Dram Shop

Family of man fatally struck by train awarded $1 million

On April 10, the family of a man who was found dead next to railroad tracks after a night of drinking was awarded a little more than $1 million. Michael Barton was seen leaving the Porter Cocktail Lounge at about 11:30 p.m. His body was found at the nearby tracks the next morning. Investigators determined that the massive blunt force injuries were the result of being struck by a train. His family claimed that he had been drinking in the bar since 2:30 p.m. and was served repeatedly despite being visibly intoxicated.

Barton v. Porter Private Club Corp., No. 2011-53765

Court: 270th Harris County District Court

Plaintiff Attorneys: Spencer G. Markle and Obed DeLaCruz, Markle DeLaCruz, Houston

Defense Attorney: Willis E. Smith, Kingwood

Motor Vehicle

Parties settle over rear-ender for $12,000

On April 7, a driver who claimed cervical and lumbar strains in a rear-ender agreed to a $12,000 settlement. Tomasa Martinez claimed that she had slowed for traffic when Luis Becerra became distracted and rear-ended her. She was treated in the emergency room and underwent two months of chiropractic treatment. She sought $12,835 for past medical expenses, $22,000 for future medical expenses and an unspecified amount for past and future pain and suffering.

Martinez v. Becerra, No. 2012-cv-000671

Court: 49th Webb County District Court

Plaintiff Attorney: Edna Elizondo, The Carlson Law Firm, San Antonio

Defense Attorney: Francisco J. Martinez, Dietz, Aliseda & Associates, Edinburg

Driver who collided with dump truck gets $1 million

On March 29, a driver who was struck by a dump truck right after it pulled out of a construction zone agreed to a $1 million settlement. Jack Nicholas claimed that he herniated a lumbar disk and fragmented another one. The E-C Transportation dump truck driver allegedly was directed by a traffic flagger for Allco LLC to enter the road. Plaintiff's counsel maintained that the flagger wasn't properly trained and the truck driver didn't keep a proper lookout. Allco agreed to pay $310,000 and the truck owner agreed to pay $690,000.

Nicholas v. Lonnett, No. B-190965

Court: 60th Jefferson County District Court

Plaintiff Attorneys: Clay Dugas and Reggie Blakeley, Clay Dugas & Associates, Beaumont

Defense Attorneys: Collin D. Shellenberger, Germer Gertz, Beaumont; Casey Hargroder, Kebodeaux & Hargroder, Beaumont