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Southeast Texas' Legal Journal

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    HOUSTON – A trip to the automotive section of a Wal-Mart in northwest Houston last year resulted in a Harris County woman suffering from a pair of respiratory ailments. Elizabeth Cotrone filed a lawsuit against the discount retailer and the … Read More »

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    GALVESTON – BNSF Railway Co. seeks to remove an employee’s personal injury lawsuit against it from Galveston County, recent court records show. A motion to transfer venue was submitted into Bobby Lee Seldon’s suit on May 20, asking the Galveston … Read More »

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    HOUSTON – After a flare gun “unexpectedly” fired on his person earlier this year, Houston resident Jamie Miller has filed a lawsuit. Miller launched the litigation against the weapon’s manufacturer, Standard Fusee Corp., in Harris County District Court in April, … Read More »

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    GALVESTON – Fertitta Hospitality Inc. and Hilton Worldwide are targets of a lawsuit from a woman claiming she was raped at their Galveston hotel last year. According to court papers filed June 10 in Galveston County District Court, a security … Read More »

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    GALVESTON – More than a week after they were slapped with a $1 million lawsuit over a local man’s alleged fall at a Galveston residence, Galvez Remodeling Inc. and its proprietor, Victor Galvez, have submitted their formal response. Carlos Alfaro … Read More »

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    GALVESTON – A lawsuit claiming a local woman was hit by a forklift at the Galveston cruise terminal more than a year ago will be heard on a new date. Recent court records show that Galveston County 56th District Court … Read More »

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    HOUSTON – In light of injuries he allegedly sustained from an elevator, Harris County resident Richard Gamino pursues legal action.

    A lawsuit targeting Transwestern and Schindler Elevator Corp. was filed April 18 in Harris County District Court.

    The Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas received the litigation on June 18.

    Gamino works in the building known as Four Oaks Place which is owned by Transwestern.

    Four Oaks Place in Houston

    Four Oaks Place in Houston

    According to the suit, on Dec. 15, 2011, the door of a freight elevator at the facilities manufactured and maintained by Schindler malfunctioned and “abruptly and forcefully” closed on the plaintiff.

    The incident in question purportedly left him with head and neck injuries and in an unconscious state.

    “The defective condition of the elevator posed an unreasonably dangerous condition, constituting a product defect and a premises defect, resulting in an unreasonable risk of harm of which the defendants were fully aware,” the original petition says.

    It insists that Gamino did nothing to cause the subject event.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Byron M. Buchanan of The Buchanan Law Office P.C. in Houston is representing the complainant.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1779

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    HOUSTON – After he supposedly stepped on a sharp object at one of their Houston area stores two years ago, Gerardo Saldana is pursuing legal action against The TJX Companies Inc. and The Marmaxx Group.

    Saldana filed a personal injury lawsuit in Harris County District Court in May, but the defendants removed the case to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on June 26.

    Recent court papers explain that the plaintiff and his wife were shopping at Marshall on June 11, 2011, when the subject incident occurred.3816

    “While in or near the shoe department he inadvertently stepped on a sharp object that was left on the floor,” the original petition says.

    “After further examination of such sharp object it was determined that it most likely was the pin end of one of the security tags that are placed upon store items such that they are not readily removed from the store without payment.”

    The suit claims “it is far more likely than not that a store employee negligently left such sharp object on the floor of the store,” adding the event inflicted “immediate” injury to the complainant’s right foot.

    According to Saldana, his wound did not heal and became “progressively worse.”

    “He was caused to undergo several surgeries to remove all the toes on his right foot,” the suit says.

    Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney J.W. Stringer of Houston is representing Saldana.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1864

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    GALVESTON – After a hot cup of coffee fell on her at a local fast food restaurant last year, area resident Helen Julian has filed a lawsuit. Styrofoam-Cup-Coffee

    Recent court papers filed June 28 in Galveston County District Court assert that S.M. Watford Group LLC, doing business as Sonic Drive-In Restaurant, is responsible for the injuries Julian purportedly sustained to the lower portion of her body on May 11, 2012.



    Julian was a customer at the defendant’s eatery in Santa Fe at the time of the events in question.

    She purchased the beverage that is the focus of the litigation, and when the server handed it to her, “it was tendered in a way that made the improperly placed lid pop off, causing the steaming hot coffee to spill onto the lap and inner thighs of the plaintiff,” the original petition says.

    According to Julian, the apparent mess left her with second and third degree burns with “painful and unsightly” scarring.

    The suit blames the respondent for:

    • The employee’s supposedly wrong placement of the lid;
    • Said employee’s “lack of due care” when serving hot coffee;
    • Its supervisors and managers’ improper training of the workers; and
    • The improper maintenance and control of the coffee temperature, making it dangerously hot.

    Consequently, the complainant seeks at least $100,000 in damages.

