first self-driving car crashes, and now we are faced with the question: who is legally responsible when a self-driving car crashes?

When Longshoremen and Stevedores Bring Suit: Vessel Duties Under the LHWCA

Like most maritime accident claims, injuries to longshoremen and stevedores can involve a complex web of state and federal laws. The Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act (LHWCA) and case law interpreting the LHWCA outline three duties that vessel owners and operators owe to longshoremen and stevedores. First, the vessel owner and operator have a turnover duty. That duty requires that owners and operators turn their vessel over to the longshoremen and stevedores without hidden dangers. This duty does not require that ship owners and operators remedy open and obvious conditions or easily-anticipated conditions. The vessel's turnover duty is one of the most litigated duties that vessel owners and operators owe to longshoremen and stevedores.

FDA Seeks to Improve Hospital Reporting of Injuries Caused by Medical Devices

Inspections at 17 hospitals revealed widespread under-reporting of injuries and deaths associated with medical devices. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is seeking to improve the under-reporting following the high profile safety concerns involving power morcellators and contaminated duodenoscopes.

Smartphones Proven to Make Roads Less Safe

It's 6:00 pm and you're driving your usual route home from work, when a familiar sound is heard indicating that you've received a text message. Should you check it?

Violent 3-Car Pile Up Kills Driver Waiting to Pay Toll on Tollway

Last Friday evening, a speeding white Dodge Durango caused a deadly 3-car pile-up at a toll booth stand on the Sam Houston Tollway. Video surveillance shows a brown Buick sedan waiting in line to pay the toll fare at the drive-up toll booth stand moments before impact. Unfortunately, as a result of the violent collision, it was determined that the driver of the Buick sedan was killed when the driver of the Durango smashed into the back of the Buick, forcing the Buick into a trailer attached to the truck ahead of it.

School Bus Crash in Lumberton, Texas Sends Twenty-Three Children to Hospitals

On April 5, 2017, a school bus carrying forty-four students from Beaumont's Charlton-Pollard Elementary School was involved in a crash with a pickup truck and an eighteen-wheeler.

Bus Passengers Seek $250M After Deadly Train Crash

Fifteen charter bus passengers filed suit following a collision at a train crossing that left forty injured and another four dead. The lawsuit seeks more than $250 million in damages on negligence and product liability claims against the bus, tour, and train companies involved.

Recent Study Demonstrates the Value of Seeking a Second Medical Opinion

A recent study by the Mayo Clinic found that more than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion had previously been misdiagnosed by their primary care physician. During the two-year study, researchers examined the records of 286 patients who had seen primary care physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners in 2009 and 2010. Nearly two-thirds of the patients were under the age of 64, and the majority of patients were female. After receiving an initial diagnosis, each patient sought a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic's General Internal Medicine Division. Of the 286 patients, only 36 patients (12 percent) had received confirmation that the original diagnosis was complete and correct. In 63 cases (21 percent), the diagnosis was completely changed meaning the patient had been misdiagnosed by their primary care physician. In the remaining 188 cases (66 percent), patients received a refined or redefined diagnosis. Researchers did not find any significant differences between provider types.

The Haverstock Hill Apartments' Shootings

Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. of the law offices of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz is currently investigating the mass shooting that occurred at the Haverstock Hill Apartments located at 5619 Aldine Bender Road, Houston, Texas 77032, on Sunday, that left 2 dead and 4 others, including a former America's Next Top Model contestant, in critical condition.

Family of the Woman Who Died from Flesh Eating Bacteria Settle Case

Carmen Alexander, a 43-year-old school teacher, died Feb. 21, 2012, just two days after being admitted to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Her death was connected to a serious bacterial infection known as necrotizing fasciitis (NF), which can spread quickly through the body, destroying its soft tissue.

Portable Battery Injuries Continue to Mount from a Variety of Products

A Pennsylvania man has filed a lawsuit against the online retail outlet Amazon after a defective external phone charger that he purchased on the website exploded in his pocket. The suit claims Amazon was aware of the dangers presented by the EasyAcc phone charger prior to the victim's purchase due to customer reports of similar issues occurring; however, the device remains available for new purchases.

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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