Perry & Haas Attorneys
Perry & Haas Cases
How We Work
Unsafe Vehicles
News and Links
Our Philosophy
The US Legal System

Contact Us

615 N. Upper Broadway
Suite 1415
P.O. Box 1500 (78403)
Corpus Christi, TX 78401
Phone: 361-880-7500
Fax: 361-887-9507


News & Links

BP calls fine sufficient penalty; Company cites $1 billion expense to upgrade plant in Texas City

BP's agreement that one of its divisions will plead guilty to a felony and pay a record fine under the federal Clean Air Act is sufficient punishment for risk management failures that contributed to the deadly 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery, the company said in a court filing Tuesday. SOURCE: The Houston Chronicle


Victims Of BP Refinery Explosion Force Company To Face Its Past

December 22, 2007

So often does BP Plc and its subsidiaries find themselves in courthouses, the company could publish an insider's guide to them across America. They get prosecuted. They get sued. They get rapped by regulators. If it's not BP oil spilling in Alaska, it's a BP refinery exploding in Texas and claiming 15 lives. SOURCE: Tampa Bay Online

Fired BP refinery operator says blast blame came fast; Testifies after former boss says unsafe culture permeated plant for years

GALVESTON — An operator who was among several workers fired by BP for failing to follow written procedures for the startup of a unit that exploded in March 2005, killing 15 people, testified today that he was one of the first to be blamed. SOURCE: The Houston Chronicle

Throw the book at BP

November 26, 2007

This one will put me in strange territory, since I'm not usually one to come down on the energy companies. The group typically has more than enough detractors, many of whom are irrational and uninformed. But in the case of BP (NYSE: BP) and the aftermath of the 2005 explosion at its Texas refinery, I'll make a vocal exception. SOURCE: The Motley Fool

BP victims call deal 'lenient'; seek $2 billion fine

November 20, 2007

HOUSTON -- A Corpus Christi attorney for workers killed and injured in BP PLC's 2005 plant explosion asked Tuesday that a court reject a plea agreement between the oil giant and the federal government, asserting that the proposed $50 million fine should be increased to $1 billion. SOURCE: Bloomberg News



Discovery Links

For those in the legal profession, or for anyone looking for a list of helpful resources, we have compiled a list of some of the most useful and current websites available. They include people-finders, search engines, government sites, public records, and more.

Click here to access our list of Legal Research Links.


Articles regarding Electronic Stability Control (ESC) in automobiles:

Effect of Electronic Stability Control on Automobile Crash Risk
CHARLES M. FARMER Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Arlington, Virginia, USA
Published by Taylor & Francis

Synopsis: Per vehicle crash involvement rates were compared for otherwise identical vehicle models with and without electronic stability control (ESC) systems. ESC was found to affect single-vehicle crashes to a greater extent than multiple-vehicle crashes, and crashes with fatal injuries to a greater extent than less severe crashes. Based on all police-reported crashes in 7 states over 2 years, ESC reduced single-vehicle crash involvement risk by approximately 41 percent (95 percent confidence limits 33–48) and single-vehicle injury crash involvement risk by 41 percent (27–52). This translates to an estimated 7 percent reduction in overall crash involvement risk (3–10) and a 9 percent reduction in overall injury crash involvement risk (3–14). Based on all fatal crashes in the United States over 3 years, ESC was found to have reduced single-vehicle fatal crash involvement risk by 56 percent (39–68). This translates to an estimated 34 percent reduction in overall fatal crash involvement risk (21–45). Full article

Electronic Stability Control
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Status Report, January 3, 2005

Synopsis: About half of the 28,000 passenger vehicle crashes with occupant deaths that occur each year on U.S. roads involve a single vehicle. Equipping cars and SUVs with electronic stability control (ESC) can reduce the risk of involvement in these crashes by more than 50 percent. The effect on all single-vehicle crashes (fatal and nonfatal) is somewhat less, about 40 percent, and the crashes per registered vehicle year) of cars and SUVs with ESC as standard equipment versus prior versions of these vehicles when they weren’t equipped with ESC or ESC was available only as an option (very few vehicles were equipped with this option). The study vehicles were restricted to models with no design changes except for the addition of ESC. Full article

