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Southeast Texas' Legal Journal

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    GALVESTON – Alleging he was hurt during a surface air dive more than two years ago, Houston resident Dustin Gallard seeks damages.Face-of-Scuba-Diver

    A lawsuit filed March 27 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas targets Offshore Liftboats LLC, Hercules Offshore Inc. and his employer, Seamar Divers International LLC, for Gallard’s purported injuries.

    Gallard was a diver aboard the L/B Kylie, which is owned and operated by Offshore Liftboats and Hercules Offshore, at the time of the events in question.

    According to the suit, on Nov. 7, 2010, he was hand jetting a trench on the bottom of the sea floor in an effort to allow access to buried portions of a cassion/pipe when he suffered decompression illness, commonly called “the bends.” Gallard claims he sustained serious injuries.

    It states that Seamar supervisors failed to comply with the basic principles of decompression diving as well as neglected to provide a safe diving stage.

    The respondents are faulted for:

    • Failing to provide a safe place to work;
    • Failing to provide a proper training to its crew members on how to run a surface air dive;
    • Failing to properly train its crew members in the implementation of decompression treatment tables;
    • Failing to provide safe diving equipment; and
    • Failing to obtain proper medical care.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Matthew D. Shaffer of Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer & Harris LLP in Houston is representing Gallard.

    Case No. 3:13-CV-0090


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    GALVESTON – A Louisiana man claims he was struck by a hose last year while working on a platform belonging to the ExxonMobil Corp. and has filed a lawsuit.

    Spagnoletti

    Spagnoletti

    Recent court papers filed March 27 in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas show Douglas L. Bienvenu reportedly hurt himself as he tried to inspect a tank on the defendant’s Hoover Diana platform off the waters of Galveston.

    Bienvenu worked as a solid control technician for National Oilwell Varco LP assigned to the platform at the time of the March 27, 2012, incident that is the focus of the litigation.

    He says the lid on the tank had a defective gasket which required replacement as well as the removal of the hose attached to said lid.

    According to the suit, the plaintiff removed the hose, and as he got down getting a flashlight to illuminate the inside of the tank, the hose fell and hit his neck and back.

    The original petition asserts Bienvenu did nothing to bring forth the accident, additionally alleging the respondent failed to provide him adequate assistance with the task.

    Consequently, the complainant seeks more than $75,000 in damages and a jury trial.

    Attorney Francis I. Spagnoletti of Spagnoletti & Co. in Houston is representing him.

    Case No. 3:13-CV-0089


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    GALVESTON – A motion for summary judgment was recently entered into a Hitchcock woman’s lawsuit targeting a local shooting range. Shooting_range_Glock

    The Arms Room LLC submitted the 10-page document before the Galveston County 10th District Court on March 14 on grounds “there is no genuine issue of material fact.”

    Mary Buchan sued the business on March 19, 2012, on allegations the weapons retailer failed to provide sufficient hearing protection during her visit on July 21, 2011.

    Buchan claims the defendant did not tell her that she was wearing electronic ear muffs that have a required volume setting.

    According to the original petition, the complainant suffered permanent hearing loss and subsequent medical treatment was unsuccessful.

    The Arms Room’s original answer insists that her reduced hearing is a pre-existing condition, and has attempted to retrieve discovery from her on a few occasions.

    Its motion asserts Buchan signed a hold harmless agreement, limits of liability and range safety document “which constitutes a valid and enforceable release of liability, and she initialed each paragraph of the release.”

    “The plaintiff initialed each and every section of the agreement a total of seven times before placing her full signature at the bottom of the agreement and providing her contact information including e-mail address and Texas driver’s license number,” it states.

    “The plaintiff’s actual signature and initialing of the relevant paragraph show as a matter of law that she had actual notice of its contents, and the agreement is therefore enforceable and the plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed with prejudice.”

    A hearing is scheduled for April 22 at 9:30 a.m.

    Case No. 12-CV-499


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    GALVESTON – A recent blast on a waterway near New Orleans has resulted in a lawsuit.

    Spagnoletti

    Spagnoletti

    Louisiana resident Leroy Gilling Jr. is suing his employer Settoon and Chevron U.S.A. Inc. in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas, claiming the entities were responsible for the event on Mar. 12 which reportedly injured him.

