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May 2018 Archives

Severely Injured Worker Sues Tesla

Son Nguyen, who was severely burned in an electrical explosion at Tesla's car factory is suing the automaker for allegedly putting him in harm's way.

Trampoline Dangers and Safety Issues on the Rise

In recent years, trampolines on average have caused approximately 100,000 injuries annually in the United States. Between 2001 and 2011, approximately 300,000 broken bones were reported from trampolines, and almost one million emergency room visits. Of those who visited the emergency room, approximately 37% were young children, and 15% were below the age of six. The most common injury is spine and leg fractures.

Deadly Carbon Monoxide Risk in Keyless Cars

Since 2006, twenty-eight people have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. Some victims have left their cars running in the garage, which allows carbon monoxide gas to get into their homes. Another forty-five people have suffered debilitating injuries.

Another Houston Area Plant Fire Injures 21 Employees

On May 19, 2018, the release of ethylene from a pressure safety valve caused a flash fire at a La Porte plant, which sent 21 employees to the hospital. Despite the ongoing injuries to workers around the Gulf of Mexico, plant owners and local authorities seem unconcerned.

Lawsuit Filed Against Men Racing After Deadly Crash

On January 10, 2018, a street racing crash killed two children and severely injured a woman in Cedar Park, Texas. The two drivers held responsible-21-year-old Blake Kirkpatrick and 18-year-old Hayden Hammer-were drag racing on the westbound lanes of West Whitestone Boulevard prior to crashing into the unfortunate family. Police said the two children, 1-year-old Daniel Chaudhary and 8-year-old Elijah Chaudhary, were pronounced dead on the scene. The biological mother to Daniel and stepmother to Elijah, Zara Salman, was severely injured and left with a life-altering brain injury. The collision occurred between a black 2008 Dodge Ram truck driven by Hammer and a 2016 Nissan Rogue driven by Salman.

Workers Injured at Kuraray Americas Refinery

Benny Agosto, Jr. and Muhammad Aziz, both partners at the law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, & Aziz, are investigating the recent Kuraray Americas refinery explosion on behalf of multiple injured clients.

Woman Eaten by Scabies

According to the autopsy, 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni died of "septicemia due to crusted scabies" while a resident Shepherd Hills Nursing Home, which is operated by Pruitt Health. The family has filed suit. State health officials were notified about the scabies outbreak at the facility, but it was never inspected.

NTSB Investigates Fatal Tesla Crash That Killed Two Florida Teens

Last week, two Florida teens were killed and another was injured when their Tesla Model S vehicle went off the roadway, struck a concrete wall and burst into flames. The single-vehicle crash happened in a residential neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Both the driver and the front passenger, who was ejected from the vehicle, died at the scene. The rear passenger was also ejected from the vehicle and transported to the hospital following the crash. Although the incident is still under investigation, early reports from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Tesla indicate that the vehicle's speed, rather than the partial self-driving Autopilot system, was the key factor in the crash. According to Tesla, if the Autopilot system had been engaged, the vehicle's speed would have been limited to 35 mph or less in the residential neighborhood, which is inconsistent with eyewitness statements. Following the crash, the NTSB announced that they were sending four officials to investigate the fire that broke out after the vehicle hit the concrete wall.

Pedestrians: Know Your Rights

A skateboarder was critically injured after being hit by an SUV while crossing Highway 6 around 10:30 p.m., Sunday, May 13, 2018. The question of fault is still to be determined.

Mother and Son Killed in DWI Crash

A 36-year-old mother and her 3-month-old son were killed in a drunk driving crash that occurred in Clear Lake, Texas on February 28, 2018. They are survived by Bryan Joseph who lost his wife and son in this accident. A 20-year-old woman named Veronica Rivas is now being charged for this incident along with three other people. Rivas is being charged with two counts of intoxication manslaughter after slamming her vehicle into another vehicle killing this mother and her infant son.

