The Supreme Court Logic that Could Destroy Privacy in America

The Atlantic; December 30, 2013

Many Americans reacted with outrage when they learned that the NSA stores details about phone calls made by virtually everyone in the United States. They felt a strong, if vague, notion that the practice must violate their constitutional rights. Couldn’t NSA analysis of telephone metadata reveal sensitive, private details about most anyone in the country, like their network of friends, the identity of their sexual partners, or their contact with medical or mental health professionals? Aren’t mass searches of innocents anathema to the Fourth Amendment?

The legal response from NSA defenders has leaned heavily on the precedent set in Smith v. Maryland, a Supreme Court case decided in 1979, before the era of big data.

The case concerned a robbery. Patricia McDonough, the victim, noticed a 1975 Monte Carlo near the scene of the crime. Later she received obscene phone calls from a man who claimed to be the robber. Once he asked the victim to step out onto her porch, where she saw the Monte Carlo drive slowly by. Soon after, police spotted a man driving the Monte Carlo in the victim’s neighborhood. After tracing its license plate to Michael Lee Smith, officers went to the phone company and asked them to put a pen register on his phone. The resulting phone records showed that he called the victim’s house. At trial, he tried to suppress that evidence, arguing that the police should have gotten a warrant before having the phone company track the numbers he dialed.

To read the complete article, please click here:


Texas Injury Attorney Mo Aziz Has Been Selected To The 2013 Listing Of Texas Super Lawyers

Selected annually for inclusion on the listing of Texas Rising Stars, this is the first year that Houston attorney Mo Aziz has been recognized on the Super Lawyers listing.

(Houston, TX) Houston personal injury lawyer Mo Aziz was recognized as among the top 5 percent of attorneys practicing in the state of Texas through his recent inclusion on the 2013 listing of Texas Super Lawyers. This is Mr. Aziz’s first year of inclusion on the Super Lawyers listing; he has been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers each year since 2008.

Mr. Aziz is a partner at the Houston law firm of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend. His practice is dedicated to helping those who have suffered a serious injury obtain the compensation needed to fully recover from a catastrophic accident caused by another person, business or defective product. Recently, he has taken on CF Industries, the supplier of the ammonium nitrate that exploded this spring at the West Fertilizer Plant, leveling the town, seriously injuring hundreds and killing several first responders.

Mo Aziz is a tenacious and aggressive advocate on behalf of his clients. He has contributed to obtaining several multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. Mr. Aziz was a lead negotiator as a member of the Plaintiff’s Steering in the In Re: Hurricane Rita Evacuation Bus Fire multi-district litigation and is now serving on the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee in the Victoria Bus Litigation.

Since joining Abraham Watkins in 2006, Mr. Aziz has been recognized as an “H-Texas Top Lawyer for the People” honor as presented by H Texas Magazine (2008), a “Top 40 Lawyer Under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers Association (2012-2013), a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by The National Trial Lawyers Association (2013) and a “Texas Rising Star” by Super Lawyers (2008-2013). Mo Aziz is also Board-Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

Please join the lawyers and staff of Houston’s oldest personal injury law firm, Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, in congratulating Houston attorney and firm partner Mo Aziz on his recent and deserved honor of being selected for inclusion on the 2013 listing of Texas Super Lawyers.

Houston Attorney Daniel D. Horowitz, III Selected For Inclusion On The 2013 Listing Of Texas Super Lawyers

Having been named a Rising Star for six consecutive years, Texas lawyer Daniel D. Horowitz of Abraham Watkins, was named to the Texas Super Lawyers listing for the first time in 2013.

(Houston, TX) The attorneys and staff of Houston law firm Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend congratulate Daniel D. Horowitz, III, on his recent selection to the 2013 listing of Texas Super Lawyers. The honor is well-deserved for Mr. Horowitz, who has been recognized as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for the last six years.

No more than five percent of attorneys licensed to practice in Texas are selected each year for inclusion on the Super Lawyers listing. Utilizing peer nominations, third-party research, and a “blue ribbon review process,” the annual listing of Texas Super Lawyers is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

This is the first year that Houston attorney Daniel Horowitz has been recognized through inclusion on Super Lawyers’ annual listing of exceptional Texas legal talent. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has recovered more than $40,000,000 on behalf of seriously injured clients throughout Texas.

Daniel Horowitz is a partner at Texas’ oldest personal injury law firm, Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA) and was the 2012 recipient of the Reich Chandler Outstanding Advocate Award as presented by the Texas Trial Lawyers Association.

Mr. Horowitz has dedicated his legal practice to providing access to justice and exceptional advocacy in serious personal injury cases. He handles catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases resulting from motor vehicle accidents, oil and gas accidents, and 18-wheeler accidents. Please join Abraham Watkins in congratulating Daniel D. Horowitz, III, on his selection to the listing of 2013 Texas Super Lawyers.

$2.025 Million Church Real Estate Property Sold

After Zebersky Payne’s commercial real estate client tried for over eight years to sell 7.5 acres of its Pompano Beach church property, Zebersky Payne, LLP’s real estate team successfully closed the deal for $2,025,000.00 in July, 2013.  The property was purchased by one of America’s largest home builders who expects to add affordable townhouse units which will also improve the property values in the area.  Zebersky Payne, LLP also assisted the client with leasing another portion of the church’s property which consisted of lease negotiations, drafting and revising the lease agreement, and performing a comprehensive search on the proposed tenant(s) and any guarantor(s) to the Lease Agreement.  Zebersky & Payne is now assisting the client with screening prospective buyers for the purchase of another portion of the church’s property.