    Recent court documents filed Mar. 21 show Gilling worked as a tankerman aboard the Shanon E. Settoon.

    The vessel was under way in the Bayou Perot Oil and Gas Field in Barataria, La., when the plaintiff “was caused to be thrown” over, the suit says.

    According to the original petition, the subject incident occurred just as the captain ran the ship into a pipeline belonging to Chevron.

    Gilling adds he sustained “serious and debilitating” injuries.

    Settoon is blamed for:

    • Failing to maintain the vessel and its equipment in a safe and reasonable state of repair;
    • Failing to take reasonable precautions for the plaintiff’s safety;
    • Failing to provide employees with a reasonably safe place to work;
    • Failing to warn Gilling of known or existing hazards; and
    • Failing to properly navigate the vessel.

    Meanwhile, the suit asserts that Chevron is negligent in the maintenance and burial of the pipeline.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Francis I. Spagnoletti of Spagnoletti & Co. in Houston is representing Gilling.

    Case No. 3:13-CV-0080


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    GALVESTON – Following a fall at a customer’s Texas City residence two years ago, an airconditioner repairman has filed a lawsuit.

    Frederick

    Frederick

    Houston resident Froilan Ortiz Jr. filed suit April 4 in Galveston County District Court against Elton L. Hudson.

    According to the suit, Hudson hired Ortiz to fix his air conditioner. The plaintiff went to Hudson’s house on April 4, 2011, and as he made his way up to the attic, the staircase gave way and caused him to fall, the original petition says.

    Ortiz claims the incident left him with an interior capsule sprain of the ankle, a fractured talus, an osteochondritis dissecans of the post facet talus and talus at the ankle joint.

    Hudson is faulted for:

    • Failing to warn of a known danger or hazardous condition or to make it reasonably safe;
    • Breaching his duty to inspect and make safe a dangerous condition;
    • Failing to reasonably and adequately maintain the stairs; and
    • Breaching his duty of ordinary care to make the stairs reasonably safe.

    “The defendant knew or should have known that the condition of the attic stairs posed an unreasonable risk of harm to the plaintiff,” the suit says.

    Consequently, the complainant seeks $200,000 in damages.

    He is represented by attorney Cynthia Frederick of The Frederick Law Firm PLLC in Houston.

    The case has been assigned to Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter.

    Case No. 13-CV-508


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    GALVESTON – A local attraction challenges a Hill Country man’s personal injury lawsuit against it, recent court records show.

    The Aquarium at Moody Gardens

    The Aquarium at Moody Gardens

    Round Rock resident Lon Gaster initiated legal action against Moody Gardens following an alleged slip and fall last summer at its aquarium facility.

    The suit, filed in late February, asserts Gaster and his children were in the midst of a visit on July 1, 2012, just as the event in question occurred.

    According to the original petition, inadequate lighting made it difficult for the complainant to see the floor.

    “The steps were not lit or marked in any way, and as a result, the plaintiff fell to the floor and sustained serious injuries,” it says.

    Gaster adds he suffered “serious” injuries, “particularly to his right knee.”

    He blames the respondent for failing to cordon off the area in question and failing to provide hand railings along the stairs in the area he asserts where he hurt himself.

    The suit was amended about three weeks later.

    Meanwhile, Moody Gardens submitted its original answer April 9 stating that “the accident in question was proximately caused by the negligence of the plaintiff.”

    The response additionally insists the complainant’s supposed ordeal was “unavoidable.”

    Attorney Nicholas E. Zito of Ramey, Chandler, Quinn & Zito, P.C. in Houston is representing Moody Gardens.

    Case No. 13-CV-261


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    Buzbee

    Buzbee

    GALVESTON – Two Houston attorneys filed a lawsuit against BP Products North America Inc. on behalf of 474 area residents who claim they were exposed to a leak at the petrochemical company’s former Texas City facility more than a year ago, recent court documents say.

    Anthony G. Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm and Chad Pinkerton of The Pinkerton Law Firm PLLC initiated the litigation in Galveston County District Court April 10, asserting the plaintiffs suffered “physical symptoms” as a result of the event in late 2011.

