Shingles Vaccine Troubling Ingredients

Many people Zostovaxwho at least look at a thing and smell it before they eat it think nothing of having a mysterious liquid injected directly into their blood. Many who read food labels for every last ingredient have no idea what they are taking in a vaccine injection. The shingles vaccine, like every other, contains troubling ingredients that should give thinking people pause for reflection.

Some Common Vaccine Ingredients lists vaccine ingredients (found in the final vaccine product), process ingredients (things used to create the vaccine that may or may not appear in the final product), and growth mediums (substances in which vaccines are grown) for vaccines approved by the FDA and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC.) Controversial products used to make vaccines include African Green Monkey (Vero) cells, aluminum, cow products, Cocker Spaniel cells, formaldehyde, human fetal lung tissue cells, insect products, mouse brains.

Zostovax Shingles Vaccine Ingredients
Merck’s Zostavax shingles vaccine includes monosodium L-glutamate (MSG), aborted fetal cells (MRC-5*), bovine calf serum (blood taken from “domestic” cattle), Neomycin (an antibiotic used to prevent or treat bacterial infections),

Aborted Fetal Cells?
Can human beings who consider themselves “pro-life” take a guilt-free shingles vaccination? Would even those who are immune to moral arguments order anything on any menu anywhere if that ingredient were listed? It’s one thing to eat the veal calf meat of a tortured animal, but imbibing in human fetal tissue would seem beyond the pale for the morally upright.

*According to, MRC-5 (Medical Research Council 5) is a common vaccine ingredient “composed of human diploid cells (cells containing two sets of chromosomes) derived from the normal lung tissues of a 14-week-old male fetus aborted for ‘psychiatric reasons’ in 1966 in the United Kingdom, Eagle’s Basal Medium in Earle’s balanced salt solution with bovine serum.”  Even those who might prefer to bend sinister from their lofty moral high ground by accepting the vaccine maker’s dubious implication that it’s ok to abort for ‘psychiatric reasons,’ even those folks may want to consider that being injected with a mentally damaged person’s DNA material may not be the “smartest” move they’ve ever made.

Possible side effects of ZOSTAVAX?
Merck reports no moral repugnance, or even ambivalence, over its shingles Zostavax vaccine. Merck does, however, list “the most common side effects that people in the clinical studies reported after receiving the vaccine.” They include:

•  redness, pain, itching, swelling, hard lump, warmth, or bruising at the shot site
•  headache
•  allergic reactions, which may be serious and may include difficulty in breathing or swallowing. If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away.
•  chickenpox
•  fever
•  hives at the injection site
•  joint pain
•  muscle pain
•  nausea
•  rash
•  rash at the injection site
•  shingles (warned since 2015)
•  swollen glands near the injection site (that may last a few days to a few weeks)

Merck also warns that you should not get ZOSTAVAX if you:

•  are allergic to any of its ingredients.
•  are allergic to gelatin or neomycin.
•  have a weakened immune system (immune deficiency, leukemia, lymphoma, HIV/AIDS).
•  take high doses of steroids by injection or by mouth.
•  are pregnant or plan to get pregnant

Shingles Vaccine Missing Warnings

Merck does not warn – as the company is not required to do so by the FDA – that the “effectiveness” of a vaccine is established not by how well the shot may work for the majority of its recipients. Effectiveness in a vaccine is determined solely by its being able to elicit an antibody response. If antibodies are produced following a vaccine, then that vaccine is determined to be “effective.” The presence of those antibodies, however, has no known causal relationship with whether or not that vaccination will offer protection against infection. If that language were in the “Warnings,” one wonders how many people would take this vaccine, or any other for that matter, without our daily avalanche of vaccine propaganda. It is certainly fair to ask how well this shingles vaccine works. It is fair to ask whether this vaccine is worth the risk of taking it.


•  Shingles Vaccine? Really

•  Shingles Vaccine Lawsuit



•  Shingles Vaccine Troubling Ingredients


Monsanto wants to add new poison

Monsanto wantsmonsanto-sign to add new poison to its toxic assault on our food. Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) has spawned superweeds which have grown resistant to Roundup. Monsanto’s answer to this problem it has created has been to lobby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to give Monsanto permission to put more and different poisons into our food supply.

