Latest News

David Gerger

Houston Lawyer, Daughter Record Charity Album

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

David Gerger, a white-collar crime defense lawyer in Houston, writes and records songs about trials, justice and family on "Give Me Mercy."

Energy Bill's Impact on Liquefied Natural Gas Exports

By Angela Neville |

The U.S. Senate's proposed energy bill, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, seeks to expedite the governmental approval process related to exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Derek Willis, GC for Volusion, in Austin, TX.

Derek Willis, General Counsel for Volusion Inc. Made The Right Move

By Mary Alice Robbins |

After 17 years as a corporate and securities attorney, Derek Willis suddenly found himself responsible for managing a contentious piece of litigation as the secretary and general counsel for Volusion Inc., an Austin-based software company.

Q&A With Volusion Inc. Derek Willis on Best Practices: Expertise, Efficiency and Experience

By Mary Alice Robbins |

Texas Lawyer spoke with Derek Willis, secretary and general counsel for Volusion Inc., an Austin-based software company, and asked him questions about best practices when dealing with outside counsel. Here are his answers, edited for style and length.

Tips for Avoiding Pitfalls in I-9 Compliance

By Ruth M. Willars |

This precarious position presents liability for employers who view the completion of I-9s as a perfunctory part of the new hire process, or who view a notice of inspection as benign. Employers should take the following steps to proactively address I-9 compliance.

Reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program: a Boon for Foreign Investors and the National Economy

By Karen-Lee Pollak |

From the investor perspective, going the EB-5 investment visa route through a regional center avoids the usual requirement of having family connections, securing a job or running an actively traded business, which makes it an attractive option for retirees or students.

Corporate Restructure: What Happens to H-1B Employees Still in Process for a Green Card?

By Karen Chong |

An employer can help protect a worker's immigration case and safeguard workforce stability by filing strategically and gathering key documentation of the restructure.

Harris County Judge Consolidates Suits Involving Houston Lawyers, Firms

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A judge in Harris County consolidated two suits involving Houston lawyer Scott Clearman and his former partners.

TL_20071224

Federal Judge Retirements Hit Texas Hard

By John Council |

Texas now has 12 current or future federal judicial vacancies—including two seats on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit—caused by a rash of retirements by the state's longest serving judges.

T.J. Campbell

Howard Energy's Pipelines to Link Texas Refineries to Northern Mexico

By Angela Neville |

Currently, San Antonio-based Howard Energy Partners is working on two cross-border pipeline projects that will connect Texas refineries with Mexico.

Mark Geragos

Los Angeles Lawyer Mark Geragos With Celebrity Clients to Teach Cross-Examination Course in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mark Geragos, who has a long list of celebrity clients, will teach at the National Family Law Trial Institute in Houston in May.

Steve Mostyn of Houston’s Mostyn Law Firm

Steven Mostyn's Clients Win Order in Pelvic Mesh Case

By Miriam Rozen |

In the 55th District Court in Houston, Judge Jaclanel McFarland issued an order barring Boston Scientific, the medical equiment and devices company, from disposing or altering supplies of a resin material, allegedly used in surgical vaginal mesh products.

Jury Sides With Driver Claiming Back And Neck Injuries; And Other Verdict News

On Jan. 7, a driver who claimed back and neck injuries in a rear-ender was awarded $11,956. Clarence R. Fuentes was struck by Rebekka Kelly on a Dallas highway. Kelly stipulated to liability. Fuentes claimed lumbar spondylosis and 3-millimeter disk protrusions at C5-6 and C6-7.

Former Judge D. Michael Lynn, Senior Counsel, Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, LLP, Fort Worth

14-Year Veteran Judge, D. Michael Lynn Joins Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller; Plus Other 'On The Move' News

D. Michael Lynn, a 14-year veteran judge for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division prior to his recent retirement, has joined Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller as senior counsel.

Technological Advances Help to Resolve Disputes

By Kimberly Taylor |

The modern lawyer has a very different lexicon from her predecessors, and an entirely new array of tools for practicing law and managing the practice of law.

Proposed Federal Well Control Rule Criticized as Too Costly

By Angela Neville |

In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the U.S. Department of Interior is proposing a new rule to enhance the safety of offshore drilling, but it is running into fierce resistance from a coalition of industry groups -- including the Independent Petroleum Association of America, the American Petroleum Institute and the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

Brad Caldwell

Apple Inc. Seeks Mistrial After $625M Jury Verdict

By Miriam Rozen |

Brad Caldwell, a principal in Dallas' Caldwell, Cassady & Curry, represents the plaintiff VirnetX, which filed against the iPhone maker. He has no illusions that the verdict, one of the largest an East Texas federal jury ever issued, will end the lengthy litigation saga between the two companies.

Presidential Politics: Lawyers Join Grassroot Contributors

By Miriam Rozen |

Ted Cruz's campaign, which he proclaimed as financed by a grassroots movement, received 1,423 donations from contributors who identified themselves as lawyers or attorneys. The average amount of each of those contributions was $577, according to calculations based on the Federal Election Commission reports.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Independent Candidate Intervenes in Suit Against Ted Cruz

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Fort Worth man who is an independent candidate for president intervened in a Houston federal lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment on Cruz's eligibility to run for president or vice president.

Houston solo Brian W. Wice

Lawyer Reflects on Win After Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Flip-Flop

By Angela Morris |

A man convicted in 1998 of killing a toddler won a new trial from the state's highest criminal court in November 2014, only to see it taken back—and then granted again. His pro bono lawyer reflects on the flip-flop.

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.

There is No Finish Line, Be Mindful in Your Practice, Life

By Michael P. Maslanka |

The challenge: GCs are busy, gasping for time for reflection on the meaning of being a lawyer. The solution: pausing to reflect on a little known but powerful commencement speech. So, here, courtesy of Vince Foster, is some oxygen.

Fort Worth Attorney Bryan Wilson, the Texas Law Hawk

Texas Law Hawk Attorney to be Featured in Super Bowl Commercial

By John Council |

Millions more will be exposed to Bryan Wilson's antics as he's being featured in a Taco Bell Super Bowl commercial.

Study: Many Lawyers Suffer From Alcoholism, Depression

By Angela Morris |

A newly published study shows that 21 percent of attorneys qualify as problem drinkers, 28 percent struggle with depression and 19 percent have anxiety.

L to R: Sandy Brown and Michael Tankersley

5 Lawyers Move to Alston & Bird From Bracewell

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A group of five corporate lawyers join Alston & Bird's Dallas office in the financial services and products group.

Judge Edith Brown Clement of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

5th Circuit: Expert Witness Can't Sue Over Censure

By John Council |

A Texas doctor expert witness who was censured by a professional association for the testimony he gave in a medical malpractice case can't sue the organization over his lost business expenses, according to a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Donna Peavler

Target Wins Take-Nothing Verdict

By Miriam Rozen |

How many shopping carts does it take to win a take-nothing jury verdict for Target Corp.? The answer: 200,000, or about four years' worth of carts an attendant returned to a store, according to Donna Peavler.

Eric Taube

Taube Summers Lawyers Move to Waller Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Nashville firm Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis acquires Austin firm Taube Summers Harrison Taylor Meinzer Brown, with 13 lawyers moving to Waller's Austin office.

Mary Keeney, left, and Laura Burney

Texas Supreme Court Clears up Royalty Fractions Confusion in Will Case

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Supreme Court recently dismissed the Fourth Court of Appeals' ruling and instead held that interpretation of the will concerning conveyence of oil and gas royalties was governed by an analytical approach that required consideration of all of the language in the will and the context in which the will was executed.

Mitchell Zuklie c/o Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

15 Lawyers So Far Working at Orrick's New Houston Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A total of 15 Houston lawyers from six firms have started working at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's new Houston office over the last two weeks.

HSBC Ruling Could Bring Big Changes to Monitorships

In a ruling with major implications for companies with corporate monitors, a judge has ordered HSBC Bank to make public a monitor’s report on its efforts to comply with anti-money laundering laws.

Texas Appleseed Celebrates 20th Anniversary

By Angela Morris |

Founded in 1996, Texas Appleseed works to find justice and solutions to social and economic problems for underrepresented Texans, such as children, disabled people and low-income families.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Don R. Willett

Cheerleaders, 'The Lion King' Reference Together in Justice's Opinion

By Miriam Rozen |

Leave it to Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to squeeze characters from Disney's "The Lion King" and cheerleaders into a concurring opinion. No one who follows Willett's Twitter feed would be surprised to see his popular culture references.

14th Court of Appeals Reverses $21M Verdict Over Oil Blast Death

By Angela Neville |

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals recently overturned a Harris County jury's $21 million judgment based on wrongful death and personal injury cause of action against Oiltanking Houston, involving an explosion that killed a contract worker.

Judge Orders Lawyer to Pay Fees to Kirklin Law Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

In a final judgment, a Houston state district judge orders Houston lawyer George Fleming to pay $53,950 in attorney fees for an anti-SLAPP motion.

The Reinvention of Texas Lawyer FAQ

Developing and executing a strategy that leverages digital-first capabilities and opportunities is critical to our future success. Today, I’m excited to announce that the Texas Lawyer is leading the way on our Legal Media reinvention strategy. As of April 1, Texas Lawyer will be a robust, daily digital offering complemented by a glossy, print magazine distributed monthly.

Letter from the Editor: Exciting Changes Coming to Texas Lawyer

By Heather D. Nevitt |

Now, on our 31st anniversary, we are changing our format to enable you to get more of the great journalism you have come to expect from our team, but faster and better.

E-Discovery Special Report

From the FRCP changes and burgeoning software options, here's a look at what's in store for e-discovery in 2016.

Laura Gibson, Partner, Dentons, Houston.

Laura Gibson Joins Dentons in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Laura Gibson leaves Ogden Broocks & Hall to become a partner in Dentons in Houston.

Shell's $52 Billion Takeover of BG Group To Create Largest Global Liquefied Natural gas Trader Approved

By Angela Neville |

Recently, BG Group voted to approve Royal Dutch Shell's proposed $52 billion acquisition of it, setting up the path for the two firms to create the world's largest trader of liquefied natural gas.

Ken Paxton

Texas Attorney General Asks US Supreme Court to Put Obama's Clean Power Plan on Hold

By Angela Neville |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey are currently heading a coalition of 29 states and state agencies that are seeking to have the U.S. Supreme Court put the brakes on President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan, which is designed to regulate carbon emissions from power plants.

Nelson Block, shareholder, Winstead, Houston

Joe Jamail Not 'The King of Torts', Writes Shareholder, Winstead PC

Your Jan. 4 article incorrectly described lawyer and philanthropist Joe Jamail as "The King of Torts." Joe's former law partner, Judge George Cire, made the definitive statement on this topic in 1977 when I clerked for the judge.

Spotify's Compliance Practice Striking a Chord

By Chris Castle |

While the government actively regulates songwriting, it largely avoids enforcing compliance with its licenses, essentially leaving enforcement to songwriters and music publishers.

Plaintiff Recovers for Collision on Icy Road

On Nov. 18, a passenger who claimed back and neck sprains and strains in a collision recovered $917. Lejon Harvey was in a sedan that was driven by Eric Williams.

What Happens When Your Arbitrator is AWOL?

By Robert B. Gilbreath |

Over the years, courts have struggled with the question of whether arbitration should proceed when the arbitrator the parties named is no longer available.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Opposing Counsel About Ted Cruz: 'He Wasn't a Jerk'

By Miriam Rozen |

U.S. Senator and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz was not such a bad apple, according to appellate lawyers who identify themselves as Democrats and previously opposed him in court.

Karen Kennard, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig, Austin.

Greenberg Traurig Hires 3 Shareholders in Texas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The firm adds one shareholder in Austin and two in Dallas.

Brant Stogner

Brant Stogner Named Partner in Houston-Based Abraham, Watkins; Plus Other 'On the Move' News

Brant J. Stogner, a trial lawyer, has been named a partner in Houston-based Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend.

Mike Hull

Top Texas for Lawsuit Reform Lobbyist Switches Sides, Joins Tort Reform Foe

By Angela Morris |

Mike Hull, former outside counsel for Texans for Lawsuit Reform, is now working with Houston mass tort litigator Steve Mostyn on a transvaginal mesh class action.

Fraud Convictions Overturned Due to Evidence Errors

By John Council |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has tossed out the convictions of two medical company executives for their roles in a $26 million securities fraud scheme after ruling the trial court excluded evidence it should have let in against the men—and admitted evidence that should have been kept out.

Vinson & Elkins Work on $247M Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins represents Trican Well Service in pending sale of U.S. assets to Houston-based Keane Group.

Akin Gump Aids Diamondback in $226M Stock Offering

By Angela Neville |

Diamondback Energy recently announced the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 4 million shares of its common stock and its retention of the law firm of Akin Gump to advise it concerning the transaction.

Gardere Wynne Sewell Hires 4 Lawyers, Opens Denver Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Two of Gardere Wynne Sewell's lateral partner hires will lead the firm's global supply network industry team from Dallas and Denver.

Partner Paul Yetter founded Houston-based Yetter Coleman in 1997

Trial Firm Proud of Pro Bono Foster Care Fight

By Angela Morris |

"There are some things you do as a lawyer that you are simply honored to do, and you know make a real difference in the world, and this is one of them. I couldn't be more proud of this case and our firm," said Paul Yetter.

James

U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap Hammers Patent Plaintiff With $390K Fee Award

By John Council |

The bill has finally come due for the first Eastern District of Texas patent litigant found to have filed an "exceptional case"—one that was so baseless it warranted the litigant paying the other side's attorney fees—and U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap ordered the plaintiff to pay $390,000 for troubling 24 separate defendants with weak claims.

Texas Attorney General Files Motion to Dismiss Civil Charges Against State Trooper in Sandra Bland Case

By Miriam Rozen |

The Texas Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss civil rights claims filed by Sandra Bland's mother against Brian Encinia, a Texas state trooper.

