Significant Cases

At Doyle Raizner LLP, our lawyers pride themselves on the victories we have achieved for our clients at trial, across the State of Texas and the United States. Our lawyers have extensive trial experience and training on how to present cases to a jury, win, and keep fighting to prevail on appeal. Our lawyers do not buckle under the pressure to settle from insurance companies, drilling companies, dredge companies, aviation companies, or other big business, and are not afraid to take your case to trial to seek full compensation for injuries suffered offshore, due to the bad faith of a workers’ compensation insurer or hurricane insurer, or as a result of negligence. Please contact us, if we can help.

Our recent successes include: (to read more about these successes, click on the name of the case)

  • Williams v. Diamond Offshore Services Limited & Diamond Offshore Services Company. – Jones Act/Maritime Law/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $9.6 million (Court entered a judgment of $8.51 million after contributory negligence offset).
  • Bixby, et al v. KBR, Inc., et al – Claims: Negligence/Gross negligence/Toxic chemical exposure
    Jury verdict: $85 million, court entered judgment for $81 million (no recovery achieved to date)
  • Stinson v. AIG - Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict: $1,759,000. (Attorneys’ Fees: $337,500.00; Expenses $42,608.24)
  • Ryan v. Zurich American Insurance Company - Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict: $1.384 million.
    (Attorneys’ Fees: $213,750; Litigation Expenses: $16,617.20; injury – shoulder and economic harm resulting from delay in insurance benefits)
  • Hamilton v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company - Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $1.22 million. (Attorneys’ Fees: $400,000; Litigation Expenses: $47,276.54 ; injury – operated lumbar spine injuries)
  • Norfleet v. Chemikalien Seetransport and Heidenreich Marine - Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $4.5 million. (Attorneys Fees: $1,860,000; Expenses: $105,452.29; injury – operated knee and lumbar injuries)
  • Burch v. Westerngeco Resources (Schlumberger) - Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $1.6 million. (Attorneys Fees: $472,500; Expenses $61,135.03; injury – cervical injuries requiring surgery and unoperated shoulder injuries)
  • Priddy v. Commerce & Industry Insurance Company – Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict: $580,000. (Attorneys Fees: $140,000; Expenses: $41,349.49)
  • Pace v. Houston Helicopters, Inc. – General Maritime Law/Negligence, Jury Verdict: $2.16 million. (Attorneys Fees: $820,000; Expenses: $117,502.70; injury – lumbar injuries requiring surgery and post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Roberts v. Rigdon Marine - Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $1.5 million, increased to $1,752,767.44 with interest. (Attorneys Fees: $788,745.35; Expenses $49,603.52; injury – unoperated spinal injuries and post traumatic stress disorder)
  • Morris v. Texas Mutual Insurance Company – Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict: Substantial Jury Verdict. (Case is on appeal; no recovery achieved to date)
  • Ruttiger v. Texas Mutual Insurance Company - Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict: $282,000. (Case overturned on appeal; no recovery achieved).
  • Snyder v. Cunningham Lindsey Claims Management, Inc. - Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code, Jury Verdict of $4.3 million.  Injury – cervical spine and nerve injuries resulting from delay in payments of insurance.  Initial case overturned on appeal. (To date: Attorneys’ Fees: $115,000.00; Expenses: $39,600.42)
  • Ella Pike v. SeaRiver Maritime, Inc. – Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness, Jury Verdict: $2.56 million. (Reduced on appeal to $2,141,716.75 — Attorneys Fees: $936,772.52; Expenses: $77,625.97 ; injury – unoperated cervical herniation and leg lacerations)

Recent Verdicts and Success in Trial:

Bixby, et al v. KBR, Inc., et al

Following a November 2012 jury verdict of over $85 million, the court entered a judgment of $81 million for 12 Oregon National Guard veterans exposed to sodium dichromate, also known as hexavalent chromium, at KBR’s Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in southern Iraq in 2003. The jury found, and the judge confirmed in post-verdict orders, that KBR affirmatively concealed the presence of this toxin, with resulting harm to the troops providing security to KBR’s work. The case was the first “bellwether” trial for the Indiana, West Virginia, and Oregon National Guard, along with members of the Royal Air Force Ground Regiment exposed at Qarmat Ali. One hundred forty more plaintiffs, including the surviving family members of two veterans who died after their exposure, await trial.