Glyphosate contaminates Everything

Glyphosate has been found virtually everywhere contaminating our food and water. As Roundup is being sprayed daily on crops and public areas, we are almost constantly breathing, drinking, and eating it. Testing throughout the world proves our constant exposure, whether in California wineGerman beer, or General Mills Granola bars. The U.S. EPA rolled over on Monsanto’s latest request as it usually does for Monsanto, granting the biotech bully license to further pollute and poison the country, its people, pollinating insects, plants, animals (what else you got?).

Environmental Groups move against Monsanto

To slow this endless onslaught, environmental groups have asked the Ninth Circuit court to strike down the U.S. EPA’s approval of Monsanto’s toxic answer to its self-created problem — a new weed killer aimed at killing the Roundup-resistant weeds. On Jan. 23, 2017, the groups told the court that the new Monsanto poison could lead to “superweeds” resistant to both the older and the newer poisonous products.

According to Law 360, the Center for Food Safety, National Family Farm Coalition, Center for Biological Diversity and Pesticide Action Network North America filed their petition on Jan. 23. It seeks to overturn the FDA’s conditional registration for a new use of dicamba, an herbicide (plant poison) now being sold under the brand name XtendiMax. FDA issued its rubber stamp approval in November 2016. XtendiMax had previously been approved for pre-planting, during planting and as a “pre-emergent.” The latest approval allows it to be sprayed directly on Monsanto’s dicamba-resistant cotton and soybeans.

FDA Violated U.S. Law for Monsanto

The environmental groups’ petition said FDA violated the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act when it approved XtendiMax. The agency also violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to address potential threats to wildlife or critical habitat.

Earthjustice, which represents the environmental groups, said in a Jan. 23 statement that dicamba will only continue the problem of weed resistance started by Monsanto’s Roundup.

Earthjustice Statement

The Earthjustice Statement reads: “The huge increase in dicamba spraying will trigger an outbreak of dicamba resistance in weeds, just as massive use of Roundup on first generation [genetically engineered] crops created an epidemic of weeds immune to glyphosate. (While) Monsanto spins its new dicamba crops as a fix to the current weed resistance problems its own Roundup Ready crop system caused, many scientists, and even the U.S. Department of Agriculture, predict the opposite: the rapid emergence of more superweeds, resistant to both herbicides.”

Monsanto Statement

In a November 2016 statement announcing XtendiMax’ approval, Monsanto said it “is intended to provide farmers with more consistent, flexible control of weeds, especially tough-to-manage and glyphosate resistant weeds, and to help maximize crop yield potential.”

The EPA tepidly addressed the issue of weed resistance in its approval for the pesticide in November. The agency said herbicide resistance has become a “significant issue to growers” and required Monsanto to come up with an Herbicide Resistance Management plan as a condition of the approval.

EPA Statement

In genuflecting to Monsanto as it typically does, the EPA said that if the new product is not working, Monsanto must “investigate the issue.” It is hard to imagine a more toothless, industry friendly stance than this one taken by the  U.S. EPA. You will be hard pressed to find such an agency in all the world as industry friendly as this one entrusted with our food supply. France, for one, has moved to ban glyphosate, acknowledging that Roundup causes liver disease. Roundup has also been found to raise the risk of cancer; it has  triggered Roundup Cancer Lawsuits.

The EPA did, however, throw us all a bone, setting the registration to automatically expire in November 2018, unless EPA determines before then that it’s not causing unintended problems. (What about intended problems, which will only trigger more toxic spraying, as Roundup already has, in order to battle the superweeds it has created, along with the cancer?)

Dicamba increases Farmer Cancers

The environmental groups also said in their statement that dicamba has been linked to increased cancer in farmers, though the EPA said in its November 2016 approval that it has classified the chemical as “not likely” to be carcinogenic in humans. The EPA drew that conclusion following the results of Monsanto’s own laboratory studies on mice and rats. Third party studies have found the opposite is true. The EPA also claims glyphosate is safe, while the World Health Organization classifies it as “probably carcinogenic.”

Center for Food Safety Statement

Center for Food Safety attorney George Kimbrell said in a Jan. 23 statement: “Federal regulators have abandoned the interests of farmers, the environment, and public health,”  “We won’t allow our food to be dragged backward into a pesticide-soaked nightmare — not without a hell of a fight.”