    Attorney Jonathan Kieschnick of The Crim Law Firm P.C. in Houston is representing Julian, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-842

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    HOUSTON – A Wal-Mart employee is suing the discount retailer as well as Tyson Foods Inc. after eating a chicken nugget meal allegedly laced with glass.

    New York resident Latchmi Rawatiraman initiated the legal action in Harris County District Court on May 20. chicken-nuggets-l

    The case was removed to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on June 21.

    Rawatiraman was employed at a Wal-Mart in northwest Harris County at the time of the incident in question.

    She says that she consumed the meal, which Tyson reportedly sold to the store, during a work break at the business’s delicatessen on May 24, 2011.

    The complainant sustained “serious and resulting foreseeable” injuries while on break and in the following months as a result of ingesting pieces of a glass-like jagged material contained in the food, the original petition says.

    Said injuries included those to her brain.

    “The said chicken nugget product furnished by the defendant Tyson through the defendant Wal-Mart deviated in its quality from specifications in a manner that render the said product unreasonably dangerous,” the suit says.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Michael A. Zimmerman of Zimmerman, Zimmerman, Cotner & Lejeune, P.C. in Houston is representing Rawatiraman.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1818

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    GALVESTON – Claiming he was the victim of a physical assault last year, local resident Christopher Malbrough has filed a lawsuit.

    Recent court papers filed July 2 in Galveston County District Court pin the April 1, 2012, incident in question on Derek McGahee. fight

    Malbrough alleges that he was walking down the street when McGahee “perpetrated a violent and aggressive bodily assault” against him.

    “The attack from the defendant McGahee was unprovoked,” the original petition says.

    It adds the aforementioned assault knocked the plaintiff unconscious as well as caused severe, painful injuries and facial disfigurement.

    McGahee is blamed for:

    • Intentionally assaulting and battering the plaintiff with his hands, feet and fists;
    • Placing the plaintiff in apprehension of a battery;
    • Creating an unnecessarily dangerous condition to others; and
    • Failing to exercise ordinary care in his physical aggression.

    Consequently, Malbrough sues for physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment and lost wages.

    He seeks no more than $25,000 in damages.

    A jury trial is reportedly requested.

    Attorney Nathan Z. Robinson of Kemah is representing the complainant, and Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-863

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    GALVESTON – A Harris County man seeks damages after he was purportedly hit in the head with a pipe last month, recent court documents say.

    Jonathan Tamez is suing Cajun Constructors Inc., Cajun Industrial Design & Construction LLC and The Dow Chemical Co. in Galveston County Court at Law No. 1.

    His lawsuit, filed July 2, alleges the incident in question occurred at Dow’s Texas City facility on June 20.Hard_Hat

    Though the suit does not elaborate on the exact circumstances, it asserts Tamez “severely” injured his head, brain, neck and other parts of his body.

    “The defendants were subjectively aware of the extreme risks posed by the conditions which caused the plaintiff’s injuries, but did nothing to rectify them,” the original petition says.

    Tamez faults the respondents for:

    • Failing to supervise their crew;
    • Failing to properly train their employees;
    • Failing to provide adequate safety equipment;
    • Failing to provide safety equipment;
    • Failing to properly secure the pipe; and
    • Failing to follow applicable government safety regulations.

    Consequently, the complainant sues for physical pain, mental anguish and “other medical problems.”

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Jason A. Itkin of Arnold & Itkin LLP in Houston is representing the plaintiff, and Galveston County Court-at-Law No. 1 Judge John Grady is presiding over the litigation.

    Cause No. 70,248

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    HOUSTON – After injuring one of his digits loading a cart with bags of garden soil at a hardware store near his residence, Montgomery County resident Ed Tchamanzar seeks damages.

    Tchamanzar filed a lawsuit against Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., Miracle-Gro Lawn Products Inc. and The Scotts Co. LLC in Montgomery County District Court on May 28.

    The Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas received the litigation on July 2.
    Court papers explain that the plaintiff was shopping at The Home Depot in Conroe on June 11, 2011, when the alleged incident occurred.4439790624_d5468e39b5_o

    As Tchamanzar was putting bags of Miracle-Gro Garden Soil into his cart, according to the original petition, he “unknowingly inserted his left middle finger into a pre-existing opening in a bag of the product.”

    The complainant placed the heavy bag onto the cart, and the “entire weight of the contents of the bag came to bear on his left middle finger,” the suit says.

    “Based on his observations, it appeared to Mr. Tchamanzar that the cut in the bag was created by partially removing the plastic shrink wrap covering the palletized product.”

    Tchamanzar insists the subject event happened because The Home Depot provided no warning, adding the store “has refused to accept any responsibility.”

