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Southeast Texas' Legal Journal

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    GALVESTON – After he allegedly injured his back last year while working on a historic Galveston home, local resident Carlos Alfaro is suing his employer for $1 million.

    A lawsuit filed May 16 in Galveston County District Court claims Galvez Remodeling Inc. and its proprietor, Victor Galvez, instructed Alfaro to install molding on a dormer at the subject property “under unsafe conditions.”ladder

    The suit shows the defendants attached two ladders together so the plaintiff could reach the dormer, which is approximately 25 feet from the ground.

    According to the original petition, Alfaro ascended the ladders only to fall after they collapsed, subsequently sustaining the injuries which are the focus of the litigation.

    He blames the respondents for:

    • Failing to provide him with a safe place to work;
    • Failing to warn him of the purportedly dangerous condition;
    • Negligently performing their own task in connection to his work;
    • Creating and allowing hazards to exist in and about the jobsite;
    • Negligently supervising said jobsite;
    • Failing to exercise job safety responsibilities;
    • Failing to manage, inspect and control the area; and
    • Ordering him to use rigged ladders.

    Alfaro adds the respondents did not subscribe to workers compensation insurance.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Michael G. Martinez of Friendswood is representing the complainant, and Galveston County 122nd District Court Judge John Ellisor is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-667


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    HOUSTON – After a cup of coffee spilled on her lap during a flight from Madrid to Newark, NJ, more than a year ago, Harris County resident Lourdes Cervantes has filed suit.

    Recent court documents filed May 15 in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas blame United Continental Holdings Inc. for the Aug. 1, 2011, incident.

    Cervantes was a passenger aboard Continental Airlines Flight 63 on which a stewardess placed the aforementioned cup on the tray trable in front of her lap.Styrofoam-Cup-Coffee

    The suit says that, at the same time, the passenger sitting in front of Cervantes reclined his seat and caused the coffee “to slide off of the tray table and spill into the plaintiff’s lap.”

    “As a result of this, the plaintiff received second-degree burns to the inner thigh portion of her legs,” the original petition says.

    Cervantes insists the subject event resulted in severe pain and suffering, the need for medical treatment, and permanent scarring and disfiguration of the affected areas.

    “The plaintiff’s injuries and damages were the result of an unexpected and unusual event external to the plaintiff,” the suit says.

    According to the complaint, the airline is liable under the Montreal Convention.

    Consequently, Cervantes seeks up to $170,000 in damages as well as a jury trial.
    She is represented by attorney Shaw Clifford of the Law Office of Shaw Clifford in Houston.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1408


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    GALVESTON – Claiming a mooring line struck him in the back while he waited to board a ship, Jorge Lozano seeks damages.

    Lozano filed a lawsuit against Odfjell (UK) Limited and Conti 172 Schiffarts GMBH & Co. in the Galveston Division of the Southern District of Texas on May 15.

    Court papers assert that Odfjell and Conti owned the vessels which reportedly caused the incident in question on May 23, 2011.

    The plaintiff was working at the Oxbow Corp. Terminal in Texas City helping move mooring lines for the tanker ship M/V POS ACHAT, which belonged to Conti, as well as placing the lines over bits on the terminal pier.

    Eiland

    Eiland

    ACHAT personnel then operated controls and manipulated the mooring lines from the boat to moor the ACHAT to the pier in a manner the workers saw fit.

    According to the original petition, Odfjell’s M/V BOW CECIL sailed by the ACHAT’s position at the terminal and caused a swell of water to slam into the ACHAT.

    Several mooring lines on the ACHAT broke, and one of them flew through the air and into Lozano’s back, the suit says.

    The impact supposedly knocked the complainant to the ground.

    An ambulance transported the plaintiff to a nearby hospital afterwards.

    Lozano says pain has radiated throughout his body and specifically in his neck, back and lower extremities since the injury, adding MRI results revealed a herniated disc at the L5-S1 level.

    Consequently, he seeks an unspecified monetary amount.

    Attorney A. Craig Eiland of The Law Offices of A. Craig Eiland PC in Galveston is representing Lozano.