A spokeswoman for Monsanto reached for comment by Law 360 defended XtendiMax in an emailed statement: “[F]armers need new tools for weed control, and the EPA approved XtendiMax with VaporGrip Technology for in-crop use after more than seven years of exhaustive scientific review and evaluation. Dicamba-based herbicides have a 40-year history of safe use, and we are confident the government’s exhaustive assessment will prevail.”

Those “40-year history” studies, of course, were virtually all done by employees of Monsanto or by scientists hired by Monsanto. Researchers not working for Monsanto have found kidney and liver damage and tumors in rats, other life-threatening “side effects.” Monsanto has also been sued for false advertising, for a blatant lie which it prints on the Roundup label. It claims glyphosate targets an enzyme found only in plants, but not in people or pets.  The scope of that lie is astonishing, as elementary science  shows that same enzyme Roundup targets also lives in the guts of humans and animals.

Monsanto wants to add new poison

The plaintiffs are represented by George Andreas Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety and Paul Achitoff of Earthjustice.

The EPA is represented by Jon Michael Lipshultz of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The case is National Family Farm Coalition, et al v. USEPA, et al, case number 17-70196 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.



Record Oklahoma Earthquakes shake State

Oklahoma’s ok-quakes-bar-graphold license tags read, “Oklahoma is OK,” but “Oklahoma is not OK” hits closer to home now. (“Oklahoma is Rocking” is more apropos, though perhaps misleading in a state not known for music, despite Jazz genius Chet Baker’s birth in Yale.) Oklahoma suffered 623 magnitude 3+ earthquakes in 2016, according to That’s the second-highest number of earthquakes since natural gas drillers began fracturing Oklahoma shale formations far below the surface of the new earthquake state. Oklahoma now experiences more quakes than the long shaky state leader, California. Here’s a look at quakes in Oklahoma since 2013:

Oklahoma Earthquake Numbers
2016 – 623
2015 – 903
2014 – 579
2013 – 109

This rise in OK’s seismic events has caught the attention of independent scientists, citizens, policymakers, media, and industry. The governor of Oklahoma has also shown some interest in his state’s violent shaking.

Oklahoma Governor Fallin calls for Quake Investigation
In September 2014, Oklahoma Governor Fallin directed the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Environment to assemble the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity. The council’s responsibility is mainly to develop solutions, identify gaps in resources, coordinate efforts among state agencies, researchers and the state’s oil and gas industry. “Cooperatively,” of course, because the earthquake state has long counted on oil and natural gas drilling for much of its industry.

The council has delivered scant success thus far. In 2015, Oklahoma broke its previous record for earthquakes, nearly doubling its total from the previous year.

What Changed in Oklahoma to cause so many Earthquakes?
The state of Oklahoma had scant few earthquakes for more than 100 years. But in 2008, the state began to be violently shaken by multiple quakes.

The Rise in Drilling and Injection
In 2009, earthquake frequency in Oklahoma rose wildly, in direct proportion with the introduction of massive fracking operations. The state suffered an average of fewer than two (2) 3.0+ magnitude earthquakes yearly since 1978. Then it began to feel a huge increase every year beginning in 2013. Since 2009, thousands of earthquakes have rocked Oklahoma as well as nearby parts of southern Kansas and North Texas. Scientific studies trace the earthquake increase to wastewater injected during oil extraction. The water is injected deep into the ground, upsetting shale formations.

Two of the most damaging earthquakes were a November 5, 2011 Prague shaker east of Oklahoma City area and a September 3, 2016 earthquake near Pawnee, north of Prague. The 2011 Prague blast, a reported 5.6 magnitude, was then the strongest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma. The 2016 Pawnee earthquake was first reported to be an identical 5.6 magnitude, but this was later determined to be a 5.8, making it Oklahoma’s strongest ever recorded. The USGS also upgraded the Prague earthquake’s magnitude to 5.7. Several seismologists had advised local residents of an even greater risk of earthquakes in 2014.

In response to the major earthquake increase in the Central United States, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began developing a new seismic hazard model to account for risks linked with induced seismicity. By June 26, 2014, more than six individual earthquake sequences in Oklahoma had been identified and named by the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS).

