Williams Kherkher Partner and Attorneys Provide Stewards Training for Local Electrical Workers (Local Union No. 66)

Recently, Williams Kherkher partner Jim Hart and attorneys Jim Soto, Eloy Gaitan, and Margret Lecocke conducted a steward training presentation for local electrical workers to help explain some legal areas of interest for the group. Jim Hart explained the grievance process and how best to prepare a grievance file for arbitration. Jim Soto covered critical aspects in developing an effective will. Eloy Gaitan covered workers’ comp, changes in the law, and what people need to know to protect their rights. Finally, Margret Lecocke gave an update on pharmaceutical and medical device recalls. The meeting was well attended, and our presenters answered questions from the audience throughout the session. Williams Kherkher is proud to show our support of unions.

 


John Eddie Williams and John Boundas to Speak at TTLA Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Seminar

John Eddie Williams and John Boundas will be featured speakers at the first TTLA (Texas Trial Lawyers Association) Seminar dedicated solely to pharmaceutical and medical device litigation on April 25th and 26th. John Eddie and John are proud to join other TTLA Legends to discuss and debate a variety of mass tort topics that are central to this important and constantly-changing area of the law. For more information on this event, visit http://ttlapmdseminar.com/.

 


Chemical Explosion in LaPorte Causes Fire

On Monday afternoon, around 1pm, an explosion at a local chemical plant called AkzoNobel in La Porte, Texas resulted in a fire.

Smoke clouds could be seen from miles away, according to reports on the incident. These smoke clouds prompted emergency responders to arrive and evacuate the building quickly. The fire took 45 minutes to be brought under control by responders. The chemical company employs between 80 and 100 workers, all of which were evacuated.

One worker was injured in the accident, and was taken to a local hospital to receive treatment. Further information on the worker’s condition is not known at this time.

Representatives for the chemical plant say that “it’s too early” to determine the cause of the fire, though it has been confirmed that the burning material was magnesium oxide, which is not toxic. Workers returned to their jobs later in the afternoon.

This event comes less than one month after another explosion in LaPorte resulted in the death of one worker.


Update: La Porte Explosion Leaves 1 Injured, 1 Dead

An explosion at the Air Liquide plant in La Porte has left one employee seriously injured and another dead, according to officials investigating the accident. The body of the employee who had been reported missing, Javier Ortiz, was identified by investigators Sunday. Ortiz was a chemist at the plant, and leaves behind a wife and three children.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Ortiz family as they deal with this tragic loss.


One employee injured, another missing after LaPorte gas factory explosion

An explosion at an Air Liquide gas factory in LaPorte, Texas seriously injured one employee, and rescue workers are currently searching for another missing employee. According to the Houston Chronicle, the explosion occurred at 7:38 a.m. on Saturday at the plant, which mixes industrial gases like argon, nitrogen, and oxygen for use in containers that are used in the processing of electronics, beverages, and food products.

Our thoughts are with the families of the injured and missing individuals, and we wish them a speedy recovery. Please continue to check Williams Kherkher’s legal blog for updates on this developing story.


New Technology May Help with Mesothelioma Identification

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are working on a new form of technology which could help identify certain cancers earlier and may mean a major breakthrough for cancer research and treatment.

This technology, which is in the beginning stages of development, is based on nanoparticles, which work to amplify or augment certain proteins found within cancer cells, allowing doctors and medical professionals to more easily detect mesothelioma and other types of cancer through simple urine tests. As mesothelioma is well known for being extremely difficult to detect, especially early on, this new system of biomarker detection could be a major medical development.

As of yet, there are no reliable ways to easily identify mesothelioma early on. In most cases, when the disease is finally diagnosed, it has progressed to the point that it is no longer treatable. If you or someone you love has developed mesothelioma as a result of negligent exposure to asbestos, you should call a mesothelioma attorney of Williams Kherkher at (888) 380-6376 to discuss your legal options.


Williams Kherkher Attorneys to Volunteer at Houston LegalLine

Four attorneys from Williams Kherkher, Margaret Lecocke, James Soto, Harry Potter, and Margot Trevino, will be volunteering at LegalLine on Wedneday, January 2, providing free legal advice to those who are unable to pay for legal services.

LegalLine is a free outreach program provided by the Houston Bar Association, a nonprofit organization, that operates on the first and third Wednesday of every month. This program, started in 1986, is available to all residents of Harris County, and operates from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The service is staffed by licensed attorneys who volunteer their time to provide answers to legal questions, offer legal referrals, and give assistance to individuals who are in need of free legal advice.