Thomas Saenz

Law Targeting Landlords Prompts Shelter Provider to Sue State Officials

By Miriam Rozen |

Two Texas landlords who do not ask tenants to prove their immigration status filed a legal challenge to a state law that targets individuals who provide shelter to undocumented residents.

Richard L. Burleson, managing partner in the Houston office of Burleson

Rick Burleson Joins Paul Hastings in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston oil and gas lawyer Rick Burleson, founder of Burleson LLP, which closed at the end of 2015, has joined Paul Hastings in Houston.

Former Judge D. Michael Lynn, Senior Counsel, Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller, LLP, Fort Worth

Former Bankruptcy Judge Joins Shannon Gracey

By John Council |

After 14 years of presiding over complicated Chapter 11 cases, D. Michael Lynn has left his U.S. Bankruptcy bench to join Fort Worth's Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller as senior counsel.

Katherine Stadler, a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn

Kirkland & Ellis Tops $146M in Fees in Energy Future Holding's Bankruptcy

By Angela Neville |

The court-appointed fee committee in the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis is seeking approximately $21.3 million in attorney fees and expenses in connection with the mammoth Energy Future Holdings' Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Bill Brewer of Bickel & Brewer.

Judge Sanctions Bill Brewer Over Jury Survey

By John Council |

A state district judge has sanctioned William Brewer III after determining the prominent Dallas attorney engaged in an abusive litigation tactic by commissioning a pre-trial telephone survey meant to improperly influence a Lubbock County jury pool in a wrongful death case.

Ex-Client Sues Lawyer for Accounting of Settlement

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston-area man brings a breach of fiduciary duty and legal malpractice lawsuit against Merrick Nepomuceno of Houston, alleging he failed to provide an accounting of how $80,000 in settlement money was spent.

Frank Stevenson, partner, Locke Lord in Dallas and State Bar of Texas president-elect candidate in 2015

The State Bar of Texas Board Opposes American Bar Association Guidelines Regulating Nonlawyer Legal Assistance

By Angela Morris |

The State Bar of Texas board of directors has reservations about an effort by the American Bar Association to create guidelines to regulate nonlawyers who provide legal assistance.

Ilisa Halpern Paul, Drinker Biddle & Reath's chief lobbyist, turns her attention away from her iPhone and BlackBerry to jot some notes in a House cafeteria before her meeting with Rochelle Dornatt, the chief of staff to Representative Sam Farr (D-Calif.). July 17, 2012. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL..

Will the iPhone Continue as Lawyers' Smartphone of Choice?

Although iPhone sales are predicted to decline, the smartphone remains wildly popular among lawyers.

T. Boone Pickens, chair of BP Capital Management, Dallas

Prior to Selecting a Jury, T. Boone Pickens and a Son Settle Dispute

By Miriam Rozen |

T. Boone Pickens and his son Michael Pickens reached a settlement on Jan. 25, the day scheduled for jury selection to start in a trial pitting them against each other, according to the elder Pickens’ lawyer Leland de La Garza.

Harold K. Watson, a partner who works at the Houston office of Chaffee McCall.

5th Circuit Rules for Insurers in Oil Rig Coverage Case

By Angela Neville |

The Fifth Circuit recently upheld the verdict of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana that determined a group of 14 insurers, including Lloyds London, were not obligated to provide any coverage toward an almost $17 million claim in damages related to Seahawk's offshore oil rig, which was harmed during two severe weather events in February 2010 and July 2010.

Campbell Harrison Lawyers Move to New Firms

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The lawyers from Houston's Campbell Harrison & Dagley are now practicing at three separate firms in Houston.

San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron

San Mateo County Judge Admonished Over Treatment of Women

California's judicial watchdog agency has admonished a San Mateo County judge for acting disrespectfully toward women in his courtroom, including, in one instance, asking a female prosecutor to get him a cup of coffee.

Doug Kubehl, Baker Botts, partner, Dallas.

Baker Botts Scores $8.2M Verdict in Eastern District of Texas Patent Infringement Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

A patent infringement battle between two rival companies selling Voice over the Internet protocol (VOIP) technology has led to an $8.2 million jury verdict for Baker Botts' client GENBAND U.S.

Which Texas Cities Made the List of Best, Worst Places to Live as a Young Lawyer?

By Angela Morris |

But one Texas city made the list of the worst cities for young attorneys.

Appeals Court Partially Upholds Revenge Porn Verdict

By John Council |

In one of the first appellate looks at a "revenge porn" jury verdict, Houston's Fourteenth Court of Appeals has partially upheld the civil privacy damages a woman won against an ex for posting a sex video of her on the Internet but dismissed awards for intentional infliction of emotional distress and defamation.

Dallas Women Lawyers, Deans Offer 'Speed Mentoring' to Female High School Students

By Miriam Rozen |

Under the career credo of "it's never too young to start planning," this weekend 25 Dallas high school students, three Dallas law school deans and almost two-dozen women lawyers are scheduled to gather for a symposium.

Worker Injured in Tire Explosion Awarded $441K

On Dec. 8, a tire technician was awarded $441,496 when he was injured by a tire explosion. Abrhim Enshikar was working at an Advance Tire & Wheels in Houston.

Paul Lopez, with Shannon Gracey

Paul Lopez Has Joined Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller; and Other 'On the Move' News

Paul Lopez has joined Shannon, Gracey, Ratliff & Miller as an associate in the firm's Fort Worth office. Lopez is in Shannon, Gracey's bankruptcy and restructuring group.

Con Edison Development Buys Texas Solar Project for $227M

By Angela Neville |

ConEdison Development recently acquired Alamo 7, a 106-megawatt solar-electric generation project located in Haskell County from OCI Solar Power, a Texas-based subsidiary of South Korea's OCI Corporation for $$227 million.

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.

2 Important Exceptions to General Rules of Premises Liability

By Anthony Spaeth |

There are two important exceptions to the general rules of premises liability and the Texas Supreme Court ran through them again last year in Austin v. Kroger Texas.

New Amendments to Federal Civil Procedure Likely to Influence State Court Practice

By Quentin Brogdon |

Effective Dec. 1, 2015, sweeping amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure narrow the scope of discovery, shorten key deadlines, and relax the standards for e-discovery sanctions.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges. June 26, 2015.

Impact of ‘Obergefell’ on Wrongful Death Claims

By Laura Benitez Geisler |

By affording same-sex couples the right to marry in Texas and mandating the recognition of lawful same-sex marriages in other states, Obergefell and DeLeon seem to make clear that same-sex spouses are entitled to bring wrongful death, loss of consortium and loss of household services claims on the "same terms and conditions" previously reserved exclusively for marriages between a man and woman.

Mark Kincaid c/o George Brothers Kincaid and Horton, Austin TX.

Sudden Stroke Claims Life of Legendary Insurance Law Attorney

By Angela Morris |

Mark Kincaid, an insurance law attorney who created seminal case law and spent decades volunteering to lobby the Texas Legislature on insurance bills, passed away this week at the age of 56.

Marathon Oil Wants to Arbitrate Tax Dispute with Limited Partners

By Angela Neville |

Marathon Oil Corporation and two of its affiliates are involved in a federal case in Houston where they are trying to convince the judge to mandate arbitration in a disagreement they are having with their limited partners on Marathon's handling of hefty foreign income tax credits, in connection with a business deal in Africa.

Survey: Managing Partner Confidence Dips in 4Q of 2015

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Confidence in the economy at large declined below neutral during the fourth quarter of 2015.

Reducing the Cost of eDiscovery Through eNeutrals

By Peter S. Vogel and Allison O. Skinner |

Significant amounts of motion practice about eDiscovery disputes continue, which puts the eDiscovery burden on trial judges, but more often than not, the trial judges are not any better equipped to understand the eDiscovery disputes than are the lawyers presenting the motions.

Joel M. Androphy, partner, Berg & Androphy, David Gerger, of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Kent Schaffer,with Bires Schaffer & DeBorde

3 Houston Lawyers Represent Pardoned Iranians

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston lawyers representing three of the Iranians who received presidential pardons this month said they never before represented a client who received a presidential pardon.

Department of Justice.

9 Common Misconceptions About the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

When it comes to the anti-bribery law, attorney Michael E. Hantman writes myths abound about enforcement.

Ty Clevenger

Lawyer-Muckracker Targets Public Officials

By Angela Morris |

One attorney who says he's a crusader and muckraker has brought the high-profile reprimand of a federal judge, an indictment of a former district attorney and a new criminal investigation into Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Scott Keller

Immigration: Former Ted Cruz Aide Set to Argue at U.S. Supreme Court

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, a one-time student and former aide to the U.S. Senator from Texas and Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, will argue for the state in a controversial case in which Texas has taken on the Obama administration's proposed immigration reforms.

David Harper, with Haynes and Boone, LLP

Dallas Federal Judge Halves Big Firm's Fee Awards

By John Council |

Software company ARGO Data Resource got all of what they wanted from David Harper and his team of Haynes and Boone lawyers after they convinced U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle to dismiss a theft of trade secrets case. Boyle even ruled the defense lawyers deserved a fee award for booting the plaintiff's case.

XTO Energy Sues U.S. Department of Justice Over Docs in Fracking Fight

By Angela Neville |

XTO Energy recently sued the U.S. Department of Justice in federal court seeking to have the agency turn over documents from its federal case involving environmental charges against it so it can use the documents in a separate environmental criminal case brought against it by the state of Pennsylvania. i

Texas Supreme Court Hears Schlumberger's Suit Over Alleged Trade Secret Theft

By Angela Neville |

The Supreme Court of Texas is now getting an opportunity to interpret how the recently adopted Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) will be applied in Texas in connection with an alleged trade secrets theft case brought by Schlumberger.

Mark Jones

Ex-Burleson Group Moves to BakerHostetler

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

BakerHostetler's Houston office picks up former Burleson partner Mark Jones and two associates.

A Bench Trial Scores $49,600 in Attorney Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

In a Jan. 12-issued final judgment, 165th District Judge Debra Ibarra Mayfield in Houston awarded William Harmeyer's client, PMB Precision Medical Billing, $37,500 in damages, as well as pre-judgment interest, and $49,600 in attorney fees.

Attorney General Statement on Daily Fantasy Sports Betting Just the Opening Kick to a Long, Complicated Contest in Texas

By J. Mitchell Little |

Ken Paxton's office has taken the position that DFS may well constitute illegal gambling under the Texas Penal Code, over the objections of its two largest purveyors, FanDuel and DraftKings.

Lawyers, Firms, Donate Heavily to Texas Supreme Court Incumbents

By Angela Morris |

If lawyers put their money where their mouths are, then the Texas Supreme Court election sparking the most discussion is the race between Justice Debra Lehrmann and challenger Michael Massengale.

Lawyer Calls for Waco Federal Judge's Impeachment

By John Council |

The lawyer who filed the complaint that prompted the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reprimand U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco for sexual harassment and temporarily halt his new case assignments has appealed the decision and is now calling for Smith's impeachment.

Jeff Tillotson

Jeff Tillotson Leaves Lynn Tillotson, Opens Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Jeff Tillotson opened his own firm on Jan. 19, but plans to eventually join Dallas trial boutique.

Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani Leaves Bracewell, Joins Greenberg Traurig

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Rudy Giuliani and Marc Mukasey leave Bracewell's New York office to move to Greenberg Traurig.

Court Denies Motion for Sanctions Against Burlington Northern Santa Fe

By Miriam Rozen |

A Fort Worth federal magistrate denied a race-discrimination plaintiff's motion for sanctions against Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Fieldwood Energy E&P Signs Drilling Contract with Mexico

By Angela Neville |

Houston-based Fieldwood Energy's Mexican subsidiary, Fieldwood Energy E&P Mexico, recently locked into a production-sharing contract agreement for Area 4, which was awarded in the Round 1 Call 2 bid process with the Mexican government.

Mitchell Zuklie c/o Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Opens Houston Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe opened an office in Houston on Jan. 19, with plans for about 20 partners from a number of firms in Houston to initially staff the California-based firm's first Texas outpost.

$1.19M in Attorney Fee Awarded, but Only $218K Damages

By Miriam Rozen |

In a final judgment, U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas in Sherman this month awarded $218,900 in damages and $1.193 million in attorney fees to Baylor Frisco Medical Center, based on the hospital's summary judgment motion, prepared by its lawyers from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Chief U.S. District Judge Leonard E. Davis, Eastern District of Texas, Tyler

Has the Eastern District's Patent Docket Peaked?

By John Council |

Leonard Davis, a former chief judge of the Eastern District, believes the region's enormous patent docket will likely decline after a huge year of filings in 2015.

Newton Schwartz, Solo, Houston.

Is Cruz Disqualified from the Presidency? Texas Lawyer Wants U.S. Supreme Court to Decide

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Newton Schwartz, a trial lawyer in Houston, filed a federal lawsuit on Jan. 14 seeking a declaratory judgment that Ted Cruz is not constitutionally eligible to be elected president or vice president.

Ken Paxton

Paxton Prosecutors Sue Attorney General's Office Over Records Ruling

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's case have sued Paxton over an open records ruling that ordered them to hand over their criminal discovery to a newspaper.

Texas' Motion to Dismiss: An Overview and a Way Forward

By Curtis R. Waldo |

Those looking to utilize the rule should understand its statutory framework in order to consider a targeted approach.

Post-Deposition Motions for Sanctions Fly in Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Burlington Northern Santa Fe

By Miriam Rozen |

In a Jan. 13 response filed in race discrimination lawsuit, the corporate defendant, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), represented by Fort Worth's Kelly Hart & Hallman, offered its version of events that unfolded during a contentious deposition last year.

Houston Firm Wins Damages, Attorney Fees By Pursuing Former Client

By Miriam Rozen |

In a final judgment against a former client, Legge Farrow Kimmit McGrath & Brown won $65,000 in damages and $14,000 in attorney fees.

Catholic Continuing Legal Education Sponsors, State Bar Come to Terms

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

St. Mary's University School of Law and the Catholic Lawyers Guild of San Antonio have withdrawn their appeal of a Minimum Continuing Legal Education decision denying credit for future presentations of a CLE course on faith and the law.

