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.


Two killed, dozens injured in tragic Thanksgiving Day pile-up on 1-10

A massive multi-car pile up on Thanksgiving morning left two dead and 80 people injured on 1-10, just southwest of Beaumont, Texas. Law enforcement officers and Texas DPS officials say that heavy morning fog and holiday traffic led to a chain-reaction collision that caused serious injuries and extensive property damage for those involved.

On behalf of the entire Williams Kherkher family, we want to extend our deepest sympathies to those involved. As members of the Houston/Beaumont community, we wish our neighbors a speedy and full recovery. Whenever a serious accident occurs, it is important to think of the individual struggles that families often go through following a serious accident. Physical injury, emotional suffering, and extensive financial costs can linger long after the accident is over.

Unfortunately, individuals who are involved in a serious accident often encounter trouble with their insurance companies following the incident. Valid claims are often denied, or policyholders may find that their insurance company will choose to underestimate the true value of their claim. When the company you entrusted to protect you and your family fails to properly compensate you following a tragic event, it is important to have an experienced law firm on your side.

At Williams Kherkher, we have dedicated our lives to helping individuals who have been harmed by an adverse event, and it is our mission to stand up for those who have been wronged. We have the experience and resources to help individuals fight against large corporations, whether they are giant tobacco companies, big pharmaceutical manufacturers, or major insurance companies. In the aftermath of an accident, you do not need to worry about the costs of bringing a lawsuit against a major insurer. Instead, it is our wish that you focus on the health of you and your family. If you need experienced legal representation following an accident like the Thanksgiving Day pile-up in Beaumont, contact an experienced lawyer of Williams Kherkher to discuss your legal options.

To those who were injured, our thoughts are with you and your families. For the rest of our neighbors in Houston, Beaumont, and beyond, we wish you a safe and happy holiday.

 


Oil Rig Explosion in Gulf Coast

An oil and gas rig operated by Black Elk Energy Co. in the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast line, exploded into flames on November 16, 2012. The incident occurred during what the Louisiana governor’s office described as a maintenance operation, and reports indicate that no oil has so far been spilled into the Gulf as a result of the incident.

According to early reports from KHOU-TV, four people who were on the platform at the time of the explosion had to be airlifted off the rig for treatment and two remain missing following the accident. Additionally, some sources have reported that there were two deaths, but the Coast Guard has not been able to confirm this. No further details have been provided at this time, as an investigation of the cause of the accident and extent of damages has yet to be concluded.

It is our sincere hope that those who did suffer injury will make a full recovery. Our thoughts go out to the victims of this incident and their families.


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