Friday, March 28, 2014

Houston’s Growth Brings Potential and Problems

The most recent census estimates tell us what those who live in the Houston area already know. The city is growing. In fact, the population grew last year more than any other region in the country. This draw that Houston apparently has to individuals looking to relocate and grow their families reflects a larger trend, as Texas’ population grew last year more than any other state in our country. With a booming economy and the jobs that go with it as well as a cost of living that is not as steep as other large metropolitan areas, the city of Houston and the state of Texas are an appealing place to call home.

With new faces comes exciting possibilities. New businesses will open and more ideas in science and arts and industry will be birthed as minds come together. But, the possible growth also has the potential to create or exacerbate certain problems. Roads are more congested, lending themselves to more car accidents and angry drivers. People from different regions and backgrounds are working side by side, which brings, unfortunately, more frequent misunderstandings. Maybe someone moves to the area for employment in the oil industry and gets injured during the physically grueling work.

The law offices of Bertolino LLP are available to help with a variety of legal problems that you may face. Whether you are seeking compensation following a painful motor vehicle accident or believe you were passed over for a promotion based on your sex or race or other protected designation or you came to Houston for work and got injured while on the job, we can help. Call our offices today and share your story with us. Then, we will let you know what we are going to do to provide you with the justice you deserve.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Drunk Driver Kills Two during SXSW Festival

South by Southwest has grown into Austin’s signature event over the nearly three decades since its humble beginnings nearly three decades ago. What started as an opportunity for unknown bands to find a new audience and try to make a name for themselves has become a multimedia event that attracts creators of music, movies, and technology from across the globe. Household names like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and even Edward Snowden are making appearances (the last one by video, of course).

The festival, which is running this year from March 7 to March 16, is always an exciting time for our state’s capital to be on display as a creative center in our country.  Unfortunately, this year, SXSW also made headlines for foolish tragedy.

Rashad Charjaun Owens was arrested on the streets of Austin early on Thursday and now faces two charges of capital murder and twenty-three counts of aggravated assault. Owens was trying to evade police who suspected he was driving drunk by plowing his car through a street barricade and directly into the huge crowd still gathered after midnight for music. Even after hitting unsuspecting pedestrians with his vehicle, Owens continued his efforts to escape arrest by exiting his car and running. It finally took a stun gun to stop him and take him into custody.

While some shows at the venues by which the murders took place were cancelled, the festival moved forward, surely with thoughts of the victims on the minds of all performers and those in the audience.

The lives lost can never be returned and some with critical injuries now face a long road of rehabilitation and lives forever changed, all because one person made the horrible decision to turn the car ignition after a lot of drinking.

If someone you love has been hurt or killed by a drunk driver, you need to seek justice. You deserve to be compensated for injuries and grief and trauma. The automobile accident attorneys at Bertolino LLP can help. Please contact us today and let us get to work for you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Doctor and Nurse in San Antonio Honored for Saving Lives

The many wonderful medical professionals in the state of Texas are heroes every day as they save lives and educate the public about better health in our communities. Rarely, though, do these heroes get much media attention, so it’s nice to see an instance in which their knowledge and compassion are recognized.

The San Antonio Fire Department held a special ceremony this week to honor Dr. Dale Crockett and nurse Amber Myers for saving several lives with their quick thinking last month. When a family arrived at Methodist Hospital complaining of severe illness, Dr. Crockett identified their symptoms as being caused by high levels of carbon monoxide in their system. When Amber Myers learned that these patients lived in an apartment complex, she realized that others likely were in danger. She called the fire department and those who responded to the scene found multiple individuals affected by the poisonous levels of carbon monoxide in their system, including three who had to be hospitalized. If more time had passed, it is likely that at least some of the victims would have fallen asleep and died.

Yes, you could say that Dr. Crockett and Amber Myers simply were doing their job when diagnosing the presence of poison gas and treating the patients in front of them. But they also thought about the others back at that apartment complex who probably needed help, and their decision to reach beyond those hospital walls was one of life or death.

There is a reason that doctors, nurses and others in the medical field need to be licensed in order to work. When lives are at stake, we want to know the people taking care of us are qualified. Sometimes, the years these men and women study to earn their qualifications and then to build a professional reputation can be destroyed in no time at all by one person who thinks he has been wronged and complains to your licensing organization. If you are a doctor or nurse and a patient or peer is threatening your credentials, there are attorneys at Bertolino LLP who can help. We will protect your livelihood and affirm your good standing. Please contact us today. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Texas Town in the Spotlight Again for Racial Division

Photo Courtesy: The New York Times
For many people who live outside the area, the only association that they have with the town of Jasper, Texas is the brutal dragging death of a black man, James Byrd, Jr., by three white men in 1998. Unfortunately, publicity returned to this small east Texas town over the past couple of years and once again for reasons of racial division and distrust. 

In 2011, Rodney Pearson was chosen to be the first black police chief in Jasper’s history. Almost immediately, some protested that his appointment was racially motivated and that Pearson was put in the position over more qualified white candidates by a City Council on which four of the five members were black. When a new slate of City Council officials were elected the following year, the racial composition of the legislative body had been flipped on its head. And, one of the first acts of this new council was to fire Mr. Pearson for what they claim was his inadequate work as leader of the police force.

Pearson’s firing caught the interest of the Texas NAACP as well as the federal Department of Justice. The contentions now existed that Pearson had both been hired and fired due to his skin color. This week, Rodney Pearson was successful in arguing that his termination based on race and he was awarded more than $800,000 as a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The sad reality is that discrimination still does occur in workplaces across the country. However, there are strong legal protections at the local, state and federal level that mean recourse is available if you think you’ve been fired, passed over for a promotion or just treated differently at work due to your race, religion, gender and other defining characteristics. If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, please let the attorneys at Bertolino LLP help you achieve the justice you deserve.