Jones Act Changes May Create Thousands Of American Maritime & Offshore Jobs

By Feb 27, 2017 Posted in Jones Act

Houston offshore injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard monitor legal changes that affect our clients, including changes to the Jones Act. Jones Act The Jones Act, also known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, is a federal law intended to promote American merchant marines. The Act is named after its sponsor, former senator Wesley Jones. The Jones Act provides injured seamen and offshore workers with the right to seek compensation directly from their employers. (Our Firm handles those cases.) The Jones Act also mandates that vessels which transport goods between U.S. ports must be constructed in America, owned by Americans, and crewed by Americans. You can learn more about the Jones Act here. The Proposed Changes Over the past several decades, foreign companies have exploited several loopholes in the Jones Act. On the last day of the Obama Administration, the United States Custom and Border Protection announced its intention to close those loopholes. In particular, the revised Jones Act will require offshore drilling equipment to be carried by American vessels. Previously, in a series of pro-foreign-vessel rulings, certain offshore drilling, pipeline, and energy-related equipment had been deemed “vessel equipment” that was not “merchandise” covered by the Jones Act. This loophole meant vessels crewed by foreigners could transport and install things like “Christmas trees” and other subsea offshore drilling equipment. Under the revised Jones Act, however, American vessels with American crews will do this work. The “open comment” period for the new law will end in April 2017. American Companies & Lawmakers Praise Changes The president of […]

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Remington 700 Recall & Injury Lawsuits

By Feb 20, 2017 Posted in Dangerous Drugs & Products

Houston personal injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP are evaluating Remington 700 personal injury and wrongful death cases. If you or a loved one has been injured in a shooting incident involving a Remington 700 or Model Seven rifle, a defect in the product may be to blame. Please contact us now to discuss your rights and remedies. The Remington 700 The Remington 700 is a bolt-action rifle manufactured since 1962. The gun has a centerfire bolt action and typically a 3-, 4-, or 5- round magazine. The Remington 700 is arguably the most popular bolt-action rifle in American history. The Problem Both older and newer model Remington 700 rifles and Remington Model Seven rifles have inadvertently fired with the safety on, allegedly leading to numerous injuries and wrongful deaths. The problem is demonstrated here: The XMP Recall Newer model Remington 700 and Model Seven rifles have the “X-Mark Pro” or “XMP” trigger mechanism. Remington has issued a voluntary recall of XMP triggers, which were manufactured from 2006 to 2014. The company acknowledges that that the firearms “could, under certain circumstances, unintentionally discharge.”  Published instructions on the Remington recall website detail how to determine whether your gun is subject to the recall. It has been estimated that more than 1 million rifles with the XMP trigger are still in circulation. Older Models Have Also Caused Alleged Injuries And Deaths Older model Remington 700 guns have the “Walker” trigger mechanism, which Remington still denies is defective. Ironically, the XMP trigger was introduced in […]

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Oilfield Injury Lawyer – The 25 Most Active Oilfields In The United States

By Feb 15, 2017 Posted in Oilfield Injuries

The oilfield injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP handle serious personal injury cases around the country. To help our clients, we track which geographic areas are seeing the most activity at any given time. As of 2013, the 25 most active oilfields were: Eagleville (Eagle Ford Shale), Texas Spraberry Trend (Permian Basin), Texas Prudhoe Bay, Alaska Wattenberg, Colorado Briscoe Ranch (Eagle Ford Shale), Texas Kuparuk River, Alaska Mississippi Canyon 778 (Thunder Horse), Gulf of Mexico Wasson, Texas Belridge South, California Green Canyon 826 (Atlantis), Gulf of Mexico Mississippi Canyon 807 (Mars), Gulf of Mexico Green Canyon 826 (Mad Dog), Gulf of Mexico Sugarkane, Texas De Witt, Texas Midway-Sunset, California Kern River, California Cat Canyon, California Goldsmith, Texas Stanley (Bakken Shale), North Dakota Mississippi Canyon 854 (URSA), Gulf of Mexico Cedar Hills, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota Elk Hills, California Walker Ridge 678, Gulf of Mexico (St. Malo) Green Canyon 654, Gulf of Mexico (Senzi) Slaughter, Texas To learn more about these oilfields and activity, please review our other blog posts. Work Injuries Will Likely Increase. You Need Someone On Your Side. As the industry rebounds from the longest and hardest downturn in the recent history, rigs and equipment that have been stacked or mothballed will be fired up again. Inexperienced workers will be improperly trained and promoted. Crews will be rushed to make money. Poor maintenance practices will be revealed. All of these things will lead to significant injury or death for too many workers. Call For Help Now. […]

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Severe Phillips 66 Pipeline Explosion and Fire in Paradis, Louisiana Confirms Extreme Dangers Of Pipeline Work

