Alex R. Hernandez Jr. - November 2019

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TEXAS TRIAL LAWYERS REVIEW

NOVEMBER 2019

SAN ANTONIO | AUSTIN | EDINBURG | HOUSTON | LAREDO | DALLAS | EL PASO | CORPUS CHRISTI

What I’mThankful For

The Hernandez Thanksgiving

Well, Thanksgiving is finally approaching. It’s one of my favorite holidays — and not just because of the feast. Thanksgiving is one of those rare occasions where you get to sit back and remind yourself of what you have to be grateful for. Sitting here reflecting, part of me wants to say that I’m simply grateful to get through 2019! But, in all seriousness, I’m reminded how incredibly lucky I am for my family. I always feel grateful for the loved ones in my life, but this time of year really puts a fine point on it. There’s just something about coming together around the dinner table that reminds me of the things I often take for granted. It’s a milestone where I notice how much my kids have grown (the days of the “kids’ table” are far behind us), how much I appreciate seeing my own mother and father, and how lucky I am to have built this family with my wife. On top of these sentiments, Thanksgiving is a great reminder of just how lucky I am to have some great chefs in the family. We have all the classic staples of the feast: stuffing, cranberry sauce, and delicious yams that may as well be dessert. But my wife also adds her own signature spin to the main course. She makes this amazing picante chicken that simmers in a crockpot overnight. When it’s ready, it’s soft, juicy, and very spicy! It’s a step up from plain Turkey in my book. And I can’t talk about Thanksgiving food without mentioning my mother. Most years she brings a fantastic broccoli, cheese, and rice mix that never

survives the meal to become leftovers. Maybe I can convince her to bring it in to the office one of these days ... Of course, gatherings like this are also a reminder of holidays past, and those we are no longer able to spend time with. It’s impossible not to cast my mind back to the Thanksgivings of my childhood — of everyone gathering at my grandmother and grandfather’s house in Port Lavaca. I remember running around with the football in the yard before everyone went inside to feast and root on the Cowboys. Those were some good days, and, while I

miss those members of our family who have passed on, I’ll always be thankful for these memories.

Just like family, traditions are meant to grow and change with time. You may not eat the same food, or play the same games, or sit down with the same people year after year — but what doesn’t change is the love and gratitude you feel toward them.

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

–Alex R. Hernandez Jr.

“Thanksgiving is a great reminder of just how lucky I am to have some great chefs in the family. ”

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The holidays are a time to get together with loved ones and celebrate — which sadly makes the roads a dangerous place this time of year. Drunk driving-related accidents skyrocket nationwide from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. This tragic fact leads to many people spending the holidays hospitalized, or worse. Thankfully, there are ways we can combat these preventable accidents. IT STARTS WITH YOU The best way to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on the road is to avoid being one yourself. Very few people plan on being drunk behind the wheel, but it can easily happen during the holiday season — those eggnogs with loved ones can add up! So, it’s best to plan ahead to ensure you have a way home that doesn’t involve driving. You could take a rideshare service, like Uber or Lyft, to and from the event; you could come with a designated driver who remains sober; or you could arrange to stay the night in a guest room. Anything is a better alternative than putting your life and future at risk by driving while intoxicated. HOLD OTHERS ACCOUNTABLE If you’re hosting the festivities this year, be sure to keep your guests safe. If you’re providing alcohol, ensure there are water and soft drinks available as well. Collecting keys at the front door is also a good idea; it can help you keep A Case of Shame Why Sue an 8 Year Old? The story of Jennifer Connell certainly made for sensational headlines. This 54-year-old New Yorker is the woman who drew national ire by suing her 8-year-old nephew for hugging her a little too hard. It sounds like a prime example of a “frivolous lawsuit” at first glance — who would sue their own family, let alone a child? But look a little closer, and Connell’s story becomes more understandable. THE SITUATION When arriving at her nephew’s birthday party, Connell was given an over enthusiastic greeting. The birthday boy threw himself into the air, forcing his aunt to catch him at an awkward angle, breaking her wrist. She grinned through the pain, reportedly to avoid upsetting her nephew on his big day. Then, she sought medical attention, and that should have been the end of the story. THE FALLOUT According to Connell, her health insurance only offered to cover $1 of her extensive medical bills. Healing from a broken wrist is no laughing matter, often requiring multiple doctor appointments, medication, and physical therapy. Her recovery for this injury she sustained, through no fault of her own, was going to be long and costly. When Connell’s insurance — the service that was supposed to be there for her in a situation like this — refused to help, she had no other options than civil court. The Dangers of the Holidays Drive SafeThis Season