    He points out that Scotts and Miracle-Gro are deflecting blame as well.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Michael Howell of the Howell Law Firm in Houston is representing the complainant.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1936

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    GALVESTON – An area woman has filed a personal injury lawsuit against Moody Gardens Inc. and Palm Beach At Moody Gardens Inc. on behalf of a child she claims was injured two years ago at the Galveston attraction.

    In court papers filed July 1 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 3, Ashley Valdez states that Marcus Torres was at Palm Beach on July 4, 2011, when he tripped and fell on a metal object and struck his chin on said object.



    The suit states that the boy suffered a gash to his chin and required medical attention.

    It asserts the defendants failed in their duty to protect and safeguard the child from “unreasonable” dangerous conditions on the premises or to warn of their existence.

    “The defendants knew or should have known of the condition on its premises,” the original petition says.

    “Additionally, the defendants created the condition and it was foreseeable that someone would trip and fall.”

    They are additionally blamed for:

    • Maintaining a dangerous condition upon its premises;
    • Failing to inspect the premises in order to discover the dangerous condition;
    • Failing to correct the dangerous condition;
    • Failing to warn;
    • Failing to provide a reasonably safe place; and
    • Failing to properly supervise employees.

    Consequently, Valdez seeks unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

    Attorney Darrell A. Apffel of Bettison, Doyle, Apffel & Guarino P.C. in Galveston is representing the complainant.

    Cause No. 70,219

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    GALVESTON – The parties in a lawsuit arising from a 2011 incident at a Galveston water park are at odds over which jurisdiction should handle the litigation.

    Magnolia resident Naseem Akhter is suing ride attendant Joel Scott Hargrove and his parents for injuries she allegedly sustained at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark on May 14, 2011.



    Meanwhile, the defendants requested Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves to transfer the case to Comal County.

    Akhter objects to the motion on grounds the Hargroves failed to prove “it would be an economic or personal hardship” for them to maintain the suit in Galveston County.

    She additionally counters that more than 200 miles which separate Galveston and Comal Counties present a hardship.

    She insists the suit stays in Galveston County.

    According to Akhter’s original petition, Joel Hargrove was assigned to the Torrent water slide and had the responsibility of ensuring riders were properly secured, but alleges he failed to do so with her.

    She claims she went backwards down the water ride, hitting the plastic guide tubes during the course of the ride and then striking the concrete landing area at the end.

    The suit claims Akhter suffered severe back and neck injuries which required medical treatment and still affect her to this day.

    Attorney Jonathan H. Hull of Reagan Burrus in New Braunfels is representing the respondents.

    Case No. 13-CV-654

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    GALVESTON – A Kemah family implicated in a recent lawsuit alleging that one of the sons shot an acquaintance with a pellet gun has contended the plaintiffs’ claims.

    Lyman, Marie, Will and Jimmy Dolan entered an original answer into Harris County residents Mark and Barbara Parkinson’s suit on July 1.



    In court papers filed in May, the Parkinsons claim their son, Zach, was a guest at the defendants’ residence at the time of the subject event.

    They show that Jimmy and Will Dolan invited him to the backyard to participate in target practice using their pellet guns, which were purportedly bought and provided by Lyman and Marie Dolan.

    According to an original petition, a seated Jimmy Dolan “intentionally, recklessly or negligently” had the gun in his possession in his lap with the barrel pointed at the younger Parkinson.

    It further asserts Jimmy Dolan “intentionally, recklessly or negligently caused the pellet gun in his possession to fire and cause injury to the left side of Zach Parkinson” as a way to “frighten” the boy.bullseye

    The respondents’ neighbor, a law enforcement officer, rushed Zach Parkinson to a nearby hospital afterwards, and the child was then airlifted to another hospital for emergency treatment on his heart and lung.

    The Dolans’ response counters that the complainants’ supposed negligence brought forth Zach Parkinson’s injuries, insisting the accident was “unavoidable.”

    Attorney James A. Newsom of Sprott, Rigby, Newsom, Robbins & Lunceford PC in Houston is representing the defendants.

    Cause No. 13-CV-690

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    Kountze resident Anthony Arline is suing BNSF Railway for injuries he received when a defective hand brake allegedly caused him to fall.


    Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, the suit was filed Oct. 2 in Jefferson County District Court.

    According to the lawsuit, on Jan. 19, 2012, Arline was in the course and scope of his employment with BNSF. While trying to set a defective hand brake, the brake broke loose from the rail car, causing him to fall.

    The suit alleges that Arline’s injuries were caused by the negligence of BNSF.

    No specific acts of negligence are listed in the suit.

    The plaintiff is suing for his alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement and lost wages, plus all court costs.

    He is demanding a jury trial.

    Houston attorney Steve Young of Tavormina & Young represents him.

    Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

    Case No. E193-245

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    HOUSTON – A Sam Houston State University student alleges officers with his school’s police department assaulted him and has filed a lawsuit. 

