One of the biggest toxic tort cases in the country right now has been unfolding in Somerville
, a small central Texas town that has been tied to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway since its inception more than 100 years ago. Residents there blame a 100-year-old railroad tie treatment plant now owned by Koppers Inc. for serious toxic
contamination that has caused high rates of cancer and other serious illnesses. Until now, experts on both sides of the litigation have presented conflicting findings about the extent of contamination in Somerville. Now, a third-party report
by Texas A&M experts confirms that Somerville school buildings are contaminated with cancer-causing dioxins, PAHs, arsenic and other chemicals in concentrations comparable to the World Trade Center following 9/11 and heavily polluted areas of China. Attorney Jared Woodfill of Houston-based Woodfill & Pressler LLP
says the third-party study offers compelling evidence that the community has been exposed to historic contamination. "It's time for Koppers Inc. and BNSF to accept the findings of this independent study," he says. "This unbiased report speaks for itself about the dangers to the people of Somerville."
Jury award puts Dallas legal icon Frank L. Branson in elite company
A horrific August 2004 Dallas County truck crash that resulted in a $20.8 million jury award last year has been named one of the largest verdicts of 2007 by American Lawyer Media's
Verdict Search. The verdict in Bohne v. Enviroclean Management Services Inc. was No. 92 in the publication's "Top 100 Verdicts of 2007
Mr. Branson, founder of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, represented the wife and estate of Robert E. Bohne, who died from his injuries after his car was struck by an 18-wheeler carrying hazardous waste for Dallas-based Enviroclean Managemenet Services Inc. Branson's investigation revealed that Enviroclean failed to properly screen the truck's driver, who had a history of drug abuse and driving infractions. The truck crash was the focus of a Dallas Morning News investigative series on trucking safety.