Scott Douglass & McConnico Lawyers Prevail in Fifth Circuit Appeal
Jane Webre, Sara Clark, and Paige Amstutz, together with attorneys from the Goode, Casseb, Jones, Riklin Choate & Watson law firm in San Antonio, have obtained an appellate victory in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which affirmed a 2017 summary judgment in favor of 120 homeowners involved in a title dispute concerning a decades-old claimed lien on their properties. The Scott Douglass and Goode Casseb firms defended the homeowners in federal court last year, where U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ultimately granted summary judgment in favor of the homeowners, ruling that the claimed lien could not be foreclosed on and would not deprive the homeowners of title to their homes. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the trial court victory, and issued its mandate on December 4, 2018. You can read the Fifth Circuit’s opinion here.
Sara Wilder Clark and Jane Webre Present at VLS Lunch CLE Series
Sara Wilder Clark and Jane Webre, both regular volunteers for VLS pro bono cases, will present a CLE as part of Volunteer Legal Services' Lunchtime CLE Series.
These trainings provide guidance for lawyers and range in topic from courtroom skills to managing family law cases.
Sara Clark and Paige Amstutz Prevail in Title Dispute
Sara Clark and Paige Amstutz, together with attorneys from the San Antonio Goode, Casseb, Jones, Riklin Choate & Watson firm, have successfully defended 120 homeowners in a federal court title dispute. Last week, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel granted summary judgment in favor of the homeowners, ruling that a decades-old lien on property that ultimately became a residential subdivision in Williamson County did not deprive the homeowners of title to their homes. You can read media coverage of this recent victory here.
Paige Amstutz, Sara Clark and Ray Donley Win Appeal in Takings Case
Representing landowners, SD&M attorneys Paige Amstutz, Sara Clark and Ray Donley recently prevailed in an interlocutory appeal of a trial court’s denial of a municipal plea to the jurisdiction. The landowners sued the City of Rollingwood alleging unconstitutional taking and nuisance claims resulting from the flooding of their property. The City responded with a plea to the jurisdiction, claiming that sovereign immunity barred the landowners’ claims. The trial court denied the City’s plea, and the City pursued an interlocutory appeal of the ruling. Ruling for the landowners, the Austin Court of Appeals found that the trial court properly denied the City’s plea.
SDM Honored During Texas Appleseed's Pro Bono Week
SDM's Sara Clark, Steve Britt and Kennon Wooten were among those honored during Texas Appleseed's Pro Bono week for their collaboration on the fair financial services projects which grants more access to small dollar loans for municipalities. SDM's extensive drafting support and research facilitated the publication of "A Toolkit for Cities: Increasing Access to Fair, Low-Cost Loans," which offers actionable strategies to foster fair loans in local communities, thereby strengthening efforts to control abuses in the payday and auto title lending market in Texas. More information about Texas Appleseed and its public interest justice efforts can be found here.
SDM Honored with Joseph P. Hart Award
On May 24, 2016, SDM’s Sara Clark and Carroll Martin jointly accepted the Joseph P. Hart Award on behalf of the firm. Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (VLS) gives this award to the law firm who has demonstrated integrity in and commitment to providing legal services to the poor. The award recognizes SDM’s significant financial and volunteer contributions, including handling over 50 VLS pro bono cases in the last three years. Congratulations to all of our attorneys for their steadfast efforts and considerable time commitment to such a worthy cause. You can learn more about the important work of VLS in Central Texas here.
SDM Attorneys Serve in Diverse Legal Leadership Roles
Each year, SDM attorneys dedicate significant time serving in a variety of legal leadership roles. This year, these SDM attorneys will serve on the following diverse local and state-wide boards and committees:
Anthony Arguijo is the President-Elect of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
Dan Bitting serves on the Board of the Texas Aggie Bar Association.
Sara Clark serves on the Board of the Litigation Section of the Austin Bar Association, the Board of Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, and the Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee.
Cindy Saiter serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Association and is Co-Chair of its Membership Committee. She also serves on the Nominating Committee for District 9 of the Texas Bar Foundation, the State Bar Committee on Women in the Profession, and the Board of the Travis County Women Lawyers Scholarship Fund, and is Chair of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation.
John Ellis serves on the Board of the Texas Young Lawyers Association where he is Co-Chair of the Marketing and Technology Committee, serves on the Outreach and Public Service Committees, and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
Asher Griffin serves on the Steering Committee for the Texas Minority Counsel Program of the State Bar Office of Minority Affairs.
Olga Kobzar is the President of the Texas Energy Law Association and Treasurer for the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.
Ray Langenberg serves on the Comptroller’s Taxpayer Advisory Group, which advises the Comptroller on tax policy matters.
Carroll Martin serves on the Council for the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar.
Ryan Squires is Co-Chair of the Austin Bar Association’s 2016 Leadership Academy Committee.
Jane Webre serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Foundation.
Kennon Wooten serves as a member of the Board of the Austin Bar Association, the Board for the Texas Legal Services Center, and the Editorial Board for The Advocate, a quarterly publication of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. Kennon is also Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee, Chair of the Austin Bar Association's Publications Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of Austin Lawyer, an Austin Bar Association publication.
To learn more about the missions of these organizations, visit their websites:
Austin Bar Association
Austin Young Lawyers Association
Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee
Hispanic Bar Association of Austin
State Bar of Texas
Texas Aggie Bar Association
Texas Energy Law Association
Texas Young Lawyers Association
Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association
Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas
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.