The toxic chemical was widely present as an orange-colored dust that soldiers assigned to guard the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant in southern Iraq could not avoid coming into contact with their lungs, skin, and body tissues during their work guarding KBR’s Qarmat Ali worksite. KBR has filed suit against the United States government to seek payment for the verdict, as well as their legal costs and liability to the remaining plaintiffs, due to an indemnity clause signed by the secretary of the Army allegedly protecting the company from legal liability. That litigation is also still pending.
The affirmed judgment awarded each soldier $500,000 in actual damages and $6.25 million in punitive damages. Click here to read the affirmed judgment.

Stinson v. AIG

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: $1,759,000 (Attorneys’ Fees: $337,500.00; Expenses $42,608.24).

Ms. Stinson, a long-time flight attendant for Continental Airlines, was injured in December 2003, when she was thrown through the plane cabin backwards as her plane was forced to brake during an emergency on takeoff. She suffered injuries to her neck and back. The incident, which occurred on a United States armed forces’ charter flight to Iraq, was witnessed by many soldiers on the airplane. Despite this, AIG refused to pay for the medical care Ms. Stinson needed for her neck injury. Instead, they continued to fight Ms. Stinson at every turn, sending her to biased doctors and placing roadblocks every step of the way. In November 2010, a Harris county jury found AIG to have knowingly acted in violation of the Texas Insurance Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and awarded her $1,759,000.

Ryan v. Zurich American Insurance Company

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: $1.384 million (Attorneys’ Fees: $213,750; Litigation Expenses: $16,617.20; injury – shoulder and economic harm resulting from delay in insurance benefits).

In November 2009, a Galveston County jury found that Zurich American Insurance Company acted in bad faith in delaying and denying a workers’ compensation claim of a 44 year old sandblaster injured on the job in October 2007. The jury found that Zurich unreasonably delayed income benefits for four months, and delayed Doyle Raizner client Jerome Ryan’s medical care for his injured shoulder. Zurich failed to obtain medical records from Mr. Ryan’s doctors, claimed that Mr. Ryan could not chose his own treating physician, and refused to pay him income benefits or for his medical care until ordered to do so by the Texas Department of Insurance. The jury in Galveston County Court at Law No. 3, Hon. Roy Quintanilla presiding, awarded $1.384 million in damages, including $500,000 in punitive damages.

Hamilton v. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company

Claims: Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $1.22 million (Attorneys’ Fees: $400,000; Litigation Expenses: $47,276.54; injury – operated lumbar spine injuries).

In August 2009, a Houston (Harris County) jury awarded $1.22 million to Doyle Raizner LLP client Roger Hamilton for injuries sustained in a November 2005 incident onboard the dredging vessel Pontchartrain. The jury determined that Great Lakes was negligent in maintaining improper steps and decking aboard the vessel, and in attempting to conceal information regarding the reporting of the incident. The found Great Lakes to be 100% responsible for the incident that ended Mr. Hamilton’s career in the dredging business.

Norfleet v. Chemikalien Seetransport and Heidenreich Marine

Claims: Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $4.5 million (Attorneys Fees: $1,860,000; Expenses: $105,452.29; injury – operated knee and lumbar injuries).

A Houston jury, in May 2009, awarded more than $4.5 million to Doyle Raizner LLP client Capt. Charles Norfleet for injuries sustained while being transferred in a personnel basket from a crew boat to a lightering ship in the Gulf of Mexico. The jury found both Chemikalien Seetransport GmbH of Hamburg, Germany and Heidenreich Marine, Inc. of Connecticut responsible for negligence during the ship-to-ship transfer operation. Following a nearly four week trial, the jury deliberated for less than two hours before returning its unanimous verdict in the 133rd District Court of Harris County.

Darold Burch v. Westerngeco Resources (Schlumberger)

Claims: Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $1.6 million (Attorneys Fees: $472,500; Expenses $61,135.03; injury – cervical injuries requiring surgery and unoperated shoulder injuries).

