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Hankinson LLP Successfully Defends Against Effort to Transfer Venue Based on Pretrial Publicity

In this negligence case, a hospital filed a motion for change of venue on the eve of trial, arguing that publicity in the local media precluded it from receiving a fair and impartial trial.  The trial court did not grant the motion, and the hospital… + read more

In this negligence case, a hospital filed a motion for change of venue on the eve of trial, arguing that publicity in the local media precluded it from receiving a fair and impartial trial.  The trial court did not grant the motion, and the hospital sought mandamus relief in the Tyler Court of Appeals.  Rick Thompson argued the case to the court of appeals, which quickly denied the petition for writ of mandamus.  See In re East Tex. Med. Ctr. Athens, 154 S.W.3d 933 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2005, orig. proceeding).

 

 

Brett Kutnick Co-Authors a Paper on Punitive Damages that is Presented at the 18th Annual Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course

In a comprehensive article entitled “Pondering Punitives:  Issues Arising at Trial and on Appeal,” co-author Brett Kutnick examines the variety of statutory, common law, and constitutional issues that arise in obtaining or defeating, upholding or overturning punitive damage awards in Texas. Attorney: Brett Kutnick Subject… + read more

In a comprehensive article entitled “Pondering Punitives:  Issues Arising at Trial and on Appeal,” co-author Brett Kutnick examines the variety of statutory, common law, and constitutional issues that arise in obtaining or defeating, upholding or overturning punitive damage awards in Texas.

 

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to Texas Highway Beautification Act

Rick Thompson successfully defended against a First Amendment challenge to the Texas Highway Beautification Act, which regulates outdoor advertising signs along interstate and federally funded state highways.  In this case, the Act prevented a landowner from displaying a billboard on his nonresidential property. The landowner… + read more

Rick Thompson successfully defended against a First Amendment challenge to the Texas Highway Beautification Act, which regulates outdoor advertising signs along interstate and federally funded state highways.  In this case, the Act prevented a landowner from displaying a billboard on his nonresidential property. The landowner challenged the Act as a violation of his free speech rights.  Rick Thompson argued, and the Texas Supreme Court agreed, that the Act’s proscription against outdoor advertising signs was content neutral and a valid time, place, and manner restriction under the First Amendment.  See Texas Dep’t of Transp. v. Barber, 111 S.W.3d 86 (Tex. 2003).

 

Texas Supreme Court Denies Appointment of Counsel to Indigent Prison Inmate in Civil Case

An indigent prison inmate sought court-appointed counsel in his medical malpractice lawsuit against a prison doctor who ordered the inmate to return to heavy work detail.  The Texas Supreme Court concluded that prisoner litigation against an employee of the prison did not present the type… + read more

An indigent prison inmate sought court-appointed counsel in his medical malpractice lawsuit against a prison doctor who ordered the inmate to return to heavy work detail.  The Texas Supreme Court concluded that prisoner litigation against an employee of the prison did not present the type of exceptional circumstances warranting the appointment of counsel in a civil case.  Rick Thompson authored the briefs filed in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of the State.  See Gibson v. Tolbert, 102 S.W.3d 710 (Tex. 2003).

 

 

Texas Supreme Court Upholds State’s Immunity for Discretionary Highway Design Decisions

The widow and children of a driver killed in a highway accident sued the State for premises defect under the Texas Tort Claims Act.  According to plaintiffs, the State should have warned the driver of the dangerous condition of the highway median or should have… + read more

The widow and children of a driver killed in a highway accident sued the State for premises defect under the Texas Tort Claims Act.  According to plaintiffs, the State should have warned the driver of the dangerous condition of the highway median or should have installed safety features in the median to prevent the head-on collision.  The Texas Supreme Court concluded that the State retained its sovereign immunity from claims arising from such discretionary roadway design decisions.  Rick Thompson authored the winning briefs filed in the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of the State.  See Tex. Dep’t of Transp. v. Ramirez, 74 S.W.3d 864 (Tex. 2002).

 

Texas Supreme Court Rejects Waiver-by-Conduct Exception to Sovereign-Immunity Doctrine

Governmental entities, like the TNRCC, have sovereign immunity from suits for alleged breaches of contracts. Nevertheless, IT-Davy, a general contractor, sued the TNRCC for breach of contract, alleging an equitable, waiver-by-conduct exception to the sovereign-immunity doctrine. According to IT-Davy, the TNRCC waived its immunity from… + read more

Governmental entities, like the TNRCC, have sovereign immunity from suits for alleged breaches of contracts. Nevertheless, IT-Davy, a general contractor, sued the TNRCC for breach of contract, alleging an equitable, waiver-by-conduct exception to the sovereign-immunity doctrine. According to IT-Davy, the TNRCC waived its immunity from suit by accepting full performance of the contract without fully paying for the accepted services. The trial court and the court of appeals adopted this waiver-by-conduct exception. In the Texas Supreme Court, Rick Thompson argued that the TNRCC was protected by its sovereign immunity from suit and that any waiver-by-conduct exception to sovereign immunity should be adopted by the Texas Legislature, not Texas courts. The Texas Supreme Court agreed, reversed the court of appeals judgment, and dismissed IT-DAVY’s breach of contract claim because it was precluded by TNRCC’s immunity from suit. Tex. Natural Res. Conservation Comm’n v. IT-Davy, 74 S.W.3d 849 (Tex. 2002).

 

Brett Kutnick Co-Publishes a Paper on Texas Contort Law that is Presented at the Dallas Bar Association Business Section Meeting

This article analyzes the struggle faced by courts and commentators to clarify the boundary between contract claims and tort claims.  Although the line between a cause of action for contract and one sounding in tort is often blurred, an examination of Texas case law reveals… + read more

Attorney:
Subject Matter:

This article analyzes the struggle faced by courts and commentators to clarify the boundary between contract claims and tort claims.  Although the line between a cause of action for contract and one sounding in tort is often blurred, an examination of Texas case law reveals some guiding principles when making the determination of whether a cause of action that includes breach of contract will also support tort and punitive damages.

Attorney:
Subject Matter:

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