Author: Jeff Raizner

Dallas County Hail Damage Attorneys

Dallas County Condominium Association Files Wind and Hail Insurance Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a bad faith insurance lawsuit on behalf of a Dallas County condominium association against Peleus Insurance Company, Strata Claims Management, and Engle Martin & Associates. The plaintiff’s wind and hail damage insurance claim was wrongfully denied under Texas law.

March 2016 Wind and Hail Storm

On March 23, 2016, a wind and hail storm swept through Dallas County. The storm caused substantial damage to the roofs, exteriors, and interiors of the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with Peleus.

In response to the claim, Peleus assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequately and improperly trained. Specifically, Peleus assigned both Strata and Engle Martin to adjust the claim. Strata and Engle Martin in turn assigned the claim to two adjusters.

The adjusters performed a substandard inspection of the property and failed to prepare any estimates or scope of damages or failed to provide them to the plaintiff. Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters continually delayed the claims process and did not communicate with the insured during the process.

Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters deliberately misevaluated the damage by claiming it was cosmetic only, instead of acknowledging the widespread compromising of the roof systems, necessitating full repairs and replacement. The adjusters further caused additional damages themselves at the site inspection by foot damaging unsupported areas of the roofs.

Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters performed an inadequate, incomplete, and unreasonable investigation of the claim. Peleus relied solely on Strata, Engle Martin, and the adjusters when determining what amounts, if any, to pay on the claim. As a result, the plaintiff’s wind and hail damage claim was wrongfully denied.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges numerous violations of the Texas Insurance Code, including the failure to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim and misrepresentation of the insurance policies under which it affords property coverage to the plaintiff. Additionally, our client alleges violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA).

Dallas County Hail Damage Attorneys

Insurance companies use a variety of bad faith tactics to avoid paying out on valid claims. Not only is this wrong, it’s illegal. If your wind and hail damage claim has been denied, delayed, or grossly underpaid, the Dallas County hail damage attorneys at Raizner Slania can help. Our attorneys have helped commercial property owners across the country get their rightful payments under their policies. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Barker Reservoir releases

Homeowners File Inverse Condemnation Class Action Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed an inverse condemnation lawsuit on behalf of four homeowners whose homes were flooded by the Addicks and Barker Reservoir releases in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

Unprecedented Rainfall From Hurricane Harvey

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast in late August, it dropped an unprecedented amount of rainfall across Houston. Despite this rainfall, all of the plaintiffs’ homes initially escaped catastrophic flooding. However, the rainfall filled the Addicks and Barker reservoirs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers then made the decision to release floodwaters into Buffalo Bayou, knowing that this controlled release would inundate the plaintiffs’ homes.

The reservoirs were built after a catastrophic flood in 1935 to protect downtown Houston from future flooding. By 2009, the dams were deemed to be in “extremely high risk of catastrophic failure.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers owns and operates the dams, which were in the middle of a $75 million renovation when Hurricane Harvey hit Texas. Most of the time, the dams are open, allowing water to flow through to Buffalo Bayou. However, whenever there is heavy rainfall, the Army Corps of Engineers closes the dams.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made the initial decision to pool water within the resevoirs and inundated properties upstream of the reservoirs. Then, they made the decision to release floodwaters downstream into Buffalo Bayou, which inundated thousands of downstream homes and businesses.

The Army Corps of Engineers knew this widespread flooding would occur as a result of the releases, constituting a taking of private property for public use.

Inverse Condemnation

Under the Fifth Amendment, the U.S. government must fairly compensate property owners when taking private land for public use. When the government takes land without following eminent domain procedures, including failing to provide just compensation, it is called inverse condemnation. When inverse condemnation occurs, property owners have a right to file a lawsuit against the government to obtain their rightful compensation.

Inverse Condemnation Claims After Hurricane Harvey

When the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began controlled inundations and releases from the Addicks and Barker reservoirs after Hurricane Harvey, it effectively took away private property for public use. Ownerswners whose properties survived did not flood because of the catastrophic rain, but flooded as a result of the reservoir releases will need help obtaining compensation. The experienced inverse condemnation lawyers at Raizner Slania can help you understand your legal rights and pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Barker Reservoir Release Lawyers

Raizner Slania Files Inverse Condemnation Lawsuit On Behalf of Commercial Building Owner

Raizner Slania has filed an inverse condemnation lawsuit on behalf of the owners of a West Memorial area retail center after the Addicks and Barker reservoir releases flooded the property following Hurricane Harvey.

