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kcstarIn the days following the tragic death of 10-year-old Caleb Schwab, reporters with the Kansas City Star spoke with Frank Branson about design and safety issues that might have contributed to the tragic waterslide fatality. Key questions include the basic design of the 17-story waterslide and the decision to use Velcro restraints. Read the full story here

Another fatal bus crash in Texas involving a casino bus raises serious questions about charter bus safety and whether the gaming industry is doing enough to ensure the safety of its patrons.

Earlier in May 2016, The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson won a combined $10.9 million jury verdict after a Dallas jury agreed that the Choctaw Nation was negligent and responsible for a very similar charter bus rollover crash that occurred in Irving, Texas, in 2013. Three died in that crash and dozens more were injured.

“It’s incredible tbus seatshat we have another one of these crashes within two weeks of the verdict,” says Dallas trial lawyer Frank Branson. “Because of their rural locations, casinos like Choctaw and Kickapoo are dependent on these buses bringing in patrons. However, the casino business is driven by the bottom line, so these casinos are more concerned about whether their buses are full than they are about the safety record of the bus company and driver. These casinos have the responsibility to vet any charter bus bringing patrons to their facilities.”

Testimony in the recent Choctaw trial revealed how casinos rely on these buses to bring in business. For example, Texas patrons generate 75 percent of the Choctaw Casino Resort’s revenue, and 85 percent of the bus passengers who arrive at the Choctaw Casino Resort come from Texas. According to trial testimony, the Choctaw Casino Resort expected a charter bus carrying 45 passengers to generate $15,000 to $22,500 of revenue. At trial, the Choctaw Casino Resort sought to claim that safety was solely the charter company’s responsibility, but trial testimony showed that the casino had ultimate control over the bus, the driver and the trip.

Authorities in South Texas confirm that all eight passengers who died on the charter bus in route to the Kickapoo Casino on Saturday had been ejected from the bus after the driver lost control. Seat belts and laminated safety glass – long recommended by safety experts and required on new buses sold today – may have prevented those passenger ejections from occurring and likely would have saved lives, says Branson.

For more information, contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or robert@androvett.com.  

In this interview with the Phil Hulett and Friends show, Dallas sports stadium injury lawyer Frank L. Branson talks with host Phil Hulett about recent incidents involving sports fans suffering severe and fatal injuries from falls at ballparks, arenas and stadiums.

On September 13, 2015, a Denver Broncos fan fell over a railing at Sports Authority Field and suffered serious injuries. The man was reportedly intoxicated and trying to retrieve a hat. On August 29, 2015, a man died when he fell off the upper deck and died during a Atlanta Braves v NY Yankees game at Turner Field in Atlanta. Another fan died at this same ballpark after falling from the upper deck in 2008.

Other recent notable sports injuries involving fans being injured by errant balls and flying debris include:

  • Parts of a broken maple bat hit Susan Rhodes in the face on April 25, 2008 at Dodger Stadium, breaking her jaw. She sued the team and bat maker Rawlings, though eventually dropped the suit. The league put new rules in place about the use of maple bats, which were breaking about once a game in 2008.
  • A foul ball struck Wendy Whitehead, 39, in the temple during a San Angelo Colts game in 2010. She died a day later.
  • Shannon Stone, 39, died in 2011 while reaching for a foul ball during a Texas Rangers game.
  • In April, a Chicago Cubs fan was injured when rookie Addison Russell lost control of his bat. It slipped out of his hands, sending it into the stands. The fan was later taken to a hospital for treatment.

Hockey

  • Brittanie Cecil, 13, died March 18, 2002, two days after getting struck in the head with a puck when the Calgary Flames visited the Columbus Blue Jackets. Her death led to the league adding netting at both ends of the ice for another layer of protection for fans.
  • Gerald Green was hit in the head with a puck last May when the Chicago Blackhawks hosted the Minnesota Wild. 
  • Despite sitting behind a safety net, Patricia Higgins got struck in the face when the Blackhawks hosted the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in 2013. 