By Feb 10, 2017 Posted in Articles

As being reported by The Times-Picayune out of New Orleans, a severe fire is ongoing at the Phillips 66 pipeline in Pardis, Louisiana near the Williams Discovery natural gas plan on Friday morning, February 10, 2017.  Multiple persons were taken to the hospital (including for burns), and the surrounding area has been evacuated, including up to 60 homes spanning several miles.  The fire broke out as maintenance was being performed.  Phillips 66 issued a statement at 2 a.m. on Friday morning indicating the pipeline had been blocked and that the remaining product continues to burn. Read more about this developing store here. Injuries caused by fires and explosions during the construction and maintenance of pipelines can involve longer recuperation periods — and devastating personal and financial consequences. The Causes of Pipeline Accidents Pipeline incidents causing severe injuries occur for a variety of reasons.  Such incidents can happed a result of defective pipes and pipeline components such as flanges and valves being poorly maintained or being old. Many pipelines in Texas and throughout the United States have been in use for half a century or more and are showing the signs of wear. It is the responsibility of the pipeline companies to inspect, maintain and repair their pipelines, but, all too often, they fail to do so. Failure to repair leaks, ruptures and other defects leaves pipelines unsafe and people vulnerable. Use of defective parts may also contribute to pipeline explosions. In handling pipeline accident cases, we use our extensive investigative resources to uncover the facts and identify liable […]

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Gulf of Mexico Offshore Update-2.2.17

By Feb 2, 2017 Posted in Offshore Injury

The maritime injury lawyers at Morrow & Sheppard LLP monitor developments offshore Gulf of Mexico. This month, our update will cover a fire that broke out on a platform offshore Louisiana, oil company Hess’s big budget bet on Gulf of Mexico drilling, and optimism in the offshore supply vessel market that things are finally looking up. Fire Breaks Out On Offshore Platform An offshore fire broke out on a Gulf of Mexico platform on January 5, 2017. The incident was first reported around 2:30 in the morning. The platform, owned by Renaissance Offshore LLC, is located about 80 miles off the coast of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Four personnel aboard the platform had to be evacuated to the M/V Mary Wyatt Milano, a supply vessel. They were ultimately taken to Terrebone General Hospital for observation. Four different boats and an HC-144 Ocean Sentry airplane were required to put out the blaze. “We can’t get it out!,” workers cried: @AP @oceanCRIES . — Michele (@seachele420) January 5, 2017 Renaissance Offshore LLC is a Houston, Texas based offshore company. The describe their mission as: “Identifying and acquiring under-developed assets with upside potential in the Gulf of Mexico is what Renaissance Offshore is all about. Through targeted acquisitions and negotiated sales, we are focused on building and maintaining our portfolio of assets placing a strong emphasis on oil production. We believe that significant opportunity remains for enhanced recovery from existing fields and infrastructure on the Shelf. Our acquisitions are targeted at older, legacy […]

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Key Dangers of Tractor Trailers And 18 Wheelers

By Jan 29, 2017 Posted in Articles

As Houston trucking accident lawyers, we are sometimes asked about the key dangers of tractor-trailers and 18-wheelers.  These dangers are critical for all drivers to understand. Our country’s roadways are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At any given time—day or night—tractor trailers and 18-wheelers are criss-crossing the country, often rushing to get their loads to where they need to be. In other words, the roadways are never safe, even in the late-hours of the night. Recently, on January 20, 2017, a driver was killed at 1:30 am on Interstate 10 east of Houston, Texas in a rear-end collision with an 18-wheeler.  Accidents involving tractor-trailers can very easily result in serious injury or even death. And these accidents can happen in an instant. There are certain dangers that all drivers should be aware of to help minimize the ever-present risk of a serious accident. So, what are the key dangers of heavy trucks?  Number 1, they are incredibly heavy. A typical tractor-trailer can weigh 80,000 pounds, or 40 tons. In comparison, a normal vehicle weighs only 5,000 pounds. When 80,000 pounds crashes into 5,000 pounds, very serious injuries and death result. Number 2, tractor-trailers take a long time and distance to stop. Drivers make mistakes. In an ordinary vehicle, the driver can ordinarily apply the brakes when a mistake is made, and stop relatively quickly. Conversely, when the driver of an 18-wheeler makes a mistake and has to apply the brakes, it takes the truck a long […]

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Tire Blowouts and Rollovers — Houston Trucking Accident Lawyers