George Zimmerman’s Wife Won’t Press Charges Despite Threat Accusation

Chicago Tribune; September 10, 2013

Shellie Zimmerman, the wife of George Zimmerman, declined to press charges Monday afternoon despite calling 911 and accusing her husband of using a gun to threaten her family.

Zimmerman was acquitted of murder two months ago in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

“He’s in his car and he continually has his hand on his gun and keeps saying step closer … and he’s gonna shoot us,” a breathless and clearly scared Shellie Zimmerman told the police emergency operator, according to the 911 call released by police.

To read the complete article, please click here:,0,3625334.story


Mark O’Mara, George Zimmerman Lawyer, Joins CNN as Legal Analyst

Huffington Post; September 6, 2013

The Florida defense attorney who was the public face of George Zimmerman’s legal team has signed on to be a legal analyst for CNN.

Mark O’Mara appeared Friday morning on CNN’s “New Day” program, where he was announced as the network’s newest analyst by host Chris Cuomo. O’Mara’s spokesman confirmed the role.

O’Mara wrote in a blog post on Friday that he will be appearing regularly on CNN “to offer my insight on a number of high-profile legal matters.”

To read the complete story, please click here:


Spend the day with John Romano, Dan Ramsdell, Jason Lazarus, Diane Weaver and internationally recognized traumatic brain injury expert Stephen M. Smith.

This conference features recognized leaders in the trucking litigation field. They will be sharing their in-depth knowledge on courtroom tactics, working with doctors, understanding the depth of injuries and much more to help you win the big cases.

Spaces are limited and going fast.

WHO: John Romano | Dan Ramsdell | Jason Lazarus | Diane Weaver | Robert Crandall | Michael Schreyer | Alan Michaelis | Bob Shepherd | Stephen M. Smith 

WHAT: Trucking Litigation 101 

WHEN: Saturday | October 5th, 2013 – at the Law School of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

FOR: Plaintiff Attorneys ONLY



CLE Credits applied for.



TO REGISTER, there is a link at the top of the webpage for the registration form. You can scan the registration form and email it to or fax to Lori Tepper at 417-887-3507. You can also mail a check to: APITLAmerica, 1304 West Battlefield Road, Suite B, Springfield, MO 65807.

For additional questions, please contact Harry Hindmarsh at 757.535.8484

Howard B. Schoenfeld

One of two contributors to the Police Misconduct Litigation packet for the American Association for Justice.  Over 1,800 pages of documents were submitted.  The PDF below includes the cover letter with the Acknowledgments and nomination for the Leonard Weinglass in Defense of Civil Liberties Award.

Download/View PDF

J. Ken Nunley

Named a Texas Super Lawyer for the tenth consecutive year. In 2012, he presented an article on Pipeline Easements at the 34th Annual Advanced Real Estate Law Course, an article on Avoiding Litigation in Guardianships at the Advanced Elder Law and Advanced Guardianship Law, and an article on Summary Dispositions: Declaratory Judgments & Summary Judgments at the 7th Annual Anatomy of Fiduciary Litigation. Mr. Nunley is an established, successful trial attorney, being certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Trial Law since 1989. He is also an active mediator, bringing closure to difficult disputes through mediated settlement. Mr. Nunley has recovered significant judgments in the areas of fiduciary litigation, real property matters and oil & gas. He is licensed to practice by the State Bar of Texas, the Southern and Western Districts of Texas and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Mr. Nunley is a member of the Texas Bar Foundation, the American Board of Trial Advocates and The National Trial Lawyers.

$100 Million Verdict Awarded to Sunrise Pilot Disabled in Plane Crash

After a two week trial, a Broward County jury returned a $100m verdict in favor of a 31 year old pilot whose plane crashed at North Perry airport on November 10, 2007.

In this tragic accident, the then 25 year old pilot with approximately four hundred (400) hours of flying time was flying banners along the beach in a Piper Pawnee.  He returned to the airport to drop off the banner at the designated northwest quadrant of the airport.  There were two active north/south parallel runways: 36L and 36R.

The air traffic controller gave the pilot an instruction to proceed downwind between the two parallel runways to land on the right runway.  During the attempted landing, the aircraft crashed as the pilot performed the aerial maneuvers required of the instruction.

The Plaintiff survived but with very serious traumatic brain injury and severe cognitive and neurological deficits.  He is permanently disabled and needs constant assistance.

Plaintiff claimed that the instruction was a non-standard landing instruction and not authorized by the FAA which caused his plane to stall and crash.

The air traffic controller claimed that the plane crashed because the pilot did not fly it correctly and/or that it had mechanical problems.

Defendant denied Plaintiff’s claims and liability was highly contested.  Defendant blamed Plaintiff for stalling the aircraft and argued that if Plaintiff was not comfortable with the instruction he had the authority to decline it and ask for another instruction.  Defendant also named Plaintiff’s employer, but the jury did not assess any liability to the employer.

The jury found the air traffic controller 68% responsible and the pilot 32% responsible

The pilot was represented at trial by Hyram M Montero, Esq., Montero Law and Todd S. Payne, Esq., Zebersky/Payne, LLP.

Todd S. Payne is a pilot who brought additional expertise to the Plaintiff’s side.