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Aviation Accident Archives

NTSB: Pilot in Deadly Balloon Crash Unfit to Fly

In July 2016, Texas saw the deadliest hot air balloon crash in American history when Alfred "Skip" Nichols piloted his balloon into power lines near Lockhart, killing himself and 15 passengers. It has now been revealed in an October 17 meeting of the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington that Nichols was impaired by Valium, opioids, and other medication, and had psychological conditions that affected his decision-making. As quoted by the Associated Press, NTSB medical officer Dr. Nicholas Webster reported that there was enough Benadryl in Nichols' system to have "the impairing effect of a blood-alcohol level" of a drunk driver.

Turbulence Injuries Aboard Commercial Flights

Although commercial airline travel is the safest form of transportation, injuries aboard a plane can still occur. Most of these in-flight injuries are caused by sudden turbulence and even though turbulence is a common occurrence during any flight, serious turbulence can be dangerous. On June 20, 2017, 10 people were injured on a United Airlines flight from Panama City, Panama to Houston, Texas due to severe turbulence near Cancun, Mexico. Although the plane landed safely in Houston, all 10 people were taken to local hospitals.

Families of Passengers Sue Boeing

On March 8, 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 left from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 passengers. It disappeared and is believed to be lost in the South Indian Ocean. The official search for the plane or its wreckage was suspended on January 17, 2017, by the Australia Air Safety Investigative Board.

Fatal Airplane Crash - Wrongful Death Suit Filed

On August 30, 2016, Kenneth Glazer filed a wrongful death lawsuit in state court subsequent to his parents' fatal airplane crash on their trip from New York to their vacation home in Naples, Florida. After take off from the Greater Rochester Airport, Larry and Jane Glazer-prominent real estate developers and philanthropists-faced complications in the air, as the plane's cabin pressurization system failed mid-flight. The plane ultimately went down in the Caribbean Sea, Near Jamaica, resulting in the death of the couple.

Hot Air Balloon Crash Kills Sixteen in Central Texas

A deadly tragedy hit Central Texas the early morning of July 30, 2016, when a hot air balloon came crashing to the ground in a literal ball of fire. Federal and local authorities reporting this story believed that the hot air balloon was carrying 16 people at the time of the crash, none of whom survived. Federal Aviation Authority officials said the balloon caught fire before crashing, but did not provide any other details.

NTSB: Hot Air Balloon Likely Struck Power Lines Before Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday that a hot air balloon that crashed near Lockhart, Texas likely struck power lines before it crashed. The crash, which occurred on Saturday morning and garnered national media attention, killed all sixteen people aboard. It was the deadliest hot air balloon crash on record in the U.S., eclipsed only by a 2013 crash in Luxor, Egypt that killed 19.

Three Dead in Airplane Crash Near Hobby Airport

Three people were tragically killed after their airplane crashed into a car Thursday afternoon. The crash happened just after 1:00 p.m. in the 6800 block of Telephone Road, approximately three blocks north of William P. Hobby International Airport. The Cirrus single-engine SR-20 crashed in the parking lot of an Ace Hardware store crushing an employee's car. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the aircraft was attempting to land at Hobby Airport. The plane was registered by Safe Aviation LLC in Moore, Oklahoma. The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the crash investigation.

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Finds State Law Product Liability Claims Not Preempted by Federal Law

On April 19, 2016, the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued a precedential opinion finding that state law product liability claims for defective aircraft are not preempted by federal law. The Third Circuit's opinion holds that neither the Federal Aviation Act or a federal agency's decision to issue a certificate approving of an aircraft design preempt state law product liability claims. In doing so, the court found that the presumption against preemption applies in the context of aviation accident claims. The court also found that the FAA contains a savings clause that expressly reserves state law claims. In reaching these conclusions, the Third Circuit recognized that most other courts and jurisdictions, including the United States Fifth Circuit Court of appeals that oversees federal district courts in Texas, reject preemption of product liability actions for aviation accidents. The Third Circuit noted that "[b]esides preserving principles of federalism, this conclusion avoids interpreting the Federal Aviation Act in a way that would have 'the perverse effect of granting complete immunity from design defect to an entire industry that, in the judgment of Congress, needed more stringent regulation.'" The Third Circuit's decision is a positive step toward universal recognition of an injured person's right to seek recovery for injuries caused by airplane and airplane part manufacturers who place unsafe products in the marketplace.

Another Airplane Crash Resulting in Fatalities

Firm Partner Benny Agosto, Jr. is currently investigating an airplane crash in Navasota, Texas, that resulted in the death of the pilot, the instructor, and two children. The two children left their home Sunday morning on February 28, 2016, with their mother's boyfriend, who owned and piloted the plane that day. The man's instructor was also on the plane when it took off that morning. The man had just purchased the plane, a model Cirrus SR-20. Reports state that the crashed plane was discovered approximately an hour after it took off by another plane in flight. The National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting its investigation.

Southwest Airlines Jet Goes Off Tennessee Runway

At least 8 people were said to have been injured on Tuesday December 15, 2015 after a Southwest Airlines plane skid off the runway after landing at Nashville International Airport.

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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