    The original petition explains that BP “reportedly released sulfur dioxide, methyl carpaptan, dimenthyl disulfide and other toxic chemicals into the atmosphere from Nov. 10, 2011, through possibly early December 2011.”

    “It was reported that a tank on the western side of the facility had a pinhole leak which was the root of the toxic chemicals being released into the atmosphere,” the suit says.BP-Texas-City-Refinery

    “The leak was substantial enough that it was purportedly detected at other facilities located as far as two miles away.”

    Meanwhile, according to the suit, the incident in question forced the nearby Dow Chemical facility to shut down most of its operations and send all non-essential employees home.

    The 40 essential workers who remained were purported to have required medical attention.

    “All of this occurred, despite BP reporting to its neighbors and the community that no dangerous chemicals were being released,” the suit says.

    BP recently sold the property to Marathon for $2.5 billion.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-536


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    GALVESTON – An area woman seeks damages following an alleged slip and fall at a Texas City convenience store at the beginning of the year, recent court documents say.

    Wanda Kay Bailey filed a lawsuit against AA & MM International Inc., doing business as Amburn Food Mart, in Galveston County Court at Law No. 1 on April 14.

    The suit shows Bailey was shopping at the respondent’s business prior to the subject incident the night of Jan. 19.Caution-Wet-Floor

    She recalls walking near an ice-filled cooler filled with individual beers close to the front entrance when she slipped and fell on a water puddle.

    After the fall, according to the original petition, Bailey noticed one of the defendant’s employees mopping the next aisle over.

    The plaintiff asserts the worker “made no effort” to help her, additionally stating she confronted him about an apparent lack of warning signs.

    “In response, the employee stated that there were not enough warning signs, but made no apologies and continued mopping,” the suit says.

    It blames the respondent for premises liability and negligent activity.

    Consequently, Bailey seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney Mark Aronowitz of Texas City is representing the complainant, and Galveston County Court at Law No. 1 Judge John Grady is presiding over the case.

    Cause No. 69,678


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    GALVESTON – Harris County resident Lori Reynolds is suing a Florida man after a collision at a Galveston beach, recent court documents say.

    A lawsuit filed April 15 in Galveston County District Court alleges Lake Worth, Fla., resident Steven Long, IV was surfing in Reynolds’s vicinity of the water when he slammed into the plaintiff on April 16, 2011.

    Galveston beach front

    Galveston beach front

    Reynolds was accompanying a friend’s child at the time of the incident in question, the suit says.

    According to the original petition, Long “suddenly and unexpectedly” lost control of his surfboard and the board struck the complainant in the face.

    Labeling the purported injuries as “severe,” Reynolds asserts the accident left her with a facial scar.

    She blames the defendant for:

    • Failing to properly tether his surfboard to his leg;
    • Failing to keep a proper lookout;
    • Failing to properly control the board; and
    • Failing to keep a safe distance.

    The suit adds that the beach had warning signs for surfers.

    Consequently, the plaintiff seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney Dean Barth of The Hennessy Law Firm in Houston is representing Reynolds, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-550


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    GALVESTON – A local teenager claims she sustained injuries last year while using a bed at a Friendswood tanning salon and is pursuing legal action, recent court papers say. tanning-bed

    Shelby Carter filed a lawsuit April 19 against Malibu Tan LLC in Galveston County District Court.

    The suit shows Carter visited the defendant’s business on May 14, 2012, and inquired about one of its tanning beds.

    An employee then took her to a “Turbo Bed”, which “is more powerful and emits much more energy and light” than a regular tanning bed.

    Carter proceeded to lay in the bed in question only to suffer severe sunburns, a rash and “intense” pain over her torso, the original petition says.

    It claims Malibu did not inform the complainant that she was using a stronger than normal tanning bed nor provide her with an authorization form given she was 17 years old at the time, asserting the establishment failed to follow the applicable regulations pertaining to tanning beds promulgated by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

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

    She is represented by attorney Christopher J. Leavitt of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston.

    Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-564


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    GALVESTON – Bartholomew Granger’s daughter spoke Wednesday before jurors in his capital murder trial.