    Court papers filed Oct. 1 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas assert Aman Abdulaziz did nothing to draw the attention of SHSU Police let alone provoke the purported attack.

    SHSU and the city of Huntsville are also targets of the suit.

    Abdulaziz explains that his ordeal began when he called a tow service to help him get the keys out of his vehicle.

    After about a 45-minute wait, Abdulaziz met the tow truck drivers, who he saw talking to a policeman.

    The suit shows the policeman issued the plaintiff a ticket for lack of a parking permit prior to the keys being retrieved.

    Upon receiving his keys, the plaintiff states he drove toward another dormitory where another police officer met him and “sternly” asked to search his car on the grounds he “was illegally parked.”

    Abdulaziz says he was about to empty his pockets as ordered by the officer in an effort to find his driver’s license and insurance verification card when the officer “jumped on me and did a leg hook maneuver to bring me down,” according to the plaintiff’s lawsuit.

    He alleges “more officers tackled me on the ground” while the officer who gave him a citation earlier choked and kicked him in the face.

    According to the original petition, Abdulaziz was suffering “major” blood loss and felt he “was going to die or pass out” during the subject event.

    Abdulaziz claims he asked why he was being attacked and the officer who kicked him in the face said it was because he had punched a patrolman. Abdulaziz said that was a fabricated charge that he was found innocent of later.

    Court documents further state the university’s police left the plaintiff lying on the ground, took photos of him and completely cleaned the blood off his chest and face prior to transporting him to the Walker County Jail where authorities charged him with four crimes.

    The suit insists Abdulaziz suffered “physical, psychological, financial, educational and emotional” damage and that he “was charged with assaulting a police officer to validate and cover up the gang assault and excessive force that I was held subject to by these corrupt policemen.”

    Consequently, the complainant requests an investigation of the law enforcement officials he insinuates committed police brutality against him.

    Abdulaziz is representing himself.

    Case No. 4:12-cv-2925

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    GALVESTON – A celebration on a party bus resulted in injuries to a disabled woman, according to a lawsuit recently filed against the bus rental company. 

    Geneva Felton, a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair, states she and 40 other relatives were on board a bus operated and owned by Destiny Limousine Service and R&R Partnership on April 6 for a birthday celebration.

    According to Felton’s suit filed Oct. 2 in Galveston County District Court, the bus hit a speed bump, causing the passengers — including the plaintiff — to fly out of their seats.

    The suit states Felton’s sister, Aretha Felton, first contacted R&R about renting a large capacity bus fitted with accommodations for a wheelchair.

    Aretha Felton claims R&R said it could provide such a vehicle, however on the day of the party they informed her the vehicle was not available and that they would send a substitute.

    When the bus arrived in Texas City that afternoon, the plaintiff claims it did not have enough seats and was not capable of carrying a wheelchair. Several celebrants had to find other cars, the suit states.

    Meanwhile, Edwin McCloud, the assigned bus driver, supposedly demanded the plaintiff’s wheelchair be removed.

    Family members subsequently carried the complainant aboard and sat her down.

    According to the original petition, none of the bus seats had seatbelts therefore Geneva Felton was unrestrained.

    The night soon came to a close with the bus dropping off passengers at their respective residences in either Galveston or Texas City.

    McCloud, who grew upset because the expiration time was drawing near, “[drove] fast to drop off the Galveston passenger and return the remaining group to the mainland.”

    “He turned onto a residential street with marked speed bumps,” the suit says.

    “Rather than slowing down to go over the speed bumps, Mr. McCloud kept his right rate of speed.”

    Upon her return home, the suit states, Geneva Felton discovered her left leg was injured.

    She went to a nearby hospital where she learned she suffered a fracture knee and femur.

    The suit also lists McCloud as a defendant.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Christopher D. Bertini with the Bertini Law Firm P.C. in Galveston is representing Geneva Felton.

    Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 12-cv-2115

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    While moving buckets of grout, Dennis Rivers, a Beaumont local, tripped over a water hose.


    On Oct. 1, Rivers filed suit against the company he was assisting, Structural Preservation Systems, in Jefferson County District Court.

    According to the lawsuit, on March 3, 2011, Rivers was working for KTM Maintenance when he was asked to assist some SPS employees to move buckets of grout.

    “There were water hoses and plastic on the floor and as he walked across the floor he fell,” the suit states, adding that Rivers injured his head and back.

    Although the suit credits SPS’s negligence and carelessness as the proximate cause of Rivers’ alleged injuries, the suit fails to list a specific act of negligence.

    The plaintiff is suing for his alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment and lost wages, plus all court costs.

    Attorney Tom Oxford of the Beaumont law firm Waldman Smallwood represents him.

    Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, is assigned to the case.

    Case No. E193-248

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