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Vacatur of Arbitration Award for Evident Partiality Upheld on Appeal

Deborah Hankinson, Brett Kutnick, and Jennifer Stagen represented Occidental Petroleum Corporation and several of its subsidiaries in moving to vacate an arbitration award regarding the interpretation of a purchase and sales agreement.  After extensive briefing and argument, the trial court vacated the arbitration award for… + read more

Deborah Hankinson, Brett Kutnick, and Jennifer Stagen represented Occidental Petroleum Corporation and several of its subsidiaries in moving to vacate an arbitration award regarding the interpretation of a purchase and sales agreement.  After extensive briefing and argument, the trial court vacated the arbitration award for evident partiality by one of the neutral arbitrators.  The First District Court of Appeals in Houston subsequently affirmed the vacatur of the arbitration award, and after requesting full briefs on the merits, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petitioners’ petition for review and motion for rehearing.  Amoco D.T. Co. v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 343 S.W.3d 837 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, pet. denied).

 

Hankinson LLP’s Government Practice Aids City of Dallas

Hankinson LLP is pleased to announce its successful joint representation of one of the firm’s major clients, the City of Dallas, in six related cases before the Texas Supreme Court.  In these cases, a group of current and retired police officers and firefighters sued the… + read more

Hankinson LLP is pleased to announce its successful joint representation of one of the firm’s major clients, the City of Dallas, in six related cases before the Texas Supreme Court.  In these cases, a group of current and retired police officers and firefighters sued the City for additional pay and benefits under an ordinance adopted by the City in 1979. Deborah Hankinson argued the case before the Texas Supreme Court, and Rick Thompson assisted the City’s attorneys with preparing briefs.

After briefing and argument, the Supreme Court concluded that the police officers and firefighters could not prevail on their claims for declaratory relief because those claims were barred by sovereign immunity.  The Court also concluded that the police officers and firefighters could not prevail on their breach-of-contract claims as pleaded in the trial court; however, the Court remanded the contract claims to the trial court to determine whether a subsequently enacted section of the Local Government Code waived the City’s immunity for those claims.  See City of Dallas  v. Martin, 361 S.W.3d 560 (Tex. 2011); City of Dallas v. Albert, 354 S.W.3d 368 (Tex. 2011).

 

U.S. Supreme Court Revisits Race-Conscious Admissions, Focuses on the University of Texas

In Grutter v. Bollinger—which upheld the constitutionality of the University of Michigan Law School’s race-conscious admissions practices in 2003—Justice O’Connor famously predicted in her majority opinion that the days when such programs would be considered constitutionally permissible were numbered: “25 years from now,” she opined,… + read more

In Grutter v. Bollinger—which upheld the constitutionality of the University of Michigan Law School’s race-conscious admissions practices in 2003—Justice O’Connor famously predicted in her majority opinion that the days when such programs would be considered constitutionally permissible were numbered: “25 years from now,” she opined, “the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to ensure diversity in public higher learning institutions.”  Whether that lofty goal has indeed been met, the United States Supreme Court’s grant of the petition for certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 11-345—which involves UT’s undergraduate admissions program—has led many commenters to predict the demise of such race-conscious admissions programs far sooner than Justice O’Connor contemplated.

UT modeled its admissions practices on those that passed constitutional muster in Grutter.  As in Michigan, the Longhorns’ admission staff may consider an applicant’s race alongside a variety of other factors, including economic background, family history, and life experiences.  Also like Michigan, UT seeks to admit a “critical mass” of minority students so that those students will not feel isolated or burdened with being considered “tokens” for their race.  UT is different, however, because its consideration of race in admissions is considerably more limited than that approved in Grutter because UT’s role in the admissions process is constrained by virtue of Texas’s Top 10% Program.

Under the Texas Legislature’s Top 10% Program, UT is required to admit any applicant that graduates in the top 10% of his or her high-school class.  Students from the Top 10% Program now comprise over 80% of the school’s incoming classes, leaving just 20% of each class to be determined by the university’s admissions staff under its race-conscious admissions policy.  Thus, UT’s race-conscious admissions analysis results in the addition of only about 210 minority candidates in each class of 10,000.  Supporters of the current approach suggest that the de-emphasis on race makes UT’s plan more constitutional—not less.  But critics say the marginal impact of UT’s race-conscious program is precisely the problem; they argue that the race-neutral Top 10% Program is so successful in admitting minority students that the marginal impact of UT’s race-conscious program is not needed and cannot be constitutionally justified.

