Mary Byars and David Shank Present State Bar Webcast About Privilege Issues
January 4, 2017
SDM’s Mary Byars and David Shank recently presented a TexasBarCLE webcast on important distinctions in Texas law governing the attorney-client and work-product privileges. Their presentation, “The Common Interest Doctrine (or Lack Thereof) in Texas,” addresses Texas’s joint-client and allied-litigant doctrines and explores how they differ from the common-interest doctrine applied in federal court and other jurisdictions. Originally presented via live webcast on December 16, 2016, the one-hour presentation is now available online and is approved for one hour of ethics credit. More information on the webcast, including registration information, can be found here.
Ryan Squires and Bryan Lauer Prevail in Civil Rights Trial
January 3, 2017
After successfully trying a civil rights case in federal court in Austin, Texas, SD&M partners Ryan Squires and Bryan Lauer won a permanent injunction against their opponent, Williamson County, prohibiting Williamson County officials from asking “any questions, written or oral, of any applicant to an appointed Constable position, regarding their views on same-sex marriage, abortion, or religious affiliation.” Ryan Squires and Bryan Lauer tried the case pro bono with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
SDM's Curtis Osterloh to Speak at COST Conference in San Antonio
January 3, 2017
SDM's Curtis Osterloh will speak at the Counsel of State Taxation (“COST”) 2017 Sales Tax Conference and Audit Session in San Antonio, Texas on Monday February 27, 2017 at the Westin Riverwalk. COST is the premier state tax organization representing taxpayers and a nonprofit trade association consisting of over 600 multistate corporations engaged in interstate and international business. Curtis’s presentation, "Texas Lone Star State Update” will be one of multiple topics covered over the three day seminar. More information on the conference can be found here.
The State Bar of Texas Litigation Section’s Winter 2016 Report “The Advocate” Features Article by Kim Gustafson Bueno and Steve McConnico
December 30, 2016
The Winter 2015 edition of The Advocate, a quarterly State Bar of Texas Litigation Section publication, features an article by SDM’s Kim Gustafson Bueno and Steve McConnico. The edition as a whole includes a symposium on personal injury litigation, and the Bueno/McConnico article addresses guidelines for mass tort aggregate settlements in Texas.
SDM is pleased to welcome Aaron Collins and Stephanie Kover to the firm
December 30, 2016
Aaron Collins earned his J.D. in 2015, with high honors, from the University of Texas School of Law, where he was named Associate Editor of the Texas Law Review, Chancellor-at-Large, and Order of the Coif. Prior to joining the firm, Aaron worked as a judicial clerk for Judge Royce Lamberth at the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Aaron represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation.
Stephanie Kover earned her J.D. in 2016 from the University of California, Berkley, after earning a B.S in Civil Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno, and an M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Stephanie’s practice covers many of the firm’s practice areas, with an emphasis on oil and gas litigation and regulation, litigation related to infrastructure construction, and litigation related to real estate development.
SDM's Cindy Saiter to Speak at Austin Bar Association Holiday Ethics CLE
November 28, 2016
SDM's Cindy Saiter will speak at The Austin Bar Association's December Holiday Ethics CLE on December 2, 2016 at the Austin Bar Association's Seminar Room. Cindy's presentation, "Ethical Rules Every Lawyer Should Know: Advertising and Barratry" will be one of several topics covered. Other topics include Courtroom Conduct by Judge Sulak, Ethics Jeopardy by Tracy McCormack and Fiduciary Duty by Claude Ducloux. More information on the holiday CLE can be found here.
SDM’s John Ellis to Speak at Advanced Business Law CLE
November 16, 2016
SDM’s John Ellis will be a speaker at the Advanced Business Law CLE course in Dallas on Thursday, November 17, 2016. John will cover recent developments in Texas spoliation law, including recent case law developments in Texas spoliation jurisprudence, the updated pattern jury charge, and an overview of the propose procedural rules addressing spoliation. More information about the CLE can be found here.
