Past Case Results
Recent Case Successes for Our Clients
Weight Loss Drug Verdict, Jury Awards $56 Million for Alice Resident
A Jim Wells County jury this week awarded more than $56 million to an Alice woman who took the weight loss drug fenfluramine, ending the first of dozens of pending “fen-phen” cases in the Coastal Bend. Gloria Lopez, a 48-year-old school cafeteria supervisor, began taking the drug Pondimin – the fenfluramine portion of the weight-reduction medication fen-phen – in April 1997 to lose a few pounds. Lopez lost 10 pounds over a five-month period. But fenfluramine also allegedly left Lopez with shortness of breath, the feeling that she’s choking when she’s sleeping, and moderate aortic regurgitation, a severe, irreversible defect in her aortic valve. After the diagnosis, Lopez sued the maker of Pondimin, American Home Products Corp., along with its affiliates Wyatt-Ayerst Laboratories Co. and A.H. Robins Co., alleging that the medication had caused her heart problems.
American Home has offered $3.75 billion to settle the claims of fenfluramine users; Lopez opted out of the global settlement. The plaintiff also accused American Home of deliberately concealing reports of adverse effects of the drug before its removal from the market. On April 3, 2001, an Alice, TX jury ordered American Home Products to pay Lopez, an employee of the Alice Independent School District, $45 million in punitive damages and $11.5 million in actual damages on Tuesday. District Judge Terry Canales will review the monetary award, a process he has said could take as long as two months. Lopez’s attorneys argued that American Home Products withheld from the FDA information about the dangers of fenfluramine, which had been linked to potentially fatal heart valve damage and pulmonary hypertension. American Home Product attorneys argued that Lopez’s heart problems were caused by chronic hypertension unrelated to the fenfluramine. “My understanding is that this is the largest verdict for a single plaintiff in a fen-phen case,” said Lopez’s attorney, Kathryn Snapka.
Vioxx Drug Verdict, Jury Awards Rio Grande Family $32 Million
Jurors in Rio Grande City, Texas found Vioxx was a cause of the death of Leonel Garza, 71, in April 2001. Merck failed to warn of the drug’s risks before Garza started taking it, the jury found in awarding damages to his family. The amount will probably be reduced because of a state cap on punitive damages. Merck, facing 11,500 Vioxx suits, has been hit with three multimillion-dollar jury awards totaling $298.3 million. The law limiting punitive damages in Texas, where two of the trials occurred, cuts the likely total liability to $47.4 million.
Kathy Snapka, one of the Garzas’ lawyers, said, “We are very pleased that the jury understood the depth of the deception by Merck.” Pharmaceutical and medical device liability has been a significant facet of Kathryn Snapka’s practice for the last three decades. However, one of her most notable jury verdicts came as a result of the Vioxx litigation. In Garza vs. Merck, Kathryn Snapka represented the family of Leonel Garza, a 72 year old gentleman who was prescribed Vioxx to deal with chronic arm pain. Mr. Garza had just had a complete evaluation performed by his cardiologist which indicated that he had a one to two percent chance of sustaining a heart attack in the 12 months following the evaluation. Only a few weeks after starting Vioxx, Mr. Garza sustained a lethal heart attack. On autopsy, it was determined there were not one but two blood clots, which was considered extremely unusual. A Starr County jury agreed and awarded the Garza family $32,000,000 against Merck, the manufacturer of Vioxx. The Texas Supreme Court overturned the judgment on other grounds.
Workplace Injury – Electrical Burns
Kathryn Snapka represented Arturo Garcia, an electrician who was employed by a subcontractor, the Phelps Dodge Mining Facility in Arizona. Garcia was in the process of completing connections to a step-down electric control box when he took a break to use the restroom. Unbeknownst to him, the Phelps Dodge project manager energized the box and when he came back and began working on it, he sustained electrical burns when the electricity flowed throughout his body and exited in his right shoulder. The case was successfully tried resulting in compensatory and punitive damages for Mr. Garcia.
General Motors Product Liability, Jury Awards $10 Million
Kathryn Snapka was the first lawyer in the country to try to a verdict a General Motors Type 3 door latch failure. Sylvia Castaneda was severely injured when the front left fender of her car was contacted by another vehicle. The door latch failed causing the A-pillar to strike Sylvia Castaneda in the head. Ms. Castaneda, sustained a closed head injury which left her with a seizure disorder and permanent impairment. A jury in Duval County, Texas, awarded $10,000,000 in compensatory damages to Ms. Castaneda against General Motors. The parties entered into a confidential settlement post-verdict.
Commercial Litigation – Duval County vs. Progressive Structures
Kathryn Snapka was honored to be hired by Duval County in its lawsuit against Progressive Structures for negligence in its construction of the courthouse expansion. The firm’s efforts resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement for Duval County.
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Why the snapka law firm?
At the Snapka Law Firm, we understand the devastating consequences of a serious injury resulting from another's negligent actions. Not only do we provide tenacious legal representation, we help you get through this trying time by dealing with the burdens of your personal injury case on your behalf. Every case we accept is handled personally by one of our attorneys who will be committed to helping you understand the process while preparing your case for resolution. As a small but highly focused firm, we provide a more personalized attention to detail that you won't often find with larger law firms. With decades of courtroom experience, the Snapka Law Firm has delivered our clients millions of dollars in compensation as a result of successful verdicts and settlements. With our personalized touch, extensive experience, and strong relationships with investigation specialists and industry experts, you'll be represented by one of the best personal injury law firms in Texas.
Kathryn Snapka is one of the few attorneys in Texas that is board certified in personal injury trial law and her firm has been recognized by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, Super Lawyers, Texas Trial Lawyers Association, American College of Trial Lawyers, and American Board of Trial Advocates. Our firm has won hundreds of cases for injury clients resulting in a reputation amongst defense attorneys that deters them from taking their case to trial against us. When working with the Snapka Law Firm we fight for the highest compensation for your losses and damages with the least amount of inconvenience to you. If you have been a victim of a serious injury, contact us for your free personalized consultation today.
Tom Kuehl, Attorney
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