Our Staff

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Meet Our Staff

At The Heard Merman Law Firm you will find a friendly face ready to help you at every step in the process. Below you will find information about our staff.

Barbara McCurley Price is the Executive Assistant to Denman H. Heard. She has worked in the legal field for over 40 years and with Denman Heard for over 25 years. Barbara has an extensive background working in oil and gas, family, probate, personal injury, civil, and commercial litigation. She has worked with esteemed executives, notable trial attorneys, and state representatives, but she has chosen to work with Denman for over two decades because of his dedication to his clients and his extensive work helping those who otherwise would not have a voice.

Barbara is married and has two children. She is part American and part Ryukyuan and grew up living the “Air Force brat” lifestyle of living in multiple cities in California, South Carolina, and Japan before planting firm roots in Texas. With that military history, Barbara feels she has learned so much from the variety of people she has met. She applies those experiences to her daily work to treat everyone she encounters with empathy and respect, and she has chosen to devote her professional career to the legal field because of the injustices she has seen against others of multiple races and economic levels.

Barbara is a commissioned Notary Public. When not assisting Denman in his fight for the rights of the injured, Barbara loves spending her free time with family and friends.

Tommie Yeiter-Vicknair is the Senior Trial Paralegal for the Heard Merman firm.  The legal profession and the way it can be a helpful resource for those who have been wrongfully injured has always intrigued Tommie.  Her strong passion for helping people who cannot help themselves drives her to work hard every day.  As part of the Heard Merman team, Tommie helps guide clients through the difficult recovery process.  She also handles daily interactions with clients, opposing counsel, insurance companies, and medical providers, in addition to drafting and filing pleadings, discovery, and other correspondence.

Tommie has an extensive background in personal injury litigation, medical malpractice, and civil & criminal litigation.  She has also worked in financial fields in the past and is a commissioned Notary Public.  She and named Partner Derek Merman have worked closely together for almost two decades, fighting for the rights of clients on a daily basis.

Originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, Tommie enjoys riding motorcycles, boating, fishing, hunting, foosball, traveling, sampling a variety of delicious cuisines, and spending quality time with her family and friends.

Denicia Ortiz is a Paralegal for the Heard Merman firm. Denicia has almost two decades of legal experience working at prestigious trial firms in vital litigation support roles. She began her legal career in 2003 at a boutique personal injury law firm, building a strong foundation of learning about the legal justice system and of procedures in developing a strong legal claim. Denicia quickly learned the ropes of the litigation process and avidly worked on preparing cases for trial. She proved integral at her previous firms in supporting trial attorneys advocating for those who had been wrongfully injured.

In 2008, Denicia embarked on a new legal challenge, joining a prestigious mass tort law firm to focus on drug and medical device cases. There, she made significant contributions in helping thousands of clients secure settlements in mass tort claims relating to drugs and devices such as Ortho Evra, Avandia, Trasylol, Xarelto, Pradaxa, and transvaginal mesh. In 2016, she expanded her legal knowledge by joining a firm where she supported the managing partner in insurance defense claims. There, she gained additional knowledge and experience surrounding complex litigation claims relating to personal injury, premises liability, and products liability lawsuits.

After six years working on the defense side, Denicia felt compelled to return to plaintiffs’ litigation so she could go back to helping those who have been catastrophically injured by the wrongful acts of others. She now supports the trial attorneys at Heard Merman in compassionately giving the wrongfully injured a legal voice, and she takes pride in doing all she can to help our clients.

Denicia is overjoyed with her recent entry into motherhood with the caring of her young daughter. She loves spending time with family and friends, as well as bike-riding, yoga, cooking, baking, and crafting.

Melissa Sherwood is a Legal Assistant for the Heard Merman firm.  Melissa is honored to be increasing her skillset by working closely with Senior Trial Paralegal Tommie Yeiter-Vicknair and the firm’s attorneys on a daily basis.  One of her professional goals is to become a dedicated trial paralegal, to help the firm’s trial attorneys advocate for injured clients in the courtroom.

