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August 2019 Archives

TXDOT To Commit $600 Million To Reducing Roadway Deaths

Texas typically has around 3,900 roadway fatalities annually and the Houston region leads the nation's major metro areas in avoidable roadway deaths. In 2019, there were 1,857 roadway fatalities in the first six months of the year, which is about 50 less than last year. However, the Texas Transportation Commission recently ordered officials from the Texas Department of Transportation to identify strategies to cut the state's roadway fatalities in half by 2035.

$6.34 Million Verdict for Family of Girl Murdered in Houston Apartment Complex

A jury awarded a family $6.34 million in a premises liability lawsuit against an apartment complex in Houston, Texas. Testimony revealed that two men, tortured, raped, murdered, and discarded the body of a 15-year-old girl in an abandoned Clear Lake apartment complex. The men were convicted of capital murder and a successful lawsuit was brought by the girl's family and her attorneys against the apartment complex.

Victims of 18-Wheeler Wreck Awarded Over $44 Million in Lawsuit Against Stallion Production Services

On March 30, 2017, a Stallion Production Services 18-wheeler caused a rollover accident, severely injuring Lloyd Kulik and Atreyu Muniz. On the evening in question, Kulik and Muniz were attempting to legally pass the Stallion 18-wheeler on F.M. Road 108. While Kulik was in the passing lane, the 18-wheeler driver began to pull into the passing lane as well in an attempt to make a left turn. Kulik and the 18-wheeler collided in the passing lane, causing Kulik's vehicle to flip. Kulik suffered a burst fracture in his cervical spine, which rendered him a quadriplegic, and Muniz suffered a traumatic brain injury. Both of the victims will endure the effects of their injuries for the rest of their lives.

Study Reports Older Drivers More Likely to Be Distracted by In-Vehicle Technology

According to a recent report issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of Utah, older drivers are more likely to be distracted while driving when using in-vehicle technology than younger drivers. For purposes of the study, in-vehicle technology or infotainment systems were classified as the collection of features in a vehicle that allow a driver to complete tasks unrelated to driving while operating their vehicle. The study involved 128 participants categorized into one of two groups: younger drivers, between 21-36 years of age, and older drivers, between 55-75 years of age. Participants were asked to complete tasks such as changing the radio station, song selection, calling and dialing phone numbers, texting, and plotting navigation using in-vehicle information systems while driving six 2018 vehicles including Audi, Cadillac, Lincoln, Mazda, Nissan, and Volvo models. According to researchers, older drivers took their eyes off the road for an average of eight seconds more than younger drivers while completing the tasks. Researchers also noted that older drivers responded more slowly to system commands and experienced visual distractions.

People Get Hurt When Restaurants and Bars Overserve Alcohol

Adults who drink alcohol are supposed to moderate how much they drink before they go out and drive. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. People who drink too much and drive can be held accountable if they hurt or injure someone else. But what about the bars and restaurants that purposely over serve to get better sales and tips? There are laws in place for those establishments that abuse alcohol sales and endanger the lives of other people.

Jury Awards Over $44 Million in 18-Wheeler Accident

On March 30, 2017, a Stallion Production Services 18-wheeler driven by Rodney Simmons collided with a Dodge pickup, which caused a rollover accident and catastrophic injuries. Lloyd Kulik and Atreyu Muniz were in the pickup. At the time of the accident, Mr. Simmons had been working for Stallion for approximately two weeks. He was taking a tanker of wastewater to a disposal pond around 11:30 p.m.

Lack of Protocol Leads to the Fatal Blood Transfusion of a 23-Year-Old Patient

On December 8, 2018, a 23-year-old leukemia patient died, two days after receiving a transfusion tainted with a bacterial infection at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas due to the uncovering of systematic safety lapses. The patient had a history of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and her complications included viral-induced bladder inflammation and the placement of a tube that allows direct drainage from the kidney, so she needed daily blood transfusions. Unfortunately, it was unbeknownst to the medical staff that the infusion the patient received one day was contaminated with a harmful human pathogen called Serratia Marcescens, which is rarely found in blood transfusions.

Confidential Settlement Secured for Construction Worker Run Over by Truck at a Construction Site

Firm attorneys Benny Agosto, Jr. and Jonathan Sneed have reached a confidential settlement against Gilbane Building Company, Sunstate Equipment Company, LLC., and Derik Ben Matejka, regarding a construction accident that occurred on July 26, 2016. The settlement agreement brings about a positive conclusion to the lawsuit seeking compensation for severe and permanent injuries Benjamin Portillo suffered after he was run over by a 9,000-pound truck at a Texas A&M University construction site.

New Wave of Lawsuits Against Austin-Based Scooter Companies

Since early 2018, Austin and other cities across the country have seen an increase in the number of electronic scooters on city streets. The increasing popularity of electronic scooters has led to a growing number of electronic scooter-related injuries. Now, in the span of just six days, at least eight lawsuits were filed against electronic scooter companies by individuals who claim they were injured while riding an electronic scooter in the city of Austin. The defendants include Bird, Lime, and Jump, some of the best known electronic scooter companies in the United States.

Toxic Air

On the early morning of June 21st, 2019, an explosion occurred at Philadelphia Energy Solutions, an oil refining complex in the southwest part of the city. A large fireball filled the night sky. The fire continued to burn until daybreak. A deputy fire commissioner with the Philadelphia Fire Department discovered a fire stemming from a vat of butane, a colorless gas that is highly flammable. About 120 employees from the Philadelphia Fire Department responded to the explosion and worked with firefighters from the facility to put out the flame. By 7 a.m. the shelter-in-place order had been lifted, but commuters were still advised to avoid the area.

Lawsuits Filed Following Explosion at Exxon Mobil Plant in Baytown, Texas

Late Wednesday morning, multiple explosions at Exxon Mobil's Olefins Plant in Baytown, Texas caused parts of the facility to erupt into flames.

Texas Now Has the Highest Rate of Workplace Fatalities in the United States, as Deaths on the Job Continue to Occur at a Disturbingly High Rate

In Texas, a worker dies at his or her workplace every day. In 2017, a worker in Texas died on the job on average every sixteen hours. These workers died as a result of electrocution, asphyxiation, falls, exposure to toxins, equipment malfunctions, heatstroke, and automobile collisions. Further, in that same year, the workplace death toll was greater than the number of murders in Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, and Austin combined, making 2017 the most dangerous year for workers in Texas in two decades.

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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