Ferguson Law intervenes in wrongful death suit over Teel shooting

By David Yates | Dec 5, 2017

BEAUMONT - The Ferguson Law Firm has intervened in a civil lawsuit involving the shooting death of Kera Teel and her unborn daughter, entering the litigation on behalf of Teel’s mother, Mindy Morris.

BEAUMONT - The Ferguson Law Firm has intervened in a civil lawsuit involving the shooting death of Kera Teel and her unborn daughter, entering the litigation on behalf of Teel’s mother, Mindy Morris. 

The prominent law firm, led by partners Paul ‘Chip’ Ferguson and Jane S. Leger, intervened in the lawsuit shortly before Thanksgiving, according to a Dec. 5 press release. 

The shooting drew substantial media attention and called into question safety measures at apartment complexes. 

Morris and Teel had traveled to Galveston on June 25 for Morris to undergo various medical testing and procedures. The procedures ran longer than expected and the pair did not return to the apartment complex where Teel lived until almost 2 a.m. 

As Teel parked her car, two individuals approached the vehicle and shot her as she sat inside her car. Morris was able to avoid the gunfire; however, watched her 19-year old daughter die in her arms. 

Teel was rushed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where her baby was delivered. The child lived for just a few minutes before succumbing. Her father, Andrew Keel, named the baby Kyndal.

The civil lawsuit names the owners and operators of The Sienna Apartment Homes as defendants. The complex, located in Beaumont’s North End, has, according to Ferguson, “a long and notorious history of encouraging criminal conduct on its grounds due to its inexcusable failure to provide adequate security and protection.” 

Evidence discovered after the fatal shooting demonstrates that the apartment is in a high crime area, the release states. 

More evidence shows that the complex had broken security gates that allowed easy access to tenants and their property.

“The Sienna Apartments essentially fostered an attitude of ‘crime by invitation’.  They evidenced more concern about the timeliness of rent payments with no concern for the safety of those making those payments,” Leger said.”

The shooting has reemerged in the media spotlight as the Jefferson County District Attorney has made new arrests in the shooting. 

“We support one hundred percent the efforts of District Attorney Bob Wortham to bring those individuals to justice,” Ferguson said.

“By the same token, this family is entitled to justice and this community is entitled to a healthy, safe place to live.  When crime is encouraged rather than deterred, that element of justice is denied.

“We vow to use this case as a springboard to ensure more effective safety measures to those living in apartment complexes across Southeast Texas. That is the least we can do to honor the memory of Kera Teel.”

The husband of Kera Teel and the couple’s one-year old daughter are being represented by Jefferson Fisher and David Fisher of Orgain, Bell & Tucker. 

The father of Kera Teel is being represented by David Bernsen. 

The defendants are represented by Michael Morris with the Houston law firm of Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris. 

The case is pending in the 60th Judicial District Court of Jefferson County.

The Ferguson Law Firm, located in Beaumont, Texas, enjoys a history of record-breaking verdicts, settlements and accolades. Lawyers at the firm have secured more than 100 verdicts or settlements in excess of one million dollars including the largest 18-wheeler verdict in U.S. history. 

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