    Case No. 3:13-CV-181


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    GALVESTON – Alleging their son was shot with a pellet gun at an acquaintance’s house, Harris County residents Mark and Barbara Parkinson seek damages. bullseye

    In a lawsuit filed May 20 in Galveston County District Court, the plaintiffs pin responsibility for the May 29, 2011, incident in question on Lyman, Marie, Will and Jimmy Dolan.

    The boy, Zach Parkinson, was reportedly a guest at the defendants’ Kemah residence.

    Schulte

    Schulte

    According to the suit, 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.

    It further shows that 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.

    “To frighten Zach Parkinson, defendant 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,” the suit says.

    “Defendant Jimmy Dolan immediately stood up and asked Zach Parkinson if he had been shot.”

    The respondents’ neighbor, a law enforcement officer, rushed Zach Parkinson to a nearby hospital afterwards.

    The child was then airlifted to another hospital for emergency treatment on his heart and lung.

    His parents assert that his medical expenses total more than $260,000.

    Meanwhile, the Dolans “put forth several different accounts of events as to whether Zach Parkinson’s injuries were caused by the intentional, reckless or negligent acts of defendant Jimmy Dolan,” the original petition says.

    The defendants are believed to possess an “assortment” of weapons including swords, knives and other guns.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Nathan Schulte of The Schulte Law Firm in Houston is representing the Parkinsons, and Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-690


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    GALVESTON – Two local longshoremen claim their attempts to escape injury on a vessel docked in the Port of Galveston resulted in injury, recent court documents say.

    Ernest O’Mara and Eddie Suniga filed a lawsuit against Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc., Del Monte Fresh Produce (Texas) Inc. and Network Shipping Ltd. Inc. in Galveston County District Court on May 20.

    Buzbee

    Buzbee

    At the time of the events in question on April 30, the plaintiffs were working aboard the defendants’ ship, the Lucenda Carrier, at Pier 16 of the Port of Galveston for a third-party employer.

    They explain that they were in the process of unloading the vessel when the cable holding a load snapped and the load fell to the deck below.

    “While attempting to get out of the way of the falling load, Ernest O’Mara and Eddie Suniga suffered severe injuries to their legs, knees, backs, shoulders and other parts of their bodies,” the original petition says.

    The suit further argues the respondents had possession and control of the crane, cable and other equipment and “knew, or should have known, of the danger and failed to warn the plaintiffs or their co-workers or make the condition reasonably safe.”

    The defendants are faulted for:

    • Failing to keep a proper lookout;
    • Failing to properly supervise the work;
    • Failing to have a safe work area;
    • Failing to have sufficiently trained personnel; and
    • Failing to ensure that the crane and cables were properly maintained.

    Consequently, the complainants seek $3.5 million in damages and a jury trial.

    Attorney Anthony G. Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston is representing the plaintiffs, and Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-692


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    HOUSTON – After he allegedly hurt himself at a Marshalls department store in west Houston two years ago, Harris County resident Gerard F. Waller has filed a lawsuit.

    Court papers targeting Marmaxx Operating Corp. and The TJX Companies Inc. were filed in Harris County District Court on April 24.

    Williamson

    Williamson

    The Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas received the case on May 24.

    According to Waller, the subject event occurred at the Marshalls Hedwig Village store on April 25, 2011.

    He claims that he was shopping when he fell over an empty display platform “which was just a few inches higher than the floor.”

    “This empty raised platform was at one time used to display merchandise,” the suit says.

    Waller asserts the platform was the same color as the floor and contained no warning signs or markings so customers could tell the two apart.

    “The raised display platform’s color and lack of markings created a condition that was not open and obvious to the defendants’ customers,” the original petition states.

    “Therefore, even though Mr. Waller was using normal care when shopping in the defendants’ store, he was still unable to see the display platform.”

    Waller adds he has experienced “substantial pain and suffering, a disruption of many of his work and personal activities, and permanent disability.”

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney B. Edward Williamson of Jackson Walker L.L.P. in Houston is representing the complainant.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1522


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    GALVESTON – A company sued after a man was doused with chemicals emerged the victor in the litigation, recent court records show.

    Houston resident Sergio Padilla’s lawsuit against APS Anzualda Professional Services was argued before a jury on May 20.

    Padilla alleged that APS owned a piece of equipment which broke and spewed chemicals onto his clothing.