Ultimately, it appears that UT’s race-conscious admissions program may be doomed.  The fact that the Court granted certiorari probably means that four justices strongly disagree with the outcome reached by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals—which upheld the constitutionality of UT’s program—and those justices must believe they have the votes to win.  With Justice O’Connor’s departure from the Court, the apparent swing justice on the issue is Justice Anthony Kennedy, and many commentators think he is poised to do away with affirmative-action programs altogether.  Look for Justice Kennedy to write the majority opinion in this case, and for the landscape of university admissions programs to potentially change quite dramatically.

 

Deborah Hankinson Recognized for Alternative Dispute Resolution and Appellate Practice

Deborah Hankinson’s prominence in the field of alternative dispute resolution continues to grow.  She recently received the highest peer review rating of AV® Preeminent Status in Alternative Dispute Resolution with Martindale-Hubbell™  through a rigorous survey of her peers.  Deborah, who previously served as a Justice… + read more

Deborah Hankinson’s prominence in the field of alternative dispute resolution continues to grow.  She recently received the highest peer review rating of AV® Preeminent Status in Alternative Dispute Resolution with Martindale-Hubbell™  through a rigorous survey of her peers.  Deborah, who previously served as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Texas, also has been invited to join the AAA (American Arbitration Association) Judicial Settlement Conference Service panel, a new service that affords parties the opportunity to bring disputes to a private settlement conference with one of AAA’s specially selected former judges.  The process is non-binding and voluntary and involves significant evaluation by the former judge, who acts as a neutral.

In 2012, Deborah again was recognized by Best Lawyers, which also honored her as its Dallas Lawyer of the Year.  Chambers USA also recognized Deborah again this year, the sixth year in a row that she has received the honor. Additionally, Deborah’s standing in Texas is reflected in several recent accolades. She appears in the 2012 edition of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers, which is published by Martindale-Hubbell and America Lawyer Media.  Deborah also earned a place on D Magazine‘s 2012 listing of “The Best Lawyers in Dallas.”  This is the seventh time that D Magazine has named her to its “Best Lawyers” list.

For more information, contact Deborah at 214-754-9190 or dhankinson@hankinsonlaw.com.

 

Hankinson Attorneys Honored by Best Lawyers, Martindale-Hubbell

DALLAS – Lawyers from the Dallas-based Hankinson LLP law firm have earned honors from Texas’ Best Lawyers and Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers magazines based on their work in appellate law. Dallas attorney and mediator Deborah Hankinson, founder of Hankinson LLP, appears in the 2012 edition of… + read more

DALLAS – Lawyers from the Dallas-based Hankinson LLP law firm have earned honors from Texas’ Best Lawyers and Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers magazines based on their work in appellate law.

Dallas attorney and mediator Deborah Hankinson, founder of Hankinson LLP, appears in the 2012 edition of Texas’ Best Lawyers magazine, a publication of Best Lawyers in America, which previously named her the Dallas Appellate Lawyer of the Year. Texas’ Best Lawyers was included in the May 25 editions of the Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, the Austin American-Statesman, the San Antonio Express-News and the Texas editions of The Wall Street Journal.

That honor follows Ms. Hankinson’s appearance alongside fellow firm attorney Brett Kutnick in the 2012 edition of Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers, which was distributed by the same Texas newspapers on March 30, 2012. Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers is published by Martindale-Hubbell and American Lawyer Media.

“The recognition from Texas’ Best Lawyers and Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers reflects our hard work in appellate law, arbitration and mediation at Hankinson LLP,” Ms. Hankinson says. “Praise from our peers means a great deal to us.”

Editors of the 2012 Texas’ Best Lawyers list asked Texas’ top attorneys to identify those lawyers who they would direct a friend or loved one to hire if they could not handle the case themselves. Based on those responses, Ms. Hankinson was named Lawyer of the Year in appellate law in Dallas.

