Latest News

Katy Man Seeks Up to $10 Million From Lawyer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Katy man alleges that the Austin lawyer who handled his claim stemming from an accident involving a drunken driver owes him settlement money.

Adam Levine Threatens to 'Take Down' Firm Like He 'Took Down Scooter Libby'

By John Council |

"In fact, [Adam] Levine commented that he would 'take down' TPG the same way that he took down Scooter Libby," according to the amended complaint.

Rusty Hardin of Rusty Hardin & Associates

Rusty Hardin to West Texas Jurors: Rich Men Need Justice Too

By Miriam Rozen |

In an oil patch dispute, settled in a West Texas court, the famed Houston litigator Rusty Hardin wins an $8.5 million judgment for his client Smith Energy, owned by wealthy philanthropist Lester Smith.

<b>CLEAN AIR PUSH:</b> The EPA on June 2 announced a proposed rule to cut carbon dioxide emitted by power plants—namely those fired by coal, as seen above—by 30 percent nationwide by 2030.

EPA's Clean Air Act Plan: Clean Power or Power Play?

By Angela Neville |

Once again, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is sparking controversy.

Image of businesspeople working at meeting

Identifying and Improving on the Positives in Your Career

By Dena Lefkowitz |

While I am always in favor of a conscious effort to improve, I am going to suggest that it is extremely worthwhile to devote some time to identifying what worked really well last year, where you excelled and what you're doing that you would like to see more of.

Simplifying Documents: A Paperless Life and Law Firm

By Johan T. Widjaja |

I detest any physical mail I get in my mailbox, at home or at my firm. What is the point?

Trinity: No $16.5 Million Attorney Fees for Whistleblower

By Miriam Rozen |

The Dallas-based guardrail maker, which a jury found had sold defective systems to government, said whistleblower's attorneys are trying to get the fees to pay for training lawyers to file more cases.

U.S. District Judge David Hittner of the Southern District of Texas

Inmate Pleads Guilty to Mailing Threatening Communication to Judge

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

George Yarbrough, now in federal custody, pleads guilty to one count of mailing a threatening communication to a federal judge.

Two Houston Lawyers Sued Over Divorce Case

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A Texas woman files separate lawsuits against Paul Nugent and James Patrick Smith, alleging that they mishandled her divorce.

Baylor University Bears Down on Oilman, Companies in Fraud Claim

By Angela Neville |

This month, Baylor University intervened in a civil lawsuit against Texas oilman Orville Duane Gaither and his two companies alleging fraud in connection with his companies' management of oil and gas production from property owned by the university in Wood County.

David Keltner, a partner in Fort Worth’s Kelly Hart & Hallman

Appellate Lawyer of the Week: Anti-Cloned Horses Is Not Antitrust

By John Council |

Because of David Keltner's victory before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Quarter Horse Association can't be sued for its rules banning the registry of cloned steeds.

Thinking Outside the Barrel: How the Price of Oil Impacts Litigation

By L. Bradley Hancock and Christopher Johnsen |

Historically, litigation has experienced ebbs and flows in connection with the price of oil. Largely this has been dependent upon the impact oil price has on cash flow, and the leverage it can have on a company's profit and loss statement.

From left: Mark W. Harris, Charles T. Marshall, Peter K. McKee Jr. and Patrick C. Sargent, new partners in Alston & Bird in Dallas

Alston & Bird Pick Up Finance Group in Dallas

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Eight lawyers, including four partners, leave Andrews Kurth to join Alston & Bird.

Rod Phelan, a partner in Baker Botts in Dallas

7 Figure Attorney Fee in 'Exceptional' IP Case?

By John Council |

Rod Phelan believes his jury victory in a trademark dispute is an "exceptional case"—a court determination that could entitle him to a seven-figure attorney fee award.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

In Context: Gov. Rick Perry's Indictment

The following timeline details the events that unfolded in Texas courts following Travis County D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg's drunk driving conviction in April 2013 through Gov. Rick Perry's booking Aug. 19.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Perry: Prosecution Doesn't Ruin Presidential Ambitions

By Angela Morris |

In the wake of bad news that his criminal case would move forward, former Gov. Rick Perry said it would not stymie his possible run for president because Americans want "a leader not afraid to stand up."

