Congratulations to Christy Wollin, an Associate in KD&P’s Dallas office, who was named a “Rising Star” in the Appellate Practice category for the third year in a row. You can see the entire list of Appellate “Rising Stars,” including Christy, here. Way to go, Christy!
Congratulations to Jason Gibson and Casey Jordan of The Gibson Law Firm who, along with the help of Peter Kelly, successfully prosecuted a wrongful death case against Manhattan-Vaughn on behalf of Angel Garcia’s family. Angel Garcia was killed on December 4, 2013, during the construction of Kyle Field. His family filed suit, and on February 10, 2016, the jury awarded Garcia’s family $54 million. You can read more about the case in the Houston Chronicle here.
Congratulations to Kirk Pittard and Leighton Durham who successfully convinced the Dallas Court of Appeals to not only dismiss an appeal, but to sanction both the defense attorney and his doctor client for pursuing a frivolous appeal. The “cow in the road” appeal, which stems from serious injuries our client suffered when he ran into a cow owned by a former doctor, began when the former doctor argued that, simply because he was a doctor, the personal injury case was actually a healthcare liability claim which required a Chapter 74 expert report. The trial court denied the doctor’s motion, and the doctor appealed. Following the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Ross v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, 462 S.W.3d 496 (Tex. 2015), Leighton sent opposing counsel a letter notifying him that, in light of Ross, the appeal was frivolous and should be dismissed. When he refused to do so, Kirk and Leighton asked that the appeal be dismissed and that they be awarded all attorneys’ fees incurred in defending the frivolous appeal. On February 9, 2016, the Dallas Court of Appeals agreed that the appeal was frivolous and sanctioned both the defense counsel and the doctor. You can read about the case in the Texas Lawyer here, or Law360.com here. A copy of the court’s opinion can be found here.
KD&P is pleased to welcome its newest associate, Dava Greenberg-Spindler, to the Dallas office. Dava is a native San Antonian, and a 2015 graduate, magna cum laude, of Texas Tech University School of Law. Welcome to the firm Dava.
Congratulations to Rose Walker attorneys, Marty Rose and Chris McDowell, and their client, ThermoTek, who–along with the support of Thad Spalding–obtained a $7.5M jury verdict on November 20, 2015 following a three-week trial in a Federal District Court in Dallas. ThermoTek, who was originally sued by the Defendants, defeated the Defendants’ claims and successfully pursued its own claims for fraud and unfair competition when those Defendants convinced ThermoTek to make them distributors of ThermoTek’s medical device and then used that relationship to improperly create their own, nearly identical, product and use that product to unfairly compete with ThermoTek. A Law360.com article regarding the case can be found here.
Congratulations to Peter Kelly who, on November 19, 2015, successfully convinced the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals to affirm a trial court’s order refusing to dismiss his client’s case pursuant to Chapter 74 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code–the Texas Medical Liability Act. The client, a housekeeper, sued her employer, Corpus Christi Medical Center, for injuries she suffered when she was assigned by the Medical Center to a task that required her to lift very heavy items, a task that was not part of her normal duties. The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals refused to find that Ms. Martinez’s claim was a health care liability claim and, thus, Chapter 74 did not apply. You can find a copy of the court’s opinion here.
Congratulations to Kirk Pittard who successfully defended a trial court’s order requiring that State Farm of Lloyds produce electronically-stored information in the native format in which such information is usually kept. State Farm sought mandamus relief, but the Corpus Christi Court of Appeals concluded that mandamus relief was not warranted and required that State Farm produce the information in its native or near native format. You can read the opinion here.
KD&P and Houston partner, Peter Kelly, are honored to have worked with lead counsel Jim Lewis on an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (a United Way Agency) and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, asking that the court reverse a lower court opinion that held that a female employee who was violently sexually assaulted by her supervisor in her workplace bathroom is limited to the same administrative remedies as a victim of non-violent, non-physical sexual harassment or discrimination. A copy of that brief can be found here.
Congratulations to KD&P partners Peter Kelly, Kirk Pittard, Leighton Durham, and Thad Spalding who were all named “Super Lawyers” in the Appellate category by Thomson Reuters and the publishers of Texas Monthly magazine. A special congratulations to Peter Kelly for also being named among the Houston region’s Top 100 lawyers overall.