Ms. Hankinson and Mr. Kutnick earned recognition from Texas’ Top Rated Lawyers magazine based on peer ratings compiled by ALM and LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell.

Hankinson LLP, the preeminent civil appellate firm in the Southwest, provides clients with innovative legal insights and judicial perspective in all phases of litigation. The firm’s attorneys work with trial teams to develop strategies designed to put a case in the best position before, during, and after trial. Dallas-based Hankinson LLP represents national clients, regional companies, governmental bodies, and individuals with trial and appellate matters, and offers mediation and arbitration services as well. Learn more about the firm at http://hankinsonlaw.com.

 

Hankinson Wins New Sentencing Hearing for Juvenile

Deborah Hankinson successfully argued to the Texas Supreme Court that a juvenile, who was sentenced to twenty years confinement for sexually assaulting his seven year old cousin, was entitled to a new sentencing hearing. The Court held that if the State’s expert had testified truthfully… + read more

Deborah Hankinson successfully argued to the Texas Supreme Court that a juvenile, who was sentenced to twenty years confinement for sexually assaulting his seven year old cousin, was entitled to a new sentencing hearing. The Court held that if the State’s expert had testified truthfully about the reliability of certain scientific evidence, the evidence would have been excluded. The expert misstated the potential error rate of the evidence and inaccurately described the literature supporting or rejecting it. In closing argument, the State repeatedly referred to the expert’s testimony as proof that defendant was a pedophile. Because the expert’s testimony and the State’s use of that testimony contributed to the defendant’s sentence, the Court remanded the case for a new sentencing hearing. In re M.P.A., 364 S.W.3d 277 (Tex. 2012).

 

$3 Million Breach of Fiduciary Duty Judgment Reversed on Appeal

Brett Kutnick and Jennifer Stagen were principal members of the legal team that successfully represented Douglas Strebel in an appeal of a judgment after a jury trial awarding the plaintiff, a member of a Delaware limited liability company and a limited partner in a Texas limited… + read more

Brett Kutnick and Jennifer Stagen were principal members of the legal team that successfully represented Douglas Strebel in an appeal of a judgment after a jury trial awarding the plaintiff, a member of a Delaware limited liability company and a limited partner in a Texas limited partnership, nearly $3.5 million in lost distributions, attorney’s fees, and interest based on alleged breaches of fiduciary duties by Strebel.  Following oral argument, the Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas in Houston held that the parties contractually disclaimed the fiduciary duties related to profit distributions to the plaintiff.  The court thus reversed the judgment on the plaintiff’s breach of fidcuary duty claims and remanded the case to the trial court for consideration of the jury’s alternative liability and damages finding on the plaintiff’s minority oppression claim.  Strebel v. Wimberly, 371 S.W.3d 267 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2012, pet. denied).

 

Dallas Arbitrator, Appellate Attorney Deborah Hankinson to Discuss Effective Arbitration

DALLAS – Dallas arbitrator and appellate attorney Deborah Hankinson will be a featured speaker in a national conference of lawyers, arbitrators and business people addressing arbitration trends and methods for keeping arbitrations from getting out of control. Hankinson, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and… + read more

DALLAS – Dallas arbitrator and appellate attorney Deborah Hankinson will be a featured speaker in a national conference of lawyers, arbitrators and business people addressing arbitration trends and methods for keeping arbitrations from getting out of control.

Hankinson, a former Texas Supreme Court justice and founder of Hankinson LLP, will participate in the panel presentation, “How to Prevent a Runaway Arbitration,” during the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual CLE Conference on April 19 in Washington, D.C. The panel will offer practical solutions to help in-house and outside counsel ensure that arbitration remains a cost-effective and efficient alternative to
litigation.

Along with Ms. Hankinson, the panel will include Crowell & Moring LLP Partner Kathryn Kirmayer.  Patricia O’Prey, senior counsel – investigations at GE Capital Americas, will moderate the panel.

“Arbitration is an excellent dispute-resolution tool – when it is used properly,” Hankinson says. “As someone who knows the process, I know it’s my job to keep things on track and to be fair to all. That’s what we plan to discuss.”

In addition to her appellate work, Hankinson’s nationally prominent practice includes serving in arbitrator and mediator roles in disputes. She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association and is a member of the association’s national roster of neutrals. She also consults with trial lawyers with regard to trial strategy and appellate briefs, offering insight as to how appellate courts might view critical issues.