Senior Judge Bert Richardson of San Antonio

Richardson Rules That Perry Case Will Move Forward

By Angela Morris |

The legal process will continue in former Gov. Rick Perry's felony case after a judge rejected his attempts to toss the case. Perry plans to appeal.

stop

The Same Traits That Make a Lawyer Successful Also Make It Difficult to Reach Out for Help

By James Dolan and John Talmadge |

Lawyers, being people who so often have very high expectations for themselves, have little tolerance for the downs. Without developing counter-balancing activities and support systems, it is very easy to fall prey to serious problems.

Texas Firm, Florida Lawyer, Point Fingers in Legal Mal Suit

By Angela Morris |

A Florida attorney who recommended that his clients hire local counsel in Texas is now battling to dodge a legal malpractice lawsuit between the client and the Texas firm.

Chief Justice Rogelio 'Roy' Valdez

Protective Order Sought in Fight Between Former Briefing Attorney and Chief Justice

By Miriam Rozen |

In his Jan. 21 unopposed motion for a protective order, 13th Court of Appeals Chief Justice Valdez states that he has filed a motion to dismiss the claims against him because judicial immunity bars them.

keyboard

Online Outage for Fifth Circuit Gets the Tardy a 'Pass'

By Miriam Rozen |

The appeals court system was down from 5 p.m. until this morning.

clipboard

Keeping the Best and Brightest: President Obama's Plan to Retain Skilled Workers

By Gordon Quan |

While many have focused on the executive orders that address undocumented foreign nationals, the president also expressed a desire to revise immigration procedures for foreign skilled workers and professionals.

Working to Advance Your Career While Raising a Family

By Jennie Philip |

I have heard many people tell me that I can't have both, being a full-time mom and lawyer, that on either side, someone will be short-changed.

social media keys

How to Obtain Social Media Data for Defending Lawsuits

By Emily T. Acosta and Eric P. Conn |

Obtaining social media user content under most circumstances is extremely difficult unless you use the correct strategy.

Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas

Texas Senate Eliminates Jurisprudence Committee

By Angela Morris |

"The issue becomes whether or not those bills will be able to get the attention that they otherwise would receive in jurisprudence," said Sen. Royce West, former Jurisprudence Committee chairman.

Tim Powers, Haynes and Boone partner in Dallas, MP as of Jan. 1, 2015

Haynes and Boone Opens Denver Office

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

With three lateral hires, Haynes and Boone opens an office in Denver.

Prosecutors' Efforts Boost Prisoner Exoneration Numbers

By Marcia Coyle |

Prosecutors' investigation of innocence claims boosted the number of prisoner exonerations to a record level in 2014, according to the National Registry of Exonerations at the University of Michigan Law School.

Medical Marijuana in Texas?

By Angela Morris |

Two recent bills ask Texas lawmakers to legalize the use of low-THC cannabis for epileptics who suffer seizures uncontrollable with other medication.

From left: Barry Shelton, Conor Civins, Edward Cavazos and Michael Chibib, intellectual property partners in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Pillsbury Picks Up IP Group in Austin

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Four IP lawyers join Pillsbury's Austin office, with six associates expected to join them.

David Skeels, a partner in Fort Worth’s Friedman Suder & Cook

Big Texas Patent Case Is Back On

By John Council |

Lighting Ballast, a case that intellectual property lawyers thought would alter appellate review of trial court claims construction decisions, heads back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit after another case beat it to the high court punch.

Baker Botts, Latham Work on $18 Billion Energy Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Dallas-based energy companies announce definitive merger agreement.