Oncor CEO Bob Shapard Has Doubts About Ray Hunt's $18 Billion Bid

By Angela Neville |

The top executive of Texas' biggest electricity delivery company, Bob Shapard, recently testified about his concerns related to Dallas billionaire Ray Hunt's bid to purchase Oncor at a recent hearing before the Public Utility Commission of Texas.

James Rodney Gilstrap, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be United States District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas. July 27, 2011.

Will This Case End East Texas’ Reign as the Patent Litigation Capital?

The United States has 94 federal judicial districts, but in 2015, almost half of all new patent cases were filed in just one—the Eastern District of Texas.

Michael Sorrell

Leadership, Not Law Degree, Gets Lawyer MLK Award

By John Council |

Michael Sorrell's path to recognition began in 2007 when he gave up lucrative law practice, took a job as president of Dallas' struggling Paul Quinn College and turned the historically black college around.

The Game of Intellectual Property Hide and Seek: The Importance of Indemnity Clauses for IP Licensees

By Paul Keller and Stephanie Kunz |

Because small businesses lack the capacity to absorb litigation costs, it is essential for a small business to obtain legal protections when working with other companies.

Brent Coon of Brent Coon & Associates

Brent Coon Buys Powerball Tickets for BP Execs

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Brent Coon, founder of Brent Coon & Associates of Beaumont, bought Powerball tickets for BP executives so winnings can help compensate clients harmed by Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Joe Jamail

Joe Jamail Revised Will Six Months Before Death

By Miriam Rozen |

Six months prior to his death on Dec. 23, 2015, the legendary Texas plaintiff lawyer Joe Jamail revised his will.

Allstate Files Fraud Suit Against Edinburg Lawyer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Insurance company seeks injunction to prevent Edinburg lawyer Richard Kent Livesay and his firm from falsely claiming that they represent homeowners in property damage claims.

Lisa Africk c/o Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker, New Orleans LA.

Wilson Elser Opens New Orleans Office With Burleson Alumni

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Lisa Africk, formerly of Burleson LLP, and an associate joined Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker's new New Orleans office.

Criminal defense lawyer Kevin D. Fine

Former Judge Arrested for Alleged Meth Possession

By Angela Morris |

During an undercover sting, Boerne solo Kevin D. Fine, who is a former Harris County district judge, was arrested for a felony offense for possessing methamphetamine.

Is Co-defendant Responsible for Deceased Lawyer's Malpractice Damages?

By John Council |

Can a San Antonio lawyer be held responsible for his dead co-defendant's share of damages in a legal malpractice case? It's a mess of a question that the Texas Supreme Court recently sent to San Antonio's Fourth Court of Appeals to answer—specifically whether Oscar C. Gonzalez is responsible for all of the $77,500 in actual damages that a jury split against him and his attorney co-defendant Eric Turton.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington, D.C.

Securities and Exchange Commission Seeks $2.5M Penalties From Lawyer for Alleged Securities Fraud

By Angela Neville |

Last June a Texas lawyer was charged by the SEC for allegedly bilking his investors in relation to two securities offerings, one involving an oil and gas exploration venture and the other a fracking water filtration business deal.

Linebarger Goggan Law Firm Settles Class Action for $3.4 Million

By Angela Morris |

The settlement requires the Austin-based firm to pay $3.4 million—including nearly $904,000 in attorney fees and expenses—to settle a class action that alleged it engaged in unauthorized practice of law in California.

Judge Asked to Curb Almost $8.3M in Requested Fees in Sabine Oil's Chap. 11

By Angela Neville |

The judge in Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case has been asked to review what Wells Fargo, the first lien agent, is characterizing as excessive requested professionals fees totaling approximately $8.3 million incurred as part of what it describes as the "scorched earth litigation tactics" of the five professional firms involved in the lawsuit.

What Happens When Public Defenders, Staff Win the Lottery?

By Miriam Rozen |

With the Powerball lottery's jackpot topping $1 billion this week, the potential to win financial freedom looms in the minds of many. This lottery fever reminds us of former lottery winner Winston Shepherd, a public defender in Dallas County.

Law Firm Fights Disqualification in Oil Patch Patent Suit

By Angela Neville |

Last year, Midland-based Finalrod IP, an oil field services company, had its law firm, Matthews Lawson McCutcheon & Joseph, disqualified by U.S. District Senior Judge David Alan Ezra in connection with patent litigation over oil field equipment against defendant John Crane Production Solutions Inc. and now Finalrod is seeking to have the firm reinstated as its counsel in the case.

Fracking operation in Texas.

Will Environmental Protection Agency Revise Report About Fracking's Alleged Contamination of Water Supplies?

By Miriam Rozen |

The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Science Advisory Board produced this month a draft of proposed revisions to a 2015-issued report, and in it echoed Texas anti-fracking plaintiffs' concerns about alleged water contamination.

What Patent Disputes Mean for the Future of Biosimilars

By Tracey Davies, Michael Valek, Andrew Lin and Theo Kwong |

More fundamentally, the patent litigation framework implemented by the BPCIA has, so far, served to discourage early patent challenges.

5 Tips for Collaborating with Outside Counsel in Depositions

By Michael P. Maslanka |

GC's are not potted plants at depositions or in deposition prep. Their insights are valuable. So here are five ideas (many based on the latest in cognitive research) for them to mull over in collaborating with outside counsel.

Burleson's Pittsburgh Lawyers Quickly Find New Homes

Of the 26 lawyers who were in energy boutique Burleson LLP's Pittsburgh office when the firm announced late last year that it would be closing its doors, all but seven have found new positions in the legal field.

Richard Rose

Coats Rose Merges with Dallas Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston-based Coats Rose Yale Ryman & Lee merged Jan. 1 with Wright Ginsberg Brusilow of Dallas, forming a 107-lawyer firm.

Dallas District Attorney Susan Hawk hugs a supporter after Judge David Peeples of San Antonio dis-missed a removal petition filed against her.

Judge Dismisses Removal Case Against Dallas District Attorney

By John Council |

"This is why I love the legal system—the truth came out," Susan Hawk said after the removal petition against her was dismissed. "It's an honor to do this job and I'm not going to let my mental illness keep me from doing that."

Houston solo Brian W. Wice

Efforts to Cap Paxton Prosecutors' Fees Fail, So Far

By Angela Morris |

The judge in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's case has approved over $250,000 in payments to the special prosecutors for their pretrial work after denying the AG's efforts to cap the payments.

R. Alan York, Godwin PC.

Alan York New Managing Shareholder of Godwin PC

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

York, a shareholder in Houston and president of the firm, is now also managing shareholder and chief operating officer.

Burdened with $1B in Debt, Swift Energy Files Chap. 11

By Angela Neville |

In the final hours of 2015, Houston-based Swift Energy Company turned to Chapter 11 bankruptcy to help it deal with a crushing debt load of more than $1 billion.

56th District Judge Lonnie Cox of Galveston

Texas High Court Pauses Trial in Galveston Separation-of-Powers War

By Angela Morris |

A nuclear separation-of-powers dispute in Galveston County was recently cooled down when the Texas Supreme Court stayed an intermediate appellate court decision that favored the county's judiciary.

VerdictSearch: Landscaper Awarded for Damages to Irrigation Control Panel

On Jul. 21, a jury awarded $27,234 to a landscaping contractor that claimed a truck driver backed into its irrigation control panel at a job site and damaged it.

In Terms of Bizarre, 2015 Will Be Hard to Beat

By John G. Browning |

2015 will be remembered by those in the legal profession for many important reasons, but there are many other, lighter reasons to remember this past year, thanks to the bizarre and humorous episodes that dotted the legal landscape in 2015.

The Future of Law, Really, Is About Helping People Get out of Novel Binds

By David Oliver |

If I'm right, then it ought to be worthwhile contemplating some of the new ways people will be able to get themselves in a bind and some new ways to get out of old binds. Here are a few to consider.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Governor Accuses State Bar of Religious Discrimination in Continuing Legal Education Accreditation Battle

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Gov. Greg Abbott supports St. Mary's University School of Law in effort to rescind MCLE decision on a CLE program.

Special Report: Practice Focus—Patent Law

This year companies were plagued with problems both very old and relatively new as they tried to minimize legal and compliance risks. Evergreen problems such as corporate corruption were front and center at certain companies.

New Initiatives Ease Access to Global Patent Families

The IP5 is a forum of the five largest intellectual property offices in the world, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, Japan Patent Office, Korean Intellectual Property Office and China's State Intellectual Property Office.

Understanding Changes in U.S. Design Patent Law

When it comes to protecting one's products from copying by competitors, utility patents, trademarks and copyrights readily jump to mind.

The Biggest Risks for Companies in 2016

By Rebekah Mintzer |

This year companies were plagued with problems both very old and relatively new as they tried to minimize legal and compliance risks. Evergreen problems such as corporate corruption were front and center at certain companies.

Best Practices: Be Relational, Have Wisdom

By Anthony C. Williams |

Texas Lawyer spoke with Scarlett May, senior vice president, GC and secretary at Brinker International Inc., the Dallas-based company that owns the Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant chains, and asked her questions about best practices when dealing with outside counsel. Here are her answers, edited for style and length.

Scarlett May - general council for Brinker International - at one of their restaurants.

General Counsel of Brinker International Embraces Her New Role and New City

By Anthony C. Williams |

Not only did Scarlett May stand out for her love of reading and government affairs as a child, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer early on after witnessing her little brother being treated differently for standing out on his own in their small Tennessee hometown.

Patrice B. Childress

Newsmakers: Who Moved Where to Start the New Year?

Patrice B. Childress has been elected a partner in Beck Redden in Houston. She represents a diverse set of clients in the energy, legal, business and real estate sections.

Wayne Reaud

Wayne Reaud Moves to Dismiss Allegations He is 'Ringleader' in Civil Conspiracy

By Miriam Rozen |

A Beaumont federal court hearing scheduled on Jan. 14 motions to dismiss claims in a sprawling complaint filed by two African American plaintiffs. Their complaint alleges more than 30 defendants, motivated by racial animus, engaged in a civil conspiracy and that well-known plaintiff lawyer Wayne Reaud acted as "one of the ringleaders."

American Petroleum Institute Leader Lauds States' Role in Promoting Energy Sector

By Angela Neville |

At the recent American Petroleum Institute (API) Annual State of American Energy event in Washington, D.C., president and CEO Jack Gerard focused in his address on how the United States is currently leading the world in the energy arena with its "trifecta" of success in energy production, economic growth and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Lawyer Gets Probation in Drug Case

By Angela Morris |

Richmond solo Robert "Bob" Thomas Jr., who once faced felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, has instead pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and received probation.

Conoco Wins Over $10M in Refinery Dispute with Venezuelan Oil Company

By Angela Neville |

Houston-based ConocoPhillips Company recently was awarded over $10 million by a New York federal court in connection with its dispute related to an oil refining operation involving two former joint partners that are subsidiaries of the Venezuelan national oil company.

Susan Hawk, newly elected Dallas DA

New Removal Petition Filed Against Dallas District Attorney

By John Council |

The second amended petition filed against Dallas DA Susan Hawk's contains supporting affidavits from two former assistants that allege Hawk's paranoia and bizarre behavior paralyzed the big city prosecutor's office.

Paul Skiermont, partner in Skiermont Puckett in Dallas

Dallas Intellectual Property Firm Merges With Los Angeles Trial Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Longtime friendship between lawyers leads to merger between Skiermont Puckett of Dallas and LA commercial litigation boutique Derby Curtis.

Question of Constitutionality of Firm's Flat-Fee Contract

By Angela Morris |

A school district board of trustees facing a takeover by the Texas Education Agency entered a $300,000 flat-fee contract with a law firm to challenge the takeover. The contract now raises questions of constitutionality.

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.

Texas Lawyers' Testimony Slated in IRS v. Wylys Trial

By Miriam Rozen |

At a trial beginning this week that pits onetimeTexas billionaire Sam Wyly and his wife against the Internal Revenue System,Texas lawyers will likely play pivotal roles on the witness stand.

Rally outside the Supreme Court protesting the court's decision to uphold the federal ban on

Women Lawyers Tell Supreme Court About Their Own Abortions

More than 100 women lawyers joined in a brief to tell the U.S. Supreme Court about their own abortions and why their reproductive freedom was pivotal to their personal and professional lives. The extraordinary brief, filed Monday, was signed by former judges, law professors, law firm partners, public interest lawyers and law clerks, though none who clerked for the high court itself.

Richard L. Burleson

Burleson's Demise Caused by More than Drop in Price of Oil

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Current and former Burleson lawyers said other factors contributed to the firm's closing on Dec. 31, 2015.

Construction Law Firm Opens 3 Texas Offices

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Laterals from Ford Nassen & Baldwin in Austin, Dallas and Houston join New York-based Peckar & Abramson.

Dallas Wind Co. Scores $65M Award in Dispute with Chinese Partner

By Angela Neville |

The Dallas-based wind energy developer Tang Energy Group recently announced that it has been awarded $65 million by an arbitration panel in connection with its breach of contract dispute with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).

Akin Gump Represents Northern Tier in Merger With Western Refining

By Angela Neville |

The firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is representing Northern Tier Energy in its pending merger with Western Refining, an independent oil refiner and marketer headquartered in El Paso.

Citgo Hit with $81M Fine for 2006 Oil Spill

By Angela Neville |

Louisiana Federal Judge Richard Haik recently hiked Houston-based Citgo Petroleum Corporation's civil penalty for a massive 2006 oil spill in Louisiana from $6 million to $81 million after the case was remanded back to his court by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in Seaside Heights, N.J.

Class Suit Claims Sandy Lawyers Used Runners, Charged Improper Fees

Two Texas law firms that filed hundreds of Hurricane Sandy property damage claims have been accused in a New Jersey class action suit of paying runners to solicit clients and then charging those clients illegal fees.