Wrongful Death Suit Filed Against Hit and Run Driver

On the night of January 23, 2017, Thomas "Tommy" Ketterhagen was reported missing by his family in Georgetown, Texas. He was last seen cycling on the shoulder of the road along the 2300 block of Patriot Way. After searching for him all night, his mother found his body and parts of his bicycle in the grass on the side of the road the next morning.

Woman Hit in Head by Drone Settles Lawsuit with Event-Planning Company

A woman who suffered a head injury when she was hit by a drone has reached a settlement with a USC fraternity chapter and an event-planning company, which hired the operator of the drone to photograph attendees at a 2015 frat party.

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Investigates Fatality

On February 28, 2018, Veronica Rivas allegedly rear-ended a car driven by Shayla Joseph. Ms. Joseph's 9-month-old daughter was also in the car, and both she and her daughter were killed. Ms. Rivas was said to have been traveling at a high speed when the crash occurred on the southbound service road of the Gulf Freeway near El Dorado.

Fatal Amtrak Incident

On April 24, 2018 another Amtrak worker was struck and killed by a train in Bowie, Maryland. The victim was an Amtrak employee who was helping monitor safety during track work between Baltimore and Washington, when he was stuck by Train 86. The tragic news comes just five months after a similar instance occurred in which two track workers were killed. Following the first incident, the National Transportation Safety Board strongly recommended Amtrak reduce the speed its trains are travelling when passing work crew members.

Antipsychotics Found to Be Overprescribed in Nursing Homes

Human Rights Watch published a study finding that approximately 179,000 nursing home residents are medicated with antipsychotic drugs, even though they do not have schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses.

Texas Supreme Court Adopts "Sham Affidavit" Rule

In a 9-0 opinion issued today, the Texas Supreme Court adopted the so-called "sham affidavit rule" for summary judgment proceedings in Texas courts. This rule, which has long been applied in federal courts, allows judges to disregard an affidavit offered in opposition to a motion for summary judgment when the affidavit conflicts with the affiant's prior sworn testimony and "does not provide a sufficient explanation for the conflict." Practitioners and litigants in Texas courts should be aware of this rule when filing or responding to a motion for summary judgment or preparing for a deposition.

Harris County Jury Awards $33.1 Million to Burned Plywood Worker

A Harris County jury recently awarded a Polk County man $33.1 million for injuries he sustained while working at a plywood plant in Corrigan, Texas. At the time of the April 2014 incident, Ralph Figgs was working as a plant supervisor for Georgia Pacific South. Figgs was reportedly performing his job duties near a smoldering blower when an explosion occurred in a nearby sander room and a fire quickly spread through the plant's dust collection system into the sander baghouse where Figgs was working. The sander baghouse collects large amounts of highly flammable dust from wood sanding operations through the dust collector system. According to the lawsuit, the plant's fire and explosion detection, prevention, and suppression system failed to prevent, warn, and eliminate hazards such as the explosion and fire in question.

Lawsuit Filed After Woman "Eaten Alive" by Scabies Mites at Nursing Home

A woman was literally eaten alive by parasitic mites while the staff at her nursing home looked on. In 2015, forensic pathologists found 93-year-old Rebecca Zeni had died from "septicemia due to crusted scabies" after millions of parasitic mites, known as scabies, essentially ate Zeni alive over several months or possibly years while the nursing home did nothing to stop it. The forensic pathologist described her death as "one of the most horrendous things [he's] ever seen in [his] career" and believes she died a most painful death.

15-Year-Old Critically Injured by Intoxicated Driver

On the night of April 21, 2018, three teenagers on their way to see a movie were injured in an accident in Bryan, Texas. Two of the teenagers were pushing their stalled vehicle while the third one was steering it. A pickup was traveling in the same lane and struck the stalled vehicle and the two teenagers that were pushing it. The driver of the pickup was charged with two counts of intoxication assault.

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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