    Guidry

    Guidry

    The plaintiff was using the equipment to clean various chemical tanks for his employer, Delasco, at a local plant.

    He informed the defendant’s employees about the purported malfunction.

    His two-year-old suit stated that he did not know the liquid which leaked all over him was a chemical that eventually burned his thighs and genital area, arguing he did nothing to cause the incident.

    APS formally denied Padilla’s complaint.

    Booth

    Booth

    Padilla presented testimony and evidence to which the defendant orally moved for a direct verdict.

    Jurors returned a verdict favoring APS the same day.

    Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves signed the final judgment order on May 23.

    Attorney Kerry M. Guidry of The Guidry Law Firm in Houston represented Padilla while attorney Robert Booth of Mills Shirley LLP in Galveston served as APS’s lead counsel.

    Case No. 11-CV-71


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    GALVESTON – After she allegedly fell over a box at an area Spec’s a few months ago, Sandra Shaffer seeks damages.

    Shaffer’s lawsuit, filed June 4 in Galveston County Court-at-Law No. 2, blames Spec’s Family Partners Ltd. for the Jan. 26 incident.DePuy-hipXray

    Shaffer just purchased an item when she turned to exit the defendant’s Kemah store and encounter the box, which she claims was in an aisle next to the cash register area.

    According to the suit, the plaintiff landed on her right hip as a result of the fall, which caused injuries to her right hip and knee.

    She says she is required to have a hip replacement.

    Spec’s is faulted for:

    • Failing to clear the exit area; and
    • Failing to maintain the premises in a good and safe condition.

    “The defendant’s failure to move the box and clear any obstruction for the exit lane at the store and maintain the premises in a good and safe condition for the plaintiff constitutes a breach of the duty to the plaintiff by the defendant,” the original petition says.

    Consequently, Shaffer seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney William T. Powell of Ted Powell Law in Houston is representing the complainant, and Galveston County Court-at-Law No. 2 Judge Barbara Roberts is presiding over the case.

    Cause No. 70,036


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    GALVESTON – Friendswood resident Lloyd Maronge has filed a lawsuit after he allegedly suffered injuries as he climbed to his attic.

    Recent court documents filed June 6 in Galveston County Court at Law No. 1 blame Comcast Commercial Services LLC, Greater Houston Service Exchange LLC and GHSE employee Alejandro Sandival for the Dec. 3, 2012, incident.attic_ladder

    The suit explains that a Comcast worker sent to Maronge’s residence to peform cable television service work broke the access ladder to the attic, prompting the plaintiff to contact GHSE for a replacement.

    GHSE tabbed Sandival to perform the task, and according to Maronge, he “inadequately” secured the attic ladder to the wood frame structure.

    On the date in question, the plaintiff went to retrieve Christmas decorations when the ladder gave out on him.

    “When the plaintiff reached the top of the ladder, the ladder detached from the ceiling and collapsed,” the suit says.

    It adds Maronge also sustained property damage.

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

    Attorney Clint Casperson of the Tracey Law Firm in Houston is representing the complainant, and Galveston County Court-at-Law No. 1 Judge John Grady is presiding over the litigation.

    Cause No. 70,002


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    HOUSTON – A group of Stafford residents has taken the city of Missouri City to court over the activities of a business adjacent to their neighborhood, recent court documents say.

    Attorney Paul H. LaValle of the Law Offices of Paul Houston LaValle in Texas City initiated the legal action on behalf of those living in the Vacarro Manor Subdivision in Fort Bend County District Court, but the case was removed to Houston federal court on June 3.

    The lawsuit shows that the complainants live along the boundary between Stafford and Missouri City, not too far from a facility owned and operated by Royalty Metal Finishing Inc.City_of_Missouri_City_Logo_bb

    According to the suit, the business engages in actions which involve the use of “dangerous, noxious chemicals.”

    The chemicals — reportedly numbering in thousands of gallons — are believed to be stored in tanks, barrels and open vats and are not properly safeguarded, causing the residents’ property values to plummet and “a variety of respiratory and gastrointestinal ailments” to befall them, the suit says.

    It also names Royalty Metal Finishing as a respondent.