Peer Reviewed Papers: Quakes caused by Waste Injection
In March 2013, a peer-reviewed paper published by a University of Oklahoma research team led by seismologist Katie Keranen was published in the scientific journal Geology. The paper reported that “the volume of fluid injected into the subsurface related to the production of unconventional resources continues to rise.” The paper concluded there was a link between the “zone of injection and the seismicity” potentially triggering the Prague earthquake.

The USGS on March 28, 2016 released the USGS National Seismic Hazard Map. It concluded that the primary cause of the earthquake in Oklahoma in 2011 was pressure on fault lines from cumulative effects of injecting oil drilling wastewater under high pressure into the underground. Although the 2011 earthquake was the largest then on record, the USGS reported that the central and eastern U.S. (CEUS) had undergone the most dramatic increase in seismic activity in the United States since 2009 with an average of 318 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 a year, up from 24 a year from 1973 to 2008.

Record Oklahoma Earthquakes shake State

These numbers, and clear common sense, don’t lie. Injecting wastewater into the earth is causing Oklahoma earthquakes. Frackers consequently face liability lawsuits for the property damage. Oklahoma homeowners have been injured financially, and sometimes physically, by these industry-caused earthquakes. These people deserve compensation for their injuries.



Houston Bus Kills Walker

The first Houston pedestrian-killed-khou-photopedestrian to be killed in 2017 lost his life around 6:30 Tuesday, Jan. 11. The man was hit by an empty METRO bus in downtown Houston at the intersection of Congress Avenue and Milam Street.

Police, still investigating the crash, said the walking man died at the scene. Authorities told KHOU that the bus contained no passengers. The driver is reported to have worked with METRO for more than 10 years.

Related:   Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney

Record Number of Houston Pedestrians Killed in 2016
The latest bus accident death suggests that Houston is entering 2017 the way it left 2016, as one of the country’s most dangerous cities to walk. Houston set a record for pedestrian deaths in 2016, when more than 71 walkers were killed by Houston cars, trucks and buses.

U.S. Dangerous for Pedestrians
The entire United States is not a very safe place to walk. Roughly a dozen people a day are murdered by car, truck, or bus drivers. While “terrorism” threats scream daily in all the national headlines in the mainstream media, on television and in fake newspapers such as the Washington Post and New York Times (which both trumpeted U.S. Government lies about Iraq ‘s non-existent WMD’s to justify illegal and endless war, among other transgressions), none seem interested in the deaths of some 4,400 walking Americans each year. That numbers represents way more Americans than are killed by “terrorists” each year. Where is the public outcry for all these walkers’ deaths? Where is the outrage? Why is this huge number of senseless deaths acceptable?

Houston Bus Kills Walker

The man killed yesterday was not a statistic any more than the thousands of Americans and dozens of Houstonians killed each year by cars, trucks, and buses. He was a human being, with a family, friends, and hopes and desires just like any of us.  It’s easy, perhaps, to imagine that  any of us reading this will not be hit by a Houston bus, truck, or automobile; it’s much harder to imagine that Houston and our country have our priorities in order when so many of us are allowed to be murdered by motorcars.


Houston Pedestrian Accident Deaths Increase


Roundup Lymphoma Lawsuit Filed

A Virginia man Rounduphas filed a Monsanto lawsuit in Missouri after developing a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His lawsuit petition alleges that his cancer was caused by Monsanto’s weedkiller Roundup. The man developed splenic marginal zone lymphoma, which attacks the spleen and bone marrow, after long exposure to Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

Michael Dowling filed a product liability lawsuit against Monsanto in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in December 2016. Mr. Dowling alleges Monsanto failed to adequately warn about risks associated with exposure to glyphosate and surfactant polyethoxylated tallow amine (POEA), a Roundup ingredient.

Mr. Dowling’s petition states that he began using Roundup in the mid-1980s. He sprayed the weedkiller on a regular and consistent basis for many years before being diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma
Splenic marginal zone lymphoma, a type of B-cell lymphoma associated with Roundup exposure, is extremely rare. It accounts for about 1% of all cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. If the cancer is limited to the spleen, it can sometimes be successfully sent into remission through spleen excision. Without removing the spleen, it can sometimes be successfully treated through a cancer drug called Rituxan.