As part of the Heard Merman team, Melissa is dedicated to helping clients.  She spends countless hours working on client pleadings and case files, liaising between clients and the firm’s attorneys, and ensuring every client is treated with respect and dignity.

Melissa is a native Houstonian, wife, mother of four, and grandmother. She is extremely fond of nature and will take any chance she can to go camping, fishing, or hunting, and she creates fond personal memories traveling with her family and friends. 

Natalie Hernandez is a Legal Assistant for the Heard Merman firm.  Her primary focus is working on the firm’s mass tort claims, and she strives to make each mass tort client feel as though his/her claim is the only claim in the office.  She understands that the mass torts process works differently from other personal injury claims, and she believes that educating clients about that sometimes complicated process is one of the keys to building trust and healthy legal relationships.  She loves to see a case go from intake to resolution, as it leaves her feeling as though she’s helped the firm’s clients regain a part of what’s been wrongfully taken from them.  Natalie has also been expanding her role at the firm by working on the firm’s other dockets, assisting to maintain positive relationships with the firm’s individual personal injury clients.

Natalie is a native Houstonian and is bilingual in English and Spanish.  When not at her desk working hard to advocate for the firm’s clients, Natalie enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Christina Capuchino is a Legal Assistant for the Heard Merman Law Firm. Her legal career began in 2009 while working as a receptionist in a small law firm. Her supervisors there quickly recognized Christina’s naturally empathetic nature and her strong ability to connect with clients about their experiences, and she was therefore encouraged to pursue additional roles in the legal field.  Christina has extensive experience working on the important initial intake process where the law firm first gets to know a client, and our clients are often reassured that choosing Heard Merman Law Firm was the right choice after they hear Christina’s calming voice.  Christina also has taken on important past roles in managing medical device cases against large pharmaceutical companies, and she has worked extensively on dockets relating to hip implants, transvaginal mesh, hernia mesh, IVC filters, and Penumbra.  At Heard Merman Law Firm, Christina is excited to lend her legal knowledge to our personal injury team, and she plays an important role in liaising between clients and their Heard Merman attorneys on a daily basis.

 

Outside the office, Christina focuses on her family and is active in her church community.  Family and friends describe Christina as pleasant, kind-hearted, and a cool (but stern!) mom.

Karie Green is the Lead Receptionist for the Heard Merman firm.  Karie joined the firm in 2017 when it was Heard Law Firm, with an excitement to work with some of the nation’s finest trial lawyers specializing in mass torts and personal injury claims.  Karie considers it a privilege to be the firm’s often initial point of contact for its clients, and she strives to make every client from far or near feel at least a small bit of how much they are valued by the firm.

Prior to joining the firm, Karie worked in the legal industry for 19 years and also has experience working for elite financial advisors.

Karie was born in Louisiana before moving to the Piney Woods of Texas.  She grew up spending time on the lake fishing, raising geese, and hunting.  Karie traded her rubber boots for high heels for her life in Houston, although she looks forward to putting on a pair of cowboy boots any spare chance she gets.  Balancing her country and city roots, Karie brings to Heard Merman the feel of southern charm and works daily to make every client feel welcome.

Sarah Allsen is the Bookkeeper at Heard Merman Law Firm.  Prior to joining the Heard Merman family, Sarah worked extensively in accounting and administration at other businesses and law firms. Sarah enjoys working with her coworkers and the firm’s vendors, and she is enthusiastic to use her background to help handle administrative matters so the legal staff can focus on their important role of advocating on behalf of the firm’s clients.  When the firm officially transitioned in becoming Heard Merman Law Firm, from Heard Law Firm, in 2021, it was a priority for the firm’s partners to ensure the transition was as smooth and seamless as possible for the firm’s clients, and Sarah has joined the Heard Merman team to take on that role almost effortlessly. 

 

In per personal time, Sarah relishes in the immeasurable joy she gets from being a (young!) great-grandmother. When she is not doting over her great-grandson, Sarah enjoys hiking, camping, swimming, and snorkeling.

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