Steve McConnico named Trial Lawyer of the Year by TEX-ABOTA
June 17, 2019
Steve McConnico was named 2019 TRIAL LAWYER OF THE YEAR by TEX-ABOTA. In addition to his stellar legal career, Steve has been an active and ardent supporter of ABOTA and TEX-ABOTA for more than 30 years, which makes him especially deserving of this award. Steve served as the president of TEX-ABOTA in 1997, and president of the Austin chapter from 1993-95.
According to TEX-ABOTA, perhaps Steve’s greatest contribution has been getting the organization involved at the Texas Legislature. During his term as president Steve spent some time testifying on ABOTA issues, but he helped lead TEX-ABOTA to a higher level in fighting HB 4 in 2003. Steve spent months at the legislature testifying against HB 4, and once it passed, he went around the state working with other ABOTA lawyers trying to educate the public about the true nature of the proposed constitutional amendment.
SDM Wins Fifth Circuit Appeal in Oil and Gas Case
June 14, 2019
On June 12, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed an adverse summary judgment and rendered judgment in favor of our client, EnerQuest Oil & Gas, L.L.C., in a lawsuit over an area of mutual interest agreement.
The plaintiffs claimed that EnerQuest acquired various interests that were subject to the area of mutual interest provision; EnerQuest argued that they were not.
After the district court ruled against EnerQuest on cross-motions for summary judgment, SDM appealed the case to the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit issued a published opinion agreeing with EnerQuest’s interpretation of the agreement, reversing the district court’s summary judgment order and rendering judgment and costs for EnerQuest.
SDM Lawyers Dan Bitting, Santosh Aravind, and Willie Cochran handled the appeal, with Dan Bitting arguing the appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
Copies of the SDM briefs can be found here and here. A recording of the oral argument can be found here.
SDM Wins Pro Bono Criminal Appeal
May 28, 2019
On May 16, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the conviction of our client Coy Jones. Following a trial in December 2017, Mr. Jones had been convicted on firearm and drug charges and was sentenced to 318 months in jail. On appeal, which SDM lawyers handled pro bono, the Fifth Circuit held that Mr. Jones’s constitutional rights were violated when a law enforcement agent testified at trial to statements made by a confidential informant implicating Mr. Jones in the alleged crime. That confidential informant did not testify at trial. The court found that the error was not harmless, vacated the conviction on all counts, and remanded the case back to the district court for a new trial.
SDM Lawyers Santosh Aravind, David Shank and Willie Cochran handled the appeal, with David Shank arguing the appeal to the Fifth Circuit.
Copies of the SDM briefs can be found here and here. A recording of the oral argument can be found here. A copy of the Fifth Circuit opinion can be found here.
SDM prevails in jury trial regarding breach of joint operating agreement
May 9, 2019
On April 25, 2019, a jury in Karnes County, Texas, returned a verdict in favor of a publicly-traded oil and gas company represented by Scott Douglass & McConnico lawyers.
The lawsuit involved claims brought by SDM’s client against a working interest owner that had failed to pay millions of dollars in revenues and bills. The working interest owner countersued, alleging, among other claims, that SDM’s client had breached the applicable joint operating agreement.
In May 2018, SDM attorneys Mark Hanna and Santosh Aravind obtained a partial summary judgment in favor of SDM’s client and an award of attorneys’ fees in an amount to be determined later.
After an eight-day trial, the jury on April 25, 2019, provided a comprehensive victory for SDM’s client on all of the remaining claims at issue in the lawsuit. The jury determined that SDM’s client had not breached the applicable joint operating agreement, and also awarded SDM’s client $1.2 million in attorneys’ fees.
The trial team consisted of Steve McConnico, Mark Hanna, Santosh Aravind, Mary Byars, and Jane Webre.
Kim Bueno gets second win on behalf of clients Johnson & Johnson and Ethicon, Inc. in a jury trial involving a pelvic mesh device.
April 22, 2019
On April 17, 2019 a jury in Philadelphia returned a verdict in favor of Defendants. Kim Bueno served as co-lead counsel in the four-week trial. The trial team consisted of Kim, Sean Gallagher of Bartlit Beck, and La’Verne Edney of Butler Snow. Law360 named the trial team as the week’s “Legal Lions” for the win.
Kim previously served as co-lead counsel in a May 2017 pelvic mesh trial in Philadelphia, which also resulted in a defense verdict for Ethicon, Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.
John Ellis Elected to The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation
April 18, 2019
John Ellis has been elected to The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.
The Fellows comprise a global honorary society of attorneys, judges, law faculty, and legal scholars whose public and private careers have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the highest principles of the legal profession and to the welfare of their communities. Membership in the Fellows is limited to one percent of lawyers licensed to practice in each jurisdiction. Fellows are recommended by their peers and elected by the Board of the American Bar Foundation.
Wooten and Hargrove Publish Article in The Appellate Advocate
April 12, 2019
Kennon Wooten and Robyn Hargrove wrote an article titled "Permissive Interlocutory Appeal and Mandamus: Picking Your Procedural Path Prudently" for the Winter, 2018 edition of The Appellate Advocate, State Bar of Texas Appellate Section Report.
