• Experienced | Successful | Since 1971


new Lufkin office
The Lufkin office has moved!
The Lufkin office has moved! 1024 820 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

We have moved our Lufkin office. Same great people and same incredible staff. We’re now located in the Moore building, a block south of the courthouse.

Kirk Mehis
What To Do – 18- Wheeler
What To Do – 18- Wheeler 800 411 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

18 Wheeler accident? What should you do?  CMZ Attorney Kirk Mathis gives us some quick advice to heed if we are ever in an 18-wheeler accident. Contact us in Lufkin at 800.657.2230 or in Houston at 877.739.7744 for a free consultation with an attorney.

The “Sandwich Generation” . . .
The “Sandwich Generation” . . . 150 150 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

The ‘Sandwich Generation’ – Taking Care of Your Kids While Taking Care of Your Parents

“The sandwich generation” is the term given to adults who are raising children and simultaneously caring for elderly or infirm parents.  Your children are one piece of “bread,” your parents are the other piece of “bread,” and you are “sandwiched” into the middle.

Caring for parents at the same time as you care for your children, your spouse and your job is exhausting and will stretch every resource you have.  And what about caring for yourself? Not surprisingly, most sandwich generation caregivers let self-care fall to the bottom of the priorities list which may impair your ability to care for others.

Following are several tips for sandwich generation caregivers.

  • Hold an all-family meeting regarding your parents. Involve your parents, your parents’ siblings, and your own siblings in a detailed conversation about the present and future.  If you can, make joint decisions about issues like who can physically care for your parents, who can contribute financially and how much, and who should have legal authority over your parents’ finances and health care decisions if they become unable to make decisions for themselves.  Your parents need to share all their financial and health care information with you in order for the family to make informed decisions.  Once you have that information, you can make a long-term financial plan.
  • Hold another all-family meeting with your children and your parents.  If you are physically or financially taking care of your parents, talk about this honestly with your children.  Involve your parents in the conversation as well.  Talk – in an age-appropriate way – about the changes that your children will experience, both positive and challenging.
  • Prioritize privacy.  With multiple family members living under one roof, privacy – for children, parents, and grandparents – is a must.  If it is not be feasible for every family member to have his or her own room, then find other ways to give everyone some guaranteed privacy.  “The living room is just for Grandma and Grandpa after dinner.”  “Our teenage daughter gets the downstairs bathroom for as long as she needs in the mornings.”
  • Make family plans.  There are joys associated with having three generations under one roof.  Make the effort to get everyone together for outings and meals.  Perhaps each generation can choose an outing once a month.
  • Make a financial plan, and don’t forget yourself.  Are your children headed to college?  Are you hoping to move your parents into an assisted living facility?  How does your retirement fund look?  If you are caring for your parents, your financial plan will almost certainly have to be revised.  Don’t leave yourself and your spouse out of the equation.  Make sure to set aside some funds for your own retirement while saving for college and elder health care.
  • Revise your estate plan documents as necessary.  If you had named your parents guardians of your children in case of your death, you may need to find other guardians.  You may need to set up trusts for your parents as well as for your children.  If your parent was your power of attorney, you may have to designate a different person to act on y
Car Accident
Feds Claim Protection from Sutherland Springs Liability Under the Brady Act
Feds Claim Protection from Sutherland Springs Liability Under the Brady Act 1024 576 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Feds Claim Protection from Sutherland Springs Liability Under the Brady Act

The Federal government has filed a motion with the intent to dismiss several lawsuits filed against the United States Air Force by victims of the Sutherland Springs massacre. It is claiming that a law that was intended to prevent gun violence also shields them from any liability

What Happened?

On Nov. 5, 2017, 26-year-old, Devin Patrick Kelley perpetrated the deadliest mass shooting in Texas and the fifth deadliest in the United States. It was also not surprisingly, the deadliest shooting in an American place of worship in the modern era. He opened fire inside and around the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, killing 26 people and injured 20 others.

Failure to Record

Kelley, a former member of the United States Air Force, had been prohibited from purchasing or possessing any firearms due to a previous domestic violence conviction in a court-martial. However, the Air Force never filed the conviction in the FBI National Crime Information Center Database. The database serves as a tool to help the National Instant Check System to flag any prohibited purchases.

At least five lawsuits have been filed and consolidated in San Antonio federal court concerning the shooting. The suits claim that the Air Force should be held liable for its failure to report Kelley’s domestic violence conviction into the database. He had been kicked out of the military in 2014, having spent a year prior behind bars for part of a 2012 plea deal surrounding the beating of his then-wife and stepson.

