Appellate Lawyer of the Week

Houston Lawyer Wins Appeal for Amputee

By John Council |

David Carlson was allegedly burned so badly by an infrared medical treatment device that it caused him to have part of his leg and foot amputated. He also lost his products liability case before a Houston federal jury after the defense presented one expert witness—the chiropractor who thought the treatment was a good idea.

Michael O'Connor, partner, O'Connor & Craig, Houston, Tx.

Houston Attorney Beats Big Bank, Big Attorney Fees at First Court of Appeals

By John Council |

Francisco Calleja-Ahedo sued Compass Bank for refusing to refund payment of an alleged $38,700 forged check on his account—only to end up owing the bank $49,186 in attorney fees after losing his case before a Harris County district judge.

Attorney Uses the Fifth Circuit to Get U.S. Documents for Mexican Lawsuit

By John Council |

After chasing an evasive litigation investment company all over the United States with a federal subpoena, Meredith Parenti's corporate defendant client has so far been unsuccessful in compelling documents that may be crucial to a lawsuit it faces in Mexico.

Dallas Lawyer Convinces Fifth Circuit to Vacate Doctor's Sentence

By John Council |

The federal government came down hard on Dr. Tariq Mahmood two years ago, sending him to prison for eleven years for Medicare fraud after his chain of East Texas hospitals allegedly overbilled taxpayers to the tune of $599,128.02.

Thad Spalding

Dallas Lawyer Lands in the 5th Circuit to Save Aircraft Claim

By John Council |

When Thad Spalding's client paid $110,000 for a used helicopter only to later discover that it wasn't airworthy, the seller beat them to the courthouse and won a summary judgment ruling that sealed the deal. So Spalding took the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and recently won a ruling that may make his client whole.

L to R: Chris Pittard, Dara Smith

Discrimination Laws Apply to Federal Disabled Workers and Independent Government Contractors

By John Council |

In a case of first impression, Chris Pittard and Dara Smith both help convince the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that a seminal employment law meant to protect the rights of the federal disabled workers should also be applied to independent government contractors.

Andrew Guthrie c/o Hayes & Boone

Associate Scores Big Win in Free Speech Case

By John Council |

Last summer, Haynes and Boone associate Andrew Guthrie was presented with a tantalizing offer—would he like to argue a juicy political free speech case in front of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit? There was a hitch though. The argument was only three weeks away.

Attorney Wins Libel Ruling With Evidence of Actual Malice

By John Council |

The First Amendment provides the media broad protections against libel suits—unless they publish a false defamatory allegation against a plaintiff and do so with "actual malice.'' But Joe Sibley recently convinced an appellate court he had evidence of both when a newspaper columnist allegedly accused his parent clients of being dishonest about the reasons for their teenage son's suicide.

From R&B to Tejano, Lawyer Wins Music Cases

By John Council |

"It's the dilemma faced by record labels. Someone hears a song on the radio and says, 'Hey—that's my song!' And the record label has never heard of that song," said Roland Garcia who successfully defended a copyright dispute over a Tejano song. "The legal nuances are important to the record industry. Otherwise, there would be no record industry."

Iain Simpson, Houston solo

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Wrong Hospital Address Wins Reversal

By John Council |

A good appellate lawyer will scour the record looking for multiple theories for why a trial court was wrong to dismiss a case. Iain Simpson did all of those things. But it turns out he only needed to look up the defendant hospital's address to win a reversal from Houston's First Court of Appeals.

Sreve Couch, Kelly Sutter & Kendrick.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Attorney Gets Defendant Out of Valley, Into ADR

By John Council |

Like most lawyers who defend lawsuits in the Rio Grande Valley, Steve Couch's prime objective is to keep his client away from the regions that have a reputation for having plaintiff-friendly juries, if at all possible. And he recently accomplished that goal in a big way.

Jenny Lee Smith, attorney, Austin, Cobb & Counsel

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Sways Fifth Circuit in $1.4M Award

A federal jury awarded Hilda Garza $1.4 million in front pay as an assistant county attorney after she ran for the local school board and was fired, only to have the trial judge erase that part of the verdict because it was "advisory."

Nelia Robbi

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Gets Jurisdiction to Stick in Adhesive Case

By John Council |

Nelia Robbi convinced Austin's Third Court of Appeals that her client's lawsuit against a California corporation that produces floor adhesive deserved to be heard in a Texas court.

George Kurisky, partner in Houston's Johnson DeLuca Kurisky & Gould.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Defense Lawyer Gets Checkered Flag in Porsche Case

By John Council |

"It was a battle of a forms deal," said George Kurisky, who convinced Houston's First Court of Appeals that a warranty claim filed against his car dealer client over a blown-up Porsche engine should be heard in arbitration. "Clearly this transaction is covered by the arbitration provision."

Jack Ayres, attorney with Ayres Law Office, Addison, TX

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Wins Ruling for Teen Shot By Police

By John Council |

"The Fifth Circuit has taken the moral and legal high ground that conduct like this is not going to be tolerated," Jack Ayres said of a Fifth Circuit decision that allows the majority of his clients' case against three police officers to go to trial. "We hope this opinion will save lives."

Trang Q. Tran

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Lawyer Wins Ruling Concerning Coffee and Tips

By John Council |

Trang Tran's recent win from the Fifth Circuit means that his waiter clients might not have to share their tips with a fine-dining restaurant's resident "coffeeman."

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Winning a Bad-Luck Case

By John Council |

"Judge Atlas actually said the case had bad luck," Robert McKnight said. "That's in the transcript when they're talking about the chalkboard. But some of the luck was good."

Sean Gorman (left) and Peter Scaff

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: No-Go for $6.4 Billion Togo Oil Suit

By John Council |

Houston lawyers Sean Gorman and Peter Scaff had very different reasons for why their energy company clients couldn't be sued in Texas over a failed $6.4 billion oil production agreement with the tiny African republic of Togo.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Attorney Wins 'Old Fart' Discrimination Ruling

By John Council |

"What the court honed in [on] was that the [supervisor] was going to get rid of the old farts. And sure enough he did,'' Alfonso Kennard said of his plaintiff client's age discrimination victory before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Plaintiffs Beat Governmental Immunity in Med-Mal Case

Joseph Gourrier won a big decision from Houston's First Court of Appeals that denies governmental immunity to a nonprofit health care clinic associated with a large state teaching hospital.

Austin solo Jody Scheske

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Same-Sex Divorce Before Same-Sex Marriage

By John Council |

"It's very reaffirming for us," said Jody Scheske. He and Jason Steed became the first appellate lawyers to successfully defend the right of a lesbian couple to be divorced before Texas' highest court—seven days before the rest of the state's LGBT population would win the right to be married from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Dallas Lawyer Wins Moldy Real Estate Appeal

By John Council |

Mike Yanof convinced Dallas' Fifth Court of Appeals to reverse and render a jury's fraud verdict against his real estate agent client in a take-nothing judgment.