    Consequently, the plaintiffs seek more than $10 million in damages as well as a jury trial.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1631


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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 branch in question which went from Harris County District Court to Houston federal court earlier this month.

    Cotrone visited the Wal-Mart Cypress Supercenter on March 10, 2012.

    She went to check out near the aforementioned automotive section when she noticed that the defendant’s employees stacked returned batteries near the register.Dutko

    The suit says the batteries were stacked “dangerously high and were unstable,” and one of which fell onto the floor spilling liquid.

    According to the plaintiff, the workers placed a napkin on the puddle, and a few minutes later, fumes caused her eyes and lungs to burn.

    “The Wal-Mart employees never evacuated Cotrone,” the suit says.

    “Instead of fixing the problem and evacuating Cotrone, the Wal-Mart employees instructed Cotrone to finish checking out near the spill.”

    Cotrone was diagnosed with a chemical bronchitis and pneumonia.

    The respondents reportedly have a video of the supposed incident.

    Consequently, the complainant seeks no more than $2 million in damages.

    Attorney Daniel R. Dutko of Burck, Lapidus, Jackson & Chase P.C. in Houston is representing Cotrone.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1669


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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 County 212th District Court to hand the case over to either Tarrant County or Bell County.

    Seldon sued BNSF on July 6, 2012, on allegations the company never disclosed to him that he was at risk of suffering severe carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand.Railroad-Crossing-Sign-Posters

    The plaintiff says that he currently suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of his work with the railroad for an unspecified amount of years, of which he learned during a doctor’s visit on April 9, 2010.

    According to the suit, Seldon thought the pain he originally experienced “to be part of the natural aging process and not related to any injury or condition.”

    He further claims he was required to undergo regular physical examinations conducted by physicians brought in by the defendant to determine his fitness for his job, stating he “was never told at any of these required physical examinations that he had any problem with his upper extremities and he was never taken out of service or limited in his work capacity in any way.”

    Meanwhile, BNSF formally contests the litigation.

    It wants the suit heard in Tarrant County because it is home to its principal office while Bell County is its other venue of choice since Seldon resides there.

    The complainant did not work in Galveston County, the six-page motion adds.

    Attorney Douglas W. Poole of McLeod, Alexander, Powel & Apffel in Galveston is representing the defendant.

    Case No. 12-CV-1475


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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, but the case was removed to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on June 10.400px-ORION_25mm

    Court documents explain that the plaintiff, 37, was leaving his house to go fishing last Jan. 10 when the Orion flare gun shot “a 12-guage flare into his left front pocket,” stating the projectile engulfed his pants and then body.

    The plaintiff says he “desperately” tried to put out the fire, but was left with “severe, life-altering” third-degree burns for which he was treated at Christus St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital.

    According to the original petition, the purported burns covered more than 9 per cent of Miller’s total body and 16 per cent of his lower body.

    It further shows that the complainant was forced to undergo several burn-related surgeries that nearly cost him his leg.

    He was hospitalized for a total of three weeks, which included six days in the intensive care unit.

    The suit says the incident in question prevent Miller from working as a welder.

    Meanwhile, the defendant is faulted for failing to install a safety or locking mechanism as well as failing to put adequate hammer and trigger pressure settings.

    Additionally, the flare gun contained woefully inadequate warnings about the dangers associated with its foreseeable use, the suit says.

    A jury trial is requested.

    Attorney Jason A. Gibson of The Gibson Law Firm in Houston is representing Miller.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1687


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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 guard at the Hilton Galveston Island Resort sexually assaulted plaintiff Diana Buckner on Aug. 26, 2012.Hilton-Galveston

    The suit asserts the guard, who is not a defendant in the case, provided Buckner a suite.

    He used his status as an employee to improperly gain access to the suite, and once he had gained access, he proceeded to wrongfully restrain the plaintiff and repeatedly sexually assaulted and raping her, the original petition says.

    It adds the incident in question left the complainant with injuries to her head, lumbar spine, cervical spine, tailbone and other parts of her body.

    Buckner cites the respondents for respondeat superior, accusing them of negligently hiring and supervising the guard.