Auto racing

  • Three fans were killed after a crash in the 1998 US 500 at Michigan International Speedway. Six others sustained injuries. Exceeding 200 mph, Adrian Fernandez slammed into the wall, sending his right front wheel over the fences and into the stands.
  • Three fans were killed after a tire and other debris shot into the stands during the 1999 VisionAire 500K at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Eight others were injured. After the deaths, the race was canceled and no longer included in the Indy Racing League.
  • Seven spectators were injured during the 2009 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Carl Edwards’s car flipped into the catchfence, causing the injuries.
  • About 30 fans were injured at Daytona International Speedway in 2013 during the Nationwide Series race. Ryan Larson and his car went flying into the catchfence after Regan Smith tried to block Brad Keselowski. Among other debris that was catapulted into the stands, a tire from the car landed nine rows back.

Branson is the founder of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, a Dallas-based law firm with a reputation for courtroom excellence based on significant verdicts and settlements for clients in high-stakes personal injury cases and business disputes. The firm’s record verdicts and recoveries stem from cases involving trucking and transportation injuries, product liability, construction accidents, commercial plane crashes, explosions and burns caused by gas and electric power utilities, medical negligence, workplace catastrophes andprofessional negligence and business torts.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson representing teenager injured in fatal wreck

DALLAS – The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson in Dallas has filed a negligence lawsuit on behalf of a 19-year-old college student who was critically injured when a distracted tractor-trailer driver collided with the van carrying her and other members of a college softball team last month in Oklahoma. Four young women were killed and others were injured.

The lawsuit was filed against Nashville, Tennessee-based Quickway Transportation Inc. and truck driver Russell Wayne Staley of Saginaw, Texas, on behalf of North Central Texas College student Rachel Hitt. The legal filing says Quickway was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Mr. Staley prior to the Sept. 26 crash.

According to investigators, Mr. Staley claimed he was distracted by something in the cab of his 18-wheeler before veering across the center median and striking the team’s van in the southbound lane on Interstate 35 south of Oklahoma City.

“This lawsuit was filed to provide relief and support for this young woman and to make sure the public knows exactly how this tragedy occurred,” says attorney Frank L. Branson, founder of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson. “This was a preventable crash, and we are committed to making sure that Quickway takes responsibility for the safety shortcomings that have now affected so many lives.”

The lawsuit demands that Quickway immediately preserve and disclose evidence related to the fatal crash, including Mr. Staley’s employment and safety records, drug  and alcohol test results, driving records, and internal investigations. The case filed in Tarrant County District Court is Rachel Hitt v. Quickway Transportation Inc. and Russell Wayne Staley, No. 067-274841-14.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson maintains a reputation for courtroom excellence based on significant verdicts and settlements for clients in high-stakes personal injury cases and business disputes. The firm’s record verdicts and recoveries stem from cases involving trucking and transportation injuries, product liability, construction accidents, commercial plane crashes, explosions and burns caused by gas and electric power utilities, medical negligence, workplace catastrophes and professional negligence and business torts. Visit http://www.flbranson.com to learn more.

For more information on the lawsuit, please contact Robert Tharp at 800-559-4534 or robert@androvett.com.

Firm founder Frank L. Branson is the 2014 recipient of one of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association’s highest honors. Mr. Branson received the “Tommy Malone Great American Eagle Award” during the STLA’s annual meeting in New Orleans in February. The annual award recognizes individuals who are known for helping and inspiring others and are a “powerful example of the bold pursuit of excellence and justice. Such an individual is one who inspires others and is a living symbol of integrity, strength, bravery, justice, freedom, pride, devotion, excellence, and friendship and to many a hero.”

Debbie Dudley Branson has been named one of four recipients of the 2014 Maura Women Helping Women awards, recognizing women for their achievements in leadership and improvement of the lives of women and girls in Dallas-Fort Worth. The Dallas Women’s Foundation established the Maura Award in 1978 to recognize women who achieve success and create paths of opportunity for others to follow.

A recent in-depth profile published by The Texas Lawbook set out to uncover the secrets behind Frank and Debbie Branson’s success in both marriage and business.