Domino's Pizza Delivers Malpractice Allegations Against Former Lawyer

By Miriam Rozen |

Houston lawyer Anthony LaPorte has until Jan. 16 to ask a state district court to dispose of a malpractice law suit that his former client Domino's Pizza filed against him and his law firm earlier this year.

Texas Didn't Violate First Amendment When It Denied Film Grant, 5th Circuit Rules

By John Council |

In a ruling certain to disappoint those who want to film B-grade action movies in Texas on the cheap, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that the producers of Machete Kills don't have a First Amendment right to an incentive grant from the Texas Film Commission.

2015 Slowpoke Report: Which Federal Judges Have the Biggest Backlogs?

By John Council |

Sometimes a federal judge winds up on Texas Lawyer's annual Slowpoke Report through no fault of their own. And that's certainly the case for new U.S. District Judge Robert William "Trey" Schroeder III of Texarkana, who found himself behind on his docket almost as soon as he was sworn into office.

3 Keys for Valuing Software License Disputes

By Julie Machal-Fulks |

When a need arises, companies must carefully evaluate its license position and the potential costs associated with any deficiencies. Consider these three questions to help guide that evaluation.

Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby Charged with Sexually Assaulting a Woman

Bill Cosby was charged Wednesday with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home 12 years ago — the first criminal case brought against the comedian out of the torrent of allegations that destroyed his good-guy image as America's Dad.

Discrimination Suit Devolves Into Lawyer Fight, Accusations of Spoliation

By Miriam Rozen |

In an employment discrimination law suit, railroad company defendant alleges plaintiff and her lawyer spoiled evidence; in response, plaintiff alleges defense counsel demanded plaintiff spill out contents of her purse during her deposition.

An Airline passenger is instructed by a TSA agent while being scanned by a body scanner at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Monday, Nov. 22, 2010.

Miami Law Student Challenges Transportation Security Administration Order Involving Pat-Down Option for Travelers

A Miami law student is challenging a new Transportation Security Administration order that requires some travelers to pass through the body scanners without the option of a pat-down.

Lawyer Files Lyric-Laced Brief on Rappers' Behalf

By John Council |

Nobody would mistake square Dallas attorney Chad Baruch as a hip-hop fan. Yet the appellate lawyer has just penned one of the hottest musical amicus briefs currently being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Looking Ahead: Law School Deans Outline Goals for 2016

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas Lawyer asked deans of three Texas law schools--University of Texas School of Law, University of Houston Law Center, and Texas A&M University School of Law--to list their top institutional goals for 2016.

Christina Ponig Maccio

Judge Awards $1.47 Million in Attorney Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

When a judge knows how hard you've worked, let the bench decide attorney fees.

Texas State Bar Establishes Hotline for Tornado Victims

By Miriam Rozen |

State Bar of Texas sets up a hotline to connect storm victims with legal aid providers

Contrasting Volkswagen Fraud With Other Auto Debacles

By Anna Eby |

No reports have yet linked VW's actions to deaths or injuries, as happened with the General Motors ignition switch debacle and the Takata exploding airbag recall. VW just cheated on a test. Why does this matter enough to put one of the largest global automakers in danger of losing everything?

Joe Jamail

Joe Jamail: In His Own Words

By Miriam Rozen |

During the decades he towered over the Texas plaintiffs bar, the late Joe Jamail uttered some memorable lines.

Racist Graffiti Factors in $4M Factory Settlement

By John Council |

With plenty of racist graffiti as evidence and the backing of federal agency, 75 African-American workers at a Texas Sara Lee factory recently forced a $4 million employment discrimination settlement against Hillshire Brands, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods.

Parties Settle for $60K in Double Rear-Ender

On Oct. 28, a driver who claimed shoulder, back and neck injuries agreed to $60,750 with two defendants. Linda Saenz was driving south on Staples Street in Corpus Christi. She was rear-ended by a vehicle owned by Tanja Noever, who was then rear-ended by Brandon Williams.

J. Thomas Rhodes

Sandra Bland Civil Case Triggers Discovery Dispute, Barbs

By Miriam Rozen |

In a federal civil rights law suit pitting Sandra Bland's mother against Waller County, the two sides are disputing discovery obligations and trading barbs.

Exxon Mobil headquarters in downton Houston, Texas.

Exxon Fights 1937 Decree in Order to Use 'ESSO' Trademark

By Angela Neville |

Currently, ExxonMobil is involved in a federal trademark case in which the oil services company is seeking to have the court set aside a 78-year-old permanent injunction that enjoined the company from using the trademark ESSO in the marketing of petroleum products in fifteen states.

Tallion Taylor, partner, Rippy & Taylor, Round Rock

Round Rock Lawyer Charged With Possessing Child Porn

By Angela Morris |

A criminal defense and juvenile law attorney has been arrested and charged with possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony.

Another Bizarre Twist in Lawyers' Barratry Saga

By Angela Morris |

MaryAnn Uribe, who sued two lawyers for barratry and filed a report to have them indicted for barratry, recently learned that she won a $25,000 scholarship from one of the biggest pornography websites on the Internet.

Attorney General's Opinion Unclear on Legality of Courthouse Gun Bans

By Angela Morris |

"As long as the judges have written findings that the entire courthouse building is used for the offices and business of the court, then I think we can continue to keep the sign up and keep handguns out."

red card

2015 Top Ten Troubled Lawyers, Judges in Texas

By John Council |

Of the 90,000 lawyers and judges in Texas, all are sworn to uphold the law and abide by a code of ethics. Most live by the rules. But some aren't up to the task and end up arrested, indicted, convicted, or otherwise disciplined for their conduct during the course of a year. 2015 seems to be a particularly bountiful year for attorneys and judges who got in big trouble.

James Rodney Gilstrap, U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall

Gilstrap Slams Patent Plaintiff In Big Ruling

By John Council |

As the nation's busiest patent judge, U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap has reviewed thousands of infringement claims but had yet to find one that was so baseless it warranted forcing the plaintiff pay for the defendants' attorney fees. But now the Eastern District of Texas judge has found a litigant that's crossed the line.

Donald T. Hueske , Of Counsel , Steptoe & Johnson, Office: The Woodlands, Houston .

New Law Lets O&G Leases Survive Mortgage Foreclosures

By Angela Neville |

Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the recently passed Texas House Bill 2207 amends the current law relating to the foreclosure sale of property subject to an oil or gas lease and provides that, if a mortgage is foreclosed, and if an oil and gas lease covering the property was entered into after the mortgage, the oil and gas lease remains in effect and is not cut off by the foreclosure.

See Who is on the Move

Kris Alborz has joined the family law boutique of Orsinger, Nelson, Downing and Anderson as an associate in its Dallas office.

Joe Jamail, Houston's Jamail & Kolius, Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achiever, Litigation Department of the Year, 2014

Losing A Legend: Joe Jamail Remembered

By Angela Morris |

Legendary Texas lawyer Joe Jamail, known as the "King of Torts," passed away on Dec. 23 from complications from pneumonia, according to news reports.

A sign marks the location of the Whole Women's Health of Fort Worth clinic, Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Supreme Court To Hear Arguments on Texas Abortion Restrictions Case in March

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments March 2 in the challenge to Texas' restrictions on abortion clinics—the first major abortion argument before the justices in eight years.

Identifying the Legal Boundaries of Employer's GPS Use

By Caleena Svatek |

hen using GPS tracking systems to track employee travel routes, recorded work time, safety, efficiency, and productivity, employers must ensure and be able to demonstrate that there is a legitimate business rationale for intruding on an employee's privacy.

TBLS Celebrates 40 Years of Board Certification

By Angela Morris |

Forty years ago on New Year's Eve, the first group of Texas lawyers who proved they were experts in an area of law won official recognition through the first board certifications.

William R. Keffer, the visiting associate professor of practice and director of the energy law lecture series at Texas Tech University School of Law in Lubbock

New $1.24 Billion Partnership to Acquire Oil and Gas Assets

By Angela Neville |

Houston-based Hilcorp recently announced it had formed a a new $1.24 billion partnership with private equity firm Carlyle Group to acquire and develop North American oil and gas properties.

Federal Judge Denies Motion to Compel Sandra Bland's Mom to Produce Medical Records

By Miriam Rozen |

A Houston federal judge denied Waller County's motion to compel the mother of Sandra Bland to produce her daughter's medical and mental health records.

sunset

Sunset Advisory Commission Surveys Lawyers on State Bar

By Angela Morris |

The Sunset Advisory Commission has sent a survey to lawyers and legal organizations to seek feedback about the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Board of Law Examiners. People can complete the survey through Dec. 28.

Interest Rate Hike is Good for Legal Aid Organizations

By Angela Morris |

News of the U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates came as a sort of Christmas gift for civil legal aid organizations.

Insurers Found Liable for Exxon's $4 Million Plant Blast Settlement

By Angela Neville |

The recent ruling by the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in the case involving injured workers suing oil giant ExxonMobil is instructive for insurance companies doing business in Texas that provide insurance coverage for high-risk operations in the petrochemical business.

Michael Smith, partner, Siebman, Burg, Phillips & Smith, Marshall

State Bar Subcommittee Picks President-Elect Nominees

By Angela Morris |

East Texas intellectual property litigator Michael Smith will likely square off against North Texas family law attorney Tom Vick Jr. in the 2016 race for State Bar of Texas president-elect.

The Financial Hardship Exception to the Collateral Source Rule

By Quentin Brogdon |

The "collateral source rule" in Texas actually is two distinct, but related common law rules—a rule of evidence and a rule of damages. As a rule of evidence, it prevents the defendant in a personal injury case from introducing evidence that any part of the plaintiff's damages was paid by a collateral source. As a rule of damages, it prevents any offset of the plaintiff's recovery by the amount of damages paid by a collateral source.

Does Repealed Law Make for a High Court Free-for-All?

By John Council |

Texas Supreme Court candidates used to have to clear a big hurdle in the Texas Election Code before qualifying for the primary election ballot—one that frankly made it a pain to run for the state's highest court.

J. Kirby Barry

Burleson Team in Houston Sticking Together

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A group of Burleson lawyers from Houston, and one from New Orleans, will form Barry Conge Harris on Jan. 1, 2016.

Magnum Hopeful in Bankruptcy Despite $1 Billion in Debt

By Angela Neville |

Magnum Hunter Resources Corporation recently announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in Delaware and that to fund its operations during its bankruptcy, the company's lenders have agreed to provide up to $200 million in financing.

Eastern District of Texas Judge Issues Sanctions, May Lead to $50K in Attorney Fees

By Miriam Rozen |

In a breach-of-contract dispute, a Sherman federal judge issued sanctions after determining that hospital acquisition companies had not followed discovery rules particular to the Eastern District of Texas.

Firm Asks Court to Confirm $287K Fee Award

By Angela Morris |

An Austin firm that won more than a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid attorney fees and costs from a man and woman during an arbitration proceeding has now filed a lawsuit to ask a district court to confirm its award.

Lawyer Wins Judgment Against Firm Over Pay

By Angela Morris |

A Travis County judge has ruled that Mark R. Mueller and his firm, Mueller Law, are jointly and severally liable to John Fabry for his claims of breach of contract, promissory estoppel, quantum meruit and unjust enrichment.

Roger Higgins, Partner, Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, Dallas.

Thompson Coe Will Open New Orleans Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas-based Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons will open an office in New Orleans on Jan. 1, 2016 with laterals from Burleson LLP, which is closing on Dec. 31.

Tom Phillips

Andrews Kurth Will Mediate With Former Client in January

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Tom Phillips, former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, will preside over the mediation between Andrews Kurth and a former client over a 200 million verdict against the Houston-based firm.

John Meredith will become the new Executive Director of Beck Redden LLP.

Beck Redden Hires Lawyer as New Executive Director

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

John Meredith, who has practiced law, managed nonprofits and worked as business manager at a firm, takes new job at Houston litigation firm.

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."

Philip Fraissinet

Thompson & Horton to Kick Off 2016 With New Dallas Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The school law/public law boutique will add a third office in Texas on Jan. 1, 2016 with four lateral hires.

Winstead Represents New Majority Owner of Houston Dynamo

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Winstead, along with California firm Ervin Cohen & Jessup, represented a group led by Gabriel Brener in its purchase of a majority interest in the MLS team in Houston.

Three judges reviewing case

Three-Judge Court Rules Take Shape

By Angela Morris |

If the Texas Supreme Court remands the school finance case to district court, a new state law and proposed court rules would allow the attorney general to request a three-judge district court to replace the former court.

Stephen Pezanosky is an attorney at HaynesBoone in Dallas.

Bankruptcy Lawyers Report Workflow Increase, Embrace Novel Out-of-Court Deals

By Miriam Rozen |

"We are at the point after a number of years of contraction within our practice of actually looking in the other direction," Stephen Pezanosky, a Haynes and Boone bankruptcy partner said.

Socially Unacceptable? Ethical Issues in Lawyers' Use of Social Media

By John G. Browning |

Despite a slew of ethics opinions and high-profile sanctions on everything from contacting represented parties via Facebook to instructing clients to delete damaging online content, attorneys are still getting into trouble resulting from their misuse of social media.

Anthony

Buzbee Wins $41 Million Verdict in Spider Bite Death Case

By Miriam Rozen |

After a six-day long trial, Tony Buzbee's client, the estate of Jose Flores, a seaman who died after being bitten by a spider while working on a vessel, won a $41 million jury verdict against the company that operated the ship.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

Federal Trade Commission to Review Proposed $37.7B Pipeline Merger

By Angela Neville |

Dallas-based Energy Transfer Equity's (ETE) proposed $37.7 billion merger with The Williams Companies, which is based in Oklahoma, is to be reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Like in Boxing, A Longer Reach is Advantageous in Choosing Venue on Non-Competes

By Alan Bush and Lee Winkelman |

Thanks to the Fifth Circuit, Texas companies now have more ammo to pick Texas law (and venue) in non-competes and non-solicits for employees who work out-of-state.

