The days of regular jackpot-jury payoffs in Harris County are long gone, but that doesn't mean they have completely vanished. Rob Ammons, who specializes in pipeline explosions, won a big victory this year for the family of a man who was killed in a 2007 blast. Ammons convinced a jury to award the survivors of Joshua Wade Petrie $82.5 million in damages. Exterran Energy Solutions of Houston was found to have been grossly negligent in the incident. The company is appealing, of course, but for now Ammons proved that large corporations can still be held responsible for misdeeds, no matter how handcuffed plaintiffs' attorneys have become via "tort reform."

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