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BREAKING–Harris County Couple Awarded $12.4M Verdict in Trucking Accident Case

Posted on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019 at 11:20 am by Williams Hart   

HARRIS COUNTY, TX — On September 30, 2019, Jim Hart and Steve Kherkher of Williams Hart won a $12,450,000 verdict in the 129th District Court of Harris County, Texas. Their clients, a young working couple, sustained serious injuries when an 18-wheeler operated by New Prime, Inc. struck their small sedan from behind at highway speed on Interstate 45 in Houston. One client suffered an injury known as trigeminal neuralgia, a painful nerve disease that is one of the most painful conditions known in medicine. The jury’s award consists entirely of mental anguish and pain and suffering.

New Prime, Inc. is one of the largest trucking companies in North America and entrusted its vehicle to a driver with a history of over 60 safety violations. The defense strategically admitted to the driver’s negligence before trial. The trial lasted one week and it took the jury a half day of deliberations to return their verdict.

Also assisting was Attorney Margot Trevino as well as Trial Paralegal Jael Hamilton of Williams Hart.

Breaking News: ExxonMobil Petrochemical Plant Explosion & Fire in Baytown, Texas Injures Workers

Posted on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019 at 12:48 pm by Williams Hart   

Williams Hart Personal Injury Accident Lawyers are ready to help file your Workplace Burn Injury Claim.

Update: 37 Workers Burned in Accident, 66 Total Medically Evaluated


Emergency crews are responding to a fire at the ExxonMobil Baytown Complex at 3525 Decker Drive. Currently, a shelter-in-place has been issued for areas in Baytown west of the petrochemical and refinery complex and south of Spur 330. This facility lies on the east side of Houston in the heart of the Texas chemical industry.

“ExxonMobil reported that 66 employees/contractors have gone to the Houston Area Safety Council, for medical evaluation.”  

A spokesperson for ExxonMobil stated that “37 people sustained non-life threatening injuries”. 

Local news is reporting that workers employed on site did sustain burn injuries from the fire.

Live, local video images from television stations show flames shooting several stories into the sky from pipes inside the plant, and many residents reported that their house and windows shook from the initial explosion.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is en route to the scene.

Harris County has begun monitoring Environmental Air Quality and you can see their interactive map here.

The cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed. Initial reports indicate that the Chemical Plant processed polypropylene, a thermoplastic which are highly flammable and pose a serious risk to the health and safety of employees at the facility in the event of ignition. 

The shelter-in-place has impacted several schools in the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District, according to the Houston Chronicle. Those schools include:

  • San Jacinto Elementary
  • Travis Elementary
  • Baytown Junior High
  • Robert E. Lee High School
  • Goose Creek Service Center,
  • Peter E. Hyland

 Families have been advised not to try to pick up their students.



The City of Baytown has stated that the fire is in a unit that contains propylene, which is an extremely flammable gas. This material is easily ignited by heat, sparks or flames and can quickly lead to an explosion.

When it comes to hazardous chemical exposure, propylene vapors can cause dizziness or asphyxiation without warning. Such contact with this form of gas can also lead to burns and other severe injuries.

Exxon Mobil crews are battling the fire, according to the most recent reports, but the city’s fire department is on standby to assist, according to Natalie Barrett, the spokesperson for the city of Baytown.

ExxonMobil released the following statement about the fire: 

A fire has occurred at the Baytown Olefins Plant. Our fire teams are working to extinguish the fire. We are conducting personnel accounting. Our first priority remains the safety of people, including our employees, contractors and the surrounding community. As a precaution, our Industrial Hygiene staff is conducting air quality monitoring at the site and fence line. We are cooperating with regulatory agencies. We deeply regret any disruption or inconvenience that this incident may have caused the community.

According to the Houston Business Journal Exxon Mobil Chemical Co. is the “Third Largest Houston-area Petrochemical & Chemical Company” with net sales of $28.69 Billion USD.