Congratulations to Peter Kelly and Will Adams for their successful defense of a judgment in excess of $800,000 in a nonsubscriber case against a negligent employer. Peter and Will defeated nearly all of the employer’s factual and legal sufficiency arguments regarding the liability and damage findings, as well as arguments related to the exclusion of certain evidence, improper jury argument, and charge error. Most notably, however, the court of appeals refused to reduce the medical expenses awarded under the “paid or incurred” statute based on the medical providers’ sale of the injured party’s medical bills to a medical factoring company. You can read the court’s opinion in Katy Springs & Mfg., Inc. v. Favalora here.
Congratulations to Morgan McPheeters who won her first appeal in the Fort Worth Court of Appeals! Morgan successfully upheld a default judgment in favor of a personal injury plaintiff, where the defendant attempted to challenge the judgment through a bill of review more than four years after the judgment was entered, claiming extrinsic fraud in the manner in which substituted service was executed. You can read the court’s opinion here.
Congratulations to Peter Kelly who convinced the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston to affirm a $1.1 million judgment obtained by Jason Gibson and Andrew Smith against Kroger following an incident in which a meatcutter lost four fingers on his dominant hand.
Among other issues on appeal, Kroger argued that its duties should be limited to those owed by premises owners to invitees–meaning no duty to train or supervise, hire competent co-employees, provide appropriate instrumentalities, etc. The court rejected that argument based on the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Austin v. Kroger. Kroger also argued that the trial court erred in admitting certain photographs taken by the plaintiff after he returned to work, claiming that the pictures were thus the result of a criminal trespass and thus inadmissible under the exclusionary rule. The court rejected this argument as well. You can find a link to the opinion here.
Congratulations to Partner, Peter Kelly who has been appointed to a second three-year term on the Texas Supreme Court Advisory Committee. Currently comprised of 46 judges, former judges, and practitioners, the Committee assists the Supreme Court in the continuing study, review, and development of rules and procedures for the courts of Texas, taking into consideration the rules and procedures of other courts in the United States and proposals for changes from whatever source received. The Committee drafts rules as directed by the Court; solicits, summarizes, and reports to the Court the views of the bar and the public on court rules and procedures; and makes recommendations for change.
Congratulations to Leigh Bradford who convinced the Dallas Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court’s dismissal of a medical malpractice case based on the sufficiency of the Chapter 74 expert report. The Dallas Court of Appeals determined that the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing the claims against a doctor, finding that the Chapter 74 expert report sufficiently demonstrated a causal relationship between the physician’s negligence and the death of Mr. Mitchell. You can read the court’s opinion here.
In response to a very defense-oriented article which argued that, despite the plain language of the statute, a plaintiff could obtain punitive damages for fraud only if some level of “super-fraud” had been proved, Peter Kelly wrote a rebuttal published by the Texas Lawyer on June 1, 2015 that clarified the statutory requirements for obtaining punitive damages in fraud cases.
Congratulations to Kevin Camp who, along with the help of Kirk Pittard, obtained a $5.24 million verdict in favor of their client, John Blommer, against BNSF Railway back in October of last year. On May 25, 2015, the verdict was highlighted by the Texas Lawyer as the second-highest toxic tort verdict in 2014.
On May 25, 2015, John Council and the Texas Lawyer featured Leighton Durham and the cow in the road case again. In this installment, the Texas Lawyer zeros in on a motion to dismiss Leighton filed with the Dallas Court of Appeals, urging the court to not only dismiss the defendants’ appeal but also award Leighton’s client the attorney’s fees incurred in having to ask the court to do so.
Another month, another big win for Peter Kelly, this time in In re Memorial Herman Hosp. Sys., No. 14-0171, — S.W.3d —, 2015 WL 2438752 (Tex. May 22, 2015). In this case, Dr. Gomez brought suit against Memorial Hermann, his former employer, seeking damages caused by the hospital’s defamatory “whisper campaign” against him. The hospital claimed that all the relevant documents were protected by the medical peer review privilege; on mandamus, the Texas Supreme Court held that the “anticompetitive action” exception to the privilege applies, and ordered the vast majority of the documents produced.
On April 24, 2015, the Texas Supreme Court decided Brown & Gay Eng’g, Inc. v. Olivares, No. 13-0605, — S.W.3d —, 2015 WL 1897646 (Tex. April 24, 2015), a case in which a private engineering firm retained by a governmental entity to design and build a toll road asserted “derivative sovereign immunity” in an effort to protect itself from liability for a three-fatality accident caused by its own negligent design. Peter Kelly convinced the Texas Supreme Court to decline to expand the doctrine of governmental immunity to extend to private entities that contract with the government, and allowed the underlying lawsuit against the engineering firm to proceed. Justice Lehrmann’s opinion can be found here, and a concurring opinion by Chief Justice Hecht can be found here.
