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Austin's Howry Breen & Herman Earns Texas' Top 2011 Premises Liability Verdict
Jurors award $12.39 million verdict following swimming pool accident
May 30, 2012 4:00 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – A $12.39 million jury award won by attorneys from Austin’s Howry Breen & Herman LLP has been ranked as the state’s largest premises liability verdict during 2011 and the 16th largest verdict overall.

The top rankings are noted in the Top Texas Verdicts special section published in the May 28, 2012, edition of Texas Lawyer newspaper, a leading guide to Texas legal news. Sean Breen, a name partner in Howry Breen & Herman, represented Austin-based musician Jordan VanDusen in the premises liability claim against the owner and operator of the Longhorn Landing apartments in Austin.

Mr. VanDusen was critically injured in a 2005 accident after diving into a swimming pool at Longhorn Landing. Although the swimming pool was posted with “No Diving” signs and Mr. VanDusen was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident, jurors heard evidence that the pool’s water level had fallen nearly two feet below safe standards.

Mr. Breen enlisted a team of diving experts, physicists and animation professionals to analyze video of the accident that was captured on a friend’s camera. The analysis revealed that Mr. VanDusen’s dive was at a safe angle and that he would have suffered no injuries if the water had been maintained at a safe level as required by both state and municipal law.

“We worked very hard for this verdict,” Mr. Breen says. “We said all along that Jordan bore some responsibility for his injuries. All we asked was that the property owner accept responsibility as well. Thankfully, we were able to use the video and animations to tell the true story of what happened that night and the jury did the rest.”

Following the nine-day trial, jurors in the 53rd District Court in Austin returned a verdict in favor of Mr. VanDusen, who was found partially responsible for the accident. The case is VanDusen v. Aspen Square Management, et al., No. D-1-GN-09-001608.

Based in Austin, Howry Breen & Herman LLP is a trial law firm that represents businesses and individuals in civil litigation throughout Texas and across the country. More information is available at

For more information on the Top Texas Verdict won by Howry Breen & Herman, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or

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