Texas plumber Mark Oberholtzer never imagined his small company, Mark-I Plumbing,  would become the subject of international news coverage and endless jokes. He sold a 2005 Ford F-250 bearing his company’s name and phone number to AutoNation Ford Gulf Freeway in Houston. For reasons that remain unclear, the decal was not removed and the vehicle made its way to Syria, where jihadis equipped it with a massive gun and appeared with it in photos and video footage circulated online.

Plumber Hopes to Distance Himself from Jihadist Truck in Lawsuit

By John Council |

"Mark was not going to really pursue anything—he's a plumber," said Craig Eiland, a Galveston plaintiff attorney who a plaintiff suing an auto dealer after his trade-in truck fell into jihadist hands in Syria and photos of it went viral. "But he finally realized there is no eraser on the Internet."

Police Reveal Details, Seize Evidence in Judge Shooting Case

By Angela Morris |

Austin police have seized a bevy of evidence from a suspect in last month's shooting attack on 390th District Judge Julie Kocurek. The search warrants reveal many details about Kocurek's Nov. 6 shooting.

Oil Patch Dispute: $250K in Attorney Fees Fail to Stick

By Miriam Rozen |

In a recent ruling in oil patch litigation, 281st District Judge Sylvia Matthews rejected a jury's findings of breach of contract and violation of Texas securities law--and thereby stripped a plaintiff of the panel's award of $250,000 of attorney fees.

Does Having a Daughter = More Socially Responsible?

By Mike Maslanka |

Do you have a daughter? Then you will be interested in the article "CEOs With Daughters Run More Socially Responsible Firms" in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review. Bottom line: Research reveals that when a firm is led by a CEO with a daughter, it scores an average of 11.9 percent higher on CSR(Corporate Social Responsibility) metrics and spent 13.4 percent more of its net income on CSR than the median.

Committee Considers Time Goals for Criminal Courts

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee is planning to convene a task force to begin drafting time standards for courts to aspire to when disposing of criminal cases. But it's not clear if the SCAC will adopt the timelines.

Committee Would Expand Attorney-Client Privilege

By Angela Morris |

Parties with a common interest in civil litigation may soon have an expanded privilege to shield their discussions from discovery by the other side.

Judge Will Order Mediation in Big Legal Malpractice Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston judge said he will order mediation between Andrews Kurth and a former client who won a $200 million verdict against the Houston-based firm.

Ken Paxton

Judge: No Merit in Paxton's Dismissal Arguments

By Angela Morris |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's felony cases for alleged securities law violations will move forward after a judge rejected his 10 attempts to have his prosecution tossed out.

Ilana Saltzbart is an environmental litigation partner in King & Spalding’s Washington, D.C. office, and is a member of the firm’s tort and environmental practice.

Smog-Busting Rules Could Drive Costly Upgrades at Texas Power Plants

By Angela Neville |

The EPA recently finalized a plan for Texas to address serious air pollution that is negatively impacting visibility at the Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains National Parks in Texas, which will probably require pollution reductions from a number of Texas power plants.

Winning Litigators Share What They Learned in 2015

By Miriam Rozen |

"Litigators tend to do what they are comfortable with rather than considering different options for obtaining even better results and I think that's a mistake. Take time to read other people's ideas and solutions to problems and see if there is a place for new ideas in what you are doing."

Year in Review: Bankruptcy—Third-Party Release

By Thomas Scannell |

A disputed issue this year, one in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit appears to hold a minority view, concerns the propriety of a "third-party release" through a chapter 11 plan.

Year in Review: Health Care Law

By Sabena S. Talati |

The medical malpractice landscape changed for litigants in the wake of tort reform, and again in Texas West Oaks v. Williams, when the Texas Supreme Court allowed claims by certain non-patients as health care liability claims (HCLCs) under Chapter 74, spurring litigation over whether non-patient injuries that occurred at a health care facility are HCLCs.

Year in Review: Energy Law

By Christopher S. Kulander |

In 2015 Texas oil and gas law continued to evolve. The 84th Legislature passed HB 40, curtailing the power of local authorities to regulate oil and gas development, so state law and agency regulations now typically preempt local control.

Year in Review: Criminal Law—Criminal Justice Reform

By Jason Steed |

The major criminal-justice-reform bill that looked so promising last October has stalled in the U.S. Senate. But 2015 was still a big year for developments in federal criminal law.

Year in Review: Family Law

By Brad LaMorgese |

It is rare that a United States Supreme Court ruling will impact Texas Family Law, but this year, it did so in a big way with its June 26 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, involving a same-sex couple in Ohio who challenged their state's refusal to recognize same-sex marriage on death certificates.

Waco Federal Judge Reprimanded for Sexual Harassment

By John Council |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reprimanded U.S. District Judge Walter Smith of Waco for making "inappropriate, unwanted physical and non-physical sexual advances" toward a court employee in 1998 and stopped his new case assignments for one year as punishment.

2015 Tongue-in-Cheek Awards

By Mary Alice Robbins |

$6.5M Lien Against Judge Gets Man 10 Years in Prison

By John Council |

Richard Kuniansky, a Houston attorney who represents Tyrone Eugene Jordan, believes the sentence is too harsh. "He never threatened anybody nor has he done so at any time during his life. I feel very strongly that we are going to receive some relief regarding the sentencing.''

Year in Review: Insurance Law

By Mark L. Kincaid |

The biggest insurance news is what almost happened, but didn't, but still might. At the urging of insurance companies and "tort reform" lobbyists, the Texas Legislature considered a pair of bills that would have limited recovery for property damage claims, allowed insurers to force suits into federal court, and immunized insurance company adjusters from liability for unfairly low estimates, while criminalizing excessive estimates by policyholders and their public adjusters.

Year in Review: Immigration Law

By Karen Chong |

As the U.S. baby boomer population ages and millions of uninsured Americans obtain new health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, our national medical needs continue to increase.

Year in Review: Intellectual Property

By Jason Cassady |

The substantive developments in patent law during 2015 included three U.S. Supreme Court decisions that offer important insights for attorneys on both sides of the patent litigation docket, in addition to key rulings issued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Year in Review: Labor & Employment

By Nancy Morrison O'Connor |

The U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, recently ruled that security guards' "off-the-clock" meal periods may become compensable when they were required to travel from their work stations to eat.

Year in Review: Litigation

By Paige Montgomery |

Effective April 2015, the Texas Supreme Court amended the Texas Rules of Evidence. Practitioners will be happy to hear that the rules were generally restyled to make them easier to read and as consistent as possible with the Federal Rules without changing Texas evidence law.

Year in Review: Real Estate

By Bob Burton |

House Bill 1455 (84R) added two new sections to Chapter 82 of the Texas Property Code (the Texas Uniform Condominium Act).

Year in Review: Cybersecurity

By Sheryl A. Falk |

In 2015, legislation and court decisions across the United States have tightened up information security standards and enhanced regulation and litigation arising out of data security incidents and breaches.

Houston HERO Defeat Doesn't Mean End of Discrimination Protections for LGBT

By Jackie Ford |

While the defeat of HERO eliminates one set of local rules related to employment of LGBT workers, federal statutes are increasingly being interpreted to provide similar benefits.

Tony Buzbee, founder, The Buzbee Law Firm, Houston

Buzbee Only Wins Modest Verdict Against BP Following Contentious Trial

By Miriam Rozen |

"Mr. Buzbee—how many times has he used the word 'liar'?" BP defense lawyer Kenneth Tekell asked jurors rhetorically during his closing. "If you don't have a case, if you have fallen flat on your face in a lawsuit, your best method of winning, as I have seen from other lawyers through the years, is to start calling everybody on the other side liars," Tekell then told the jurors.

Mike Perrin. Handout Photo 12-11-2015

New Job at UT Like a Homecoming for Houston Lawyer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mike Perrin, a Houston lawyer just named men's athletic director for the University of Texas at Austin, played football for the university for three years in the 1960s.

Family Feud: Texas High Court Hears Oil and Gas Royalty Fight

By Angela Neville |

The case Hysaw v. Dawkins is up on appeal before the Texas Supreme Court and involves a legal dispute that has a number of Ethel Hysaw's descendants battling one another over the correct interpretation of Hysaw's 1947 will, which conveys lucrative mineral interests to her children.

Lawyer Sues Over Broken Promise of Equity

By Angela Morris |

A Florida lawyer has sued a Central Texas business, claiming that it lured him to contribute over seven months of labor and legal expertise by promising him equity in the business, but then reneged on the promise.

Yodit Tewolde

Texas Lawyer's Top 10 Stories for 2015 [SLIDESHOW]

See the top 10 articles viewed online this year. The list is rated by number of page views on www.texaslawyer.com between Jan. 1 and Dec. 7.

2015 Texas Lawyer Year in Review

Our Year in Review includes the top substantive law developments in 2015, the Tongue-in-Cheek Awards and our top stories of the year.

Hope Shimabuku, an intellectual property lawyer who is senior legal counsel at Research in Motion Corp. in Irving, chairs the Dallas Diversity Task Force

Meet the Dallas Patent and Trademark Office's First Director

By John Council |

Last month, the ribbon was cut for the new Texas Regional U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Dallas. And next month it will get its first director, Hope Shimabuku, who comes from the office of General Counsel at the Xerox Corporation.

Dallas Lawyer Takes Helm of Texas Trial Lawyers Association

By Angela Morris |

"My vision ... is the mission of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association," Jeffrey Simon said. "To protect the civil justice system and in particular, what I consider the lifeblood of the civil justice system, which is the right to trial by jury."

Employers Should Brace for Salary Level Test Changes

By Kimberly S. Moore |

Rather than focusing on predictions, employers should proceed with proper preparation and planning.

Devon To Pay $1.9B for New Oil Plays

By Angela Neville |

Devon Energy recently announced it has agreed to acquire 80,000 net surface acres, with up to 10 prospective zones, in the Anadarko Basin STACK play in Oklahoma from privately held Felix Energy, a portfolio company of EnCap Investments, for $1.9 billion.

Appellate Lawyer Tweets Offer of Pro Bono Help to Syrian Refugees

By Miriam Rozen |

Jason Steed: "Frankly, the outrageousness of the state's actions is what motivated me."

Ex-Client Sues Mostyn Law Firm, Four Lawyers

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Rankin Road, a Harris County company, alleges the Mostyn Law Firm and four lawyers mishandled a coverage suit seeking payment for damages caused by Hurricane Ike.

Scott Powers c/o Baker Botts, Austin TX.

Litigator of the Week: $50M Final Judgment for Stanford Receiver

By Miriam Rozen |

For Baker Botts' Scott Powers, however, a victory against former treasury manager who worked with Stanford didn't appear assured, in part because the dollar figures at stake were so large. "You are seeking a large judgment against a defendant that obviously doesn't have the resources. That is a challenge when it comes to selling your case to the jury," Powers said.

John Da Grosa Smith

Lawyer Withdraws, Fights Sanctions in Al Hill III Case

By John Council |

"We believe that this litigation should come to an end, Al should be able to move on with his life and that the final judgment does not require the court to supervise Al in perpetuity," said John Da Grosa Smith, now one of the more than 30 former lawyers of Albert Hill III.

Is it Time to Deep Six the Idea of a Non-Compete?

By Michael P. Maslanka |

An interesting post by blogger/lawyer Leiza Dolghih, popped up in her June 22 blog post, North Texas Legal News: "What You Should Know About Non-Compete Agreements in Your Industry."

Former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling

No More Public Company CEO Jobs for Jeff Skilling

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A federal judge, in granting a summary judgment in a civil suit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed against former Enron Corp. CEO Jeffrey Skilling, signed a judgment prohibiting him from acting as officer or director in any public company.

Gordon Quan

Houston Immigration Lawyer v. The Donald

By Miriam Rozen |

"Under immigration law, the government can deny anyone entry for a multitude of reasons at our ports of entry without benefit of the protections afforded by the Constitution. Let's start with Trump's wife a naturalized citizen from a country with a large Muslim population," Gordon Quan wrote in an email.

Graig Alvarez

Texas High Court Limits Insurance Coverage for Bad Refinery Equipment

By Angela Neville |

Currently, Houston-based U.S. Metals, which provides refineries with piping components, is in a lawsuit that centers on whether its commercial general liability insurance policy covers the company's installation of defective flanges at an ExxonMobil refinery processing unit.

Harriett O'Neill

Bickel & Brewer Disqualification Rejected by High Court

By John Council |

"It confirms that the disciplinary rules mean what they say; lawyers can investigate the facts of their cases by talking to a litigation opponent's former nonlegal employees," said Harriet O'Neill of the appellate decision, which may allow a Dallas law firm to continue representing her client at trial.

Texas Indigent Defense Commission Touts Criminal-Defense Mentoring Programs

By Angela Morris |

It's hard for young criminal-defense lawyers to gain enough experience to become eligible for indigent defense appointments. Mentoring programs can help, according to the Texas Indigent Defense Commission.

Appeals Court Judge: CCA Should Redo Court Cost Decision

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Justice Terry Jennings of the First Court of Appeals in Houston said a decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals defies logic and should be overturned.

Weathering the 'Stages of Grief' Isn't as Easy as 1,2,3

By James Dolan |

Until a person has her own experience of profound grief, the so called Grief Process is most often seen as a kind of emotional conveyor belt at the end of which she rolls off, neatly wrapped and ready to resume normal life. Grief as lived simply does not work this way.

Lisa Blue.

Q&A with Lisa Blue, 'Hillblazer' for the Clinton Campaign

Lisa Blue has always been captivated by politics. Her late husband, Fred Baron, a prominent trial lawyer in Dallas, was a Democratic fundraiser who played key roles in the presidential campaigns of John Edwards. Baron died in 2008. Blue's involvement in politics became more pronounced this past year after serving as president of the American Association for Justice, the nation's largest plaintiffs bar organization. Blue, who ended her tenure this summer, is now an influential fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. She talks with the NLJ about her support for Clinton and about legal issues for the 2016 election.