KD&P is pleased to announce that Morgan McPheeters passed the Texas Bar Exam! Morgan is now licensed to practice law in Texas and New Mexico. Congratulations Morgan!
KD&P is pleased to announce that, for the fifth year in a row, Kirk Pittard has been recognized by D Magazine as one of the best lawyers in Dallas in the Appellate practice category. Congratulations Kirk!
On Friday, April 10, 2015, Leighton Durham and trial counsel, Dean Boyd, successfully defeated the defendant’s now widely-publicized effort to have their client’s case dismissed pursuant to Texas’s medical malpractice statute solely on the basis that the cow’s owner, and defendant in the case, is a retired doctor. A Texas Lawyer article discussing the case can be found here.
Peter Kelly is urging the Texas Supreme Court to reconsider its March 6, 2015 decision in The Fredericksburg Care Co., L.P. v. Juanita Perez, et al. (No. 13-0573), and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, the Texas Association of Defense Counsel, the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and even Texas Mutual Liability Trust, a medical malpractice insurer, have joined him in that request. The opinion holds that the Federal Arbitration Act preempts a provision of Texas’s medical malpractice statute that allows medical malpractice cases to be subject to arbitration, but only if certain statutory notices are provided in the arbitration agreement and the agreement is signed by the patient’s attorney. The opinion can be found here, Peter’s briefs and those of the other amici can be found here, and a Texas Lawyer article about the case can be found here.
On March 26, 2015, KD&P partner Peter Kelly presented argument to the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association regarding Texas’s statutory punitive damages caps. A summary of the case, Mirta Zorrilla v. Aypco Constr. II, LLC, et al., No. 14-0067, and Peter’s argument can be found here. Peter’s argument begins at the 30 minute mark.
On March 24, 2015, KD&P partner Kirk Pittard testified before the Texas House of Representatives’ Committee on Business and Industry against HB 1603, a “chancery court” bill which would create special courts for special commercial interests in contravention of the Texas Constitution and which would be detrimental to the citizens of Texas. Kirk’s testimony can be seen here beginning at 3:05:00.
KD&P is pleased to announce that, for the second year in a row, Christy Wollin has been named a “Rising Star” in the Appellate category by Super Lawyers Magazine, a publication of Thomson Reuters and the publishers of Texas Monthly. Congratulations, again, Christy!
Kelly, Durham & Pittard, LLP is pleased to announce the addition of Morgan A. McPheeters as a new associate in the Dallas office. Morgan is a 2014 cum laude graduate of Baylor Law School, with a concentration in business litigation, is already licensed to practice law in New Mexico and just sat for the Texas Bar Exam last month. Welcome to the firm Morgan.
On February 25, 2015, Peter Kelly defended a discovery order requiring the disclosure of peer-review committee documents before the Texas Supreme Court. Peter presented argument on behalf of the Respondent, Dr. Miguel Gomez, in In re Hermann Hosp. Sys., No. 14-0171. The issue concerns whether (1) the statutory medical-committee privilege protects documents potentially discoverable under the “anticompetitive exception” to the statutory privilege and (2) the exception requires that an antitrust claim be pled. A Law360.com article regarding the case can be viewed here (“Hospital Fights Privileged Docs“) and a summary of the issue and Peter’s argument can be viewed here.
Congratulations to Rachel Montes and Todd Tracy who, along with the support of Leighton Durham, obtained an $18,745,001 verdict in the 95th Judicial District Court in Dallas County on February 13, 2015. The jury’s verdict was based on injuries Hope Crump suffered when she was ejected from a vehicle in which she was a passenger. Hope was rendered a paraplegic as a result of the accident. The jury found John Goin, the driver of the vehicle, to be the primary cause of the accident. Goin, who lost control of the vehicle and caused it to roll over, was intoxicated at the time. A Dallas Morning News article regarding the case can be found here.
