Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan today sued Arkema, Inc., whose Crosby plant released toxic substances into the air when chemicals stored at the site burned during flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Ryan is asking a state district court to hold the company legally responsible for violations of Texas environmental laws and to recover the County’s costs for responding to the week-long incident. Dozens of first responders were tied up at the scene for days as organic peroxides ignited when the company’s back-up refrigeration units failed during the days following the storm. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained a restraining order closing a warehouse operating as an unlicensed bar in south Houston near the Texas Medical Center.
On Tuesday, Judge Kyle Carter of the 125th District Court of Harris County ordered the Dixie Warehouse bar at 3365 Dixie Drive closed immediately and to remain closed until a valid liquor license is obtained. Read More
At a meeting hosted by Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt committed to using the full authority of the EPA to remove dioxin from the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
Ryan, members of the County Attorney’s Office, and other stakeholders met Thursday with Pruitt to discuss the cleanup. Last week Pruitt signed a Record of Decision that approved a $115 million cleanup plan of the toxic site that will remove highly contaminated material and secure the less contaminated areas. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan and Commissioner Jack Morman praised Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to order the removal of the dangerous material in the San Jacinto River Waste Pits.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday approved a plan to permanently remove dioxin, one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man, from the San Jacinto Waste Pits - a Superfund site that was heavily flooded after Hurricane Harvey.
“I want to thank EPA Administrator Pruitt for this decision,” said County Attorney Ryan. “We appreciate that he visited the San Jacinto site personally and that he had EPA personnel checking it out to discover the dioxin exposure after the hurricane.” Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan obtained a court order to close ALAA, an unlicensed club located at 9275 Richmond in southwest Houston where a 26 year old man was shot and killed on Sunday morning, September 24.
Judge Ursula Hall of the 165th District Court signed a temporary restraining order on Thursday, September 28, closing the club which has also used the names Blush Lounge, Blush Lounge 365, Willy Blush, Allure, and Village Gang Nightclub. Read More
Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath left more than 100,000 Houston-area homes flooded. Unfortunately, with every major disaster comes unscrupulous home repair contractors, many from outside of Texas, who prey upon desperate homeowners struggling to make repairs quickly and get back to their normal lives.
The Office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan offers the following tips to protect homeowners from contractor scams: Read More
The recent floods in the Harris County area have been a nightmare for many families struggling to clean up the mess and have repairs made. The Office of Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan offers the following tips to flood victims who rent their apartments or homes:
· If your apartment is unlivable, you have the right to terminate your lease by giving your landlord written notice and obtain a refund of the unused portion of the rent you have paid plus any security deposit that is owed to you. You cannot be charged a penalty for terminating the lease due to unlivable conditions. Read More
A new tool has gone into effect to try to make the bail bond process in Harris County more fair to defendants who cannot afford to post bail. Read More
The Arnold tool, which went into effect July 29, is designed to measure the pretrial risk level of defendants unable to post bail, focusing on whether the individual is a threat to the public and how likely he or she is to show up for trial. It applies to defendants who have committed felonies as well as Class A and Class B misdemeanors.
"The Arnold tool does not base (decisions) upon wealth or poverty; it deals with justice and fairness for all," Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle said at an Aug. 1 commissioners court meeting.
HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - While Harris County is battling a federal lawsuit over what some claim is an unfair, unconstitutional bail system, wholesale changes are going into effect.
However, county officials said these changes were in the works long before the lawsuit was filed.
“This is very different than what we’re used to," said Harris County criminal court Judge Robin Brown.
Harris County is the first in Texas to start using The Public Safety Assessment. This is a tool that helps judges assess someone’s risk of not showing up for court or committing another crime before they go to trial. Risk is a key factor in determining how high a person's bail should be set.
The tool applies to felonies and Class A and B misdemeanors. This assessment replaces the old assessment tool that Brown and Judge Susan Brown called "outdated." Both said the old system assessed risk based on questions like, ‘do you have a home phone number?’ Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained two court orders against three unlicensed, after-hours bars. The Envy Lounge and Climax Lounge, in southwest Houston, and the Palacios After-Hours bar, in north Houston, have all closed since the lawsuits were filed.
Judge Larry Weiman of the 80th District Court signed a temporary restraining order against the owners of Palacios After-Hours bar at 414 North Sam Houston Parkway East, ordering them to cease selling or serving alcohol at the bar or any other location without a valid liquor license. The owners are also ordered to cease allowing patrons to consume alcohol after 2 a.m., which is illegal in Texas. The bar advertised on social media that it is “Houston’s Premiere After-Hours Nightclub,” open from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
According to the lawsuit, on July 7, 2017, undercover vice officers with the Houston Police Department entered the club and purchased two tequila shots and Amaretto from two bartenders, even though the club had no license. The bartenders were arrested for selling liquor without a license. Since the County’s lawsuit was filed, the Palacios club has closed. Read More
The Fifth Circuit has affirmed a judgment in favor of Harris County and three deputy constables in a civil rights lawsuit filed by a groom and his guest who was arrested during a wedding reception.
During the reception the groom’s father began loudly complaining when the bartender decided to stop serving alcohol because the bartender “noticed a significant number of guests who were dressed slopp[ily], slurring their words and stumbling.” According to witnesses the groom’s father “struck or pushed” a plain clothes deputy constable who was working security at the event. When a uniformed deputy constable who was also working off duty began escorting the father from the room his son, a deputy sheriff, came to his aid along with thirty to forty other people. The constable ordered party goers to move away and to leave the premises. A guest who was also a deputy sheriff refused to leave. Read More
The Harris County Attorney's Office is seeking a permanent injunction against a southwest Houston after-hours strip club prosecutors say is selling liquor without a license.
According to a petition filed in Harris County District Court Monday against Paradise City Southwest (9870 Westpark Drive), undercover Houston Police Department vice officers bought vodka-cranberry cocktails from bartender Andrea Dancy and manager Arthur Cisneros, who were subsequently charged with misdemeanor liquor violations. (The club otherwise advertises as a "BYOB" establishment.) Read More
“El SB4 dañará a nuestros niños,” dice Ryan, el Abogado del Condado
Declarando que el Senate Bill 4 podría dañar a los niños de Texas en forma significativa, Vince Ryan, el Abogado del Condado de Harris, ha introducido un escrito “amigo de la corte” en la demanda judicial que busca impedir que esa legislación se convierta en ley.
El SB 4 prohíbe una política, patrón o práctica que prohíba o limite el cumplimiento de las leyes de inmigración. Ryan sostiene que la ley propuesta está en conflicto con la responsabilidad de los abogados del condado de servir a los niños de Texas. Read More
"Bill will harm our children" says County Attorney Ryan
Declaring that Senate Bill 4 could significantly harm Texas’ children, Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has filed a “friend of the court” brief in the lawsuit seeking to stop this bill from becoming law.
SB 4 prohibits a policy, pattern or practice that would prohibit or limit the enforcement of immigration laws. Ryan contends that the proposed law conflicts with the responsibility of county attorneys to serve Texas children. Read More
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan has obtained a court order shutting down an unlicensed, after-hours bar known as Las Palmas in a strip center near Almeda Genoa and the Gulf Freeway.
Judge Elaine Palmer of the 215th District Court of Harris County entered a temporary restraining order closing the bar at 9960 Kleckley Drive, Suite B, and ordering it to remain closed until a valid liquor license is obtained. It is a crime to sell alcohol in Texas without a license. Las Palmas was even advertising on social media that it is an after-hours bar, open from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Read More