Hurricane Harvey Makes Landfall on August 25, 2017

When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017 on the Texas coast, it brought massive amounts of rainfall. Some areas in Houston received 50 inches of rainfall in just four days. However, despite the rainfall, the plaintiff’s property did not experience any flooding.

The Addicks and Barker reservoirs are part of a flood control system in the west side of Houston designed to protect downtown Houston from flooding. The dams on the reservoirs are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers—a U.S. federal agency that operates under the Department of Defense.

The dams on the Addicks and Barker reservoirs protect downtown Houston from flooding by controlling the amount of water in Buffalo Bayou, the largest waterway running through the heart of the city. Normally, the dams remain open and water is allowed to pass freely, but the Army Corps of Engineers closes the dams during heavy rainfall.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the dam systems were in the middle of a massive renovation. On August 28, 2017 between midnight and 2:00 a.m., the Army Corps of Engineers began releasing water from both the Addicks and Barker reservoir systems. The Corps announced thousands of properties would experience flooding as a result of the release.

As both reservoir gates opened and released storm water into Buffalo Bayou in the middle of the night, neighborhoods, buildings, homes, offices, and roadways that were not otherwise flooded by Hurricane Harvey—including the plaintiff’s property—became inundated with water that continued to rise throughout the night and over the course of the next several days. Because of the rapid progression of rising water, many people did not have time to pack up or salvage any belongings and had to be rescued by boat, taking along nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Controlled releases of the reservoirs continued and many homes and businesses remained completely underwater for weeks. The plaintiff’s property was flooded by four to six feet of water that did not recede for over a week. The plaintiff’s property suffered severe interior and structural damage caused by the floodwaters.

Beyond the costs to repair the property and what may be months or years of lost rent, the plaintiff also faces a decrease in the fair market value of its property, both in the rental market and the sales market. Worse still, even once the plaintiff’s property is restored or rebuilt, the continued and long-term effects of mold, deterioration, and rot due to the unprecedented amount of time floodwaters sat inside the property remain unknown.

Violations of the Fifth Amendment

Under the Fifth Amendment, the government is prohibited from taking private property for public use without providing just compensation. When the Army Corps of Engineers decided to begin controlled releases of the reservoirs after Hurricane Harvey, it was for public use, constituting a taking of the plaintiff’s property.

Addicks and Barker Reservoir Release Lawyers

If your property was flooded by the Addicks and Barker reservoir releases, Raizner Slania can help you pursue just compensation under the Fifth Amendment. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Bair Hugger Lawsuits

Raizner Slania Files Bair Hugger MRSA Infection Lawsuit on Behalf of Florida Couple

Rainzer Slania has filed a Bair Hugger MRSA infection lawsuit on behalf of a Florida couple against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare after the husband sustained an infection from the device.

In February 2014, the plaintiff underwent a right total knee replacement surgery in which the Bair Hugger was used throughout the scope of the procedure to regulate body temperature. Regulating body temperature during surgery can help reduce bleeding risks; however, the defective design of the Bair Hugger forces contaminants in the air into a patient’s open surgical wounds. As a direct result of the Bair Hugger being used during his surgery, the plaintiff developed a deep joint infection. The pathogen identified was Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as MRSA.

MRSA is often called a superbug because it is resistant to most of the antibiotics used to treat infections. MRSA is a type of staph infection commonly found in hospitals. Proper sanitation procedures can help reduce the spread of MRSA in hospitals; however, if rooms and equipment are not properly cleaned, MRSA can spread and cause devastating consequences for patients. While some antibiotics can be used to treat MRSA, it can take time for doctors to determine exactly which antibiotic will be most effective.

As a result of the MRSA infection, the plaintiff was forced to undergo extensive medical treatment including long-term antibiotic therapy and irrigation and debridement with hardware exchange. Unfortunately, he suffered additional complications from the treatment, including renal failure and synovitis, or the inflammation of the membranes in the joint.

The plaintiff suffered extensive physical pain from the infection. He also suffered economically due to the cost of the extensive medical treatments. His wife suffered from a loss of services due to her husband’s infection.

The Florida couple believes 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare failed to warn them of the infection risk associated with the Bair Hugger, which resulted in the husband’s infection. The couple also asserts the Bair Hugger is defective in its design and manufacture.