Plaintiff Lawyer's Walkout of Deposition Leads to Sanctions

By Miriam Rozen |

If she had the opportunity to rewind and replay the scene, plaintiff lawyer T Nguyen of the Turley Law Firm in Dallas said she would again exit a deposition before its conclusion, as she did two months ago.

How Prejudicial Are Criminal Convictions to Plaintiffs in Civil Trials?

By Quentin Brogdon |

Civil trial lawyers view criminal convictions like bombs. They damage the direct target, the convicted witness or party, but also cause massive collateral damage to the entire case.

Client, Houston Firm, Settle Contingent Fee Dispute

By Angela Morris |

Due to a settlement, a judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who claimed that a Houston firm got him to sign a legal contract during a visit to his hospital room shortly after a car accident.

Prosecutor Misconduct Prompts Court to Bar Second Trial

By Angela Morris |

Houston prosecutor Tiffany Johnson intentionally forced defense lawyer Stanley Schneider to ask the court for a mistrial—which was granted—because of the risk that the jury was going to acquit a criminal defendant.

Judge Cuts Andarko Slack with $159.5M Fine for Deepwater Spill

When does a $159.5 million fine not look so bad? When the judge could have legally slapped the defendant with a $3.5 billion fine.

These Cases Show Discrimination Law Still Evolving

By Vianei Lopez Braun |

Employers often fail to realize that routine and innocuous personnel actions—such as letting go a bad employee tor a temp, or negotiating salary with a new hire—can lead to serious discrimination claims.

U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Department of Justice Targets Police Hiring Practices in Lubbock

By Miriam Rozen |

The Civil Rights Division for the U.S. Department of Justice filed a discrimination lawsuit against Lubbock, alleging the city showed a pattern and practice of bias against women and Hispanics when it used a physical fitness test and written examination to screen applicants for its police force.

Disbarment Sought for Lawyer's Bank Fraud Conviction

By Angela Morris |

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline recently filed a disciplinary petition against Anirudh Sarwal, alleging that he committed an intentional and serious crime under the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure.

Thomas Warren

Sutherland Handles Wind, Gas and Oil Deals

It's been a busy fall for Sutherland Asbill & Brennan's energy practice. The firm has handled three energy deals—in wind, natural gas and oil—with lawyers from its Atlanta headquarters, Houston, Washington and New York that have been announced since November.

State Withdraws Motion to Block Syrian Refugees, Still Wants Hearing

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A group of federal agencies and a resettlement agency file oppositions to Texas' request for court orders to prevent Syrian refugees from resettling in Texas.

Suit Seeks to Improve Conditions for Zoo Elephant

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A team of pro bono lawyers represent three San Antonio zoo-goers who filed a lawsuit to improve living conditions for 55-year-old Asian elephant named Lucky.

Riverstone Holdings Commits $250M to Dallas O&G Co.

By Angela Neville |

In a successful move, Rover Petroleum, a newly formed Dallas-based oil and gas company, recently obtained $250 million in equity funding from the private equity firm Riverstone Holdings.

State Bar Seeks Rep. Reynolds' Suspension, Disbarment

By Angela Morris |

The Commission for Lawyer Discipline has filed for compulsory discipline against Rep. Ron Reynolds, asking the Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals to suspend his law license as he appeals his five convictions for misdemeanor barratry.

County Seeks Sandra Bland's Medical Records

By Miriam Rozen |

In a Dec. 1 filed reply supporting its motion to compel Reed-Veal to produce the records, the county argues that the mother has "not provided complete disclosures, responded to requests or production, or produced a single document in the case." She has "refused to either produce, or to provide authorizations to release, Sandra Bland's medical and mental health records," states the county motion.

Ken Paxton

Lawyer Bickering in Paxton Case Rare In Criminal Law

By Angela Morris |

The latest pleadings in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's felony case have devolved to include nasty attacks and harsh rhetoric between the special prosecutors and Paxton's defense lawyers, which is rare in criminal cases.

Fighting Words: Lawyers Don't Hold Back in Paxton Pleadings

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors "are under the misguided belief that sound bites and quotes from fictional characters somehow trump Texas law and documented facts," said one Paxton pleading.

Roland Garcia

Survey: Slight Increase of Minority Lawyers at Big Firms in Texas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

As of July 1, 14.4 percent of the lawyers in Texas at 20 of the largest firms are minority lawyers, up from 14 percent a year before.

Milton Colia, partner, Kemp Smith, El Paso (deceased)

Texas Association of Defense Counsel President Remembered as Genuine, Kind

By Angela Morris |

"He was just the template for what every great lawyer should be on the defense side of the docket," said plaintiffs attorney Guy Choate about deceased TADC President Milton Colia.

U.S. Supreme Court Grants States' Extension in Immigration Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas and 25 other states battling the Obama administration about immigration reform won from the U. S. Supreme Court only eight extra days, until Dec. 29, to file their response to an appeal filed by Department of Justice lawyers, according to SCOTUS blog. Typically, the high court allows for a 30-day extension.

The Texas Power Market: An Industry in Flux

By Natalie Regoli and Brian Polley |

The number of Texas providers has more than doubled since 2004, leading to a competitive power market where companies jockey for market share, race to provide cheap service, and offer perks to try and boost customer loyalty.

Dallas Solar Panel Company Agrees to $8.5M Judgment in AG Suit

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Attorney General's Office recently filed an agreed final judgment and permanent injunction that resolves the state's legal action against 1SolTech Inc. and its three principals that alleged the company mislead consumers about its solar products.

Rep. Reynolds Crowdfunding Money for Barratry Appeal

By Angela Morris |

Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, recently convicted of misdemeanor barratry, has crowdfunded more than $1,400 to help pay for his appeal. He's also fighting to be allowed to practice law during his appeal.

How To Make a Successful Offer of Proof in Litigation

By Patrick Zummo and David Bissinger |

Judges rarely begrudge a professional offer of proof, and if the court knows you will present effective offers, the court may give second thought to the pending ruling or later rulings.

Lawyers Battling Disciplinary Suits Alleging Barratry

By Angela Morris |

Recent disciplinary lawsuits claim that a San Antonio lawyer committed barratry by paying a nonlawyer to improperly solicit immigration clients, and her supervising partner permitted the conduct. Both lawyers deny it.

Mikal Watts' Criminal Trial Slated for Feb. 1, 2016

By Miriam Rozen |

A federal court has scheduled Mikal Watts' criminal trial to start Feb. 1, 2016. By that date, only three months will have passed since federal prosecutors unsealed an indictment against Watts, a well-known San Antonio plaintiff lawyer, who faces allegations that he knowingly stole the identities of people by claiming he represented them in civil litigation against BP Exploration & Production.

Deal of the Week: Two Big Mattress Companies to Combine

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Norton Rose Fulbright represents Houston-based Mattress Firm in its pending acquisition of Sleepy's.

Dallas Lawyer Recounts VirginAmerica Flight Ban

By Miriam Rozen |

Revolving doors can create awkward moments. But Robert "Bobby" Abtahi, a Dallas solo practitioner, first generation American and the son of immigrants who came to this country from Iran, didn't know how much awkwardness could come from a revolving door encounter until this week.

U.S. Supreme Court Won't Review Veterinarian's Free-Speech Claim

By Miriam Rozen |

Veterinarian Ron Hines challenged a Texas law making it illegal for him to give advice online or telephone instructions without a prior physical examination of an animal. Given the defeat, Hines' lawyer said during Texas lawmakers' next session: "We will pursue legislative reforms."

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.

Directors Win Fiduciary Duty Fight Over O&G Leases

By Angela Neville |

In the case The Huff Energy Fund v. Longview Energy Company recently reviewed by the Texas Fourth Court of Appeals, the Longview Energy Company lost its fight against two of its directors and others for alledgedly breaching their fiduciary obligations by taking a corporate opportunity that belonged to Longview.

Law Prof: CLE Accreditation Nixed for Catholic Message

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

St. Mary's University School of Law and a Catholic lawyers group has appealed a notification from a State Bar of Texas CLE accrediting committee that would deny accreditation to a faith-based CLE.

Discovering Cash Flow Statements

By Jeff Compton |

As the size and complexity of a firm grows, the ability to identify what money (i.e. cash) came and went during a period becomes more daunting.

Marquette Wolf. Ted Lyon & Associates, Mesquite, Texas.

Litigator of the Week: Former Worker Wins $2.24M Against Tyson Foods

By Miriam Rozen |

A meatpacking worker alleged he sustained a back injury at a Tyson Foods, Inc. workplace and won on Nov. 20 a $2.24 million jury verdict in Sherman federal court against the company, Marquette Wolf, who represents the plaintiff, said.

Kirkland's Fee Request in Ch. 11 Case Challenged by U.S. Trustee

By Angela Neville |

The U.S. Trustee Andrew N. Vara recently requested that U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher S. Sontchi deny the fee request of the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, one of the law firms representing Samson Resources Corp., in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and cited a recent U.S. Supreme Court case to support of his position.

Diversified Energy Practices Survive Dip in Prices

Nearing the end of a year when gas prices dropped significantly and oil-and-gas-related title work opportunities became fewer, Pennsylvania energy attorneys said there is still work to be had in the market.

Kinder Morgan Seeks Approval of $5B Pipeline Project in New England

By Angela Neville |

The Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, which is a subsidiary of the Houston-based Kinder Morgan, recently filed a certificate application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for its proposed $5 billion Northeast Energy Direct Project.

ATP Consents to $41M Settlement Over Gulf Contamination Claims

By Angela Neville |

Houston-based ATP Oil & Gas Corporation (ATP O&G) and its subsidiary, ATP Infrastructure Partners, (ATP-IP) recently seized a chance to settle a civil environmental enforcement action brought against them by the federal government on the grounds of polluting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Burleson: Firm Ran Better When I Owned 100 Percent of It

By John Council and katelyn polantz |

Houston-based Burleson grew from two lawyers to 140, but this week it announced it would close at the end of the year.

Leane Capps, Shareholder, Polsinelli, Dallas, Texas

Dallas Lawyer Elected Chair of Bench/Bar Group

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Leane Capps, a shareholder in Polsinelli in Dallas, was recently elected chair of the Council of Appellate Lawyers.

John Grand, Partner, Vinson & Elkins, Dallas

2015 Managing Partners Survey

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

In 2015 Texas Lawyer Managing Partners Survey, some Texas firm leaders expect energy work to grow in 2016, and some expect a decline.

Schlumberger's Suit over Alleged Trade Secret Theft Goes to Texas Supreme Court

By Angela Neville |

The Texas Supreme Court recently consented to review a a petition for a writ of mandamus filed in December 2014 by a Schlumberger subsidiary, M-I LLC, d/b/a M-I SWACO, related to ruling in a trade secrets dispute against National Oilwell Varco in a Harris County District Court.

Justice Michael Massengale

Houston Judge to Take On Sitting High Court Justice

By John Council |

It's not often that a Republican on an intermediate appellate court looks up and decides to run against an incumbent on Texas' all-GOP Texas Supreme Court, as gubernatorial appointment is the more common and preferred path to that career advancement.

Richard L. Burleson

Burleson: Firm Ran Better When I Owned 100 Percent of It

By John Council |

Houston-based Burleson grew from two lawyers to 140, but this week it announced it would close at the end of the year.

As Year Ends, These Wacky Episodes Are Proof That Law is Never Dull

By John G. Browning |

These wacky episodes the legal system provides are proof that there's never a dull moment when it comes to law.

Vessels equipped with water cannons try to fight the devastating Deepwater Horizon fire.

Deepwater Horizon Defendant Wins Big Insurance Ruling

By John Council |

In a big insurance decision, the Fifth Circuit ruled recently that an insurer breached a $50 million contract by denying coverage to the manufacturer of the blowout preventer used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

How Can Social Media Benefit Non-Celebrity Lawyers?

By Steve Thomas |

Arguably America's best-known attorney, President Barack Obama, has only five million Twitter followers, and the lawyer who is the Democratic front-runner contending for his job—Hillary Clinton—has about that same number.

Burleson to Close at End of Year

Texas-based energy boutique Burleson LLP is set to close by year's end, the firm confirmed Monday.

State Rep, Lawyer, Convicted and Sentenced for Misdemeanor Barratry

By Angela Morris |

A Montgomery County jury has convicted state Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, of five counts of misdemeanor barratry. The punishment phase of his trial began immediately and continues today.

Justice Nathan Hecht

New Commission Aims to Bridge 'Justice Gap'

By Angela Morris |

Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht said that access to justice is a struggle to middle-class people and small businesses that go pro se because the cost of legal services is prohibitive.

Claim Against Insurer Dropped in Well Blowout Case

By Angela Neville |

In the insurance dispute involving damages caused by the rupture of an oil well in Jackson County, the coverage battle originally pitted the oil and gas company Miramar Petroleum Inc. against two insurance companies.

Assistant AG by Day, Screenwriter by Night

By Angela Morris |

As the holidays approach, Austin lawyer Hanz Wasserburger can look forward to more than just presents and parties. He'll also see premieres of TV movies that he helped to write.

John Minor Wisdom, U. S. Court of Appeals Building, Fifth Circuit, New Orleans, LA.

Lawyer Beats Hair Care Billionaire at Fifth Circuit

By John Council |

After winning a September ruling against John Paul DeJoria, who built his fortune on the famous John Paul Mitchell hair care line and Patron tequila, Geoffrey Harrison beat the billionaire two more times this month.

Judge Grants Continuance on Proposed Malpractice Judgment Against Andrews Kurth

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

234th District Judge Wesley Ward asked parties to come back Dec. 14 for a hearing on proposed judgment on a nearly $200 million verdict against Houston-based Andrews Kurth.

$1.1B Texas Pipeline Projects to Ship Gas to Mexico

By Angela Neville |

The law firm of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has advised an international bank syndicate in the more than $1.1 billion limited recourse project financing for a pair of natural gas pipelines that will run from a hub in southwest Texas to locations on the U.S./Mexico border.