Preliminary Results Analyzing the Effectiveness of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) Systems
by Jennifer N. Dang National Highway Traffic Administration

Synopsis: Automotive braking technologies have evolved from very simple systems (i.e., block brakes) to more sophisticated systems (i.e., cable-operated four-wheel brakes, hydraulic four-wheel brakes, drum brakes, disc brakes with front-rear split, etc.). Today, drivers rely on much more technical systems to help them not only to decelerate and accelerate but also to stabilize their vehicles while in motion. Antilock Brake Systems (ABS) are the first of a series of three braking technology developments. They are four-wheel systems that prevent wheel lock-up by automatically modulating the brake pressure when the driver makes an emergency stop. Traction Control Systems (TCS) are the second technology. They deal specifically with front-to-back loss of friction between the vehicle’s tires and the road surface during acceleration. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) systems are another breakthrough technology evolving from and incorporating the first two technologies – ABS and TCS. They are stability enhancement systems designed to improve vehicles’ lateral stability by electronically detecting and automatically assisting drivers in dangerous situations (e.g. understeer and oversteer) and under unfavorable conditions (rain, snow, sleet, ice). Full article

Previous Perry & Haas News Stories:

David L. Perry of Perry & Haas, Attorneys at Law
2005 Nominee for Trial Lawyer of the Year

Trial lawyers have a special commitment to justice. Their advocacy skills breathe life into the rights of individuals and groups that have suffered injustice and harmful abuses. Every year, trial lawyers provide millions of people with the means to obtain justice. In the majority of these cases, the client is an individual who has been damaged in some way - physically, mentally, emotionally, monetarily - by the wrongful conduct of a business or corporation.

And every year, the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice selects a trial lawyer who has taken great risks and overcome incredible odds to advance the common law, make new laws, and win justice for their clients and for the common good of the public. David L. Perry and co-counsel Patrick McGroder of Phoenix, Arizona have been selected as finalists for this year's award. One of the reasons was because of their hard fought legal battle for law enforcement officials against Ford Crown Victoria Police Cars. For five and a half years, David L. Perry has prepared to try and then settled nine separate cases involving police officer burn deaths or injuries. The Schechterle v. Ford Motor Company case represented the culmination of those five-plus years with the successful settlement against Ford Motor Company.

With 12 officers dead as the result of the fiery crashes in the Crown Victoria Police Cars as well as a number of civilians in their personal Lincoln Town Cars, Grand Marquis', and Crown Victorias - which all have the same design problem - David L. Perry will continue the fight.

Congratulations, David L. Perry, from your clients and partners.


Another Victory for Consumers
Defective Driver's Door and Seatbelt Case - Corona vs. Ford Motor Company

Father of three children and husband, Juan G. Corona, 33, was killed on October 28, 1999 when his 1992 Ford Explorer was struck on the left front side by an intoxicated driver. The defendant driver was later charged with intoxication/manslaughter. During the collision, the driver's door of the Explorer came open. Mr. Corona was ejected and killed, because of the defective design of both the driver's door latch and the seat belt in the Explorer. Ford Motor Company entered into a confidential settlement after two full weeks of trial testimony.

$1 Million Memorial Gift Honors Local Man and Generates Funds for Equipment, Scholarships, and Technical Training at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Wright vs CITGO

Corpus Christi, Texas - A $1 million memorial gift has been donated to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in honor of a local man killed in a refinery explosion two years ago. Judy Wright, the widow of Lonnie Wright, is donating $1 million to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Perry & Haas attorneys who represented her in a lawsuit against the refinery where Mr. Wright was killed, are supporting this gift by waiving attorneys fees on that portion of the settlement.

According to Dr. Diana Marinez, dean of the College of Science and Technology, "The gift will have a significant impact on the future of the University and its students."