Uninsured? No Exemplary Damages for You!

By Angela Morris |

House Bill 820 would prevent an uninsured driver who had been in a car accident from recovering exemplary and noneconomic damages in a lawsuit for bodily injury, death or property damage.

Houston Lawyer Sued for Calling No Witnesses

By John Council |

Energy CEO alleges in legal malpractice case that a lawyer promised he was indemnified in a fraud suit—an assumption that stuck the businessman with $300,000 in exemplary damages.

'Anonymous' Spokesman Sentenced to Federal Prison

By Angela Morris |

One charge for which Barrett Brown pleaded guilty involved his communications with intelligence company Stratfor on behalf of a hacker who infiltrated its computer network.

Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind.

From Law School to Congress

By Karen Sloan |

The sitting crop of lawyer-­lawmakers passed through 105 law campuses on their way to Washington.

Daniel Schaffzin.

Law Students Combat Urban Blight in Memphis

By Karen Sloan |

Memphis has been fighting urban blight for years, and now students from the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law are joining the battle.

Your Data Is Talking: Is Your Legal Department Listening?

By Joy Saphla |

Data has a lot to say in today’s world, if you know how to speak its language.

William R. Peterson, associate, Beck Redden, Houston

Lawyer Picked to Defend Fifth Circuit Ruling at SCOTUS

By Miriam Rozen |

In an immigration removal case, the U.S. Supreme Court has tapped a Beck/Redden associate to serve as friend of the court to defend a Fifth Circuit ruling against undocumented resident since U.S. DOJ declined to do so.

Rick Perry booking photo

Gov. Perry's Legal Defense Costs Breach $1 Million

By Angela Morris |

It has cost more than $1.07 million so far to defend Gov. Rick Perry against his felony charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.

Muslim Prisoner Wins Right to Wear Beard

By John Council |

Longview lawyer Eric Albritton won a rare ruling that allowed his Sufi Muslim prisoner the right to wear a beard last year. And a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision confirms that Albritton made the right arguments in the religious freedom case.

beakers

This Scientific Development Could Impact Fracking Litigation

By Jon Shoebotham and Ricky Raven |

If true, this new technology could provide a forensic tool for litigants to prove—or disprove—that hydraulic fracturing has impacted a water supply.

Deal of the Week: Four Firms Work on Energy Partnership Deal

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Vinson & Elkins, Latham & Watkins, Andrews Kurth and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld each have a piece of a deal involving Marlin Midstream Partners, NuDevco Midstream Development and Azure Midstream Energy.

Report: Indigent Defense Lawyers Should Reduce Caseloads

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Indigent Defense Commission's recent report recommended a caseload limit of 226 misdemeanors or 128 felonies per year. The limit might cut into lawyers' income.

Prospective Client Sues Baker Botts, Alleges Confidential Email Sent to His Employer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A former Texas state employee filed a negligence suit against Baker Botts, alleging that the firm sent a confidential email to his employer after he contacted the firm about a potential whistleblower claim.

Theodore 'Ted' Stevenson III, a principal in the Dallas office of McKool Smith

Litigator of the Week: $15 Million Verdict in Patent Case

By Miriam Rozen |

In intellectual property litigation, Droplets prevails against Sears and Overstock, a victory also for McKool Smith's Ted Stevenson.

OAG Investigation Into UT Law School Concludes

By Karen Sloan and Miriam Rozen |

A Texas Office of the Attorney General report highlights and criticizes a lack of transparency in past financial ties between the UT Law School and a foundation created to support it.

VerdictSearch: Jury Sides With Store in Alleged Fall

A grocery store wasn't to blame for a woman's fall, a jury found. Gloria Robinson claimed the store was liable for a puddle of liquid leaking from a rack of defrosting meat. Defense counsel produced a witness who testified to seeing one of Robinson's companions lower her to the floor before she claimed to have fallen.