    Samantha Jackson recounted the morning of March 14, 2012, in which Granger, 42, allegedly fired a rifle at her and her mother, Claudia Jackson, as they and the defendant’s estranged wife walked to the Jefferson County Courthouse from an adjacent parking lot.

    Southeast Texas Record file photo.  The area in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse remains blocked off March 14, 2012, following a shooting rampage that morning that left one dead.

    Southeast Texas Record file photo.
    The area in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse remains blocked off March 14, 2012, following a shooting rampage that morning that left one dead.

    Claudia Jackson, 38, was hit in the buttocks while, Samantha, her eldest child with Granger, sustained more serious injuries.

    Meanwhile, Deweyville resident Minnie Ray Sebolt, 79, suffered fatal wounds as she and a relative were about to enter the courthouse.

    The Jacksons stated they gave testimony that was adverse to Granger in his sexual assault of a child trial the day before the shootings. The women were returning to the courthouse March 14 to speak with an assistant district attorney.

    According to the Samantha Jackson, she saw something odd in the form of a person running toward from her right side, that person turning out to be her father.

    Granger carried a long black gun and shot at her mother, the 22-year-old testified.

    Samantha Jackson said she loudly yelled “No” several times in a futile attempt to get her father to stop shooting at her and her mother.

    She testified that her father shot her in the leg.

    “I could not get up because my leg was too weak,” Samantha Jackson said.

    “Looking up toward the sky, I felt another shot.”

    She testified that Granger then proceeded to run her over with his pickup truck. She emphasized that she was in a “tremendous” amount of pain which caused her to lose consciousness.

    Claudia Jackson stressed that the incident rendered her daughter comatose for three months as well as negatively affected her mental state.

    Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Granger, who entered a not guilty plea April 22.


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    HOUSTON – Claiming a knee injury resulted in her termination from Interior Fabrics, Spring resident Annette Crenshaw filed a lawsuit. knee-xray

    Recent court documents filed April 23 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas explain that Crenshaw experienced mistreatment after hurting her knee in an on-the-job mishap last year.

    The 58-year-old plaintiff, who worked as a part-time sales associate, says she hurt her knee on Feb. 4, 2012, when she tripped over a roll of fabric hitting her knee on a rolling table at work.

    Crenshaw reported the incident to her superiors two days later, and according to the original petition, her manager’s attitude and conduct toward her “changed for the worse.”

    The suit states the same manager helped the complainant complete the necessary workers’ compensation paperwork, but “appeared severely agitated towards [Crenshaw] thereafer.”

    Crenshaw then took a few days off only to discover a reduction in her work hours upon her return.

    The defendant, doing business as Cutting Corners, supposedly fired the plaintiff for “impersonating a manager” though she insists her problematic knee was the real reason.

    Age discrimination was also insinuated in the litigation since Crenshaw’s replacement was a younger individual.

    A jury trial is requested.

    The plaintiff is representing herself.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1152


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    GALVESTON – After a dog allegedly attacked their twin daughters at a Friendswood park almost two years ago, local residents James and Melissa Thompson seek legal action. boxer-dog

    A lawsuit filed April 25 in Galveston County District Court claims a boxer belonging to Friendswood locals Erica and Abid Quraishi injured Olivia and Isabella Thompson at Stevenson Park on May 1, 2011.

    The elder Thompsons say Olivia went to pet the canine in question, which was tied to a tree, when the assault allegedly occurred.

    Olivia then turned around only for the dog to “suddenly and unexpectedly attack her,” the original petition claims.

    The lawsuit states that Isabella, her identitical twin, witnessed the event and sustained injuries as well.

    The girls’ parents assert the defendants knew their dog presented a danger, faulting them for failing to control it and for permitting it to come into contact with minors.

    Consequently, the complainants sue for physical pain, disfigurement, mental anguish and medical costs.

    They are represented by attorney Jeffrey N. Todd of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

    Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-587


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    GALVESTON – An area man pursues legal action on behalf of his daughter following an alleged dog attack six months ago.

    In court papers filed April 30 in Galveston County District Court, Carlos Mendoza attributes the Oct. 4, 2012, incident to a canine belonging to League City resident Belisa Alison Riley.dog-mean-face

    Mendoza was standing outside in his neighborhood when the aforementioned dog suddenly and unexpectedly tried to attack the child, the suit says.