SDM Receives Champions of Justice Law Firm Award
November 16, 2016
Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman presented Scott Douglass & McConnico the Champions of Justice Law Firm Award during Access to Justice’s (ATJ) Pro Bono Week Reception on October 24, 2016. Held at the Omni Austin Hotel, the reception honored firms with the highest participation and the highest contributions in this year’s campaign, which raised more than $1.2 million for legal aid. More information on the Texas ATJ Commission can be found here.
Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman Prevail at 5th Circuit
November 8, 2016
SDM’s Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman successfully defended the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) against an emergency motion for injunction pending appeal brought by a group of plaintiffs attempting to stop construction on State Highway 45 Southwest. After the district court denied plaintiffs’ application for preliminary injunction in October 2016, the plaintiffs appealed and filed the emergency injunction motion with the Fifth Circuit. The Fifth Circuit heard oral argument in Austin on the injunction application on November 4, then denied the motion just hours after argument. The order allowed CTRMA to start construction on State Highway 45 Southwest immediately. For more details on this dispute, see SDM’s October 24, 2016 news release.
The appeal is Fath, et al., v. Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, No. 16-51281 (5th Cir.).
SDM Honored During Texas Appleseed's Pro Bono Week
October 31, 2016
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's Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman prevail in Texas 45 Injunction Hearing
October 24, 2016
SDM’s Casey Dobson, Jane Webre and Mike Merriman successfully defended the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) against an application for preliminary injunction brought by a group of plaintiffs attempting to stop construction projects on State Highway 45 Southwest and MoPac South. Following an all-day injunction hearing in the Western District of Texas, the Court found that plaintiffs did not meet their burden to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims against CTRMA and the Texas Department of Transportation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The case is Fath, et al., v. Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, No. 16cv00234-LY (W.D. Tex).
More information on the CTRMA’s preliminary injunction win in federal district court can be found here and here.
SDM's Cathy Webking to Speak at National Energy Marketer's Association's Policy Roundtable
October 21, 2016
SDM's Cathy Webking will speak at National Energy Marketer's Association's (NEM) Policy Roundtable on October 27-28, 2016, in Austin, Texas. NEM's leadership roundtable will recognize and honor industry leaders who have set a standard of excellence in electricity market structure and competitively offered technology and consumer energy products. Chairman Donna Nelson of the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), former Texas Railroad Commission Chairman and Public Utility Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman, ERCOT president Bill Magness and others from across the nation will convene to guide and shape a high-level Energy Policy Roundtable. Cathy will serve on the leadership roundtable to provide perspective on the success of the competitive retail electric market in Texas. Cathy's vast experience with the PUC has brought a new practice area to SDM.
SDM's Curtis Osterloh prevails in the Houston Court of Appeals on behalf of Anheuser Busch, L.L.C.
October 13, 2016
SDM’s Curtis Osterloh recently obtained a substantial penalty and interest waiver on behalf of Anheuser Busch, L.L.C. from Harris County on an appeal before the Houston Court of Appeals First District of Texas. Anheuser Busch sued Harris County for improperly asserting the penalty and interest after Anheuser Busch’s payment for its Harris County property tax was deemed late filed because the payment failed to clear due to internal fraud prevention protocols. Anheuser Busch made payment of the full tax amount and subsequent paid penalty and interest under protest. After losing at the District Court on cross motions for summary judgment the Court of Appeals reversed and rendered in part and remanded in part in favor of Anheuser Busch. In sustaining the vast bulk of the penalty waiver request the Court rejected Harris County’s claims of governmental immunity, waiver, substantial compliance and the voluntary payment rule. The Court sustained Anheuser Busch’s argument that Harris County failed to comply with Texas Tax Code Section 31.01(a)’s requirement regarding notice and remanded a minor portion of the penalty matter back to the District Court to determine facts that could result in a complete abatement of all penalty and interest. A link to the decision can be found here.
