Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive



Tuesday, December 11, 2001

CORNYN HALTS DECEPTIVE ACTS TIED TO HOUSTON FLOODS

Restraining Order Puts Stop to Enviro Solutions' Commerce in Medical Devices

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today obtained a temporary restraining order in Harris County District Court to put a stop to a company owner's trade in medical devices which could have been damaged by flood water during last June's Tropical Storm Allison in Houston.

The court action names Wayne Daugherty, doing business as Enviro Solutions, 6621 Liberty Rd. in Houston. The order requires Daugherty to cease buying, selling or reconditioning any of these medical devices without a proper license. The array of devices includes instruments or components used in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of disease. Examples are respiratory aids, oxygen concentrators, wheelchair and similar devices, laser instruments, valves and gauges, and many other items.

Cornyn's lawsuit carries an explicit statement that many of these devices likely had been damaged during the flood, were improperly labeled or stored under abnormal conditions and could lead to injury if used by patients.

"As if Tropical Storm Allison weren't enough to place Houstonians in danger, we now find that at least one company allegedly trafficked in defective medical products that had the potential to cause bodily harm," said Attorney General Cornyn. "Exploiting a natural disaster for gain and further endangering medically needy consumers in the process will not be tolerated by my office or the medical community."

In mid-October Texas Department of Health investigators held numerous medical devices in Enviro Solutions' possession when they discovered Daugherty still had not obtained a proper license. The investigation further found that the company had purchased about 400 flood-damaged devices from Houston's Veterans Administration Hospital. Records from the hospital indicate that these officials intended that the mud-covered or water-damaged devices should be destroyed.

Daugherty is being prosecuted for alleged violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act and the Texas Health and Safety Code. Under the latter statute, the defendant can face penalties of $25,000 per violation per day.

The attorney general's office filed four lawsuits in October against Houston-area tow truck operators and carpet cleaning companies for allegedly engaging in price-gouging during these floods. Those suits are pending.

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