Hankinson is also a former justice on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas. She is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers.

Hankinson LLP, the preeminent civil appellate firm in the Southwest, provides clients with innovative legal insights and judicial perspective in all phases of litigation. The firm’s attorneys work with trial teams to develop strategies designed to put a case in the best position before, during, and after trial. Hankinson LLP represents national clients, regional companies, governmental bodies, and individuals with trial and appellate matters, and offers mediation and arbitration services as well. Learn more about the
firm at http://hankinsonlaw.com.

 

Dallas Appellate Attorney Deborah Hankinson Honored in D Magazine’s 2012 “Best Lawyers” List

DALLAS – Hankinson LLP founder Deborah Hankinson has earned a place on D Magazine’s 2012 listing of “The Best Lawyers in Dallas” based on her work for business clients in appellate cases, mediations and arbitrations, and trial consulting. This is the seventh time that D… + read more

Attorney:

DALLAS – Hankinson LLP founder Deborah Hankinson has earned a place on D Magazine’s 2012 listing of “The Best Lawyers in Dallas” based on her work for business clients in appellate cases, mediations and arbitrations, and trial consulting.

This is the seventh time that D Magazine has named Ms. Hankinson to its “Best Lawyers”  list. In 2010, the magazine also named her to its list of the best women lawyers in Dallas.

“I am again humbled to receive this honor in a city with so many great attorneys,” Ms. Hankinson says. “It’s an honor not only for me, but also for all of the attorneys at Hankinson LLP who work hard on a daily basis to make sure our clients receive the best appellate representation possible.”

To assemble the exclusive listing of Dallas’ top attorneys, the editors of D Magazine sought nominations from lawyers citywide. A blue-ribbon panel of lawyers met with magazine editors and approved the list, which covers 18 practice areas and will appear in the May 2012 issue of D Magazine.

In addition to her work as a trial and appellate lawyer, Ms. Hankinson served as a Justice
on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas and the Supreme Court of Texas. She is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and serves on the Board of Directors of the American Arbitration Association.

The recognition from D Magazine is just the latest in a long line of similar honors for Ms. Hankinson. In 2011, Texas Super Lawyers magazine named her to a list of the Top 10 attorneys in Texas. Her work also has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Texas Lawyer and the Dallas Business Journal, among others.

Hankinson LLP, the preeminent civil appellate firm in the Southwest, provides clients with innovative legal insights and judicial perspective in all phases of litigation. The firm’s attorneys work with trial teams to develop strategies designed to put a case in the best position before, during, and after trial. Hankinson LLP represents national clients, regional companies, governmental bodies, and individuals with trial and appellate matters, and offers mediation and arbitration services as well. Learn more about the firm at http://hankinsonlaw.com.

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Dallas Attorney Deborah Hankinson Named to American Academy of Appellate Lawyers

DALLAS – Noted appellate lawyer Deborah Hankinson, founder of Dallas-based Hankinson LLP, has been elected to the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an honor reserved for attorneys with a reputation for excellence in appellate work. The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers was established in 1990… + read more

Attorney:

DALLAS – Noted appellate lawyer Deborah Hankinson, founder of Dallas-based Hankinson LLP, has been elected to the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, an honor reserved for attorneys with a reputation for excellence in appellate work.

The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers was established in 1990 to advance the standards and practices of appellate advocacy and to acknowledge outstanding appellate lawyers. Membership is based on nominations by existing fellows as well as recommendations from judges and practitioners. The academy limits membership to no more than 500 people in the United States, and requires that nominees have spent at least 15 years in practice devoted substantially to appeals.

“I’m humbled by this honor and believe strongly in the academy’s mission,” says Ms. Hankinson.

In addition to appellate law, Ms. Hankinson’s practice includes substantial work in the area of alternative dispute resolution, including regular work as a mediator and arbitrator in cases involving a variety of complex legal issues.

Ms. Hankinson is a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas.

In addition to this latest honor, Ms. Hankinson has earned multiple selections to the Texas Super Lawyers list published by Thomson Reuters legal division and Texas Monthly. In 2011, she was named one of the state’s Top 10 attorneys in the Texas Super Lawyers listing.  Additionally, her work has been repeatedly recognized by The Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA. This fall, she also was named to the “Winning Women” list published by Texas Lawyer.