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

The plaintiffs assert that Kelley would have been unable to purchase any firearms, such as the ones he bought between 2012 and 2014, and the one he used during the attack, had his conviction been in the system. The lawsuits reference the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

The government has cited a number of cases concerning the Act, claiming that the laws they reference should shield Air Force personnel from any bureaucratic mishaps. Lawyers for the Justice Department, which is currently defending the Air Force, has expressed that statutory immunity shield the United States from any liability to the plaintiffs in this case. “The federal statute on which the plaintiffs primarily base their claims (the Brady Act) expressly provides that no liability for damages may be imposed on employees of the federal government to prevent the sale of a firearm to a person prohibited by law from receiving it,” they wrote.

Watching the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

It should be interesting to watch how this plays out, as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence had no comment on this case, though it filed a brief in 2015 arguing against the government’s shield claim in the case of Charleston, S.C. church shooter and white supremacist, Dylann Roof. Roof shot and killed nine African-American worshippers.

Train Accident
Lawsuits Over Train Accidents Spur Safety Upgrades
Lawsuits Over Train Accidents Spur Safety Upgrades 1024 613 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Lawsuits Over Train Accidents Spur Safety Upgrades

Every two hours, a pedestrian or automobile in the United States is struck by a train. This is a shockingly high accident rate considering the fact that train accidents are often deadly. Unfortunately, efforts to make trains safer have basically stalled, with the companies involved claiming new safety technology is cost prohibitive. Lawsuits are one way those who have been injured in a train-related accident, or their loved ones, can push for safety upgrades while also seeking compensation for their injuries.

Houston Railroads Are Some Of The Worst

Houston has one of the most deadly railways in the country, yet efforts to make it safer seem to only come after someone has been injured or killed. Train speeds were only lowered in certain high-traffic areas after tragic accidents, and fencing that is needed to protect pedestrians all around the city is only being installed in areas where someone has died. How many people must be injured or killed before the whole system is made safer?

Holding Metro Responsible

In order to hold the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s feet to the fire, anyone who is injured in a train accident, and their loved ones, should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit can help you get compensation for any injuries you have suffered. Metro, or whatever other railroad that is involved, could be forced to cover your medical expenses and reimburse you for lost wages. If you are the loved one of someone who died in a train accident, you may also be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on your deceased loved one’s behalf.

So It Never Happens Again

However, many people who have been injured in train accidents are not satisfied with a check — they want changes. A lawsuit can give you leverage to negotiate for safety improvements that can benefit everyone, and keep what happened to you and your family from happening again.

It is time the railroads start taking passenger, pedestrian, and driver safety seriously. Needed safety upgrades are well-known, they just aren’t being done. Lawsuits are often the best way to get action on upgrades that should have been done years ago.

Truck Accident
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death? And Who Can Be Sued?
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death? And Who Can Be Sued? 1024 613 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death? And Who Can Be Sued?

Over in Galveston County a tragic family drama is playing out. A young man is suing his father for the wrongful death of his mother. The case has a lot of people asking just who can sue for wrongful death, and who can be sued?

The Case That Has Everyone Talking

Johnny Eugene Oliphant has been charged with murder for the December 2016 shooting of his wife, Gina. Johnny is accused of shooting Gina in the head during a fight that occurred after he mixed sleeping pills and alcohol. While on the line with a 911 operator after Gina was shot, Johnny reportedly said, “I guess I won that one.”

Johnny is currently out on bond and awaiting trial, but now he has another case pending against him. Johnny and Gina’s youngest son, Dylan, has sued his father for the wrongful death of his mother. Referring to his late mother as his “best friend,” the plaintiff asserts “her loss has wreaked absolute havoc in his life.” He is seeking unspecified monetary damages to compensate him for his financial losses, including an expected inheritance, along with mental anguish and emotional pain and suffering.

Who Can Sue?

This case is getting a lot of attention because it is such a shocking story, but it also has a lot of people asking us “who can sue for wrongful death?

Texas law allows spouses, children of any age, and the parents of a deceased person to file a wrongful death lawsuits. Grandparents and siblings of a deceased person cannot file this kind of lawsuit.

All of the eligible plaintiffs may band together and sue the defendant as a group, or one family member can take the lead.

If no suit is filed within three months of the date of the death, the executor of the deceased person’s estate may file a suit instead. However, the surviving family members can ask that such a suit be dismissed.

People have been wondering how old Gina Oliphant’s son Dylan is since he is the one bringing a wrongful death suit, but that does not matter under the current law.

Who Can Be Sued?

People have also been shocked that a son is able to sue his own father.

In order to properly explain who can be sued for wrongful death, it is helpful to go over what a wrongful death lawsuit actually is.

A wrongful death suit is a personal injury lawsuit that is filed against someone whose “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” has caused the death of another.

The key to determining who can be sued for wrongful death is to look at the above definition and see if it applies given the circumstances of someone’s death. There is nothing in the law that says family members are not allowed to sue one another for wrongful death.

However, since every case is different, it can be hard to say if someone’s death was wrongful. That’s why wrongful death cases are tried in front of a jury.  