Judge Sam Sparks, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division

Judge Rejects Defendant's Withdraw of Guilty Plea

By Angela Morris |

"The fact that the plea was not formally accepted was not due to any misgivings by the court, but rather to defendant's own requested and granted continuances," wrote U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter.

Solo Heads to Prison Over Failure to Pay Taxes

By John Council |

Failure to file an income tax return gets a Beaumont lawyer one year in a federal detention facility.

Choice of Law and Actual Cause: On Conflict of Laws and Conflict of Facts

By Daniel R. Correa |

When the issue is actual causation, no conflict between laws occurs; the legal standard for actual cause is a factual inquiry, not one of law.

Case Summaries

By David Popple |
endangered

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

By Alan Glen and Sarah Wells |

The case has reinvigorated a common constitutional challenge of Congressional authority to regulate under the ESA that was considered settled, and many industries and environmental groups will be attuned to the next steps taken by FWS and in the courts.

Ex-Judge Denies Violating Disciplinary Rules

By Angela Morris |

Former district judge Angus McGinty denied all of the allegations in a lawsuit that he committed professional misconduct by breaking a disciplinary rule that prohibits committing a "serious crime."

Murray Fogler, partner, Fogler, Brar, Ford, O’Neil & Gray in Houston

Murray Fogler Leaves Beck Redden to Open Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston litigator Murray Fogler and four associates leave Beck Redden to open commercial litigation firm in Houston.

Why Does State Agency Dismiss Judicial Complaints?

By Angela Morris |

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed Senate Bill 306 to call upon the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to publish more statistical details about judicial complaint dismissals.

driving

Auto Manufacturing Defects Might Shed Light on Legalities Surrounding Self-Driving Cars

By Anna Eby |

Until a legal framework is created, the age of autonomous driving will remain the Wild West of the law.

Douglas A. Cawley, a shareholder in Dallas' McKool Smith

U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to 'Cybor'

By John Council |

In a major patent infringement decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has reined in the Federal Circuit from overturning crucial claims construction decisions made by trial courts that involve factual determinations.

R. Heath Cheek, partner, Bell Nunnally & Martin, Dallas

Newsmakers: Week of Jan. 26

R. Heath Cheek has become a partner in Bell Nunnally & Martin in Dallas. He is in the firm's litigation, labor, employment and benefits, creditors' rights and intellectual property practice areas.

test tube

Understanding Causation: The Heart of the Plaintiff's Toxic Tort Claim

By Misty A. Farris |

The Texas causation standard is far more stringent than the law in many other states around the country.

EnergyBuzz: Kinder Morgan Agrees to $3 Billion Acquisition

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Bracewell & Giuliani represents Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. in pending acquisition of Hiland Partners.

Lawmakers Hold Strings on Public Integrity Unit Funding

By Angela Morris |

The Texas House recently released a preliminary budget that would restore some of the public integrity unit's funding, contingent on the Legislature enacting reforms.

Plaintiff Joins Lawsuit Against Baker Botts

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A second former Texas Commission on Environmental Quality employee joins negligence suit filed against Baker Botts.

Anonymous user on the NOLA website

Unsavory Tweets About a Company CEO Leads to a Subpoena Against Non-Party Twitter

By Michael P. Maslanka |

A court enforced the subpoena gainst non-party Twitter, but why?

David Greenstone, left, and Peter Kraus

Dallas Plaintiffs Firms Find RICO Allegations 'Offensive,' 'Preposterous'

By John Council |

David Greenstone and Peter Kraus say fraud complaints filed against their law firms by a major asbestos defendant are "preposterous."

Slight Cut for Judiciary in Initial State Budget

By Angela Morris |

The preliminary House budget would appropriate $761.5 million to the judiciary for the biennium, which is a 0.3 percent decrease when compared with the 2014-15 budget of $764 million.

