Wooten and Hargrove Publish Article in The Appellate Advocate

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

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.

SD&M Secures Appellate Win Upholding Final Judgment on Behalf of Lynch, Chappell & Alsup, P.C.

Kim BuenoRobyn HargroveSD&M attorneys Kim Bueno and Robyn Hargrove have won an appeal on behalf of the law firm of Lynch, Chappell & Alsup, P.C. 

In the trial court, Lynch Chappell filed suit to recover a contingency fee that its former client owed the firm for its work on her behalf in an estate proceeding. The former client counterclaimed for breach of fiduciary, arguing that the fee was too high. 

In the trial court, the former client refused to turn over her recordings of her conversations with her Lynch Chappell attorneys. SD&M obtained sanctions against the former client for her discovery abuse, ordering that she be prevented from admitting evidence of her communications with Lynch Chappell in the lawsuit. SD&M then won summary judgment, resulting in a final judgment that Lynch Chappell was entitled to its fee, and dismissing the fiduciary duty claims as meritless as a matter of law.

The El Paso Court of Appeals upheld the sanctions order and the final judgment, concluding that the trial court correctly determined that Lynch Chappell was entitled to its fee. The court also noted that Lynch Chappell had obtained a favorable result in the estate proceeding, and that it had voluntarily elected to take less than the full 25% it was entitled to receive under the contingent fee contract. In response to the former client’s claim that the 25% fee was too high, the court concluded:  “We cannot undo a contract that was conscionable at its inception simply because a party later regrets making a deal.”

SDM Hosts Duke Women's Forum on Austin's Innovation Zone

Scott Douglass & McConnico is pleased to host The Austin Duke Alumni Women's Forum for their annual speaker event on November 14. SDM lawyers Robyn Hargrove, Carroll Martin and Cindy Saiter are members of the Austin Duke Alumni Women's Forum.

This year's presentation is titled Austin’s Innovation Zone: Modeling Duke’s Success in Healthcare Transformation

Dr. Timothy George, Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Neurology at Dell Medical School and Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Dell Children’s, and previously Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics and Neurobiology at Duke, will be speaking about the launch of Austin's Innovation Zone, anchored by the new Dell Medical School, Dell Seton Medical Center, and the Central Health Brackenridge campus. This initiative draws on Durham’s own experiences, where Duke Medical School has been actively involved in a similar community-based initiative for the past twenty years.

Abe Kuczaj, Robyn Hargrove, and Jamie Baskin Win Appeal on Behalf of Hundreds of Victims of the Bastrop County Complex Fire

SD&M attorneys Abe Kuczaj, Robyn Hargrove, and Jamie Baskin recently won an appeal on behalf of hundreds of victims of a wildfire in Bastrop County.  The property owners sued Asplundh Tree Expert Co., alleging that its negligence caused the fire and resulted in devastating losses to nearby property owners.  Asplundh sought dismissal of all claims on the basis of the statute of limitations.  On appeal, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the property owners’ claims were not barred by the statute of limitations.  The court of appeals’ holding was based on the doctrine of American Pipe tolling, which delays running of the statute of limitations during the pendency of a related class action against the same defendant.  The court of appeals’ opinion contains one of the most in-depth discussions of American Pipe tolling by a Texas court to date.

SDM Wins Appeal in Dispute Over Waiver of Arbitration Rights

Steve McConnico, Robyn Hargrove, and Kim Bueno recently won an appeal in a dispute over waiver of arbitration rights.  At the trial court, the plaintiff sought to compel arbitration after the trial court issued some adverse pretrial rulings against her. SDM, on behalf of its client, successfully defeated the motion to compel on the basis of waiver. The appeals court affirmed, holding that the plaintiff’s attempts to manipulate the judicial process resulted in a waiver of her right to arbitrate.

SDM Wins Appeal Affirming Summary Judgment Rulings in Well Blowout Coverage Dispute

SDM lawyers Jane Webre, Steve Wingard, and Robyn Hargrove prevailed in an appeal of summary judgment orders. SDM represented the operator of a well in Reeves County, Texas. After the well suffered  a blowout, the insured paid to bring the well under control, to attempt to restore production at the well, and to address pollution cleanup. The insured filed claims with its insurance carriers under well-control and commercial-general-liability policies, but the carriers denied coverage. SDM won summary judgments at the Midland County District Court, which ruled that the well was a “well-insured” under the policies and that the insured incurred damages in excess of the policies’ limits. The insurance companies appealed to the Eastland Court of Appeals. Finding no error, the Eastland Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment rulings and taxed all costs against the insurance companies.

SD&M Lawyers Win Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Case

SD&M Lawyers Paige Amstutz, Sara Clark, and Robyn Hargrove obtained a final summary judgment in favor of a national hotel chain client. The case arose from an arrest on the hotel premises of an individual who claimed that the hotel’s conduct wrongfully contributed to his arrest. The trial court disagreed, and granted final summary judgment for the defendant on all claims.