Dallas Firm Fights RICO With RICO

By John Council |

Last year a major asbestos defendant leveled RICO allegations against Dallas' Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett in a federal court, alleging that the firm concealed evidence in an effort to drive up settlement values. And now the plaintiffs firm has fired back, alleging that their accusers are the real racketeers, in a recent counterclaim.

New Toolkit Helps Transfer Real Property at Death

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Access to Justice Commission recently announced that it created a transfer on death deed toolkit to help people pass their real property on after death. The toolkit is the next step for a 2015 law.

Ex-Immigration Lawyer Gets 2 Years in Prison

By John Council |

Sherin Thawer pleaded guilty to forging visa documents for her clients by purporting to be a police officer.

VerdictSearch: Teen and Mom Recover for Accident with School Bus

On Oct. 27, a mother and teenager who claimed injuries after an accident with a school bus recovered $12,005.

SPECIAL REPORT: Addiction and Depression in the Legal Profession

According to recent studies, the suicide rate in the lawyer population is six times the rate in the general population, and is the third leading cause of death among lawyers.

Darby Dickerson

Tackling Texas Law Students' Substance Use Challenges

By Angela Neville |

Several universities in Texas are working hard to assist law students who have problems with substance use and abuse. The following profiles outline the efforts of two major Texas universities, Texas Tech University in Lubbock and the University of Texas in Austin, to deal with this serious problem.

Tough Love Could Save a Career or a Life

By Miriam Rozen |

After police found Dallas criminal defense lawyer Phillip Patrick Robertson in an East Dallas hotel room, overdosed on drugs and possessing 1.5 grams of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and transported him to the Dallas County Jail, according to an arrest warrant affidavit, he asked officers: "Can't you guys show me some discretion?"

A Conversation With Dallas' DA About Her Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

By John Council |

Not long after Susan Hawk became Dallas County's district attorney in 2015, she considered quitting the job and committing suicide. Her drastic decision was the result of then undiagnosed mental illness.

State Bar President's Story of Recovery and Hope from Substance Abuse [COLUMN]

By Allan K. DuBois |

I have agreed to share my personal story of recovery and do so freely in every presentation for one reason—to put a face on recovery and to give hope to others (and their loved ones) who suffer from the chronic and potentially terminal disease of alcoholism.

Life or Death: Addiction and Depression in the Legal Profession

By Angela Morris |

Get help, or die. That was the stark choice for two Texas attorneys who suffer from the most common substance abuse and mental health issues in the legal profession: alcoholism and depression.

How Firms Provide Help on the Front End

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Texas firms have ways to identify and deal with lawyer substance abuse and depression problems among lawyers.

Allison Carroll, Cantey Hanger LLP

Newsmakers: Week of November 23

Allison Carroll has joined Cantey Hanger in Fort Worth as an associate.

How Can Lawyers Get Help?

By Angela Morris |

Alcoholism and depression are widespread problems in the legal profession, but many lawyers lack the willingness to seek help. Those who do enter treatment have a good chance of full recovery.

New App Catalogs Court Contacts, Rules

By Angela Morris |

This month, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan launched a new mobile application, Texas openCourts, which catalogs state and federal courts in Texas to provide access to judge information, local rules and court staff contacts.

Mark Benavides, solo attorney, San Antonio, TX.

Lawyer Arrested for Compelling Prostitution From Clients

By Angela Morris |

San Antonio solo Mark H. Benavides was arrested for compelling prostitution by allegedly making three clients have sex with him to pay for his legal services in their criminal cases.

Andrews Kurth Hit With Nearly $200M Verdict

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Harris County jury returned a verdict in a malpractice suit finding that Andrews Kurth of Houston was negligent and breached its fiduciary duty toward a client.

Claim Against Insurer Dropped in Well Blowout Case

By Angela Neville |

In a new twist in the insurance coverage dispute in which Miramar Petroleum Inc. sued both First Liberty Insurance Corp. and Commerce and Industry Insurance Company, the presiding judge in the case, U.S. District Judge Nancy F. Atlas, recently granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Commerce and determined that Miramar agreed with Commerce's assertion that it does not have a claim under the umbrella policy.

Are Lawyers Predisposed to Depression, Substance Abuse?

By James Dolan |

The notion that the profession causes illness is inaccurate. This presumes the person entering the field is a blank impressionable screen on which ills are imprinted. Still, we can't ignore the challenging nature of the work.

Left to right is Evan Young of Baker Botts, David Botsford of Botsford & Roark, Tony Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm and Tom Phillips of Baker Botts.

High Court Hears Arguments in Former Gov. Perry's Felony Case

By Angela Morris |

Lawyers for former Gov. Rick Perry argued today that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals should expand the type of constitutional claims that courts can resolve during a pretrial habeas proceeding, and dismiss Perry's case.

Want to Be Whole? Stop Thinking, Start Listening

By Lisa Blue, Robert B. Hirschhorn, Kellye Raymond |

Tools such as mindfulness and meditation can help you be both a better lawyer, and more importantly, a better person—whether it's to improve focus, or to combat depression or substance abuse.

Thompson & Knight Partners Elect New Managing Partner

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Mark Sloan, a partner in Dallas, will take charge of firm in February.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors Counter Paxton's Constitutional Arguments

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's case have fired back against Paxton's arguments that his prosecution is unconstitutional.

Investor Class Action Filed Over Fracking Software

By Angela Neville |

Following allegations of myriad problems with its fracking analysis software FracMax, Flotek Industries is now facing a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the Houston-based energy company's investors.

Court Rules Against Church of Scientology in Bizarre Case

By John Council |

Austin's Third Court of Appeals rules that the church doesn't have a constitutional right to harass a woman by stalking her, sending her a sex toy at work and publishing allegations that she'd had a secret sex-change operation.

Ken Paxton

Prosecutors Deny Paxton's Accusations, Defend Judge

By Angela Morris |

The special prosecutors in Ken Paxton's criminal case claim that the attorney general has accused them and the original judge in the case of misconduct in an effort to cast himself as a victim and the prosecutors as the bad guys.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Can Texas, Other States Refuse to Take Syrian Refugees?

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston immigration attorney and two law professors question whether the state of Texas can refuse to take any Syrian refugees in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Culhane Meadows Moves Into Houston, Hires Nine Lateral Partners

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Culhane Meadows, a nontraditional firm, hires nine partners in Texas, including eight who came from Phillips & Reiter.

10th Circuit Holds Master Limited Partnership Citizenship Based on Individual Unitholders

By Angela Neville |

Recently, in a case of first impression at the appellate level, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in "Grynberg v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners" that the citizenship of a master limited partnership is to be determined by looking to the citizenship of each unitholder.

How Companies Can Staff Projects In Iraq

By Robert F. Loughran |

Woman Alleges Gardere Trust Work Cost Her Millions

By John Council |

A woman has filed a legal malpractice against Gardere Wynne Sewell and four of its attorneys alleging they convinced her to sign trust documents that assigned most of her interest in a multi-million dollar marital estate over to her husband's sons.

Signing of SB 534 Civility Oath, Austin. From left to right, standing: Don Jackson, immediate past president of TEX-ABOTA; Mark Kincaid, TTLA; Justice Phil Johnson, Supreme Court of Texas; Senator Kirk Watson, Senate Sponsor of SB 534; Chief Justice Nathan Hecht, Supreme Court of Texas; Trey Apffel, President of the State Bar of Texas; Pam Madere, TADC; Rep. John Smithee, House Co-sponsor of SB 534, David Chamberlain, President of TEX-ABOTA and 2015-16 Chair of the State Bar Board of Directors. Governor Greg Abbott sits at the desk.

Practicing Lawyers Invited to Take New Oath With New Lawyers

By Angela Morris |

Baby lawyers will take a brand-new lawyer oath on Monday in Austin to promise to be civil and maintain integrity in practicing law. Currently practicing lawyers are also invited to take the oath voluntarily.

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.

Emanuel Grillo, Baker Botts, New York.

Hercules Emerges Quickly From Oil-Bust Bankruptcy

By Angela Neville |

In contrast to most of the other energy companies that recently filed Chapter 11 bankruptcies in response to the ongoing economic slump in oil and gas sector, Hercules was among the first to successfully emerge from the bankruptcy process.

Interpreting Arbitration Agreements: Two Key Points from Recent Texas Supreme Court Decisions

By Stephen Taylor |

The opinion falls in line with prior decisions on two key issues: 1. what amounts to waiver of the right to arbitrate; and 2. can an arbitration agreement be enforced by a party that did not sign the agreement?

VerdictSearch: Man Recovers $100,815 for Fall From Railing

On Oct. 23, a tenant who claimed head and neck injuries in a fall due to an alleged loose railing was awarded $100,815.

Derrick Mitchell, Partner Bracewell & Giuliani, Houston.

Bracewell Partner Elected Chair of TSU Board of Regents

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Derrick Mitchell, a public finance partner in Bracewell & Giuliani in Houston, is OK with being considered a "change agent" at the Houston university.

Silence In An Arbitration Clause Is Not Golden

By Angela Zambrano and David Sillers |

Many courts have held that arbitration clauses that are silent on class actions—but which incorporate the American Arbitration Association rules—will permit an arbitrator (rather than a court) to decide the critical threshold question of whether a class action can proceed in arbitration.

7 Key Steps for Success in Arbitration

By Mark A. Shank |

Many attorneys are comfortable in the courthouse, but those less experienced in arbitration may misread what the arbitrator is looking for and, as a result, may not set the right, persuasive tone in their approach.

Practice Pointers for General Mediation

By Bill Short |

Mediation is the art of balancing interests. Although no template for guaranteed success exists for use in a mediation, certain experience-based suggestions can be offered as practice pointers.

Newsmakers: Week of November 16

Buena Vista Lyonshas rejoined FordHarrison as a partner in Dallas. She focuses on defending management in discrimination and other employment-related actions.

Justin Patrick

Meet the Top Scorer on the July Texas Bar Exam

By John Council |

"She was concerned that I wasn't studying as hard as she did when she took the exam. She was worried that I wasn't applying myself,'' said Justin Patrick, whose mother is the former dean of admissions at the University of Texas School of Law.

David Slayton, administrative director of the Texas Office of Court Administration

Threats Against Judges Are More Common Than Attacks

By Angela Morris |

In fiscal year 2015, there were five threats reported in county courthouses: Three of them were against judges, court staff or jurors, according to data from the Texas Office of Court Administration.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht

Criminal Justice Community Reels Over Judge Assassination Attempt

By Angela Morris |

The Austin legal community was reeling over a violent murder attempt against a well-respected criminal district judge. Police were questioning a Houston man, vowing to use all their resources to solve the crime.

Top Rodeo Athletes File Class Action Antitrust Suit

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

The newly formed Elite Rodeo Association and three Texas rodeo athletes filed an antitrust complaint against the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.

Craft Hughes

Litigator of the Week: Houston Lawyer Wins $5.4M Verdict for Neighbor

By Miriam Rozen |

W. Craft Hughes learned about allegations in a lawsuit four years ago, when his neighbor knocked on the door of his home. This started the chain of events that led to his clients winning a nearly $5.4 million jury verdict against Wells Fargo Bank and a mortgage servicing company on Nov. 6.

Evidence Shows Most Lawyers Continue to Have Profitable, Fulfilling Careers

By Milan Markovic |

Although the economic recession may have stalled some legal careers, lawyers historically make more as they gain experience.

Legal Aid Group Wins Grant to Create Legal Forms

By Angela Morris |

Lone Star Legal Aid has received a $130,000 grant to develop online forms to help self-represented litigants file their court cases.

Ex-Prosecutor Loses Case Against Nueces DA

By Angela Morris |

On jurisdictional grounds, a former prosecutor has lost his case against a district attorney and his office that alleged that the prosecutor was fired for refusing his supervisor's request to withhold exculpatory evidence.

Plaintiff Seeks Reconsideration of Dismissal of Civil Rights Claims Against Judge

By Miriam Rozen |

Following a dismissal by a federal judge in Sherman of a civil rights suit against Collin County Court at Law Judge Barnett Walker, Nathan Burgess, the plaintiff, has filed a motion for reconsideration.

Wilson Elser Adds Beaumont Office and Houston Lateral Group

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A total of 11 lawyers moved to Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith.

Discovery Fight in Alleged Insurance Kickback Case

By Angela Neville |

Filing a motion to compel document production against opposing parties and nonparties can be a real balancing act when the same parties are involved in multiple lawsuits that essentially revolve around the same core issues.

Police Questioning Man About Judge Kocurek Attack

By Angela Morris |

The Austin Police Department is questioning a person of interest in connection to the attempted murder of Judge Julie Kocurek of Austin. The man is in jail in Houston on an unrelated murder charge.

5th Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King

Clock Ticks on Obama Administration Appeal of Ruling in Immigration Case

By Miriam Rozen |

"I have a firm and definite conviction that a mistake has been made. That mistake has been exacerbated by the extended delay that has occurred in deciding this 'expedited' appeal. There is no justification for that delay," Fifth Circuit Judge Carolyn King wrote in her dissent about a majority opinion in immigration case that pits Texas and 25 other states against the Obama administraton. Why would a dissenting judge so starkly scold her peers in the majority as pokey?

Texas State Capitol

House Committees to Study Hot-Button Issues

By Angela Morris |

House Speaker Joe Straus has tasked a House committee with determining the effectiveness of the 4-year-old law that led to new court rules for expedited actions, which stirred controversy in the legal community.

Woman Sues Houston Firm for Fee Refund

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Fort Bend County woman filed a breach of contract suit againt Houston criminal defense firm Schneider & McKinney, alleging that she's owed a $75,000 refund of fees she paid for brother's defense.

Three-Judge Panel Nixes Temporary Injunctive Relief in Redistricting Battle

By Miriam Rozen |

Texas OAG welcomes three-judge panel's denial of civil rights plaintiffs' request for a temporary injunction to stop the use of 2013-enacted maps. Civil rights plaintiffs counsel express disappointment but point to language that may hint that judges will soon issue a ruling on merits in long-running case.