For the case overview, click here >


Texas Man, Attorneys Win Public Service Award
Steven J. Sharp award

Washington, D.C.—The Association of Trial Lawyers of America (ATLA) will honor John Caballero of Victoria, Texas, and his attorneys René Haas and David Perry of Corpus Christi, Texas, for their roles in improving safety in the workplace and encouraging responsible corporate decision-making.

Mr. Caballero, Mr. Perry and Ms. Haas will receive the 1999 Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award at ATLA's membership and awards luncheon during the association's convention at the Hilton San Francisco and Towers Tuesday, July 20, from 12-2 p.m.

In 1995, Mr. Caballero was literally scalped and permanently disabled by a blast of fluid and gas as he was testing a gas well for Esenjay Petroleum Corporation. Mr. Caballero won a punitive damage award against Esenjay after his lawyers demonstrated the company had been grossly negligent in the care of its wells.

Mr. Caballero, however, turned down the jury verdict in exchange for Esenjay's promise to institute a new safety program that would prevent other workers from suffering similar tragedies. Esenjay agreed to work with a safety engineer to set up that safety program.

"We felt it was more important to make sure that the safety measures were started than it was to pursue the money," says Mr. Caballero.


Mark Mandell, the president of ATLA, says, "Mr. Caballero's case is a prime example of the power of the civil justice system. Punitive damages play a very important role, and this case proved it. They punish a company for negligent behavior, but they also deter other companies from employing similar dangerous practices, and, as in Mr. Caballero's case, they can be used to bring about important, lifesaving changes."

Since the time of that agreement, Esenjay was sold and the purchasing company initially did not abide by the agreement with Mr. Caballero. John Caballero and his attorneys filed a new lawsuit asking that the company honor the agreement to improve safety conditions. That lawsuit was settled in June of this year with the company agreeing to a new safety program.

Mr. Caballero and his lawyers proved that injured people and the companies that hurt them can work together for a common goal—in this case, the safety of others.

"It was historic for the defendant and the plaintiff in a civil case to come together. I was truly impressed that John Caballero let neither the desire for money nor his need for retribution overcome his wish to have his experience serve to protect others," says Mr. Perry.

Mr. Perry is nationally renowned for his expertise and success in personal injury trial law, and specializes in product liability, automotive and negligence cases. His landmark $106 million victory against Ford Motor Company—which resulted in forcing the automobile industry to improve fuel tank design safety—is just one example of his commitment to defend citizens' rights against unsafe products. He played a major role in the creation of the Attorneys Information Exchange , a national legal resource for automotive litigation.

Ms. Haas served as a felony prosecutor and as the first elected female judge in Nueces County, Texas (Corpus Christi), before devoting her career to the rights of consumers. She and Mr. Perry won a $47 million victory in May against General Motors after a jury found the company negligent in choosing not to install head restraints in certain pickup trucks. As in the Caballero case, another family will be forgoing the damage award ($31 million) as an incentive for the company to make safety changes. In that case (Harper v. General Motors), the family of a man who died as a result of injuries sustained in a GM Chevrolet truck wants GM to use the damage award money to recall and install, at no charge, head restraints on trucks without them.

ATLA's Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award is given to those attorneys and their clients whose cases tell the story of American civil justice and help educate state and national policy makers and the public about the importance consumers' rights. The award honors Steven Sharp of Richland, Oregon, who lost both arms in 1992 in a defective tractor hay baler. Sharp won an $8.5 million jury verdict against the tractor company. The company appealed, but on June 24, 1999, the Wisconsin State Supreme Court affirmed Sharp's courtroom victory.

ATLA, with more than 56,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad, is the world's largest trial bar. It was established in 1946 to safeguard victims' rights, strengthen the civil justice system, promote injury prevention, and foster the disclosure of information critical to public health and safety.


Perry and Haas small color logo


Perry & Haas does not offer any guarantee of case results.
Past success in litigation does not guarantee success in any new or future lawsuit.
Our web site describes some of the cases that the attorneys of Perry & Haas have worked on in the past.

Our description of those cases is summary in nature.

You should be aware that the results obtained in each of the cases we have worked on was dependent on the particular facts of each case. The results of other cases will differ based on the different facts involved.