Industrial Accident Results
The Houston area is home to almost 11,000 manufacturing plants, making products ranging from computer circuitry to petrochemicals. Houston is one of the energy capitals of the world, with more than 5000 energy firms in the area. Houston is home to the $15 billion petrochemical complex at the Houston Ship Channel and boasts more than 400 chemical manufacturing plants employing more than 35,000 employees. In addition to chemical, petroleum and other manufacturing services, Houston is home to the largest shipping port in the United States and the sixth-largest port in the world.
With so many workers working in plants and fields that are inherently dangerous, there are thousands of accidents each year caused by human error, poor plant conditions, inefficient operation and lack of safety gear and precautions. The Merman Law Firm has represented thousands of workers injured by the negligence of others, including plant explosions throughout Texas and Louisiana, crane collapses, tank explosions (see Torres case, above), and, as is highlighted below, hidden dangers on plant premises. Each case involved serious injury and, often, death. These are dangerous jobs and the penalty for mistakes is extremely high.
B.R. v. EI DuPont de Nemours, et. al., Cause No. 200980504 in the 165th Judicial District of Harris County
Result: Verdict for Plaintiffs in the amount of $11,965,000 on March 23, 2012
Mr. Roye was badly burned when he attempted to repair a steam trap on a line at the DuPont chemical plant in La Porte, Texas. Mr. Roye received burn injuries over 46% of his body when the ground collapsed and dropped him into a hole three feet deep and full of boiling water. Mr. Roye barely escaped with his life. DuPont claimed the accident was the fault of Mr. Roye and his employer but we were able to prove through exceptional expert testimony and argument that Mr. Roye could not have appreciated the hidden danger. Mr. Merman was co-lead counsel with Dan Barton of the Barton Law Firm and received a verdict in excess of $11,000,000 in actual damages for Mr. and Mrs. Roye after three weeks of trial. View Charge of the Court Here.
Result: Verdict For Plaintiff
Pain and Suffering: $4,500,000
Loss of Earning Capacity: $1,125,000
Physical Impairment: 2,500,000
Loss of Consortium: $60,000
A.B. obo R.B. v. BHL, et. al. in the 295th District Court, Harris County, Texas.
Result: Confidential Settlement for Plaintiff October 2016
On September 7, 2011, R.B. now deceased, was in a man-lift basket, performing work for his employer at its yard in Houston, Texas. His employer was constructing an oil derrick or “mast,” and hired crane and rigging, company to supply a crane and operator to lift and move the 145,000 lb. mast. On that day, R.B.’s job was to use the man-lift to elevate himself, crawl out onto the mast, hooked the rigging of the crane to the mast for the lift, and unhook the rigging once the mast was placed on a stand provided by his employer. Shortly after the mast was placed on the stand and before R.B. could remove himself from the zone of danger on the man lift provided by his employer, the stand collapsed under the weight of the mast. As the mast fell, it hit the man-lift basket in which R.B. was traveling. R.B. was struck by the mast and propelled out of the man-lift
The Merman Law Firm litigated this case for more than two years and fought off more than thirty different motions to dismiss and/or terminate the case filed by the defendants. Mr. Merman was victorious in each hearing and preserved the case for mediation. Mr. Merman was able to secure a settlement for the family that was approved by the Harris County probate courts.
The Estate of A.T.P. v. GEM Mobile, Cause No. CV28006 in the 344TH District Court of Chambers County, Texas
Result: Confidential Settlement for Plaintiff
Mr. Torres was a young man who moved to Texas from Mexico to make a better life for his family. He and his brothers and sister in the United States supported his mother, father and mentally disabled younger brother in Mexico. He was an exceptionally hard worker and a skilled metal fabricator.
One morning, Mr. Torres has tasked with welding a pressure relief valve on a mobile petrochemical scrubber for the Defendant. The tank was supposed to have been cleaned of any flammable residue prior to being delivered to the fabrication shop. Mr. Torres’ role that morning was to catch slag beneath the cutting torch, which required him to place his arm into the tank during the cut.
Vapors left in the piping of the scrubber from its last job ignited about half way through the cut. The resulting pressure from the explosion released through the open hole at the top of the scrubber – where Mr. Torres was poised with his arm in the hole. The explosion was so powerful that it blew out all the lights in the shop next door. Mr. Torres was killed in the explosion at nineteen years old.
Mr. Merman was retained by the family to investigate and litigate the accident. Mr. Merman filed suit in Harris County, Texas, where the incident occurred. Link to Torres Petition 1st Amend After more than two years of litigation and more than a dozen depositions, Mr. Merman settled the case in mediation to the satisfaction of the Court and Torres family.
Mr. Merman could have written a check to Mr. Torres’ parents and been done with it; that is what most attorneys would do. But Mr. Merman worried that the family could be taken advantage of and feared that they might be in danger if they sudden had significant deposits in their bank account in Mexico. So Mr. Merman flew to Mexico to meet with the family and discuss what their needs and goals were for the money they were about to receive.
After collecting that information, Mr. Merman came back to the U.S. and met with Comerica Bank and Morgan Stanley investments. Although they had never done anything like what Mr. Merman contemplated, they set up an account that guaranteed regular payments for the family’s needs and to allow them to live comfortably, while preserving the principle in the account. It took several more trips to interior Mexico to accomplish and Mr. Merman did all of this for no additional fee. The family was extremely grateful for the extra help and the Court that approved the settlement was impressed with the creative way Mr. Merman had devised to protect the family and their money.
At the Merman Law Firm, we take our responsibility to our clients very seriously. We become members care when we are trusted to care for a family in their darkest and most desperate times. We are proud of the work we have done to make our clients lives better after a tragedy. We want to make a difference and we have.