Catastrophic Loss Trials

At Brock Person Guerra Reyna, we have tried hundreds of cases over the years, too many to include in this website. We have, however, chosen to include each of those cases governed by a jury verdict where the amount sought was in excess of $500,000. It is important to note that we have included every case tried under this broad category, not just select verdicts.

This category includes all cases the firm has tried that are catastrophic in nature and where the amount sought exceeded $10,000,000.


Gulsby Engineering
and National American Insurance Company v. Gulf Liquids New River Project and Williams Energy (Harris County) Gulsby Engineering was hired by Gulf Liquids to construct a series of gas processing plants in Louisiana. Unknown to Gulsby Engineering, Gulf Liquids did not have enough money to pay for the underlying gas processing plants or any change requests. Also unknown to Gulsby Engineering, Gulf Liquids contracted with Williams Energy and gave away much of the right of control over the projects. Williams Energy then took essential control over the construction projects. Gulsby Engineering performed tens of millions of dollars of work on the construction projects for which they were never paid. Gulf Liquids represented to Gulsby Engineering that monies owed would be made up on future projects. Gulf Liquids did not come through with future projects nor did they pay Gulsby Engineering for work performed. Instead, Gulf Liquids and Williams Energy took the position that Gulsby Engineering breached their contract by performing their work in a defective manner. Gulsby Engineering, who had been in business over 20 years and constructed over 150 similar projects, was forced out of business. Their surety, National American Insurance, stepped in to pay tens of millions of dollars to all subcontractors on the project. Gulsby Engineering and National American sued Gulf Liquids for breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference, negligence misrepresentation, and quantum meruit. Two other Plaintiffs involved in two subsequent and related construction projects also sued. After a five month trial, and five days of jury deliberations involving 102 jury questions in a 156 page jury charge, Plaintiffs obtained a verdict of $699,000,000 (the second largest in the United States in 2006). Brock Person Guerra Reyna was the lead counsel for Gulsby Engineering and National American Insurance Company, the two lead Plaintiffs in the case .

Kohutek v. General Motors Corporation (Bexar County) Plaintiff was driving a General Motors Tahoe which went off a state highway and rolled over three times. Plaintiff, who was wearing his seat belt, had swerved to avoid a piece of debris in the roadway and lost control of the vehicle. Plaintiff, a financial manager for a local grocery chain, was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Plaintiff sued on a product liability theory alleging that the roof strength of the GM Tahoe was inadequate to protect occupants during rollovers and that other vehicles on the market had air bag systems and rollover activated seatbelt pre-tensioners that would have prevented the quadriplegia. Brock Person Guerra Reyna was hired less than 45 days before trial. The medical specials were $5,500,000 and the lost wages were $2,044,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $50,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $7,500,000. The pre-trial offer was $1,500,000. The jury, after a month long trial and after three days of deliberations, returned a zero verdict in favor of General Motors Corporation .

Blackthorne v. Hewlett Packard Company (Bexar County) Plaintiff was terminated from her position as HP's top national sales representative after she filed an EEOC complaint of sexual harassment against two HP sales managers. Plaintiff complained that she was forced to attend a company retreat which took place on a house boat. She characterized it as a drunken orgy where she was subjected to sexually charged language, excessive drinking and body shots, public urination, and public intercourse (all by HP managers). Both managers were terminated along with Plaintiff. The Plaintiff was earning over $100,000 per year and the lost wages were $3,550,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $33,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $1,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $750,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Salvatierra v. VIA Metropolitan Transit (Bexar County) Plaintiff, a three year old child, was riding his tricycle on a sidewalk when he was run over by a 40,000 pound VIA bus. The bus was turning right at an intersection. The parents of the child witnessed the accident. The child's leg was severed by the tires of the bus and could not be reattached. The medical specials were $600,000 and the lost wage earning capacity was $200,000. The Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $30,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $5,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $0. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Gaskill v. McDonald's Restaurants (Bexar County) Plaintiff, a minor employee, was raped by a McDonald=s manager (a registered sex offender who was hired without a criminal background check being performed). The manager had been previously convicted of sexually assaulting a nine year old girl and a thirteen year old girl. After the rape, the manager was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison. Three clinical psychologists testified that the Plaintiff suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the rape. Brock Person Guerra Reyna was hired less than thirty days before trial. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $25,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $2,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $600,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Sanchez v. SpawGlass Inc., et. al. (Bexar County) Plaintiff was walking to work on a sidewalk and was killed (electrocuted) when she stepped on an energized metal lid of an electrical pull box. The pull box was on a sidewalk that was being worked on as part of the UTSA Downtown Project. The two minor children of the Plaintiff sued the general contractor in charge of renovating UTSA Downtown as well as other subcontractors responsible for work around the sidewalk and electrical pull box. Two of the five Defendants settled the week prior to trial for $2,500,000. The case proceeded to trial against the remaining three Defendants. The Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $20,000,000. The pre-trial demand to SpawGlass (general contractor) was $12,500,000. The pre-trial offer from SpawGlass (general contractor) was $10,000. The jury returned a verdict of $7,590,000 in favor of the Plaintiff against four of the five Defendants. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of SpawGlass, Inc (Brock Person Guerra Reyna client).