The article, “Partners in Life, the Law,” reveals a system that the two acclaimed attorneys developed in their marriage while simultaneously working alongside each other in high-stakes litigation at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson in Dallas. The common themes, the newspaper reports, include mutual respect, a strong work ethic and two strong personalities who have learned to capitalize on each other’s complementary strengths. 

“We enjoy working together,” Debbie tells The Texas Lawbook. “We started out doing what would work for us as lawyers and as a family. We can work together and also pursue separate interests at the same time.”

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson has grown while the Bransons’ marriage has thrived for more than three decades. The profile story details how the firm established a reputation for large catastrophic injury verdicts and settlements while successfully maintaining its reputation for handling complex business litigation. Recently, Debbie has served in a critically important leadership role as the chair of the Parkland Health & Hospital System Board of Managers.

Just don’t call them a “power couple,” the story continues. 

“If we have any power, it comes from both of us working hard,” Debbie says. “The truth is we have fun, whether we’re working or playing. We’re lucky.”

Click here to view the entire article.

In this ABC World News report, Dallas attorney Frank Branson discusses his investigation surrounding the death of Rosa Esparza, who was killed when she was thrown from her seat on the Texas Giant rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Texas on July 19, 2013. According to the lawsuit filed by the Branson trial team, Ms. Esparza fell from the top of the 14-story wooden coaster after safety measures on the rollercoaster failed. “The ride doesn’t have a proper restraint system,” Mr. Branson tells ABC World News.

In April, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration deployed more than 50 specially trained safety investigators to look into “high-risk” passenger carriers, and that effort, known as “Operation Quick Strike,” has resulted in five bus carriers being shuttered for safety violations—so far.

The agency has attributed the closures to the operators’ failure to comply with federal Hours of Service regulations, defective equipment, and other violations that contribute to those carriers’ being declared “an imminent hazard to public safety.”

In the case of Kearns, Utah-based Salt Lake Shuttles, the FMCSA reported that, among other serious safety violations, the company put plastic grocery bags on one emergency exit as well as glue and/or tape on another, rendering the emergency exits inoperable. 

The Salt Lake shutdown was the fifth closure of a passenger carrier since “Operation Quick Strike” began in April. During that time the FMCSA shuttered bus companies in the District of Columbia, Georgia, Ohio and New York. Since the beginning of 2013, FMCSA has shut down a total of 12 bus companies and seven trucking companies. The agency has also declared three commercial driver’s license holders as imminent hazards, blocking them from operating in interstate commerce.

Clearly, the need for such enforcement actions is necessary, as was illustrated by the tragic deaths of two passengers of a Cardinal Coach charter bus, which crashed April 11 en route to the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Okla. According to police reports, the vehicle lost control on northbound State Highway 161 near the Beltline Road exit and crashed into a concrete median barrier. 

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson has extensive experience investigating catastrophic commercial vehicle crashes, including 18-wheeler crashes. The firm was part of the legal team representing families of several victims killed in the 2005 crash of a charter bus carrying elderly nursing home residents out of Hurricane Rita’s path. In that case, an extensive investigation revealed numerous safety, maintenance and design problems that contributed to the tragedy. Mr. Branson and other attorneys negotiated an $80 million settlement on behalf of the victims’ families.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson provides legal representation to victims of trucking and other commercial vehicle accidents. Whether the cause of the collision is driver fatigueimproper truck maintenance, and/or improper screening, training and supervision of drivers, the Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson have the experience, resources and technical abilities to determine what happened and who should be held responsible.

The Seattle bicycling community mourned the death of Lance David, an avid cyclist who was killed in an accident with a semi-truck on May 1.

To honor David, members of the Seattle bicycling community held a memorial ride on his behalf the week after his death. The incident prompted bicyclists, including Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, to call for action to make the busy area’s roads safer.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson provides legal representation to victims of trucking and other commercial vehicle accidents. Whether the cause of the collision is driver fatigueimproper truck maintenance, and/or improper screening, training and supervision of drivers, the Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson have the experience, resources and technical abilities to determine what happened and who should be held responsible.

The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson is not involved in any litigation stemming from Mr. David’s death.