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Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner remains fully operational and committed to serving our clients and colleagues throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. As we follow the CDC guidelines and practice social distancing, we remain available for phone consultations and remote meetings with both current and prospective clients and colleagues. Please contact our office by email or by calling 713-222-7211 with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.

Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner's Blog

Supreme Court Overturns Verdict

On Friday, March 12, 2010, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs in a motor vehicle fatality case wrongly introduced evidence about a truck driver's status as an "illegal alien," and reversed a verdict against him and his employer. In the opinion of TXI Transportation Company v. Hughes, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2010), the Court ruled that the trial court should not have permitted evidence and argument that the defendant truck driver entered the country illegally, had lied to obtain a driver's license and job, had been convicted of an immigration violation, and was previously deported. During the trial, there were more than 40 references to the driver's status. As a result, the Supreme Court reversed the verdict, which exceeded $15 million dollars, and returned the case to the trial court for a new trial.

March 16, 2010 Americanos Bus Crash Leaves 2 Dead and Dozens Injured

Photo of Muhammad Aziz

An Americanos tour bus crashed this morning south of San Antonio, leaving two people dead and dozens injured. The bus was en route from San Antonio to Matamoros when it rolled over near the Campbellton exit off Interstate 37, about 54 miles south of San Antonio. There were about thirty-five people on the bus when it crashed at 9:45 a.m.

Arbitration Under Fire by Billionaire

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Lawyers, including myself, have long complained of the unfairness of the mandatory arbitration process. Touted by many businesses as a better alternative to be jury trial process, those who oppose the mandatory arbitration system generally have a long list of inequities to parade as exhibits to support their arguments. Now, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and his investment company, Vulcan Capital, are jumping on the bandwagon to criticize the mandatory arbitration process. The little guys -- usually a credit card consumer or the mammoth sized company employee -- are ready to applaud the billionaire's decision to remove mandatory arbitration agreements from his Vulcan employee contracts.

METRO BUS - TRAIN COLLIDE

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A METRO bus collided with a METRO light rail train in downtown Houston Monday afternoon. At least 19 people had to be taken to the hospital for treatment from resulting injuries.
The derailment happened at around 2:30pm on Main at St. Joseph's Parkway, close to METRO headquarters. Just over a month ago another METRO bus and train collided at the same intersection.
At least 19 patients, including the bus driver, have been taken to area hospitals with mainly neck and back injuries.
The firm has been involved in major bus accident litigation, including the Hurricane Rita Evacuation Bus Fire resulting in 23 fatalities and the New Years Day bus rollover near Victoria, Texas in 2008.

"Texas Supreme Court Rules that Immigration Status Irrelevant & Harmful in Civil Cases"

Texas Supreme Court, it appears that a person's immigration status has no place in a civil case. In TXI Transportation Company v. Randy Hughes, the court held that the driver's illegal status was irrelevant and harmful error and remanded the case back for a new trial. The court went on to say that "appeals to racial and ethnic prejudices, whether 'explicit and brazen' or 'veiled and subtle,' cannot be tolerated because they undermine the very basis of our judicial process. The Supreme Court got this issue correct.

Toyota's Recall for Sticking Gas Pedals is NOT WORKING

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New reports are surfacing that the massive recall issued to correct the sticking gas pedal issue in Toyota vehicles is not working. By now, nearly everyone is aware of the reported problems in certain Toyota vehicles where the vehicles are accelerating on their own and out of control. Toyota has issued recalls for the floor mats and the gas pedals, which was supposed to alleviate the sudden acceleration problems. However, there at least 15 cases where Toyota drivers have reported that the sudden acceleration problems are continuing, even after having their vehicles "fixed."

Bus Rollover Accident - Initial Investigation Suggests Driver Error

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On Friday, March 5, 2010, a bus carrying passengers from Mexico to Los Angeles was involved in a rollover accident in Arizona killing 6 passengers and injuring 16 others. Initial reports indicate that the bus was operated by Tierra Santa, Inc. based out of Mexico. Before getting into the wreck, the bus had traveled through Texas and its final destination was Los Angeles. While in Arizona the bus struck a pickup truck and then rolled over. Initial investigation seems to suggest that driver error may have been involved in starting the wreck sequence.

Toyota Continues to Receive Acceleration Complaints

Photo of Randy Sorrels

Even after Toyota vehicles have been repaired as a result of a massive recall, the government and Toyota are continuing to receive complaints from Toyota drivers who say their cars have sped up by themselves -- even after being fixed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is contacting every owner to learn more about their complaints and reports. Owners are encouraged to submit their complaints online or through a NHTSA hotline to assist this investigation. These new complaints call into question Toyota's claim that a fix is available to repair and makes a vehicles. According to some drivers, the fix is no fix at all.

Supreme Court Throws Out Case of 80-Year Old Woman

Last month, the Texas Supreme Court threw out a case brought by an 80-year old woman in poor health, and told her to sue in Illinois. The case arose from the losses the woman sustained in her investment account. She sued her commodities broker and its agent. The Texas trial court overruled the broker's motion to dismiss based upon a forum selection clause permitting it to be sued in Illinois. The Supreme Court granted mandamus, and ordered the trial court to dismiss the case, because the plaintiff "did not overcome the presumption against the [broker's] waiving its right to enforce the forum-selection clause, or satisfy her burden to demonstrate that enforcing the clause would be unreasonable and unjust."

Texas Work Zone Fatalities: Who Is Responsible?

Work zone safety initiatives almost always target the drivers passing through construction areas, warning them to slow down, pay attention and be aware of their surroundings. This is sound advice, but states may be neglecting an even bigger problem.Across the country, nearly 1,000 people die every year in work zones. Over 18 percent of those deaths occur in Texas. While drivers' speeding and lack of attention are certainly contributing factors, are they really the only thing preventing safe work zones?Looking at the safety efforts and highway warnings around construction projects, one might think so. A recent article in the New York Times, however, concludes differently.It starts at the top -- the federal government simply does not have hard and fast rules in place regarding best practices for roadway construction zones. As the article points out, while motorist activities are carefully monitored and analyzed, construction contractors and state highway inspectors essentially act without federal supervision, and they don't want it. Since every construction project is different, they argue, there is no way the federal government could apply a specific set of rules to regulate state projects.Still, while the level of coordination between the Federal Highway Administration and state authorities is poor, sometimes the lines of communication between the state and construction contractors are just as frayed. Fatal accidents often devolve into a blame game, while the family members of those killed in accidents wait for justice.Despite the extremely high number of accidents and work zone fatalities in Texas, lawmakers seem disinclined to amend work zone safety laws any time soon. On the Texas Department of Transportation Web site, all energy is directed toward warning drivers about safety rules.It's true -- drivers should slow down, pay attention and be aware of construction workers. But an unsafe environment can be addressed from both sides. Sharp pavement-edge drop-offs, inadequate warning signs and poorly constructed detours can be just as dangerous as inattentive drivers.If you or a loved one has been injured while driving in a work zone, you may have a legal claim against the contractors who were performing the work. Contact an attorney to discuss the facts of your case.
  • $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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