Schlumberger Asks Court to Affirm Attorney Disqualification in Patent Dispute

By Angela Neville |

'"Dynamic 3D Geosolutions v. Schlumberger" is up on appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit from the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Texas, and the appeal centers on the issue of lawyer disqualification related to a patent infringement case.

Michelle K. Lee, Director of the U.S.Patent and Trademark Office, inside the hearing room of the new regional USPTO outpost in Dallas Texas.

New U.S. Patent Office Opens in Dallas

By John Council |

"We chose this region because this region has a lot of technical talent, it has a wealth of intellectual property lawyers, and it has a large number of patent applicants and a large number of patent holders," said Michelle K. Lee, director of the PTO, who presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Dallas office on Nov. 9.

Plaintiff Who Sued Lawyer Indicted for Perjury

By Angela Morris |

A small-town barber who sued a well-known Corpus Christi plaintiffs lawyer for barratry to collect allegedly past-due rent has now been indicted for perjury for allegedly lying in a deposition about a central fact in the lawsuit.

Wilson Sonsini Represents HomeAway in $3.9B Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Lawyers from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, including some from Austin, represent Austin-based HomeAway in its pending acquisition by Expedia.

District Judge Injured in Assassination Attempt

By Angela Morris |

Judge Julie Kocurek of Austin was shot outside her home on Friday night in an assassination attempt. Police have not yet found the shooter.

Bowie County DA Proposes Cameras to Capture Car Insurance Law Violators

By Miriam Rozen |

Big Brother might have just moved a little closer to home in Bowie County. On Oct. 28, the Office of the Texas Attorney General received a request from Bowie County DA Jerry Rochelle. In his letter, Rochelle asked the state's top lawyer to rule on the legality of a plan to roll out a photographic insurance enforcement system.

Lion Oil Scores $71M Jury Verdict in Exxon Pipeline Rupture Case

By Angela Neville |

Lion Oil Co. recently won an extended lawsuit in federal court in Arkansas against its insurers related to claims stemming from a ruptured pipeline owned and operated by an ExxonMobil subsidiary.

Appeals Court Justice David Lewis

Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals Justice Suspended

By John Council |

David Lewis' voluntary agreement to a six-month suspension from the bench with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct "is a consequence of an unfortunate period in his life that included the abuse of alcohol," according to his lawyers.

Sanctions Sought Against McGuire Woods' Client

By Miriam Rozen |

"Whenever attorneys start quoting historians, you know things have started going sideways," said one lawyer in the Dallas federal court battle that began with a motion to quash a supboena and has led to a motion for sanctions and contempt.

Diego Perez

Mayer Brown Hosts Foreign Associates, Trainees in Houston

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

In-house lawyers from international clients have opportunity to learn about U.S. law and transactions while spending time at Houston office.

VerdictSearch: Employee Not to Blame for Tree-Trimming Accident

On Sep. 16, the owner of tree removal company wasn't liable for a worker's hand injury while using a chainsaw, a jury found.

Newsmakers: Week of November 9

James E. Smith has joined Schirrmeister Diaz-Arrastia Brem in Houston as senior counsel.

Women in the Workplace: Sartorial Tips for New Lawyers

By Nicole Knox, Sarah LaFleur and Tory Hoen |

For a lawyer, there are two main criteria to keep in mind when dressing for work. First, do you feel comfortable and confident? Second, does your attire send a message of respect for the court, your client, your colleagues, and yourself?

Trends and Issues with 'DrillCo' Transactions

By Anthony Speier, David Castro and Chris Heasley |

"DrillCo" deals have historically been bespoke, limited only by the collective imagination of the parties. However, within the last six months, common themes have developed with respect to key structural elements.

Results for July Bar Exam Released

By John Council |

Hundreds of people will soon learn if they get to right to call themselves a lawyer as the Texas Board of Law Examiners just released the pass list for the July bar exam.

Legal Mal Suit: Lawyer Filed Wrong Claims

By Angela Morris |

An Austin attorney allegedly admitted that he made mistakes in a client's fraud lawsuit, but now that he's facing a legal malpractice claim, he's denying the allegations and telling "a different story," the client alleged.

How Disruptive Technology Can Provide Money-Making Emissions Reductions

By Scott D. Deatherage |

While environmental protection frequently is called a "job killer," new technologies and financial and business models are turning this view on its head.

Chip Roy, first assistant attorney general, Texas Office of the Attorney General, Austin

First Assistant Texas Attorney General Chip Roy Backs Up His Boss

By Angela Morris |

High-level staff who are the closest to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton feel stressed and worried about his indictments, said first assistant AG Chip Roy. But there's a caveat for Roy. "It's not cancer," he explained.

In the Pursuit of Equality: Hoping for a 'Men's Movement' [COMMENTARY]

By Kathleen J. Wu |

Just when I think things are getting better about the state of gender equity in the legal profession, some new study comes out that makes me lose hope. I'm starting to feel like Michael Corleone in "The Godfather, Part III," when he tries to go straight but the mob won't let him: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

6 Time-Tested Approaches to Negotiation/Conflict Resolution

By Michael P. Maslanka |

Teaching Negotiation/Conflict Resolution at UNT Dallas College of Law illuminates yet again (for me) the challenge new lawyers face when explaining mediation to newly minted litigation clients.

Marvin D. Nathan, president and founding shareholder, Nathan Sommers Jacobs

Houston Lawyer Moves Into Top Role at Anti-Defamation League

By Miriam Rozen |

Marvin Nathan, a well-known Houston lawyer, has juggled for decades his real estate and business practice with his civil rights advocacy. But Nathan significantly upped the amount of time he spends on the latter a month ago, when he assumed the role of national chairman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Patrick Wilson

Prosecutor Selected to Handle Dallas DA's Removal Case

By John Council |

"An uncommon duty has been imposed upon me not by choice, but by the law of the State of Texas," said Ellis County and District Attorney Patrick Wilson. "I intend to perform my due diligence and proceed accordingly."

Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse

Voters Reject Travis County Courthouse Bond

By Angela Morris |

Voters narrowly rejected a $287 million bond election to build a new Travis County courts complex. With 73,180 total votes cast, 51 percent were against the bond and 49 percent were for it.

V&E Represents Targa Resources in $6.7 Billion Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins represents Targa Resources Corp. (TRC) in the Houston pipeline company's pending acquisition, for about $6.7 billion, of all outstanding units of Targa Resources Partners (TRP) that it doesn't already own.

Lawyer Accuses New Attorney Employee of Taking His Clients

By John Council |

Fort Worth attorney Rick Powell alleges that he hired Justin Griffin 10 years ago to market personal injury claims exclusively for his small law firm. But when Griffin earned a law degree this year, he starting signing up the firm's clients for himself before quitting, according to a lawsuit Powell filed in a Tarrant County district court.

How Parties with Interest May Be Affected By O&G Bankruptcies

By Mitchell Seider, Jeffrey Muñoz, James Robertson and Annemarie Reilly |

With the increasing financial instability in the oil and gas industry, it has become essential for parties in interest to understand how their rights may be affected by a counter-party's bankruptcy.

Meet our 2015 Lifetime Achievement Winners

By Heather D. Nevitt |

This list recognizes lawyers who have made their mark on the legal profession in the Lone Star State.

AkinMears Drops Motion to Seal Petition

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Houston mass tort firm dropped its effort to seal a petition filed against the firm by a former employee who alleges he's owed $4.2 million in commissions and fees for work raising money for the firm.

Sabine O&G Hit With Large Professional Fees in Chapter 11 Case

By Angela Neville |

In its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, Houston-based Sabine Oil and Gas Corporation was recently presented with large professional bills from Kirkland & Ellis and Porter and Hedges attorneys and the financial advisory firm of Zolfo Cooper Management.

Locke Lord, Wachtell Work on $335M Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Locke Lord represents a Sugar Land industrial services company in its pending acquisition of Houston-based Furmanite Corp.

Ken Paxton

Paxton Alleges Misconduct, Argues for Case Dismissal

By Angela Morris |

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton alleges that the original district judge and the two special prosecutors in his case engaged in misconduct by violating grand jury secrecy, which should nullify the case.

Brett Govett partner Norton Rose Fulbright, Dallas

Litigator of the Week: Norton Rose Fulbright Insulates Patent Case Win With Video of Patent Agent Deposition

By Miriam Rozen |

A straight defense verdict in a patent infringement case in Marshall federal court has halted a potentially monopolistic force in the reflective insulation industry.

Austin Bar Helps Expand Pro Se Clinic

By Angela Morris |

Starting this month, more self-represented litigants in Travis County district courts will get free help from a real lawyer to complete and file their legal forms properly.

RAAM Global Energy Seeks Shelter in Chapter 11 Filing

By Angela Neville |

RAAM Global Energy Company, which like many energy companies has been struggling financially since the decline in oil and natural gas prices in 2014, recently filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division.

Lawyer, Home Remodeler Settle Contentious Suit

By Angela Morris |

Litigation has ended between an Austin lawyer who claimed that his home remodeler abandoned his project and stole his money, with the remodeler claiming the lawyer represented her but used his inside knowledge to take advantage.

High Court Again Rules That Slip-and-Fall Cases Aren't Med Mal

By John Council |

The Texas Supreme Court has recently reminded the medical profession once again that they can't use the 2003 Texas Medical Liability Act to defend themselves against the most pedestrian of plaintiff claims—slip-and-fall cases.

Survey Shows Executives Less Optimistic About M&A Growth

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Executives who participated in a law firm survey are a little less optimistic this year about mergers and acquisitions and the U.S. economy than a year ago.

Hillary H. Holmes and James Chenoweth of Baker Botts in Houston

Dealing With Energy MLPs in Today's Volatile Market

By Angela Neville |

Hillary Holmes and James Chenoweth, partners in the Houston office of Baker Botts, discuss how master limited partnerships are being affected by today's low oil prices.

Major Accident Response: Managing the First 96 Hours

By Mark L. Farley |

Crisis management of a major accident occurs at two levels within an organization: the tactical—the site at which the incident occurred— and the strategic—the corporate organization. The role of a lawyer advising a crisis management team spans these levels with two primary responsibilities.

Lynn Garcia, GC, Texas Forensic Science Commission.

GC of Forensic Science Commission Focuses on Collaboration

By Angela Morris |

Lynn Robitaille Garcia is leading the charge for Texas to be at the forefront of a complicated controversy over how crime labs analyze and interpret DNA samples that include genetic material of multiple people.

Lynn Garcia, GC, Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Best Practices: Listen, Collaborate

By Angela Morris |

Lynn Robitaille Garcia, general counsel of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, had a past life in big law helping corporate clients involved in securities and white-collar cases.

Patent Litigation Will Never Be the Same Again

By Lisa Shuchman |

Patent litigation isn't what it used to be. Monumental changes to U.S. patent law have changed the rules of the litigation game.

Charles

Lifetime Achiever: Charles L. "Chip" Babcock

The two television stars and the Jackson Walker partner who has represented them often work their way into the same paragraph when someone tries to assess Babcock's lifetime achievements as a Texas lawyer.

Stephen D. Susman

Lifetime Achiever: Steve Susman

"I loved being a lawyer, and I think he figured out we were having fun," Susman recalled recently about his son, who followed him into the profession.

L.Clifford Davis of the Fort Worth firm Johnson Vaughn & Heiskell.

Lifetime Achiever: L. Clifford Davis

When L. Clifford Davis arrived in Fort Worth in 1954 as a young attorney, he was one of only two black lawyers in a segregated city.

Joe Jamail, Houston's Jamail & Kolius, Texas Lawyer Lifetime Achiever, Litigation Department of the Year, 2014

Lifetime Achiever: Joe Jamail

Houston trial lawyer Joe Jamail, best known for winning an $10.5 billion verdict in Pennzoil v. Texaco, is still trying lawsuits at age 90.

Ernest E. Smith

Lifetime Achiever: Ernest Smith

Ernest Smith is the Rex G. Baker Centennial Chair in Natural Resources Law at the University of Texas School of Law and one of the leading scholars on Texas oil and gas law.

Founding partner Dee J. Kelly of the Fort Worth firm Kelly Hart and Hallman.

Lifetime Achiever: Dee J. Kelly

When Dee J. Kelly passed away on Oct. 2 at age 86, he left a legacy of civic leadership and a prominent law firm under the direction of his son Dee Kelly Jr.

Charla Aldous of the Aldous/Walker firm in Dallas.

Lifetime Achiever: Charla Aldous

Charla Aldous appreciates the fact that Aldous\Walker support personnel carefully screen all the folks who arrive at their doorstep seeking her help.

Justice Nathan Hecht

Lifetime Achiever: Nathan Hecht

Nathan Hecht has a long list of accomplishments from his record-breaking tenure as the high court's longest-serving justice. He said he's most proud of his success in opening access to justice to poor people.

T. John Ward Sr.

Lifetime Achiever: T. John Ward

When T. John Ward set up his legendary "rocket docket" while serving as U.S. District Judge in Marshall, he turned the Eastern District of Texas into the nation's leading venue for high-stakes patent litigation.

Jim Harrington

Lifetime Achiever: Jim Harrington

Jim Harrington devoted his career championing civil rights. He's litigated cases that expanded the rights to privacy, access the courts, free speech and free assembly, voting rights and more.

Tony Buzbee accepts Attorney of the Year award on Nov. 2  at Texas Lawyer’s Professional Excellence Awards

Tony Buzbee Wins Texas Lawyer’s 2015 Attorney of the Year Award

In the past 12 months, Buzbee served as lead for three trials that each led to more than $25 million verdicts for his clients, including a $159 million award that a Houston jury issued in negligence case.

Attorney of the Year Finalist: Neel Lane

"I feel privileged to have played a part in an important cause and an important issue," said Neel Lane. "Sometimes you receive a call and it's your duty to step up. I did so enthusiastically and with a lot of joy."