“We’re very proud that Deborah has earned this recognition,” says Hankinson LLP Managing Partner Rick Thompson. “The academy has formally stated what we’ve known all along: Deborah is a rare and talented appellate lawyer.”

Hankinson LLP, the preeminent civil appellate firm in the Southwest, provides clients with innovative legal insights and judicial perspective in all phases of litigation. The firm’s attorneys work with trial teams to develop strategies designed to put a case in the best position before, during, and after trial. Hankinson LLP represents national clients, regional companies, governmental bodies, and individuals with trial and appellate matters, and offers mediation and arbitration services as well. Learn more about the firm at http://hankinsonlaw.com.

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Hankinson LLP Named One of America’s Best Law Firms

DALLAS – The Dallas-based appellate law firm Hankinson LLP is being recognized by U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America as one of the country’s “Best Law Firms.” The firm earned a Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking among Dallas appellate firms in… + read more

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DALLAS – The Dallas-based appellate law firm Hankinson LLP is being recognized by U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America as one of the country’s “Best Law Firms.”

The firm earned a Metropolitan Tier 1 ranking among Dallas appellate firms in the 2011 guide to the nation’s leading law firms.

To compile the “Best Law Firms” listing, researchers with U.S. News and Best Lawyers surveyed thousands of attorneys and law firm clients across the U.S. The results of the survey appear in the November 2011 Best Law Firms publication. The full listing also is available online at http://bestlawfirms.usnews.com/.

Last month, the firm went through a name change when attorney Jeff Levinger departed to form his own firm.

“This honor rightly belongs to everyone at the firm, all the attorneys and staff, who worked so hard on behalf of our clients over the last 12 months, including Jeff,” says Hankinson LLP founder Deborah Hankinson, who also has been selected by The Best Lawyers in America as one of the country’s top attorneys. In addition, Best Lawyers also recently named Ms. Hankinson Dallas Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Law.

To develop the Best Lawyers list, researchers review nearly 3 million confidential evaluations by other attorneys. The full listing is available at www.bestlawyers.com.

The “Best Law Firms” and Best Lawyers honors are just the latest for Deborah Hankinson and the firm. Earlier this year, she was listed among the state’s top lawyers in the annual Texas Super Lawyers publication, earning a spot among the state’s Top 10 lawyers overall. Her other 2011 honors include selection by Texas Lawyer newspaper for its “Winning Women” section, and by D Magazine to its list of Best Lawyers in Dallas. She also has been featured in Chambers USA’s listing of the country’s top lawyers and previously was profiled in the Dallas Business Journal as one of North Texas’ top business defenders.

Hankinson LLP, the preeminent civil appellate firm in the Southwest, provides clients with innovative legal insights and judicial perspective in all phases of litigation. The firm’s attorneys work with trial teams to develop strategies designed to put a case in the best position before, during, and after trial. Hankinson LLP represents national clients, regional companies, governmental bodies, and individuals with trial and appellate matters, and offers mediation and arbitration services as well.

Learn more about the firm at http://hankinsonlaw.com.

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Brett Kutnick Presents Article at Advanced Civil Trial Course on Fiduciary Duties.

Brett Kutnick’s article examined the formal and informal relationships that typically give rise to fiduciary duties, the consequences that flow from the existence of a fiduciary duty, and the remedies that are generally available in fiduciary duty cases.  Because “fiduciary” concepts remain amorphous under the… + read more

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Subject Matter:

Brett Kutnick’s article examined the formal and informal relationships that typically give rise to fiduciary duties, the consequences that flow from the existence of a fiduciary duty, and the remedies that are generally available in fiduciary duty cases.  Because “fiduciary” concepts remain amorphous under the law, his presentation in Dallas and Houston focused on the traps for both plaintiffs and defendants in fiduciary duty actions. View the pdf here.