WHO declares Glyphosate a Probable Carcinogen
According to his petition, Mr. Dowling was unaware of the link between Roundup and cancer until last year, when the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that glyphosate in Roundup likely causes cancer. The IARC report linked Roundup with an increased risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

Roundup Lawsuits Grow
Mr. Dowling’s case joins a growing list of Roundup lawsuits filed against Monsanto by farmers, landscapers, agricultural workers and others exposed to Roundup throughout the country. Each plaintiff raises similar allegations. All indicate their various forms of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) were caused by Monsanto’s reckless promotion of carcinogenic Roundup. Monsanto’s blitzkreig promotions pushed more and more Roundup saturation without disclosure of the potential health risks. Monsanto is also charged in the petitions with providing insufficient safety instructions to minimize exposure.

Monsanto Response
Monsanto has denied that there is a link between Roundup and lymphona. The company has called the IARC’s findings “junk science,” which is exactly what many critics of Monsanto call the pesticide maker’s own research into the toxic effects of Roundup and Monsanto’s genetically modified organisms and seed programs.

Roundup Lymphoma Lawsuit Filed
Mr. Dowling’s lawsuit states:

“[S]cientific evidence has established a clear association between glyphosate and genotoxicity, inflammation, and an increased risk of many cancers, including, but not limited to, NHL, Multiple Myeloma, and soft tissue sarcoma. Despite the IARC’s classification of glyphosate as a class 2A probable carcinogen, Defendant continues to maintain that glyphosate and/or Roundup is safe, noncarcinogenic, non-genotoxic, and falsely warrants to users and the general public that independent experts and regulatory agencies agree that there is no evidence of carcinogenicity or genotoxicity in glyphosate and Roundup.”

Roundup Poisons All
A recent U.S. Geological Survey on glyphosate used nationwide found some 2.6 billion pounds of the herbicide has been sprayed on American land since the mid-1990s, when Monsanto first produced “Roundup Ready” crops. These crops are engineered to survive glyphosate spraying, which is meant to kill only the weeds but not the crops. Of course it also kills pollinators and birds and other bright and necessary creatures, along with human gut microbes which humans require in order to remain healthy. (Though that’s not what this lawsuit is about.)

Monsanto Failed to Warn
Monsanto “failed to warn” is the charge in every Monsanto lawsuit. Roundup lawsuit plaintiffs all allege that they might have avoided being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or other cancers if they had been warned about Roundup risks for farmers, landscapers and other agricultural industry workers. Had they been properly warned, they could have taken safety precautions or used other products or methods to manage weeds.

Roundup Lawsuits Consolidated in California

Mr. Dowling’s lawsuit will be consolidated with all the other Roundup cases pending in the federal court system. They are now all centralized before U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in the Northern District of California, for coordinated discovery and pretrial proceedings. After coordinated proceedings, if parties don’t reach Roundup settlements or some other resolution, each separate complaint may be remanded back to the federal courts where they were originally filed.



Class Action vs. Mass Tort Lawsuit

What’s the difference Justice Peaking Blogbetween a class action and a mass tort lawsuit? Class action lawsuits can get a bad name because they may sometimes give lawyers a nice payday while offering meager compensation for class representatives. Class action lawsuits are most often launched to change some questionable, negligent, or criminal behavior on the part of a corporation. Class action lawsuits are not typically launched to deliver a big payday for the people who are called upon to act as class representatives.

Those who have received a small, inconsequential check from an insurance company like Allstate or State Farm, or perhaps from a bankrupted investment company (maybe getting pennies on the dollar) will understand. In many of those types of class action lawsuits, perhaps as many as a million people were either overcharged or somehow misled by a company they trusted. The class action settlement divided among so many brings the total for each way down, though their lawyer representatives may end up with a large fee as part of the settlement.

The nature of class action lawsuits is the reason why they often seem to fail real people, at least in the short term. The goal of a class action is not only to punish the offending corporation, but to change laws to put an end to the behavior that triggered the lawsuit.

Hot Fuel Litigation
The so-called “hot fuel” class action litigation is a good example of a class action lawsuit brought for worthy reasons. Hot fuel is a term meant to help explain the reason the litigation was necessary. For at least 100 years, gas and oil companies have known that consumers were often not getting the BTU’s (British Thermal Units) listed on the gas pump. A BTU is the amount of energy provided by the gasoline. However, when temperatures rise above 60 degrees (the typical temperature in underground holding tanks), the gas begins to vaporize and lose BTU’s. Consumers, consequently, don’t get the BTU’s for which they are paying.