    They are faulted for:

    • Failing to exercise reasonable care;
    • Failing to reasonably protect the complainant;
    • Failing to keep the premises safe;
    • Failing to properly hire, train and supervise security personnel;
    • Failing to provide a safe place;
    • Failing to implement policy and procedures for checking in all guests; and
    • Failing to provide adequate security.

    Consequently, Buckner seeks a minimum of $100,000 in damages and a jury trial.

    She is represented by attorney Stephen P. Carrigan of Carrigan, Cook, Anderson PLLC in Houston.

    Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss is presiding over the case.

    Case No. 13-CV-771


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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 launched the litigation on May 16, claiming the defendants instructed him to install molding on a dormer at the subject property “under unsafe conditions.”

    The suit asserts the respondents attached two ladders together so the plaintiff could reach the dormer, which is approximately 25 feet from the ground.

    Nguyen

    Nguyen

    Alfaro says that he ascended the ladders only to fall after they collapsed, subsequently sustaining the injuries which are the focus of the case.

    He adds the respondents did not subscribe to workers compensation insurance.

    In their original answer filed May 28, the defendants counter that the plaintiff “has suffered no compensable damage or injury.”

    “In the alternative, the actions and omissions of the plaintiff and/or other various third parties were the sole proximate cause of the alleged injuries and damages, if any, sustained by the plaintiff,” the rebuttal says.

    Attorney Brian T. Nguyen of Nguyen & Chen LLP in Houston is representing the respondents.

    Case No. 13-CV-667


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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 Judge Lonnie Cox signed an order granting plaintiff Mary Moses and defendant Suderman Contracting Stevedores Inc.’s joint motion for continuance on June 10.

    Galveston Cruise Terminal

    Galveston Cruise Terminal

    The move comes just as the litigation was to go before jurors on June 17.

    Nov. 4 is the new trial date.

    Moses sued Suderman on July 5, 2012, nearly six months after an employee of the latter allegedly drove a forklift into her as she was screening baggage.

    According to the original petition, the forklift knocked the plaintiff from behind and caused her to seriously injure her left knee, right hip and her entire right side.

    It insists that “the hazardous forklift operation was under the sole management and/or control of the defendant.”

    The respondent provided an original answer just three weeks after the suit was filed.

    In their motion entered May 21, both parties explained that discovery is not complete and they “have been engaged in settlement discussions (as well as) attempted to resolve the case before incurring unnecessary expenses.”

    They insisted the discovery can be completed before September, noting they agree to discuss settlement or engage in mediation in the next 90 days.

    Attorney Christopher K. Johns of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston is representing Moses while attorney James R. Watkins of Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, L.L.P. in Galveston is serving as Suderman’s counsel.

    Case No. 12-CV-1466


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    GALVESTON – After he was reportedly injured while using a circular saw, Harris County resident Rene Contrares has filed a lawsuit.

    Recent court papers filed June 12 in Galveston County District Court allege that Ash Creek Construction committed negligence which brought forth the June 13, 2011, incident.circular-saw-1

    Contrares was performing construction and repair work for the defendant at the League City Police Station.

    According to the original petition, the saw deeply lacerated his left hand in the first web space, causing nerve damage.

    The plaintiff, who is a left-hand dominant physical laborer, says the injury inflicted significant pain and loss of income as well as permanent nerve and physical damage and disfigurement.

    He blames the respondent for the following, including but not limited to:

    • Failing to furnish all necessary safety devices, supervision and any other necessary items to complete the job;
    • Failing to promptly correct all violations of any unsafe practices;
    • Failing to provide a safe workplace, equipment and environment for workers;
    • Failing to protect the safety and health of employees and giving instruction and directions which enhanced the probability of injury; and
    • Failing to warn the plaintiff of the harm to which he was exposed by the dangerous condition in which the defendant placed him.

    “The defendant contractually and actually controlled the means, methods and details of the plaintiff’s work,” the suit says.

    “The defendant breached the duties owed to the plaintiff.”

    Consequently, Contrares seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney Wayne D. Collins of Collins, O’Neal & Swofford, PLLC in League City is representing the complainant, and Galveston County 405th District Court Judge Michelle Slaughter is presiding over the litigation.

    Case No. 13-CV-779


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    HOUSTON – In response to an alleged home invasion at his Houston area apartment which left him with severe injuries, Shannon Jenkins has filed a lawsuit.