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Appellate Court Reverses, Renders Judgment That Plaintiffs Take Nothing in Oil-and-Gas Mineral Interest Title Dispute

In a highly complex title dispute between Texas oil-and-gas operators, the plaintiffs claimed superior title to a mineral lease on a 169.1-acre tract in Concho County, Texas. After the jury found that the plaintiffs had superior title, the trial court ordered the defendants—who possessed and… + read more

In a highly complex title dispute between Texas oil-and-gas operators, the plaintiffs claimed superior title to a mineral lease on a 169.1-acre tract in Concho County, Texas. After the jury found that the plaintiffs had superior title, the trial court ordered the defendants—who possessed and had drilled a producing well on the tract—to turn over possession of the property, drilling equipment, and almost $1 million being held in suspense pending adjudication of the case. Hankinson LLP attorney Deborah Hankinson  represented the defendants on appeal. The Austin Court of Appeals reversed the trial-court judgment, rendered judgment that the plaintiffs take nothing, and also rendered judgment that title and possession of the mineral estate, equipment, and funds belonged to the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, which denied review after requesting full briefing on the merits.  McCammon v. Ischy, No. 03-06-00707-CV, 2010 WL 1930149 (Tex. App.—Austin May 12, 2010, pet. denied).

 

Dallas Court of Appeals Rules for DART Contractor in Dispute Against Architect

In a second appeal involving the same lawsuit, Brett Kutnick was a principal member of the legal team that successfully represented Martin K. Eby Construction Company in its negligent misrepresentation suit against LAN/STV, an architect and engineer that prepared faulty construction plans and drawings for… + read more

In a second appeal involving the same lawsuit, Brett Kutnick was a principal member of the legal team that successfully represented Martin K. Eby Construction Company in its negligent misrepresentation suit against LAN/STV, an architect and engineer that prepared faulty construction plans and drawings for an extension of the DART rail project. Following the remand in the first appeal, Eby settled its administrative claim against DART for $4.7  million and proceeded to trial against LAN/STV.  The jury found that LAN/STV had committed negligent misrepresentations that caused Eby $5 million in damages, but the trial court reduced the award to $2,250,000 plus interest based on the jury’s additional finding that LAN/STV was 45% responsible.  On appeal, the Dallas Court of Appeals rejected LAN/STV’s arguments regarding the derivative governmental immunity statute, the economic loss doctrine, the evidence of negligent misrepresentations, and the effect of the DART settlement.  The court also declined to reinstate the full amount of the verdict, as Eby had requested.  Martin K. Eby Construction Co. v. LAN/STV, 350 S.W.3d 675 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2011), rev’d, 435 S.W.3d 234 (Texas 2014).

 

Sanction Against Lawyer Reversed Based on Finding That He Did Not Commit the Alleged Conduct.

Brett Kutnick and Rick Thompson were principal members of the legal team that successfully represented a partner in a major Texas law firm who was sanctioned by a trial court for allegedly accusing opposing counsel of suborning perjury and ordered to purchase a half-page apology… + read more

Brett Kutnick and Rick Thompson were principal members of the legal team that successfully represented a partner in a major Texas law firm who was sanctioned by a trial court for allegedly accusing opposing counsel of suborning perjury and ordered to purchase a half-page apology in the Texas Lawyer. The Dallas Court of Appeals reversed the sanction in its entirety, holding that the lawyer had not accused opposing counsel of suborning perjury and that the trial court’s order reflected “both an erroneous assessment of the evidence and a misapplication of the law on subornation of perjury.”  Both the sanction order and the successful appeal received extensive coverage in the Texas Lawyer and other legal publications.  (Published opinion (2011); cite omitted).

 

Hankinson LLP Client Obtains Judgment Vacating Arbitration Award

Ruling in favor of Deborah Hankinson’s and Brett Kutnick’s client, Occidental Petroleum, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to vacate an arbitration award. The court held that one of the arbitrators displayed evident partiality by failing to disclose that, at the time… + read more

Ruling in favor of Deborah Hankinson’s and Brett Kutnick’s client, Occidental Petroleum, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to vacate an arbitration award. The court held that one of the arbitrators displayed evident partiality by failing to disclose that, at the time the parties approved him as a member of the arbitration panel, the firm at which he worked represented the ultimate parent company of one of the appellants in a mandamus proceeding to prevent the deposition of its CEO. The court held that an objective person could reasonably have concluded that the arbitrator’s nondisclosure of this fact was material, and that it created a reasonable impression of his partiality. The court also concluded Amoco failed to prove that if Oxy had performed a reasonable investigation of the arbitrator, it would have discovered his evident partiality. Amoco D.T. Co., v. Occidental Petroleum Corp., 343 S.W.3d 837 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2011, pet. denied).