Darold Burch had a long and successful career as a seismic gun mechanic, but was injured severely when he struck his head on an improperly placed beam in his work area. The beam was placed too low across the slipway area of the gun deck on the seismic survey vessel WESTERN PRIDE. Burch began to experience severe post-traumatic headaches after the incident, and ultimately was diagnosed with multiple cervical disc injuries that required surgical repair. Westerngeco blamed Mr. Burch for the incident, but a Houston jury disagreed and returned a verdict in December 2007 against the Schlumberger subsidiary for $1.6 million in damages in the 270th District Court of Harris County, Houston, Texas.

Priddy v. Commerce & Industry Insurance Company (AIG).

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: $580,000 (Attorneys Fees: $140,000; Expenses: $41,349.49).

Mr. Priddy, a railroad mechanic, injured his lower back in February 2005 while moving equipment in a confined space under a rail car. He attempted to work through the pain, but reported to the emergency room for back problems. His doctors confirmed that he was injured, and ultimately decided that he would need surgical repair of his lumbar spine. Nonetheless, ignoring the rules of workers’ compensation, which require a workers’ compensation insurer to pay medical and income benefits when a pre-existing condition is aggravated on the job, and without any medical evidence, the adjuster denied Mr. Priddy’s claim claiming that his condition was chronic and caused by pre-existing injuries. A Dallas County jury found that Commerce & Industry Insurance Company (AIG) knowingly violated the insurance code and awarded damages of approximately $580,000.

Pace v. Houston Helicopters, Inc.

Claims: General Maritime Law/Negligence

Jury Verdict: $2.16 million (Attorneys Fees: $820,000; Expenses: $117,502.70; injury – lumbar injuries requiring surgery and post traumatic stress disorder).

Melvin Pace, a roustabout, working on an offshore oil production platform in the Gulf of Mexico was injured when the helicopter, a Sikorsky 76, transporting him and a crew back to shore caught fire and violently crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. The owner and operator of the helicopter, Houston Helicopters, had failed to adequately maintain the helicopter, including fixing a significant oil leak, which caused the fire. To add insult to injury, the helicopter was not equipped with proper life vests and Houston Helicopters failed to notify the Coast Guard of the crash for nearly seven hours. As a result, Mr. Pace and the other passengers were forced to remain in the Gulf of Mexico for hours until they were rescued. Once home, Mr. Pace underwent surgical treatment to his lower back. In February 2008, a Brazoria County jury awarded $2.16 million in damages.

Bobby Roberts v. Rigdon Marine Corporation

Claims: Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $1.5 million, increased to $1,752,767.44 with interest (Attorneys Fees: $788,745.35; Expenses $49,603.52; injury – unoperated spinal injuries and post traumatic stress disorder).

After a Supply Ship Captain was viciously attacked by an unruly and inadequate crew off the coast of Africa, a major U.S. shipping company refused to honor its responsibilities to its employee who was suffering back, neck, head, and psychological problems as a result of the attack. A Texas jury returned a verdict in August 2007 for Doyle Raizner LLP’s client of $1,505,000, which was more than ten times the highest settlement offer of the shipping company.

Lance Morris v. Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: Substantial Jury Verdict. (Case is on appeal; no recovery achieved to date).

Lance Morris was a volunteer fireman in Justin, Texas, and gave his time to help others. When out on a call carrying a patient from an accident scene, Lance injured his lumbar spine. While Lance was at a hospital in the Texas Medical Center for emergency spine surgery, Texas Mutual denied his claim. The adjuster had been on the job for one day when she denied the claim, despite medical evidence documenting the need for surgery, and with no medical evidence whatsoever supporting any denial. In March 2006, a Houston state court jury decided that Texas Mutual had acted in bad faith, and awarded $750,000 in damages, including $500,000 in damages for insurance misconduct committed knowingly.

Timothy Ruttiger v. Texas Mutual Insurance Company

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: $282,000 (Case overturned on appeal; no recovery achieved).

