Case Studies

In courtrooms and around the negotiating tables, our lawyers fight all types of defendants, litigate cutting-edge cases, and protect the interests of thousands of people and businesses in Texas. We selected a few different types of cases to give the reader a sampling of what our lawyers have litigated and our past successes. Although past results do not guarantee future success, please enjoy this read about our lawyers and our cases. Here are a few of the cases of interest we have handled through the years, some "Firsts", some "Big" cases, and some "Small" cases.....all of them were important to our clients and to us.

Some "Firsts"

Seat Belts and Safety Glass Save Lives ... in buses, too.
A touring bus carrying members of a church to a Christian music concert on Valentine's Day crossed the highway median during a rainstorm, struck another vehicle and tipped over on its side. Six passengers lost their lives and many others had serious injuries. A police officer described the scene as the worst carnage he had ever witnessed in his 29-year law enforcement career. We believed that seat belts and safety glass in the bus would have allowed the passengers to walk away from the accident. We were co-lead counsel with Tom Brown and Tim Sulak in the trial of the case against the bus manufacturer. After five weeks of trial, the jury found that the bus was unreasonably dangerous because of the absence of seat belts and safety glass and awarded damages to the victims and their families. The case was what has been reported as the first in the nation to challenge the bus manufacturer for failing to provide those basic safety features. The National Law Journal called the case one of the Top 100 Verdicts in the nation for 2005. The appeal of that case is now before the Supreme Court of Texas.

Flat tire, prairie fires and the insurance company ...
The operator of an automobile continued driving her vehicle on a rural highway after sustaining a flat tire. The tire eventually shredded, the wheel locked up and the showers of sparks from the friction between the metal wheel and the pavement ignited numerous fires along the roadway as she continued to drive. Thousands of acres of ranch land, fences, barns and equipment were burned. Her auto insurer refused to pay the ranchers anything. The insurance company's attitude didn't go over too well with the ranchers (that's putting it mildly) and they came to us. When we filed suit on behalf of the ranchers, the insurance company offered to pay the liability limit of the policy for the "occurrence." If the insurance company had offered that sum in the beginning, the ranchers probably would have taken it, even though it would not have come close to compensating them for the damages. We declined that offer by the insurance company. We said the insurance company owed our clients the per occurrence limit for each fire ignited. The insurance company said "No Way." The trial against the driver lasted two weeks. We won a substantial jury verdict against the driver for the damages suffered by our clients. We then sued the insurance company for our clients and won in the trial court and court of appeals, establishing that the fire damage was not only the responsibility of the insurance company, but also that each fire ignited along the way was a new "occurrence," triggering multiple "per occurrence" payments from the insurance company. Our case was the first in Texas to achieve that outcome. The insurance company settled with our clients after the court of appeals found in our favor.

The medical equipment that never was ...
Three doctors believed they had been deceived about the capabilities and availability of a high-speed blood chemistry analyzer purchased by them. A company sold the equipment to the doctors, delivered an interim piece of equipment, but never would deliver the machine it promised. The doctors asked for their money to be returned and the company refused. We filed a lawsuit and tried the case for four weeks. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our clients. It was the first verdict in the history of the county to exceed a million dollars in actual damages. The court then tripled the actual damages pursuant to the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The defendants appealed and the court of appeals found in our favor. The defendants settled the case with our clients rather than complete an appeal to the Supreme Court of Texas.

A "Big" case

The plane fell from the sky, but who was at fault?
A pilot was killed in the crash of his aircraft. After an exhaustive investigation and depositions all across the country, we uncovered the cause of the crash. Shoddy repairs to the frame of the aircraft years earlier had been concealed. The aircraft log books that should have indicated all work ever done on the aircraft had been "lost." Over the years, the strength of those shoddy repairs gradually weakened, resulting in a final, sudden and catastrophic failure that caused the aircraft tail to separate from the rest of the plane. The pilot had no chance of survival. Faced with a jury trial, those responsible for the repairs and inspections paid a very substantial settlement to the family of the pilot.

A case of missed chances ...
Our clients took their 2000 Ford Expedition to their local dealership for an oil change the day after the dealership had received notice of a massive Ford recall on the cruise control switch that presented fire threats. Even though the dealership performed the recall procedures on three other cars that day, they did not unplug the switch on our clients' vehicle nor did they tell our clients of the recall. This was the first missed chance the dealership had to prevent this situation. A month and a half later, our clients received a safety recall notice from Ford Motor Company instructing them to contact their local Ford dealership concerning the recall of the cruise control switch. They called their Ford dealership and were told to not to worry about it, that there was "one-in-a-million chance of fire," and to throw it away. This was the second missed chance the dealership had to do the right thing. A little over a month later, while they were sleeping in their beds, our clients' home and vehicle were destroyed in a tragic fire that was sparked by the defective cruise control switch. We filed a lawsuit against the Ford Motor Company and the Ford dealership, which failed to perform the recall procedures on our clients' vehicle. Ford Motor Company settled before trial and the case was tried against the dealership. The jurors found that the dealership acted knowingly and with gross negligence and also violated the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The jury returned with a significant verdict in favor of our clients, including damages for the value of our client's home, contents and auto, as well as the sentimental value of items destroyed, mental anguish and attorneys' fees.

A "Small" case

Tough cases require thinking outside the box ...
Our client suffered injuries when she fell while shopping in a large retail store. The floor was very slick, but no one knew specifically how or when it became so. We knew there was no way to win the case for our client on a traditional premises liability cause of action because of the onerous burden of proof. Through innovative use of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, we figured out a way to win a jury verdict of damages for our client. The jury found that the retail store represented to all of its customers that the floors of the store were safe for its shoppers, when, in fact, the floors were not safe. The case settled after the jury verdict in favor of our client. (Bowing to pressure from special interests, the legislature later changed the Deceptive Trade Practice Act to take away the right of injured persons to use the Act in these kind of cases).

First, big, small ... the cases that matter to our clients matter to us.