Why Does State Agency Dismiss Judicial Complaints?

By Angela Morris |

Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, filed Senate Bill 306 to call upon the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to publish more statistical details about judicial complaint dismissals.

Government Witness in Judge Bribery Case Murdered

By Angela Morris |

"They are going to have to change how they are going to approach the case or try the case," said Jay Norton, who represents former judge Angus McGinty. "It will make it a little more interesting."

Thompson & Knight Adds Lawyer in Mexico City

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Luis Gomar moves to Thompson & Knight from Strasburger & Price.

Choice of Law and Actual Cause: On Conflict of Laws and Conflict of Facts

By Daniel R. Correa |

When the issue is actual causation, no conflict between laws occurs; the legal standard for actual cause is a factual inquiry, not one of law.

test tube

Understanding Causation: The Heart of the Plaintiff's Toxic Tort Claim

By Misty A. Farris |

The Texas causation standard is far more stringent than the law in many other states around the country.

Solo Heads to Prison Over Failure to Pay Taxes

By John Council |

Failure to file an income tax return gets a Beaumont lawyer one year in a federal detention facility.

Muslim Prisoner Wins Right to Wear Beard

By John Council |

Longview lawyer Eric Albritton won a rare ruling that allowed his Sufi Muslim prisoner the right to wear a beard last year. And a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision confirms that Albritton made the right arguments in the religious freedom case.

Ex-Judge Denies Violating Disciplinary Rules

By Angela Morris |

Former district judge Angus McGinty denied all of the allegations in a lawsuit that he committed professional misconduct by breaking a disciplinary rule that prohibits committing a "serious crime."

Report: Indigent Defense Lawyers Should Reduce Caseloads

By Angela Morris |

The Texas Indigent Defense Commission's recent report recommended a caseload limit of 226 misdemeanors or 128 felonies per year. The limit might cut into lawyers' income.

Mike Daniel and Laura Beshara, partners, Daniel & Beshara, Dallas

Housing Civil Rights Case Takes Lawyer to SCOTUS With DOJ Assist

By Miriam Rozen |

It's always nice to get a lift from the U.S. Department of Justice on your way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Left to right: Randy Evans and Shari Klevens, McKenna Long & Aldridge partners and Suzanne Badawi, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton partner

Protect Your Firm From Attorney Exit Blowback

By Randy Evans, Shari Klevens and Suzanne Y. Badawi |

It seems like every week is a game of musical chairs, with attorneys and practice groups constantly moving from one firm to another.

Sally Rosenberg.

A Partner for Second Time, McDermott Lawyer Reflects on Gender Diversity

By Katelyn Polantz |

Life sometimes gets in the way of lawyering. This year, Sally Rosenberg found herself for the second time earning a promotion to partner.

Bringing Stay-at-Home Parents Back to the Law Department

By Marlisse Silver Sweeney |

Keita Young, a vice president and assistant general counsel at JPMorgan Chase & Co., likely didn’t imagine herself in a choice law department position when she was a stay-at-home mom.

Prospective Client Sues Baker Botts, Alleges Confidential Email Sent to His Employer

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A former Texas state employee filed a negligence suit against Baker Botts, alleging that the firm sent a confidential email to his employer after he contacted the firm about a potential whistleblower claim.

OAG Investigation Into UT Law School Concludes

By Karen Sloan and Miriam Rozen |

A Texas Office of the Attorney General report highlights and criticizes a lack of transparency in past financial ties between the UT Law School and a foundation created to support it.

Chess Board Set for 2015 State Bar Election

By Angela Morris |

It's official: Texas lawyers Randy Howry and Frank Stevenson will face off this spring, vying to become the next president-elect of the State Bar of Texas.

Lawyer Ad Review Fee Increasing in June

By Angela Morris |

The State Bar of Texas Advertising Review Committee proposed the increase, which bumps the lawyer advertising review fee from $75 to $100.