From Blackbeard to Jack Sparrow, pop culture teems with pirates who frequented the ports of the Caribbean. And while these pirates are well-known for their (sometimes fictional) accomplishments, the most successful pirate in history terrorized the seas of China instead. Her name was Ching Shih. Ching Shih, who was born Shih Yang, was working in a Cantonese brothel when she met the pirate Zheng Yi. He came from a long family of notorious pirates and was impressed by Ching Shih’s cunning. They married in 1801 and built a pirate empire known as the Red Flag Fleet. When Zheng Yi passed away suddenly in 1807, Ching Shih strategically maneuvered her way into leadership, taking control of over 60,000 pirates. Historians describe Ching Shih as a brilliant military strategist, a skilled businesswoman, and a harsh disciplinarian. After taking control of the fleet, Ching Shih implemented a strict code of conduct. The code included rules for distributing booty, protecting female captives, and beheading anyone who disobeyed Ching Shih. Under her rule, the bloody crimes of piracy became a profitable business. The Red Flag Fleet would eventually clash with the British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, and the Qing dynasty of China, but no one could topple the pirate queen. After almost a decade of pillaging the high seas, Ching Shih decided piracy wasn’t the best retirement plan. In 1810, she walked into the office of a local governor-general, completely unarmed, and requested full pardons and government jobs for her entire crew — along with permission to keep all their stolen goods. In exchange, she promised to give up piracy for good. Thankful to be free of the Red Flag Fleet, the Chinese government agreed to her terms. Ching Shih’s second husband was even made an officer in the Chinese navy. Ching Shih returned to Canton with her vast wealth and spent the next 34 years living a life of comfort with her family and running a gambling den. In 1844, the legendary pirate queen passed away of old age at 69, a rare feat for pirates of her era. LEGEND OF THE PIRATE QUEEN Ching Shih: History’s Most Successful Pirate

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TAKE A BREAK

a loved one from driving home drunk. And finally, be prepared to help those who shouldn’t drive get home, whether that means remaining sober to be a potential driver, helping them get a cab or rideshare, or simply allowing guests to spend the night. DRIVE DEFENSIVELY Of course, you can only be responsible for so much. Driving sober doesn’t protect you from the dangers of other, more negligent people. The best you can do is to be extra cautious this season — don’t assume other drivers will make common sense decisions. If you do end up in an accident, the best thing you can do is seek treatment and an experienced auto accident lawyer. Our expert personal injury team would be happy to answer your questions and get you on the road to recovery.

THE BEST LEFTOVER TURKEY SANDWICH

Inspired by FoodNetwork.com

Thanksgiving may be held on Thursday, but the food often lasts at least through the weekend. To make the best use of the excess, grill up some killer turkey sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS

2 slices sourdough bread

3 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1/3 cup leftover dressing or stuffing

2 slices Swiss cheese

2 tbsp leftover gravy

1/3 cup shredded leftover turkey

1 tbsp butter, room temperature

Note: Don’t worry if you don’t have all the leftovers required.

THE REAL VILLAIN Suing her nephew wasn’t about trying to get thousands of dollars out of a little kid. It was about holding his parents’ liability insurance accountable. When big companies refuse a claim, or offer far too little in damages, a lawsuit is the only recourse citizens have to protect their rights. The insurance industry has proven very deft at shifting the focus away from this conversation, however, and are happy to reap the benefits of sensational press that makes injury victims out to be greedy, selfish, and heartless. If you are injured by someone else’s negligence, even a family member’s, you still have a right to compensation. The burden of extreme medical bills shouldn’t fall on you for an accident that wasn’t your fault — that’s why insurance is supposed to exist. Don’t be shamed out of your rights.

DIRECTIONS

1. Coat inside of each bread slice with mustard and a slice of cheese. Place turkey and cranberry sauce on one slice and dressing and gravy on the other.

2. Combine sandwich and spread butter on both sides.

3. In a panini maker or large skillet, grill until crispy and golden brown.

4. Slice and serve.

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INSIDE

1. How We Spice Up Thanksgiving

2. History’s Most Successful Pirate

2. The Dangers of the Holidays

2. Why Sue an 8 Year Old?

3. The Best Leftover Turkey Sandwich

4. The Gift of Giving

CELEBRATING GIVING TUESDAY

November is usually all about Thanksgiving, but it isn’t the only holiday that encourages generosity. Giving Tuesday is a phenomenal celebration in which millions of people from across the globe are inspired to spend 24 hours giving back to the communities they love.

Facebook and Twitter, the individuals and companies participating in Giving Tuesday can spread their missions and messages all over the world, encouraging others to do the same.

ORIGIN AND GOAL

HOW YOU CAN CELEBRATE

Giving Tuesday is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and this year, the holiday lands on Dec. 3! It was established in 2012 by the United Nations Foundation and New York’s 92nd Street Y as a response to consumer-driven holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The purpose of the holiday was to spread the spirit of giving, not only for the people in our nation but individuals across the world. The goal is “to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day and touches every person on the planet.”

Now is the perfect opportunity to support your community and the causes you believe in. The best part of this holiday is that “giving” doesn’t just refer to donating money. People can give back by volunteering their time to help a nonprofit business, donating goods and food, or just buying a stranger some lunch. Even the smallest actions can have the biggest impact. If you’re interested in participating in Giving Tuesday, get together with your friends, family, sports team members, or neighbors to brainstorm on how you can give back. To learn more about how you can participate, visit GivingTuesday.org.

TECHNOLOGY AT ITS BEST

Through the use of social media and technology, the organization hopes to encourage and spread generosity on a global scale using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. The website states that “... technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral; that people fundamentally want to give and talk about giving.” Through massive social media platforms like

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