 

Appellate Court Affirms Award of Punitive Damages in Favor of Hankinson LLP Client

In this medical malpractice case, Hankinson LLP represented the family of a deceased patient against a skilled nursing facility.  The facility repeatedly administered the patient a drug that he was allergic to, which ultimately led to his death.  The trial court rendered judgment on the… + read more

In this medical malpractice case, Hankinson LLP represented the family of a deceased patient against a skilled nursing facility.  The facility repeatedly administered the patient a drug that he was allergic to, which ultimately led to his death.  The trial court rendered judgment on the jury’s verdict in favor of the family, including an award of punitive damages.  Rick Thompson successfully fended off the facility’s challenge to the evidence supporting the district court’s judgment in the Amarillo Court of Appeals.  On April 15, 2011, the Texas Supreme Court denied the facility’s petition for review.  See THI of Tex. at Lubbock I, LLC v. Perea, 329 S.W.3d 548 (Tex. App.—Amarillo 2010, pet. denied).

 

Court of Appeals Affirms Finding of Shareholder Oppression and Stock Buy-Back Remedy

Brett Kutnick was the principal author of the appellate briefs in a well-publicized case involving shareholder oppression in which the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas upheld a judgment in favor of the firm’s client, Ann Rupe, based on the jury’s finding… + read more

Brett Kutnick was the principal author of the appellate briefs in a well-publicized case involving shareholder oppression in which the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas upheld a judgment in favor of the firm’s client, Ann Rupe, based on the jury’s finding that she had been oppressed by the officers and directors of Rupe Investment Corporation.  The court of appeals also upheld the trial court’s order requiring the defendants to buy back Ms. Rupe’s stock as an equitable remedy for their misconduct, but remanded the case for further proceedings to determine the fair market value of the stock.  Ritchie v. Rupe, 339 S.W.3d 275 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2011), rev’d, 443 S.W.3d 856 (Tex. 2014).

 

Our New Website

Our new firm website is officially up and running! Besides its entirely new design and layout, our new website also provides updated insight into our dynamic appellate practice and growing expertise in alternative dispute resolution, as well as an enhanced look at each of our experienced… + read more

Our new firm website is officially up and running! Besides its entirely new design and layout, our new website also provides updated insight into our dynamic appellate practice and growing expertise in alternative dispute resolution, as well as an enhanced look at each of our experienced appellate practitioners. Visitors to the site also can easily search our “News & Information” page, which includes a case-summary database that provides a real sense for the depth and range of our experience in state and federal appellate courts. We hope you’ll find a minute to take a peek and find out more.  And please drop us a note to let us know what you think.

 

 

Appellate Court Concludes Oil and Gas Producer Properly Paid Royalties on Casinghead Gas Under Long-Term Leases, Renders Judgment That Plaintiffs Take Nothing

In Occidental Permian Ltd. v. Helen Jones Foundation, et al., a group of Texas royalty owners alleged that OPL, an oil and gas producer, had underpaid royalties for casinghead gas produced during carbon dioxide-injection tertiary recovery operations in West Texas. Hankinson LLP was hired to… + read more

In Occidental Permian Ltd. v. Helen Jones Foundation, et al., a group of Texas royalty owners alleged that OPL, an oil and gas producer, had underpaid royalties for casinghead gas produced during carbon dioxide-injection tertiary recovery operations in West Texas. Hankinson LLP was hired to assist OPL during trial, post-trial, and appellate proceedings. After the jury reached a multi-million dollar verdict for the plaintiffs, OPL appealed. Deborah Hankinson argued the case before the Amarillo Court of Appeals, and the Amarillo Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment, concluding that no evidence supported the jury’s findings. The court of appeals rendered judgment that the plaintiffs take nothing against OPL. Occidental Permian Ltd. v. Helen Jones Foundation, et. al, 333 S.W.3d 392 (Tex. App.—Amarillo Jan. 31, 2011, pet. denied).