Founded 100 years ago in 1919, the Baytown complex is one of the largest ethylene plants in the world, boasting nearly 584,000 barrels of crude oil produced a day. It is also the second ExxonMobil location at which an explosion has occurred in the Houston area within the last few months.

The energy production workforce is no stranger to deadly explosions, with more than two dozen oil refinery disasters occurring in the last 50 years. For more info about Refinery Plant Safety you can get more info from Energy API here , and here .

Occupational injuries and fatalities in the Chemical and  oil & gas production industry are typically caused by the following: 

  • Human error and or poorly trained staff
  • Improperly maintained equipment
  • Improperly stored end-products
  • Improperly maintained complex facilities

We are carefully following this story along with everyone in the community, and we will continue providing updates as they become available. You can also follow this developing story online at the Houston Chronicle’s website, KHOU online, and others.

Williams Hart has a long history of representing individuals injured in plant explosions such as the ones in Geismar, LA and Texas City. In situations like these, it is best to turn to an experienced firm to help you understand all of your options. If you have been seriously burned or injured, our Chemical Plant Fire Attorneys are ready to help you in the aftermath of this Baytown ExxonMobil Chemical Fire and Explosion.

For additional information about about your legal representation options after a disaster like this please visit:

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Williams Hart Lawyers would like to fight for you to get the Maximum Compensation that you deserve after suffering your burn injury.

Jim Hart featured as guest speaker at the USW 13-2001 Annual Scholarship Banquet

Posted on Thursday, May 18th, 2017 at 8:30 am by Williams Hart   

On Monday, May 15th, Williams Hart partner Jim Hart was the guest speaker at the United Steelworkers’ District 13-2000 annual scholarship banquet.  Over the years, the union has given out over $300,000 in scholarship money to children of members. In fact, in 2017, over $13,000 was awarded, and each year all of the scholarship money has been raised by Union members. Williams Hart has been a proud supporter of this program for many years.

To see more photos of the event, visit the Union’s Facebook page.

Williams Hart secures $1.5M verdict for client injured in auto accident.

Posted on Saturday, December 10th, 2016 at 12:14 pm by Williams Hart   

On January 20, 2015 our client broke his leg when he was hit by an SUV while he was attempting to purchase an automobile at an auto auction. The driver of the SUV was a worker sent over by Pacesetter to drive cars at the Manheim Big H auction center. Our client was safely crossing the road when he was struck by a Ford Explorer being driven by the defendant.

Our client was back to work in just 9 months. He turned to Jim Hart and Steve Kherkher to handle his case and handle the case they did.

Steve and Jim spent many long nights strategizing and prepping for trial. After a rigorous trial before Harris County 55th District Court Judge Shadwick, the jury came back with a UNANIMOUS decision in favor of the plaintiff. They awarded the client $750,000 for pain and suffering as well as $750,000 for physical impairment for a whopping total of $1.5 million dollars.

Here at Williams Hart, we are so proud of Jim and Steve and the work they put in on behalf of their client and know they will do the same for you or your family members.

Jim Hart Named Litigator of the Week by Texas Lawyer

Posted on Monday, March 24th, 2014 at 11:26 am by Williams Hart   

Jim Hart, partner at Williams Hart, has been named Litigator of the Week by Texas Lawyer for his work in achieving an $11 million dollar verdict for the family of a man killed in an accident involving a tanker truck carrying explosive materials. Hart and his partner Steve Kherkher, who also served as counsel on the case, brought a claim against X-Chem and NCH Corp. for gross negligence in causing the death of Daniel Rhodes.

Jim and Steve chose to pursue compensation from these companies, and not the driver of the vehicle, because of serious failures in the driver’s training which caused him to mistakenly attempt to return to the road after he was allegedly forced off by another truck. The jury agreed with the arguments set forth and delivered a verdict of $11 million in favor of the family, assessing 25% liability to X-Chem and 75% to NCH Corp.

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident?

Contact us today at (713) 352-7071 to get a free, confidential case evaluation.