Matthews & Associates Law Firm was involved in the hot fuel litigation several years ago, but in the large majority of its cases, the firm does not handle class action lawsuits.

Class Action can Makes Sense
“Our firm handles virtually all of its cases on an individual basis,” says firm founder David Matthews. “With hot fuel, it made a certain amount of sense to prosecute as a class action. That was really the only way it could be done, to try to get gas companies to calibrate our BTU losses with the kinds of technology at the gas pumps which they use for airlines and other commercial concerns. The litigation didn’t lead to that kind of change, but I still feel it was a worthwhile goal. It could have potentially saved billions of dollars for consumers across the board.”

Class Action vs. Mass Tort
We usually handle what are known as mass torts, as opposed to class action lawsuits. But there’s really nothing mass about mass torts, the way we handle them. We pursue and prosecute each case on its own merits. It only stands to reason that people who have differing injuries deserve different compensation.



Houston Pedestrian Accident Deaths Increase in 2016

Houston is a crosswalk dangerous city to walk, and it grows more dangerous by the day. More pedestrians were killed by  Houston drivers in 2016 than in any previous year. In Houston, even the police chief hits walkers with his car.

Related: Houston Pedestrian Accident Attorney

71 Houston Pedestrians Killed

As of October 31, 2016, at least 71 pedestrians were killed, and the year isn’t yet complete. Local police say they are investigating the rising death toll for walkers, but that itself may be problematic. Houston police chief Charles McClelland was suspended in 2013 by Mayor Annise Parker after video showed him running over pedestrian James Harris. Mr. McClelland was driving a city-owned Jeep Cherokee at the intersection of Travis and Clay when a walking man got in his way.

Distracted Driving

Mr. Harris was six steps into the crosswalk when the chief smashed into him. He was lucky to survive. Houston police, meanwhile, have determined that many of the walker deaths in the city occurred when pedestrians did not use crosswalks while attempting to cross local streets or roads. The police chief’s own walker smash up, however, undercuts that conclusion. Many experienced walkers have learned to fear crossing at a crosswalk for good reason, including (no doubt, now) the hapless Mr. Harris. Other studies have shown crosswalks can be more dangerous places for pedestrians to cross a street than jaywalking places.

Not using the crosswalks is clearly not the only reason for the dramatic increase in pedestrian deaths in Houston. Houston’s urban planners guess that the mortality increase for walkers is due to more and more people walking. Many people do walk to improve their health, which in Houston clearly may not be a “healthy” choice.

Distracted Walking

The solution may lie in narrowing car lanes (which Houston has done in some cases, as on Drexel Lane in Greenway), strongly emphasizing safe speeds, building more sidewalks, adding more crosswalks. Much of Houston’s urban design may well be flawed; it could certainly use some improvements. In addition to distracted driving such as the Houston police chief’s, distracted walking with a cell phone may be a factor in some accidents. (We’ve all been annoyed by a dawdling walker texter not paying attention to the 3-D world we all need to abide.) Distracted driving combined with distracted walking can clearly be a perfect storm, a deadly combination.

Related: Most Dangerous Cities for Walking

U.S. Pedestrian Deaths Increase in 2016

Texas is not the only state to see an increase in pedestrian deaths. In October 2016, U.S. Department of Transport figures show that January to June saw an increase of 10.4 percent more traffic deaths in the United States compared to the same period in 2015.

The constant pull of texting and the internet have allowed us to imagine that life is more abstract than it is. It’s a terrible wakeup call for the Houston chief of police or some other distracted driver to smash into and injure or kill a pedestrian. Let’s hope the rest of us Houston drivers and walkers wake up before it’s too late.

Free Legal Consultation

Contact a Houston Pedestrian accident attorney if you or someone you love was injured in a car accident. We offer a no-obligation free legal consultation.



Big rig falls off Houston 59 Ramp, Kills One

December 21, 2016 –khou-photo A big rig fell off a Houston 59 ramp and killed at least one person this morning. The  18-wheeler crash and fire slowed traffic both north and south on the 59 Eastex Freeway. At 7 a.m., TranStar cameras showed flames shooting from the toppled big rig on the side of the freeway’s northbound lanes at the 610 North Loop.