Leighton Durham was interviewed by John Council of Texas Lawyer regarding opposing counsel’s unusual motion to dismiss filed in a case in which he and Dean Boyd represent a plaintiff injured when he ran into a cow that escaped from the defendant’s property. Because the owner of the cow is a retired doctor, opposing counsel moved to declare the case a health care liability case and dismiss it for failing to comply with the expert report requirements of the health care liability statute. You can read the Texas Lawyer article and Leighton’s comments here (“How is Hitting A Cow Med Mal“), and you can read the Dallas Court of Appeals opinion denying the opposing counsel mandamus relief here.
You can read about Peter Kelly’s win in Davis v. White on the front page of the January 12, 2015 Texas Lawyer (“Court Reinstates $2.8M Punitive Award“).
KD&P is delighted to report a significant victory earned on December 29, 2014 in the Fort Worth Court of Appeals. In a breach of fiduciary duty case (a lawyer suing his former partner), the jury awarded $2,800,000 in exemplary damages (10 times the actual damages). The trial court applied Texas’s statutory cap and cut the award to $564,000 (2 times the actual damages). On appeal, the Fort Worth court reinstated the full amount when it found that the defendant waived application of the cap. Brad Parker tried a great case in the court below, and it was a privilege to work with him as we vindicated our client’s rights. Firm partner Peter Kelly handled the briefing and oral argument. A Law360 article regarding the case can be found here and a link to the opinion in Davis v. White can be found here.
Congratulations to Leigh Prichard Bradford who, on November 21, 2014, defeated a Petition for Review filed in the Texas Supreme Court in a medical malpractice case. The court of appeals opinion, Navarro v. Washington, No. 10-13-00248-CV, 2014 WL 1882763 (Tex. App.—Waco May 8, 2014, pet. denied) (mem. op.), upheld the qualifications and sufficiency of the patient’s expert doctor’s reports under Chapter 74. A link to the supreme court briefing and order denying the hospital’s petition can be found here: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/Case.aspx?cn=14-0499&coa=cossup
KDP is pleased to announce that Christy Wollin has been named a “Rising Star” in the Appellate category by Texas Monthly and Law & Politics Magazine. Congratulations Christy!
On October 15, 2014, Leighton Durham traveled to Lubbock to speak to the South Plains Trial Lawyer’s Association regarding “Common Mistakes Even the Best Lawyers Make.”
On October 15, 2014, Peter Kelly appeared again before the Texas Supreme Court in Austin, this time to present argument on behalf of the Respondent in Brown & Gay Engineering, Inc. v. Zuleima Olivares, No. 13-0605. The issue in Brown & Gay Engineering concerns whether a private engineering firm, working for governmental entity (a toll-road authority), has derivative governmental immunity in a wrongful death case. Further summary of the issue and Peter’s argument can be viewed at http://texassupremecourt.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/bf4e8388f2854bdfa21a0745b79ece081d
On October 9, 2014, Peter Kelly appeared before the Texas Supreme Court, sitting in Lubbock at the Texas Tech School of Law, to present argument on behalf of the Respondent in Nabors Well Services, Ltd., et al. v. Asuncion Romero, et al., No. 13-0136. The issue in Nabors centers on whether evidence of a plaintiff’s nonuse of a seat belt should be admissible to mitigate damages. Further summary of the issue and Peter’s argument can be viewed at http://texassupremecourt.mediasite.com/mediasite/Play/403ba39bd9ff440c82716adb5aa339061d
Kelly, Durham & Pittard, LLP is pleased to announce that its partners, Peter Kelly, Leighton Durham, Kirk Pittard, and Thad Spalding have each been named a “Super Lawyer” in the Appellate category by Texas Monthly and Law & Politics Magazine.
Kelly, Durham & Pittard, LLP is pleased to announce that Kirk Pittard and Thad Spalding have been recognized by D Magazine as two of the best lawyers in Dallas for 2014 in the Appellate practice category. This is Kirk and Thad’s fourth year to be named to this list.
Have you ever had your dinosaur stolen? Mongolia did. In 2013, when a Tyrannosaurus Bataar dinosaur skeleton was looted from the country to be auctioned off in New York, Kelly, Durham & Pittard, along with trial counsel, helped the President of Mongolia get it back. One year later, an international dinosaur skeleton looting ring was broken up and numerous rare dinosaur skeletons were returned to Mongolia and are now displayed in a dedicated museum.
No matter how exotic your case, Kelly, Durham & Pittard is here to provide the litigation support you may need, including substantive legal briefing, analysis and argument in both trial and appellate courts in commercial, family, and personal injury cases.