If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, and are considering bringing a lawsuit against those you believe are responsible, please consider contacting our office. We can help you evaluate your case and answer any questions you have free of charge. We represent our personal injury and wrongful death clients on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay nothing unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Car Accident
How Do You Prove Intoxication in a Personal Injury Case?
How Do You Prove Intoxication in a Personal Injury Case? 1024 613 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

How Do You Prove Intoxication in a Personal Injury Case?

Driving is by no means inherently safe. With human beings operating cars and trucks, there leaves much room for error. But when an individual drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – both illegal and prescription – their intoxication can have very serious effects on the safety of themselves and others.

Driving While Intoxicated

In Texas, anyone who drives while intoxicated is committing the offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI). If an intoxicated driver causes injury to another individual, the evidence of their intoxication can be used as evidence against them in a personal injury case.

Plaintiff Still Has Burden of Proof

It is important to remember that just because someone intoxicated gets into an accident with another person, he or she is not automatically guilty in civil court. When it comes to a case of negligence, the plaintiff who is suing still carries the burden of proving four elements (duty; breach; causation; damages).

When it comes to proving causation, the plaintiff must still prove that the crash occurred because of the defendant’s conduct, and that conduct caused the plaintiff’s injuries. The defendant can still argue that they were not at fault for the crash, and that the plaintiff either caused the crash, their injuries were not a direct result of the accident, or they contributed to the damages.

NTSB Investigates Crash of Impaired Driver

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released its findings in an investigation of a crash, which occurred in Texas that resulted in 13 fatalities because of a driver under the influence of marijuana and prescription drugs.

The NTSB found that the driver was responsible for the crash due to the fact that he could not safely operate his truck because he was impaired. He was said to be driving erratically before crashing into a church bus that was transporting seniors from a three-day church retreat. The crash killed the bus driver as well as 12 of its 13 passengers.

The Aftermath of the Crash

According to the NTSB there were marijuana cigarettes, over-the-counter, and prescription medication as well as other drug paraphernalia in the truck. The driver also tested positive for marijuana and the sedative, clonazepam, of which he admitted that he had taken twice the prescribed dose. The twenty-year-old driver was then charged with multiple counts of intoxication manslaughter. He is currently awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest.

What To Do if You’ve Been the Victim of a Car Crash with a Drunk Driver

If you have been the victim of a car crash that involved a drunk driver, it is so important that you are compensated for any damages that you sustained from it and that the impaired driver is held accountable. That is why you should contact a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorney who can help you to navigate your situation and get you what you deserve.

Will the U.S. Supreme Court find Merck liable for failing to provide adequate warnings about Fosamax?
Will the U.S. Supreme Court find Merck liable for failing to provide adequate warnings about Fosamax? 1024 683 CMZ Law Lufkin/Houston

Will the U.S. Supreme Court find Merck liable for failing to provide adequate warnings about Fosamax?

Fosamax is a prescription drug manufactured by mega-company Merck.  It was created to help treat osteoporosis and other diseases that cause bone loss.  Given that one in three women worldwide and one in five men over 50 will suffer from osteoporotic related fractures, Fosamax and other drugs like it are big business.  Fosamax claims that it will slow bone loss and improve bone density, but alarming evidence of the potential link between the drug and fractures has emerged. Now, thousands of Fosamax users have filed suit against Merck, claiming that the dangerous drug led them to suffer thigh bone fractures and the company failed to warn them of the risks.

As other claimants joined in the action against Merck, Merck sought dismissal of the claims.  Merck submitted evidence that it had notified the FDA back in 2008of a potential link between the drug and some bone fractures.  However, the FDA rejected its proposal to a warning label to the drug. It wasn’t until 2010 when the FDA ordered a revision of the labels to include a warning, which Merck did.

In federal court in New Jersey, Merck urged that the claims against it should be dismissed because the FDA rejected its proposed warning label, which it believes should exclude liability.  However, the 3rd Circuit ruled the case should proceed because the jury could find that the FDA would have accepted a properly worded warning concerning fracture risks.

The Supreme Court Takes Up the Case

Now, at the urging of President Trump, the U.S. Supreme Court has elected to hear the case. At issue will be the crucial question as to whether a pharmaceutical company can be liable for failing to warn drug users as to known risks when the FDA rejects its proposed warnings.  The issue is a crucial one that could have wide spread implications.

If the Supreme Court finds that Merck is relieved of liability, it could leave consumers crucially unprotected against potentially dangerous or defective drugs.  Individuals harmed by dangerous drugs that did not come with adequate warnings could be left without legal avenues, and product makers may further lose financial incentive to create comprehensive, up-to-date warnings.  On the other hand, most would agree that the FDA needs to be more proactive in issuing potentially lifesaving warnings when made aware of this need by drug makers. All of us should closely watch this case, which may have an impact on anyone who will ever take a prescription drug.

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