    According to the original petition, the father picked the girl up and placed her behind him to keep the canine at bay.

    “Carlos Mendoza tried dodging the dog, but the dog wound up biting him in the calf,” it says.

    The elder plaintiff adds that he could not ward the dog off while holding his daughter so he put her down, stating he got in between it and the girl moments later to thwart another assault.

    “Minor plaintiff was extremely traumatized and was screaming and crying the entire time of the attack,” the suit says.

    Riley is faulted for violating city ordinance by failing to exercise ordinary care as well as allowing it to roam at large.

    Consequently, the complainants seek unspecified monetary damages.

    They are represented by attorney Jeffrey N. Todd of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

    Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-604


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    GALVESTON – While Beltone is known for assisting the hearing impaired, an Alvin woman filed a lawsuit against it in response to a hip injury she reportedly sustained at one of its area stores more than a year ago.

    Waldine Geraci claims in court papers filed May 1 in Galveston County District Court that on Dec. 16, 2011, she was about to enter her vehicle to the defendant’s store premises in Dickinson when she tripped and fell on the last step.

    The alleged incident left her with a “shattered” hip, the suit says.

    It states that the strip mall in which the business is located has a handicap ramp that is “not easily noticeable,” additionally pointing out an apparent lack of signs.CAUTION-slip-and-fall-danger-sign-150

    “The plaintiff is an elderly woman,” the suit says.

    “As a hearing aid center, Beltone would be aware that those doing business with it would at least include elderly persons (if not predominantly consist of the elderly), whose hearing and vision would be less keen than other persons.”

    Geraci insists that she was unaware of such dangers.

    Consequently, the complainant sues for physical pain and suffering, impairment, disfigurement and medical expenses.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Charles R. Houssiere III of Houssiere, Durant & Houssiere LLP in Houston is representing Geraci, and Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-612


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    GALVESTON – In response to an alleged dog attack two years ago in Galveston, area resident Bruce Brumit seeks damages.

    Recent court papers filed May 1 in Galveston County District Court assert Lynn Eads Black, Sarah Black and Don Langford are to blame for the May 5, 2011, incident which injured Brumit.

    Brumit was visiting a residence belonging to Lynn Eads Black and occupied by Langford and Sarah Black when the tenants’ dog attacked the plaintiff “unprovoked,” the lawsuit says.Pitbull dogs bark during the Prague Pitb

    According to the suit, the canine latched onto Brumit’s leg and inflicted injuries that required more than 40 stitches.

    It adds the event was not the first time the dog attacked someone, insisting it has bitten “numerous” people and was previously quarantined by the city of Galveston.

    “All defendants were aware of the dog’s history of attacks when it attacked the plaintiff,” the suit says.

    • The respondents are faulted for:
    • Failing to confine or restrict the animal;
    • Failing to stop the dog;
    • Failing to properly train the canine; and
    • Permitting it to have access to the complainant.

    Consequently, Brumit seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    He is represented by attorney David Buergler of Ramzey Zein-Eldin & Associates in Galveston.

    Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-617


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    GALVESTON – Harris County resident Michael Martin has filed a $1 million wrongful death lawsuit against Kemah locals Laura and Ronald Reeves in response to an alleged drowning at their residence.

    Straub

    Straub

    Recent court documents filed May 7 in Galveston County District Court allege Randee Michelle Martin died while swimming in a pond behind the Reeves’ home on June 2, 2011.

    According to the original petition, the decedent was invited to swim in the private pond, and the defendants were aware she was in the water.

    The suit adds that Randee Martin was intoxicated and left unsupervised though Ronald Reeves, who reportedly spent the entire day with her, knew of her drunken state.

    “The intoxicated decedent drowned in the pond,” the suit says.

    An autopsy showed her blood alcohol level was almost three times the legal amount.

    The respondents are faulted for failing to maintain the area in question in a safe manner.

    “The defendants knew there was a pond in their backyard. They knew the pond was filled with water and they knew the decedent was intoxicated, unsupervised and near the pond.”

    Michael Martin consequently sues for pain and suffering, mental anguish, funeral expenses and losses of companionship and consortium.