SDM's David Shank to present Austin Bar Civil Litigation Section's October CLE Luncheon
October 11, 2016
SDM’s David Shank will present this month’s CLE luncheon for the Austin Bar Civil Litigation Section. SDM will host the luncheon on Monday, October 24, 2016. David’s presentation, “What General Litigators Need to Know about Copyright Preemption,” is available for both members and non-members of the civil litigation section and includes lunch. For more information on his CLE and registration, go here.
Cindy Saiter to Speak on Ethics of Advertising and Barratry at Austin Bar Association October Luncheon
October 11, 2016
SDM’s Cindy Saiter will speak on ethical rules for attorneys concerning advertising and barratry at the Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section of the Austin Bar Association’s October CLE Luncheon tomorrow, October 12, 2016, at noon at the Austin Bar Association’s offices. More information on the luncheon, including registration, can be found here.
John Ellis to Serve on Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors
September 28, 2016
SDM’s John Ellis was recently re-elected to a two-year term as the Director for District 8, Place 2 of the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) Board of Directors. As a director for District 8, Ellis will represent TYLA members from Austin and surrounding communities in Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties. Throughout the 2016-17 State Bar year, Ellis will serve as Co-Chair of the Public Service Committee and as a member of the Member Services and Outreach Committee. TYLA is a department of the State Bar of Texas, commonly referred to as the "public service arm" of the State Bar of Texas. TYLA's primary purposes are to facilitate the administration of justice, foster respect for the law, and advance the role of the legal profession in serving the public. Additional information about TYLA is available here.
SDM's Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar Prevailed in 5th Circuit Appeal
September 28, 2016
SDM’s Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar recently defeated claims against Anadarko Petroleum Corporation in an appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Lee Perry sued Anadarko, along with four other oil and gas companies and the Railroad Commission of Texas for negligence, discrimination, Safe Drinking Water Act violations, and a number of additional claims. Dan and Olga first obtained dismissal of all claims against Anadarko in the federal district court for the Western District of Texas. On appeal to the Fifth Circuit, they led the joint briefing efforts for the non-governmental appellees and secured a unanimous Fifth Circuit opinion affirming the dismissal of Perry’s suit.
SDM's Dan Bitting to Speak at Hays County Bench Bar Conference
September 28, 2016
SDM’s Dan Bitting will speak on common ethical problems that can get lawyers sued at the upcoming Hays County Bench Bar Conference at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs on October 25, 2016. The event, sponsored by several county bar associations, will feature various judges among other speakers. Attendees will have the opportunity to network and participate in a silent auction in addition to receiving CLE credit. More information on the conference can be found here.
Steve McConnico Featured in Super Lawyers Magazine
September 26, 2016
SDM is proud to announce that Steve McConnico was recently interviewed for a feature article entitled “An Orderly Mind” in the Texas 2016 issue of Super Lawyers Magazine. The article highlights McConnico’s extensive client list and straightforward, down home style. Ever the gentleman, McConnico talks about growing up in small town East Texas, the larger than life trial attorneys around him, his love of reading and sports, and the lessons he’s learned along the way. McConnico reminisces about growing up hearing the blues and the huge span of live music he took in during his college years, when Austin’s counterculture was in full force, ultimately transforming Austin into the musical mecca of today. He talks about his foundation in medical malpractice cases at Andrews Kurth and his move to Scott Douglass at the recommendation of former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope, for whom McConnico clerked while in law school. McConnico’s charisma and charm coupled with his firm belief that trial is simply a medium for telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end makes him a successful trial attorney with a wide range of clients, including former Governor Rick Perry and the Burleson County D.A. involved in the Anthony Graves case.
SDM's Doug Dashiell and Carroll Martin to Speak at TexasBarCLE's OGERL CLE
September 23, 2016
SDM’s Doug Dashiell and Carroll Martin will be featured speakers at the upcoming TexasBarCLE’s 34th Annual Advanced Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law on September 28-30, 2016 in Houston, Texas. Doug will discuss well classification in tight gas reservoirs. Carroll will discuss surface rights and the accommodation doctrine. More information on the course and topics can be found here.