Tim Ruttiger sustained a documented and reported on-the-job injury while carrying a heavy load of material. He went to the hospital for treatment that same day, and there were witness statements taken. There was no legitimate question what happened, when it happened, and how. Nevertheless, Texas Mutual denied his claim, and asserted that no injury had occurred. They even made up a story about Tim getting hurt playing softball to justify their denial. Unfortunately, they never spoke to Tim or his co-workers before they denied his claim. Tim needed surgery for the hernia he suffered, but Texas Mutual delayed payment for months, until they finally conceded that Tim had suffered an injury at work. A Galveston state court jury found Texas Mutual to have acted in bad faith, and awarded almost $300,000 in damages.

Lloyd Snyder v. Cunningham Lindsey Claims Management, Inc.

Claims: Workers’ Compensation Insurance Bad Faith/Deceptive Trade Practices/Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Jury Verdict: $4.3 million Injury – cervical spine and nerve injuries resulting from delay in payments of insurance.  Initial case overturned on appeal. (To date: Attorneys’ Fees: $115,000.00; Expenses: $39,600.42).

After a successful career in the insurance industry, Lloyd Snyder chose as a second career to be a psychiatric nurse at a major Houston hospital. In October 2002, Mr. Snyder was attacked at work by a psychiatric patient and suffered a painful, but manageable, injury to his cervical spine. His doctors, and even doctors hired by his workers’ compensation claims handlers, agreed that Mr. Snyder had suffered a significant injury and needed surgery. He needed his workers’ compensation insurance company’s help.

Nonetheless, for two years, Cunningham Lindsey, the claims handling firm with the responsibility for adjusting Mr. Snyder’s workers’ compensation claim, stonewalled him with repeat denials of his claim, his injuries and his needed surgery. They ignored doctors’ opinions, and denied Lloyd the surgery and medical care he needed. They even falsely claimed to be out of business. When the Texas Workers’ Compensation Commission rejected Cunningham Lindsey’s delays and denials, Mr. Snyder finally and belatedly received the surgery. But the damage was done, and after two years of neglect. Mr. Snyder had suffered permanent, irreparable nerve damage.

The case went to trial in October 2006, and a Houston state court jury found Cunningham Lindsey and its adjuster fully responsible for Lloyds injuries, and awarded $4.3 million in damages. The Court of Appeals reversed the jury’s decision, and the case is currently on appeal before the Texas Supreme Court.

Pike v. SeaRiver Maritime, Inc.

Claims: Jones Act/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $2.56 million (Reduced on appeal to $2,141,716.75 – Attorneys Fees: $936,772.52; Expenses: $77,625.97; injury – unoperated cervical herniation and leg lacerations).

When a major U.S. shipping company refused to honor its responsibilities to a long-time employee who suffered career-ending injuries as a result of a fall on a tanker in the Gulf of Alaska, Doyle Raizner LLP took the case to trial. A Texas jury returned a verdict for Doyle Raizner LLP’s client of over $2.56 million.

Results obtained depend on the facts of each case.

Williams v. Diamond Offshore Services Limited and Diamond Offshore Services Company

Claims: Jones Act/Maritime Law/Negligence/Unseaworthiness

Jury Verdict: $9.6 million (Court entered a judgment of $8.51 million after contributory negligence offset)

Following a September 2013 jury verdict of $9.6 million, the court entered a judgment of $8,512,068 for an injured offshore worker. Mr. Williams was employed by Diamond Offshore on th semi-submersible drilling vessel, OCEAN LEXINGTON, as a drilling worker in January 2008 when he was injured while offshore Egypt.

The plaintiff is a Mississippi resident and was working for the Houston-based Diamond Offshore Services as a mechanical supervisor. Mr. Williams claimed he was ordered to unsafely repair a set of elevators, used to lift pipe into the drilling operations, to avoid a shutdown of the drilling operations being conducted for BP. Mr. Williams claimed that Diamond Offshore’s failure to have sufficient elevator spares onboard, as well as its failure to properly maintain its equipment in a safe and seaworthy manner, created an unnecessary emergency situation and directly led to his career-ending back injury. The jury found that Diamond Offshore’s vessel was unseaworthy and that the company’s operational negligence was also responsible for Mr. Williams’ injuries.

 

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