Jane Webre and Robyn Hargrove at the Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals
April 5, 2019
Jane Webre is Chair of the Planning Committee for the UTCLE 29th Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals.
Robyn Hargrove will present a Legal Malpractice Update where she will share recent developments in Texas legal malpractice law, as well as notable ethics opinions that are applicable to appellate practitioners.
Amy Dashiell and Bryan Lauer co-author article for Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section Report
April 2, 2019
Amy Dashiell and Bryan Lauer co-authored the article "Murphy v. Adams: A Reasoned Decision" for the Section Report of the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section for the State Bar of Texas.
The article discusses the Texas Supreme Court’s decision in Murphy Exploration and Production Co.--USA v. Adams.
Carroll Martin presents at Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Conference
March 29, 2019
Carroll Martin presented on Voluntary Pooling and Unitization at UT Law CLE's 45th Ernest E. Smith, Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law in March.
Carroll gave a review of voluntary pooling as authorized in an oil and gas lease which allows the lessee to combine acreage under one lease with acreage underlying adjacent tracts, and explored the voluntary unitization statute in Texas under which the Railroad Commission approves field‑wide units, which may combine acreage from numerous tracts and leases for the purpose of enhanced recovery or re-pressuring operations.
Olga Kobzar Presents TRC and GLO Regulatory Update
March 29, 2019
Olga Kobzar spoke at the 14th Annual Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law Symposium, delivering a Regulatory Update presentation on recent developments at the Texas Railroad Commission and the General Land Office.
She also spoke at the January 2019 Austin Bar Oil and Gas Section Luncheon.
Casey Dobson Admitted to American College of Trial Lawyers
March 5, 2019
Casey Dobson has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America.
The induction ceremony at which Casey Dobson became a Fellow took place recently before an audience of 570 during the recent Induction Ceremony at the 2019 Spring Meeting of the College in La Quinta, California. The meeting had a total attendance of 750.
Founded in 1950, the College is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the College is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers of diverse backgrounds, who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. Lawyers must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship.
Membership in the College cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province. There are currently approximately 5,800 members in the United States and Canada, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows (those who ascended to the bench after their induction) and Honorary Fellows. The College maintains and seeks to improve the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice through education and public statements on independence of the judiciary, trial by jury, respect for the rule of law, access to justice, and fair and just representation of all parties to legal proceedings. The College is thus able to speak with a balanced voice on important issues affecting the legal profession and the administration of justice.
Olga Kobzar named one of Up-and-Coming 50 Women Texas Rising Stars
March 4, 2019
Olga Kobzar has been named to the Up-and-Coming 50: 2019 Women Texas Rising Stars. Olga is a Top Rated attorney in Energy & Natural Resources Attorney in Austin, TX by Super Lawyers®.
Each year, Super Lawyers® recognizes the top lawyers in Texas via a patented multiphase selection process involving peer nomination, independent research and peer evaluation. The Texas lawyers who receive the highest point totals during this selection process are further recognized in Texas Super Lawyers Top Lists.
Seven SDM Lawyers Named to Texas Rising Stars®
March 4, 2019
SDM is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers® has selected seven Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys for inclusion in Texas Rising Stars® 2019 by Thomson and Reuters. The following firm attorneys were selected for this honor:
Anthony Arguijo - Business Litigation
John W. Ellis - Business Litigation
John Gasink - Business Litigation
Mark W. Hanna - Energy & Natural Resources
Olga Kobzar - Energy & Natural Resources
Bryan Lauer - Business Litigation
David Shank - Business Litigation
Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. To be eligible, lawyers must be 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. Less than 2.5% of Texas attorneys are chosen for this honor.
Anthony Arguijo to serve on Texas Minority Counsel Program Steering Committee
February 13, 2019
Anthony Arguijo has been selected to serve on the 2019 Texas Minority Counsel Program Steering Committee.
The TMCP was created in 1993 with the mission of increasing opportunities for minority, women, and LGBT attorneys who provide legal services to corporate and government clients, and to expose those organizations to the legal talent of diverse attorneys in Texas.
Bryan Lauer presents at State Bar Oil and Gas Disputes CLE Course
January 11, 2019
Bryan Lauer co-presented on Procedural and Ethical Issues in Royalty Owner Class Action and Multi-District Litigation at the State Bar of Texas Oil and Gas Disputes CLE course in January.
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter prevail on appeal
January 4, 2019
Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently obtained a complete victory on appeal, preserving their trial court victory for their client.
Bitting and Saiter represented an attorney who served as an executor for a probate estate. The beneficiaries of that estate sued the attorney, asserting claims for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duties among other things.
In March 2017 Bitting and Saiter won summary judgment, persuading the trial court that the statute of limitations barred all of the Plaintiffs’ claims. The Plaintiffs appealed. After full briefing, on December 20, 2018 the Houston Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas affirmed the judgment in favor of Bitting and Saiter’s client in all respects.
John Ellis and David Shank named Partners in the Firm
January 1, 2019