Bair Hugger MRSA Infection Lawsuit

 Patients deserve to know all of the risks associated with medical devices prior to their use. Patients who underwent a hip or knee joint surgery and developed an infection may be able to file a claim. Contact Raizner Slania today for a free consultation to discuss your Bair Hugger infection case.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection

Colorado Couple File Bair Hugger Staph Infection Lawsuit

Raizner Slania has filed a Bair Hugger Staph infection lawsuit on behalf of a Colorado couple against 3M Company and Arizant Healthcare after the wife suffered a severe infection.

In December 2011, the plaintiff underwent a right total knee arthroplasty in which the Bair Hugger warming blanket was used throughout the scope of the procedure. The Bair Hugger caused contaminants to be introduced into the plaintiff’s open surgical wound, causing the development of a deep joint infection or DJI. The pathogen identified was staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is known commonly as a staph infection. S. aureus is a gram-positive, round-shaped bacterium, meaning it has very thick cell walls. These thick walls can make S. aureus difficult to treat. When on the skin, S. aureus can cause swelling, boils, pimples, and other staph infections. However, when S. aureus is inside the body it can cause life-threatening infections like pneumonia, meningitis, and bacteremia, among others.

As a result of the infection caused by the Bair Hugger, the plaintiff was forced to undergo extensive medical treatment including multiple irrigation and debridements with synovectomy and polyethylene exchanges and long-term PICC line antibiotics.

Why Are DJIs So Dangerous?

Ordinarily when bacteria are present in the body, it triggers an immune system response which helps fight the infection. However, when bacteria are present on artificial joints it doesn’t trigger an immune system response, meaning the bacteria can go unchecked and cause life-threatening conditions.

The Bair Hugger is used to regulate a patient’s body temperature during surgery, but a defect in its design allows contaminated air to be spread over open surgical wounds. This distributes bacteria onto artificial joints and causes difficult-to-treat infections.

The plaintiffs allege they were never warned about the dangerous infection risk associated with Bair Hugger by the manufacturers. Not only has the plaintiff wife suffered physically, but the couple has also suffered financially. The plaintiffs had the right to know about all risks associated with the Bair Hugger prior to its use.

Bair Hugger Staph Infection Attorneys 

If you or someone you love sustained an infection from a hip or knee joint surgery within the last five years, you may be able to hold 3M and Arizant responsible. Contact the Bair Hugger staph infection attorneys at Raizner Slania today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

Texas Insurance Lawyers

Harris County Retail Building Owner Files Insurance Lawsuit

Our client, a retail building owner, has filed an insurance lawsuit against Lexington Insurance Company, Clear Blue Specialty Insurance Company, Arch Specialty Insurance Company, James River Insurance Company, Landmark American Insurance Company, Aspen Specialty Insurance Company, Sompo American Insurance Company, and McLarens, Inc. The carriers wrongfully denied the plaintiff’s commercial hail damage insurance claim under Texas law.

June 2013 Hailstorm

On June 5, 2013, the plaintiff’s property was substantially damaged by a wind and hailstorm that swept through Harris County. The storm caused damage to the roof, HVAC, exterior, and interior of the property. Immediately upon discovering the damage, the plaintiff filed an insurance claim with the carriers for damages caused by the storm.

In response to the claim, the carriers assigned adjusters, consultants, and agents to the plaintiff’s file that were inadequate and improperly trained. Specifically, the carriers assigned the claim to McLarens, Inc. who in turn assigned the claim to an employee.

McLarens and its employee failed to perform a thorough investigation of the claim. The employee performed a substandard inspection of the property, failed to prepare any estimates or scopes of damages to the property, and/or failed to provide them to the insured. The employee falsely claimed the damage was merely cosmetic, however an adequate investigation would have proved otherwise.

Based on the employee’s haphazard investigation, the carriers grossly underpaid and wrongly denied the plaintiff’s insurance claim. The carriers represented to the plaintiff that some damages were not covered under the policy, when in fact they were. The plaintiff was forced to hire its own consultant to independently evaluate the damages to the property because the carriers refused to do so.

Violations of the Texas Insurance Code

Our client alleges the carriers violated the Texas Insurance Code by failing to effectuate a prompt, fair, and equitable settlement of a claim, failing to adopt and implement reasonable standards for prompt investigation of a claim, and failing to affirm or deny coverage of a claim within a reasonable time.

Texas Insurance Lawyers

When you pay your premium, you deserve to be compensated by your insurance company in the event of natural disaster. If your insurance carrier delayed, denied, or undervalued your claim, the Texas insurance lawyers at Raizner Slania can help. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your case.