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Archives: Deborah Hankinson

 

Deputy Constables Entitled to Procedural, not Substantive, Due Process

When a newly elected constable refused to swear in three deputy constables, they brought suit against the county claiming substantive and procedural due process violations. The Supreme Court held that as civil servants who could be dismissed only for just cause, the deputies had no… + read more

When a newly elected constable refused to swear in three deputy constables, they brought suit against the county claiming substantive and procedural due process violations. The Supreme Court held that as civil servants who could be dismissed only for just cause, the deputies had no substantive due process rights in their continued employment. Even if they did, however, the county’s termination of their employment was not so arbitrary and conscience-shocking that it violated substantive due process. Because they were not given the procedural due process that the county’s civil service system required, the deputies were entitled to nominal damages without proof of actual injury. On remand, if the county establishes just cause to terminate them, the deputies will only be entitled to damages directly resulting from the denial of a hearing, but if the county does not show just cause, the deputies may recover damages resulting from their dismissal. Deborah Hankinson and Rick Thompson represented the County of Dallas. County of Dallas v. Wiland, 216 S.W.3d 344 (Tex. 2007).

 

City Waives Immunity only to Extent Claims against City Offset City’s Claims

The Supreme Court held that when a municipality and another party bring suit against each other, the city only waives its immunity to the extent the claims against it offset its own affirmative claims. As to any damages claim against the city that exceeds the… + read more

The Supreme Court held that when a municipality and another party bring suit against each other, the city only waives its immunity to the extent the claims against it offset its own affirmative claims. As to any damages claim against the city that exceeds the amount of the offset, the trial court has no jurisdiction. The Court further held that the Texas Tort Claims Act only waives a municipality’s immunity when the city is the user of the property causing injury, which the City of Dallas was not in this case. Deborah Hankinson represented the City in this important decision. Reata Const. Corp. v. City of Dallas, 197 S.W.3d 371 (Tex. 2006).

 

Preferential Rights Expire upon Final Production Payment

Representing First Permian, Deborah Hankinson successfully argued that the preferential right reserved by the assignors of certain oil and gas leases had terminated upon the assignees’ final production payment. The court reasoned that the preferential right did not create an independent right for the assignors… + read more

Representing First Permian, Deborah Hankinson successfully argued that the preferential right reserved by the assignors of certain oil and gas leases had terminated upon the assignees’ final production payment. The court reasoned that the preferential right did not create an independent right for the assignors to enjoy forever, but was intended to exist only as long as necessary to protect the assignors’ interest in the full payment for the leases. First Permian, L.L.C. v. Graham, 212 S.W.3d 368 (Tex. App. – Amarillo 2006, pet. denied).

 

Judicial Candidate Reinstated on Ballot

In this Texas Election Code case, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision to remove from the primary ballot the name of a candidate for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The candidate, represented by Deborah Hankinson and Rick Thompson, had timely filed a… + read more

In this Texas Election Code case, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision to remove from the primary ballot the name of a candidate for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The candidate, represented by Deborah Hankinson and Rick Thompson, had timely filed a lengthy petition signed by hundreds of eligible voters to have his name placed on the Republican ballot, but due to a clerical error, several of the pages failed to state he was running for “Place 8” on that court. The Republican Party chair overlooked the defects and approved the petition, which another candidate then challenged. The Supreme Court held that when a challenge is made based on facial defects in a petition that could have been timely cured had the party chair not overlooked them, the trial court must abate the challenge and allow the candidate the opportunity to cure. The Court reasoned that candidates should have the same opportunity to cure as a proper review before the filing deadline would have allowed them. Facial defects should exclude a candidate from the ballot only when a proper review by the party chair would have led to the same result. In re Francis, 186 S.W.3d 534 (Tex. 2006).

 

Hankinson Client Prevails in Preferential Rights Dispute

Non-operating working interest owners brought suit against an oil and gas unit operator, claiming the operator had violated the preferential rights provision of the operating agreement. Affirming the judgment of the trial court for the operator, the court of appeals held the operator had complied… + read more

Non-operating working interest owners brought suit against an oil and gas unit operator, claiming the operator had violated the preferential rights provision of the operating agreement. Affirming the judgment of the trial court for the operator, the court of appeals held the operator had complied with the terms of the notice provision. The court held the provision did not require the operator to provide detailed information to the plaintiffs about how the total purchase price for all the unit operator’s property in the area was allocated to the unit in question. Additionally, the court concluded plaintiffs’ affiliate had not been properly elected successor operator because plaintiffs had failed to count the operator’s votes. In this appeal, Deborah Hankinson successfully represented Occidental Petroleum. Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd. v. Occidental Permian, Ltd., 225 S.W.3d 577 (Tex. App. – El Paso 2005, pet. denied).

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