The attorneys at Williams Kherkher are honored to have an opportunity to give back to their community, and are thankful to the Houston Bar Association for sponsoring this important program.

Legal Line

Legal Line


Breach of Contract Discovery Ideas

The law regarding a run of the mill two-party breach of contract case is fairly straightforward in Texas. A plaintiff must prove: (1) there is a valid, enforceable contract; (2) the plaintiff is the proper party to sue for the breach of contract; (3) the plaintiff performed, tendered performance, or was excused from performing its obligations under the contract; (4) the defendant breached the contract; and (5) the defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff injury. West v. Triple B Servs., 264 S.W.3d 440, 446 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, no pet.); Mandell v. Hamman Oil & Ref. Co., 822 S.W.2d 153, 161 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1991, writ denied). As such, the plaintiff’s discovery should focus on showing: (i) the parties formed an agreement that is valid and legal; (ii) the plaintiff fulfilled his obligations; (iii) defendant did not and has no valid excuse; and (iv) plaintiff suffered some injury as a result of defendant’s actions. I don’t advocate using standard discovery requests in any case, but the following concepts should get you thinking about the kind of evidence you will need to prove the elements of the claim.

Interrogatories

Consider attaching a copy of the contract and asking the defendant to describe all of his factual contentions regarding:

  • Whether the contract is valid
  • What, if any, relationship the defendant has with the plaintiff
  • Any prior agreements between the parties
  • The material terms of the agreement
  • Whether plaintiff breached or did not comply with his/her requirements
  • Why the defendant did not breach the contract
  • Whether the defendant was excused from performing his obligations and why (i.e, impossibility, rescission, mutual mistake, etc)
  • Whether the contract was against public policy, illegal, or unconscionable
  • Whether defendant believes that the plaintiff performed compensable work related to the agreement
  • Defendant’s challenges to plaintiff’s claims for damages
  • Whether defendant believes the plaintiff failed to mitigate his damages

Document Requests

Consider requesting the following documents from the defendant:

  • Executed contract
  • Drafts of the contract
  • Working notes regarding the contract
  • Communications between plaintiff and defendant
  • Internal communications about the agreement
  • Documents showing the parties intent to modify the terms of the agreement
  • Other case specific documents that might show the harm plaintiff suffered (i.e., invoices, checks, receipts, shipping bills, etc.)

Admissions

Consider attaching a copy of the contract and asking the defendant to admit the following:

  • That a contract existed
  • That the specific attached contract was the operative agreement
  • That the attached contract is a true and correct copy
  • That the signature is the defendants
  • That the contract was executed
  • That the defendant had the mental capacity to enter into an agreement
  • That the defendant could have complied with the obligations
  • That the parties never modified the agreement
  • That the plaintiff performed its obligations
  • That the defendant did not perform its obligations

Pipeline Explosion Prompts Investigation by Texas Railroad Commission

A large gas pipeline explosion occurred this past Wednesday night, around 6 p.m., in Ector County, near Midland-Odessa. The explosion occurred near the DCP Midstream natural gas plant, and as of now, the cause of the blast is unknown.

To try and see what caused this explosion, the Texas Railroad Commission is sending an inspector from the commission’s Pipeline Safety Division to investigate. Thankfully, no one was injured or killed in the explosion, as workers near the site of the blast were able to run to safety in time. However, the explosion resulted in a fire that destroyed a welding shop and a blast that was heard by residents miles away.

The affected pipeline was owned by West Texas Gas, and the Texas Railroad Commission says that they’ll conclude their investigation into this explosion in 90 days, at which time they’ll release their findings.

 


Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas Receives Tier 1 Ranking from U.S. News and World Report

Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the best mass tort law firms in the nation. In the 2013 rankings of the best law firms in the nation, Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas was honored with a tier 1 ranking, both in the Houston metropolitan area and nationally, for its representation of plaintiffs in mass tort lawsuits. As the highest ranking available, this places Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas as second to none among the nation’s top law firms handling mass tort cases.

The ranking was decided on the basis of the overall level of satisfaction felt by clients of the firm, as well as the esteem with which other lawyers and law firms regard Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas. The recognition from U.S. News and World Report is particularly significant in consideration of the rigorous evaluative process that is used to determine its ranking systems, and it serves as just another reminder that the dedication shown by each and every member of the Williams Kherkher Hart Boundas team to all of their clients is and always will be worth the effort.


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