By Jan 25, 2017 Posted in Bus Accidents

Blow Outs: Driver error is not the only cause of trucking accidents.  The loss of control of a vehicle and even rollovers frequently happen where there is sudden tire failure . Defective tires can blow out.  Tires that are inappropriately sized or designed for the vehicle can also blow out.  This can occur with little to no warning, and also even if the tires appear to be in very good condition.  It can happen with brand new tires.  Even when there is no problem with the tires, defective rims can cause blow outs.  All too often, truck drivers will focus only on the condition of their tires and will replace their tires frequently, but will continue to operate on defective and bent rims.  This is very dangerous. Tread Separation: One of the common causes of tire failure, which can lead to blowouts, its tread separation.  When using steel belted radials, it is necessary to properly bond the rubber and the steel together. If the bond fails, the tire can come apart.  Tread separation occurs most frequently at higher speeds and in higher temperatures temperatures. Several brands of tires have been recalled due to problems with tread separation.  Several of the recalls have included tires typically used on SUVs, RVs, and large passenger vans. Defective Spare Tires: Spare tires often sit unused in a vehicle for years.  A tire does not stay in the same condition over time, even when not being used.  Even when not in use, tires age and degrade over time. Spare tires that have degraded are particularly dangerous, […]

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Texas Statistics Demonstrate Extreme Dangers Of Roadways

By Jan 21, 2017 Posted in Articles

Nearly everyone knows that the roads are incredibly dangerous.  However, the statistics show us that they are even more dangerous than most people realize. In 2003, the Texas Department of Transportation estimated that the economic loss of all motor vehicle crashes was $20.7 Billion. By 2015, that number had ballooned to $37.8 Billion. This amount of money is more than some of the largest companies in the world make in an entire year, including ConocoPhillips, DuPont, Macy’s, and McDonald’s. Tragically, these figures also represent thousands and thousands of deaths on the roads and highways.  And it is impossible to estimate the value of the loss of the enjoyment of life. The Texas authorities track the number of fatal wrecks in the state.  For 2015, there was a fatal accident every single day of the year. Sadly, the deadliest day of 2015 in Texas was September 26, during which there were 21 different fatal wrecks that resulted in the loss of 22 lives. A serious accident can happen at any time, but as one might guess, more fatal wrecks occur at night and in the early morning hours while people are still consuming alcohol. For 2015, the most dangerous hour of the day which resulted in the most fatal accidents statewide was between 11:00 pm and midnight. The age of the driver causing the injury often matters as well. Statistically, in Texas, the frequency of accidents causing injuries increases from age 16 until the age of 23, at which time the number […]

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Morrow & Sheppard Trial Victory Chosen As “Featured Verdict” By National Publication

By Jan 21, 2017 Posted in Articles

The nation’s premier trial verdict publication, Verdict Search, has chosen Morrow & Sheppard’s recent unanimous victory in Houston federal court as its “Featured Verdict.”  After a two-day trial, a Houston federal jury found that our client, a widow, had been defrauded by her fiance out of hundreds of thousands of dollars of life insurance proceeds, and further that she was entitled to mental anguish damages and punitive damages.  More facts regarding the case are below, as reported by Verdict Search.  A link to the Verdict Search article may be found here. In August 2014, plaintiff Julieta Olvera, 45, was dating Juan Mauricio Nelligan. The two had reconnected in July via the Internet after they had dated for about six months in 1987. In November 2013, Olvera’s husband died, leaving her widowed in Mexico with two children, ages 6 and 9. Following his death, Olvera received approximately $230,000 in death insurance benefits and other funds from the bank account and business of her late husband. Upon rekindling her relationship with Nelligan, she learned that in the intervening 20-plus years since they had dated, he had married, divorced, had two children of his own and he was a flight attendant who lived near Houston. He allegedly told her he lived in a home with several other flight attendants, and that his children lived with their mother. On Aug. 24, Nelligan flew to Olvera’s home in Mexico and allegedly confessed his love for her. He allegedly wanted to adopt her children and be their father, […]

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M&S Secures $2.09 Million For Wronged Mexican Valve Distributor

By Nov 30, 2016 Posted in Articles

M&S recently recovered $2.09 million* for Alpha Solutions, a Mexican valve distributor that had been defrauded by its former business partner, a Canadian valve manufacturer.  After more than two years of litigation in the trial court, multiple failed motions to dismiss, depositions in three countries, and an intervening trip to the court of appeals, our client Alpha Solutions was fully vindicated on the eve of trial.  In addition to obtaining significant money damages, our client’s reputation was restored.  This case exemplifies why hard work and determination are necessary to overcome well-funded opponents intent on denying responsibility.  More details about the case are provided below. Since 2006 and pursuant to a written contract, Alpha Solutions was the exclusive distributor of oilfield valves in southern Mexico for a Canadian manufacturer named Master Flo.  The relationship was very profitable, and Alpha Solutions grew the product line from practically nothing to a multi-million dollar brand in Mexico. That all changed in 2012, when Master Flo turned its back on Alpha Solutions, and conspired with a disgruntled former employee of Alpha Solutions to replace Alpha Solutions with a new company. Remarkably, it was Master Flo that first threatened to sue Alpha Solutions for hundreds of thousands of dollars. In response, Alpha Solutions sued first in Texas state court.  Master Flo countersued, and fought tooth-and-nail to move the case to its home turf in Canada for over a year. Master Flo then vigorously opposed our efforts to obtain their emails and phone records, and even filed a mandamus with the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals to try and prevent them from […]

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