Valdez v. Ford Motor Company (Western District of Texas) Plaintiff was driving a Ford F-150 when he lost control on a highway, went off road, rolled over, and crashed. He was killed in the crash and his wife, his 3 children, and his parents sued Ford alleging he was fully belted but died because he was partially ejected and because the vehicle did not have rollover activated air bags. The family claimed that Ford knew for over 20 years that customers get killed in rollover crashes, that Ford knew there was rollover activated air bag technology available that would reduce the likelihood of fatalites, that Ford introduced rollover activated air bags into many vehicle lines, and that Ford deliberately ceased funding for its suppliers to develop rollover activated air bags into the F-150. Ford alleged that the decedent was unbelted, that he was fully ejected, and that he was solely responsible for his own fatal injuries, denying that there was any defect with the F-150. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $15,000,000. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Ford Motor Company, finding no product defect and finding that the decedent was 100% responsible for his own fatal injuries.

Robles v. Clark Construction Company (Bexar County) Plaintiffs (3 adults, 2 children) were in an automobile accident allegedly caused by a five inch roadway drop off. The roadway was under construction at the time and the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant did not follow the State of Texas plans and specifications in constructing the road (which only permit a two inch drop off). One Plaintiff (mother) was killed and another (daughter) suffered a brain injury and a laceration which caused her to lose 95% of her intestine. The collective medical specials were $774,000. The lost wages of the father, who could not return to work after the accident and resulting surgery, were $283,000. The Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $15,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $5,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $100,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant .

Zavala v. General Motors & Simpson Auto Sales (Hidalgo County) Plaintiff was killed when a GM vehicle allegedly shifted unassisted from park to reverse, crushing him between two vehicles as his two minor daughters watched. Plaintiff did not own the vehicle and tried to stop it after it ran over and injured the owner (who was warming it up). Plaintiff sued on a product defect theory, alleging that GM had received over 2000 complaints of similar problems with their vehicle transmissions. Plaintiff sued Simpson Auto Sales alleging that they contributed to the product defect by altering the vehicle's transmission before it was sold as used. The Plaintiffs asked the jury to award $15,000,000. The pre-trial demand to Simpson Auto Sales was $300,000. The pre-trial offer from Simpson Auto Sales was $0. The jury, after three days of deliberation, returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendants (Brock Person Guerra Reyna client was Simpson Auto Sales).

Garza v. Sandalwood Management (Bexar County) Plaintiff was an invitee at a neighborhood bar on Defendant's premises. Plaintiff was involved in an argument with two intoxicated patrons who were asked to leave the bar. One of the intoxicated patrons ran over the Plaintiff as he was exiting the bar, severing his leg. The premises had a prior murder and prior armed robber on site. An adjacent property operated by the Defendant had 33 aggravated assaults in the year preceding this incident. The medical specials were $500,000 and the lost wages were $100,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $12,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $5,000,000 and the pre-trial offer was $0. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant and assessed responsibility on the Plaintiff for causing his own injuries.

Manrique v. Warning Lites of Texas (Hidalgo County) Plaintiff was working in a construction zone when he was run over by a vehicle driving through the area. Plaintiff alleged that the temporary pavement markings created a confusing lane channel for the driver which struck him, causing the accident. The force of the impact propelled Plaintiff into hot tar, resulting in 3rd degree burns. He also suffered from a traumatic brain injury which left him functioning at the level of a four (4) year old child. He was not able to give testimony in the case. Brock Person Guerra Reyna was hired at 4:00 p.m. the Friday before trial. The medical specials were $2,213,000 and the lost wages were $270,000. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $10,600,000. The pre-trial demand was $2,000,000. The pre-trial offer was $100,000. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Ramirez v. Transportation Services, Inc. (Hidalgo County) Plaintiff, a minor, was killed when the vehicle in which she was riding was involved in an accident with a fully loaded 18 wheel TSI tractor trailer on an interstate highway. The Plaintiff alleged that the accident was caused by the Defendant's negligence and failure to follow the mandates of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $10,000,000. The pre-trial demand was $1,800,000. The pre-trial offer was $0. The jury returned a zero verdict in favor of the Defendant.

English v. Berry Contracting (Nueces County) Plaintiff was a contract coordinator at a chemical plant. Defendant was unloading electrical cabinets which were 8 feet tall at the plant. Plaintiff was supervising the installation of the cabinets when they fell on him, rendering him a ventilator dependent quadriplegic. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant was negligent in handling the cabinets, which caused them to fall. The medical specials were $5,600,000 and the lost wages were $840,000. The pre-trial demand was $16,000,000. The jury returned a verdict in the amount of $4,700,000. The jury assessed 41% responsibility on the Plaintiff, 39% responsibility on Berry Contracting, and the remaining 20% responsibility on settling Defendants.

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