KHOU reported that all northbound main lanes of 59 remained shut down at 9 a.m. Traffic was being forced onto the loop eastbound. Only one southbound lane of 59 was getting by, with significant delays, inbound from Humble and Kingwood.

Truck falls on Car
Police at the scene said they believed the 18-wheeler fell off an elevated ramp onto the lanes below, then burst into flames. Firefighters said another car was also involved in the incident. The truck is believed to have fallen on or in front of that other car and killed at least one person.

Officials said the 59 freeway will probably not reopen until sometime in the afternoon.

Truckers often not at fault in crashes

Truck drivers are often automatically blamed in such crashes, but often they are not the ones most at fault. Companies frequently push truck drivers too hard for too many hours, and pay them too little for their trouble, making their work lives dangerous for all of us.

OTR Truckers often Overworked

In the spirit of the holidays and our shared responsibilities to watch out for one another, it is important to remember that OTR truckers perform a task as vital to our lives as food and water. In fact, most of us would not have food and water were it not for 18-wheeler drivers trucking these life essentials to our neighborhoods. In point of fact, the comfortable living most of usually take for granted would not even be possible without truckers. The food we eat, the fuel that heats and cools our homes, the wood and steel that builds them, the clothes we wear – nearly our entire lives are  dependent on those driving 18-wheelers.

Dangers of Tired and Overworked Truck Drivers 

Truck drivers are, unfortunately, often expected to drive too far in too short a time. Many trucking companies pay drivers by the mile rather than by the hour, putting added pressure on truckers to overwork themselves.  Under certain circumstances, this type of compensation might arguably be seen as a company’s negligent encouragement of an employee’s speeding, driving without proper rests or breaks, driving while fatigued. This can create treacherous conditions for the driver as well as everyone else risking their lives on the same roads.

We mourn the tragic loss of another human life this morning on Houston’s busy highways, and we pray for the safety of our truckers and all the rest of us driving  this holiday season.



Cell Phones and Car Crashes

Cell Phones and text-and-drivecar crashes are as American as the glorification of fake news and military violence. America’s cell phone obsession comes at an awful steep price. Drivers using cell phones cause 1.6 million auto crashes each year, according to the National Safety Council. Some 330,000 accidents are caused by texting while driving. One of every four car accidents involves texting and driving. Texting while driving is even more dangerous than drinking and driving; a driving texter is six times (6x) more likely to cause an accident than a drunk driver.

Teen Texters fare worse than Adults
Eleven teenagers are killed every day in the U.S. as a result of texting while driving. A Triple poll shows 94% of teens acknowledge the dangers of texting and driving, yet 35% admit they do it anyway. So many will be killed by this habit, or will kill or maim others. Statistics show that twenty-one percent (21%) of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by cell phones. Teen drivers are four times (4x) more likely than adults to get into car crashes or near-crashes when talking or texting on a cell phone.

Texting & Driving tops Danger List
Texting while driving is by far the most dangerous cell phone activity. (Though holding it tightly to the head may also get you cancer, eventually.) Answering a text takes focus from driving for roughly five seconds, which, at 55 mph, gives a distracted driver the length of a football field to do some damage. That leads to a lot of dead teens, or their unwitting passengers, or other drivers or pedestrians trying to share the road.

It is quite ironic how many continue to text and drive and kill and maim one another, because 94% of Americans support a ban on texting and driving, while 74% support a ban on the use of a hand-held cell phone.

Cell Phone Distractions
At any given moment in the day, roughly 660,000 people are distracting themselves with their phones while commanding a two-ton murder machine.  Doesn’t anyone have time just to drive anymore?  How is all of our so-called “multi-tasking” improving our lives when we are killing one another at such appalling rates?

U.S. Cell Phone Driving Statistics – 2013
In 2013, 3,154 people were killed in distraction-related crashes. Roughly 424,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver. (That is a LOT of people. Imagine the cost, and what is lost.)  In 2013, 10% of all drivers aged 15-19 involved in fatal crashes were reported to be distracted at the time of the crash.