    Jenkins primarily sued C.R.E.S. Management L.L.C., JTL Properties L.L.C. and C.R.E.S. Realty L.L.C. in Harris County District Court.

    The litigation was transferred to the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas on June 12.

    Recent court documents explain that an unknown person broke into Jenkins’s unit at the The Fountains of Westchase Apartments during the early morning hours of June 11, 2012, and “shot at him for some unknown reason.”skimask-gun-robber

    At the time of the subject event, Jenkins was asleep in his bedroom just as “loud noises emanating from the living room” roused him.

    Realizing it was someone kicking his front door and thinking they had the wrong apartment or was in need of urgent help, the plaintiff opened the door only to come “face to face with the barrel of a gun.”

    “As the plaintiff instinctively raised his arm to protect his face, the person welding the gun shot the plaintiff at point blank range, shattering the plaintiff’s elbow,” the suit says.

    It further states the subsequent two shots missed the complainant, saying the purported gunman fled the scene on the assumption the former was dead.

    Police were summoned to the scene, and Jenkins was transported to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital.

    The suit faults the respondents for negligent exposure to unsafe conditions due to inadequate security.

    Consequently, the plaintiff seeks nearly $1 million in damages and a jury trial.

    He is represented by attorney Ryan N. Berchelmann of The Leon Law Firm, P.C. in Sugar Land.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1711


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    GALVESTON – Tiki Island locals Russell Craig Hudeck and Renea Diamond are pursuing legal action against Marathon Petroleum Co. LP over “an eleven-hour long” emission event earlier this month.

    According to a lawsuit filed June 14 in Galveston County District Court, the event in question damaged the plaintiffs’ property as well as “unwittingly exposed them to these chemicals as they went about their daily business.”

    Buzbee

    Buzbee

    The suit asserts that at around 2 a.m. the morning of June 7, the defendant’s Texas City refinery released various toxic chemicals into the air and caused its operations to shut down.

    It is believed that a pipe sheared apart at the refinery’s fluid catalytic cracking unit, prompting the “uncontrollable” release of slurry, gasoline and other petrochemical products.

    Marathon did not contain the aforementioned release until some 11 hours after it began, the original petition says.

    Hudeck and Diamond claim that release materials covered their vehicles, house and other property.

    They show the stains are “difficult or impossible to remove despite scrubbing and the use of professional cleaning products.”

    Court papers say the plaintiffs were exposed to the emission as it was taking place.

    Marathon failed to warn the complainants or the Tiki Island community that there was an ongoing emission event, they argue.

    Consequently, the plaintiffs seek unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

    They are represented by attorney Anthony G. Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm in Houston.

    The case has been assigned to Galveston County 10th District Court Judge Kerry L. Neves.

    Case No. 13-CV-788


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    HOUSTON – A Louisiana man is suing a host of companies following an explosion on an offshore platform last year that he claims left him with “serious and debilitating” bodily and mental injuries.

    Michael Jude Voclain names Black Elk Energy LLC, Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC, Wood Group USA Inc., Wood Group PSN Inc., Grand Isle Shipyard Inc. and Compass Engineering and Consultants LLC as defendants in his personal injury lawsuit, which was filed June 14 in Houston federal court.

    Stevenson

    Recent court documents explain that Voclain, an employee of Enviro Tech Systems Inc., was working on the West Delta 32 production platform located off the waters of Grand Isle, La., on Nov. 16, 2012, when suddenly and without warning an explosion and fire erupted during a pipe cutting operation.

    According to Voclain, the event was caused by “the negligent use of a cutting torch instead of a saw or other non-sparking device on a pipe containing hydrocarbon product that ignited and exploded.”

    The original petition faults Black Elk and Wood Group for authorizing unsafe and negligent conduct in operations under their control while Grand Isle Shipyard is blamed for its workers negligently using the wrong tool to cut the pipe that caused the incident.

    Voclain insists he did nothing to bring forth the injuries of which he complains.

    Consequently, he seeks unspecified monetary damages.

    Attorney John W. Stevenson Jr. of Stevenson & Murray in Houston is representing the complainant.

    Case No. 4:13-CV-1738


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