    He is represented by attorney Norman L. Straub of Mestemaker & Straub in Houston.

    Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-638


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    GALVESTON – More than a year after it was filed, a Hitchcock woman’s lawsuit blaming a League City shooting range for alleged lost hearing ended last month in favor of the defendant.

    Recent court records show Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves issued an order April 22 granting The Arms Room LLC’s request for a summary judgment against Mary Buchan. Shooting_range_Glock

    Buchan sued The Arms Room on March 19, 2012, on allegations the weapons retailer failed to provide sufficient hearing protection during her visit on July 21, 2011, arguing it did not tell her that she was wearing electronic ear muffs that have a required volume setting.

    Her suit stated that she suffered permanent hearing loss and subsequent medical treatment was unsuccessful.

    In response to the allegations, The Arms Room countered Buchan’s reduced hearing is a pre-existing condition.

    The respondent’s 10-page motion for summary judgment explained that the complainant signed a hold harmless agreement, limits of liability and range safety document “which constitutes a valid and enforceable release of liability, and she initialed each paragraph of the release.”

    Kinzel

    C. Scott Kinzel of Plavnicky Kinzel & Makowski LLP in Houston

    Buchan “initialed each and every section of the agreement a total of seven times before placing her full signature at the bottom of the agreement and providing her contact information including e-mail address and Texas driver’s license number,” the document said.

    Motions to compel the plaintiff to fulfill discovery requests were entered Aug. 29, 2012, and March 14.

    Plavnicky Kinzel & Makowski LLP represented The Arms Room.

    Case No. 12-CV-499


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    GALVESTON – A Montgomery County woman seeks damages from a Dickinson resident she blames for injuries she allegedly sustained at a Galveston water park two years ago, recent court documents say.

    Magnolia resident Naseem Akhter filed a lawsuit against Joel Scott Hargrove and his parents in Galveston County District Court on May 13.

    Recent court documents show that on May 14, 2011, Akhter was about to embark on the Torrent at Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark where the younger Hargrove was an employee.

    Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark

    Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark

    Akhter says Hargrove, whose responsiblity was to ensure riders were properly secured, failed to do so with her.

    “As a direct result of the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff was sent off on the ride improperly secured and backwards down the water ride,” the original petition says.

    It adds Akhter hit the plastic guide tubes during the course of the ride and then struck the concrete landing area directly at the end.

    She asserts the event in question left her with severe back and neck injuries which required medical treatment and still affect her to this day.

    According to the suit, the defendant “knowingly” committed the acts that are the subjects of the suit.

    Consequently, the complainant sues for pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical costs and lost earnings.

    Attorney M. Ali Zakaria of Houston is representing Akhter, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-654


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    HOUSTON – Humble resident Misti Johnston is suing the Humble Independent School District on allegations a teacher inappropriately touched her daughter.

    Recent court papers filed May 17 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas claim Michael Trost, a teacher at HISD’s Woodcreek Middle School, massaged and groped the young girl on a constant basis.

    The 12-year-old joins her mother as a co-plaintiff in the litigation.

    Johnston asserts she learned of the wrongdoing in question last month.

    “To the plaintiff’s absolute horror, she discovered that the defendant Trost has not only been doing this to her little girl, but to other children that were friends and classmates of her child,” the suit says.170825

    It adds the girl reported feeling “uncomfortable,” “awkward and felt “she was doing something wrong by not enjoying the teacher’s touch.”

    Johnston explains that she complained to campus and school district officials as well as the HISD Police Department, stating the matter drew the attention of Children’s Protective Services.

    A purported investigation determined that the inappropriate touching “did in fact occur, but did not arise to a level of criminal culpability.”

    According to the original petition, the complainants “respectfully” disagree as they believe that Trost, who is also a respondent, “acted with ill intent and that his constant touching of impressionable defenseless young children is/was both perverted and salacious and intended for his sexual arousal and/or gratification.”

    “The defendant Michael Trost has no business having access to impressionable and defenseless young children if he does not have the proper training and judgment to know to keep his hands off the children,” it says.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Paul H. LaValle of Paul Houston LaValle & Associates PC in Texas City is representing the plaintiffs.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1423


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