U.S. Supreme Court Deals Blow to 'Cybor'

By John Council |

In a major patent infringement decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has reined in the Federal Circuit from overturning crucial claims construction decisions made by trial courts that involve factual determinations.

Murray Fogler, partner, Fogler, Brar, Ford, O’Neil & Gray in Houston

Murray Fogler Leaves Beck Redden to Open Firm

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

Houston litigator Murray Fogler and four associates leave Beck Redden to open commercial litigation firm in Houston.

Dallas Solo Sues Greenberg Traurig

By John Council |

Bob Holmes alleges Greenberg Traurig and its clients cost him up to $1 million in damages over a venue dispute.

Mike Pierce, partner, Pierce Chapman Skrabanek Bruera, Houston

Litigator of the Week: $16.7 Million Final Judgment in Jones Act Case

By Miriam Rozen |

Mike Pierce said he won by concentrating first on defendants' alleged failure to pay maintenance and care for a seaman.

Judge Gregg Costa, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Gregg Costa: A Fifth Circuit Trial Judge?

By John Council |

Gregg Costa could have left Galveston permanently for the Fifth Circuit six months ago but he's still in the island courtroom hearing hundreds of cases out of a sense of duty.

When Clients Lost, So Did Their Lawyer

By Angela Morris |

"We try not to take cases that we think we are going to lose—we are not idiots—but we do lose some of the cases we take on contingent fee," said John Judge, shareholder in Judge, Kostura & Putman in Austin.

Small Settlement for Former SOAH Judges Disappoints Attorney

By Angela Morris |

After negotiating for a settlement totaling $50,000—with half of the money for their lawyer—the two remaining plaintiffs, former administrative law judges Carol Birch and Carol Wood, dismissed their lawsuit.

Jani Maselli Wood, Harris County Assistant Public Defender, Houston.

Appeals Court Finds Some Court Costs Unconstitutional

By Brenda Sapino Jeffreys |

A majority panel of the First Texas Court of Appeals in Houston knocks out two court costs in criminal case.

Christopher D. Porter, partner, YetterColeman, Houston

Newsmakers: Week of Jan. 19

Christopher Porter, a trial lawyer, has been promoted to a partner in Yetter Coleman in Houston.

barber pole

Braider Wins Against State Barber Regulations

By Angela Morris |

The state wove itself into a tangle by requiring a Dallas hair-braiding teacher to meet regulations for a barber school. Now the braider has won a federal ruling that those regulations are unconstitutional as applied to her.

Case Summaries

By David Popple |
courthouse

EnergyBuzz: Fracking Litigation to Watch in 2015

By Mark C. Rodriguez and Brock Skelley |

These cases have given rise to significant arguments concerning the preemption of local bans by state regulation.

Same-Sex Marriage Plaintiffs Lawyer Predicts Marriage Equality in Spring

By Miriam Rozen |

Daniel "Neel" Lane bases optimism on a hearing at the Fifth Circuit, where state lawyers arguing for a same-sex marriage ban faced a barrage of judges' questions.

Ruling Strongly Criticizes Ghostwriting Expert Report

By Miriam Rozen |

Out-of-state ruling prompts Akin Gump lawyer in Houston to offer tips about best practices.

Criminal Indictments Follow Family's Civil Barratry Lawsuits

By Angela Morris |

In connection with a case in which a Dallas-area family sued lawyers, firms and others, alleging they conspired to illegally solicit the family's car accident case, two defendants were indicted criminally.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Texas Builders Balk at New NLRB Rule

By Miriam Rozen |

Trade association files complaint seeking injunction to stop enforcement of new federal agency rule it claims accelerates union elections and shortchanges their opportunities to raise objections.

VerdictSearch: Driver Sideswiped by Tired Trucker Recovers $2.9 Million

A driver who claimed neck and back injuries in a sideswipe with a tractor-trailer recovered $2.9 million.