Teen Statistics
Drivers would do well to be especially wary of teenaged drivers. You might want to  take a road  that bi-passes that local school down the street. Consider: one-fourth of teen drivers respond to at least one text message every time they drive, while 20% of teens and 10% of parents report that they engage in multiple life-threatening text message exchanges while driving.

Meanwhile, nearly half (48%) of all death machine operators admit to answering their cell phones while driving.

Cell Phones and Car Crashes

Of those drivers who answer their cell phones, 58% continued to drive while talking. In the survey, 24% of drivers reported that they are also willing to make a phone call while driving. One in ten drivers surveyed said they sometimes send text  messages or emails while driving. Of the drivers surveyed, 14% said they read text messages or emails while driving.

Texting Pedestrian Study – 2012
The only thing more annoying than waiting for the texter in front of you to drive his car through the green light may be waiting for the ambulating texter to move her butt across the crosswalk. We all know the interminable time it seems to take to watch texters react to the three dimensional world outside of their text bubbles.

University of Washington researchers studied 20 of Seattle’s busiest intersections. They found that walkers texting are four times less likely to look before crossing the street, cross in crosswalks, or obey traffic signals. They also found walking texters take an average of two seconds longer to cross the street. (Aargh!)

Cell Phone Accident
If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it may have been caused by a texting driver, or one distracted by a cell phone. In such cases, we typically secure the perpetrator’s cell phone records.  Contact us for a free legal consultation.



Navajos make $162M Mine Spill Claim

Dec. 5, 2016 – The epa-disasterNavajo Nation asked the federal government for more than $162 million for damages and costs caused by Colorado’s catastrophic Gold King Mine spill last year. The mine spill disaster sent three million gallons of toxic waste pouring into two tributaries of the Colorado River. The spill devastated the Navajo tribe’s economy and way of life.

The Navajos filed the claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The nation filed for damages that stemmed from the toxic spill that turned the San Juan River bright orange, and continues to disrupt Navajo lives today.

The river basin runs directly through the Navajo Nation. The lawsuit petition says Navajo farmers and ranchers depend on the water for their crops and livestock. The spill destroyed crops because the nation was forced to shut off irrigation from the poisoned river. Livestock had to be fenced and watered from expensive water shipments.

Spill decimated Navajo Nation
The nation declared in a claim letter: “The spill disrupted the Navajo Nation’s economy and damaged the people and environment in numerous ways. (It) fundamentally altered economic, cultural, ceremonial and spiritual practices that support the Navajo way of life.” the nation said the river is the lifeblood of the Navajo people.

EPA Spill
The spill appeared in images seen around the world as a poisonous orange snake slithering down through the Navajo land via the Animas and San Juan rivers. The horror was caused by a contractor the EPA had hired for environmental remediation. That contractor somehow breached an earthen barrier that held back the toxic payload. The water flowed downstream into the Animas River and eventually into the San Juan River, through northwest New Mexico.

New Mexico vs. Colorado Fight
New Mexico and Colorado are fighting in court over Colorado’s culpability in the disaster. Colorado had approved environmental remediation work at the nearby Sunnyside Gold Mine, work which would prove disastrous. New Mexico criticized Colorado for allowing that mine’s owner to plug up an abandoned mine tunnel with concrete bulkheads, instead of continuing expensive perpetual wastewater treatment.

Plugging that tunnel pushed the water into the connected Gold King Mine. According to court documents, the toxic water accumulated there until the EPA’s contractor let it loose.

The Navajo Nation filed the lawsuit against the EPA, its contractor, and Sunnyside Gold Corp. The petition alleges that their misdeeds had caused significant damage to the tribe’s lands, livestock, farms and way of life.

EPA Failure, Negligence
The Navajo said in its claim that the EPA knew there were signs of trouble for years, yet failed to follow reasonable and necessary precautions to prepare for a possible blowout, which occurred in August 2015.

Navajos make $162M Mine Spill Claim
The Navajo nation’s petition outlines its current and future costs stemming from the spill and its aftermath. The claim includes monitoring, water treatment, and mental health counseling.

The letter is addressed to Kenneth Redden, claims manager for the U.S. EPA Office of General Counsel. The EPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours on Monday.

The claim is Re: Navajo Nation FTCA Claim For Damage Resulting From Gold King Mine Blowout.