Ryan Squires Spoke at Baylor's Legal Mapmaker Program
September 22, 2016
SDM’s Ryan Squires recently spoke at Baylor Law School’s Legal Mapmaker program on avoiding malpractice. The two-day workshop sponsored by Baylor Law School in collaboration with the State Bar of Texas and other law schools provides young lawyers with the tools to start their own practices in providing legal services to the public. This workshop covers topics ranging from client relations to marketing and professionalism in the field. The Mapmaker program aims to both increase the public’s access to justice and give students the tools to succeed in the legal market. Students who agree to take on at least one pro bono case in their first year of practice were given complimentary attendance at the workshop. Participating law schools plan to increase the length of the program in the coming years as more topics are covered and attendance grows. More information can be found here.
Super Lawyers® Names Steve McConnico and Jane Webre among “The Top 100” in Texas and “The Top 50” in the Central & West Texas Region
September 22, 2016
In addition to celebrating this year’s listing of ten SDM attorneys among the “Super Lawyers” in Texas, SDM is incredibly proud to announce that Steve McConnico and Jane Webre each ranked among the “best of the best” this year—“The Top 100” Super Lawyers in Texas and “The Top 50” Super Lawyers in the Central and West Texas Region. Jane Webre is also listed in The Top 50 Women Texas Super Lawyers. Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters publication, rates outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.
Sam Johnson to Speak at TexasBarCLE's Advanced Civil Trial Course in October
September 22, 2016
SDM’s Sam Johnson will be a featured speaker at the upcoming TexasBarCLE’s 39th Annual Advance Civil Trial Course on October 26 – 28 in Houston, Texas. Sam will discuss ethics, professional responsibility and when it’s time to consider new counsel. This three-day course will cover topics ranging from fiduciary litigation and spoliation of evidence to shareholder oppression and disputes. More information on the course and topics can be found here.
SDM Helps GlobeRanger Corporation Win Appeal in Precedent-Setting Software Trade Secret Case
September 21, 2016
SDM lawyer David Shank recently prevailed in an appeal for GlobeRanger Corporation, a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd. that specializes in radio frequency identification (RFID) software and solutions. GlobeRanger sued German software giant Software AG for misappropriation of trade secrets related to GlobeRanger’s revolutionary iMotion Edgeware platform. After a two-week trial in federal court in Dallas, Texas, the jury returned a verdict for GlobeRanger. Software AG appealed, challenging the verdict on numerous grounds, including that GlobeRanger’s trade-secret-misappropriation claim was preempted by the Copyright Act. The Fifth Circuit rejected all of Software AG’s arguments and, in doing so, held for the first time that the Copyright Act does not preempt state-law claims for misappropriation of trade secrets. SDM’s David Shank took the lead in preparing GlobeRanger’s appellate briefing. Susman Godrey’s Ophelia Camiña, GlobeRanger’s lead counsel, presented oral argument for GlobeRanger. Prior to joining SDM, Mr. Shank represented GlobeRanger at trial with Ms. Camiña and Brian Melton, his former colleagues at Susman Godfrey.
Steve McConnico to Speak at UT Law's Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference
September 7, 2016
SDM’s Steve McConnico will speak about the ethical challenges in prepping and presenting witnesses at UT Law’s two day Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference on October 27 – 28 in Austin. The conference will focus on updates and recent developments in civil litigation, including tips and strategies.
Ten Scott Douglass & McConnico Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” in Texas in 2016
September 7, 2016
Ten SDM Lawyers have been named “Super Lawyers” in Texas. Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters publication, rates outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. The SDM “Super Lawyers” for 2016 are:
- Paige Amstutz (Business Litigation)
- Casey Dobson (Business Litigation)
- Sam Johnson (Civil Litigation: Defense)
- Carroll Martin (Energy & Resources)
- Steve McConnico (Business Litigation)
- Becky Miller (Energy & Resources)
- Cindy Saiter (Business Litigation)
- Chris Sileo (Business Litigation)
- Jane Webre (Appellate)
- Flip Whitworth (Energy & Resources)