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Dan Bitting to Speak on Avoiding Legal Malpractice at Estate Planning Seminar
May 9, 2017

SDM's Dan Bitting will speak at the Austin Bar Association’s 31st Annual Estate Planning & Probate Section All-Day CLE in Austin, Texas on Thursday May 11, 2017 at the Austin Bar Association’s Seminar Room.  Dan’s presentation, "Avoiding Legal Malpractice” will be one of multiple topics covered during the all-day seminar.  More information on the seminar can be found here.


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Asher Griffin and John Ellis to Speak at Texas Bar CLE Course for New Lawyers
March 15, 2017

On March 28, 2017, Asher Griffin and John Ellis will speak at the upcoming Practical Skills for New Lawyers continuing legal education course, which is co-sponsored by the State Bar of Texas and the Texas Young Lawyers Association.  The course will be held at the Texas Law Center in Austin.  Ellis is also serving as the course director for this annual course, which will include presentations by state and federal judges, in-house counsel for leading companies, and many other notable lawyers from across the state.  The course covers a broad range of topics with particular emphasis on best practices and important lessons to help young lawyers build good habits for a successful practice.  More information about the course, including registration instructions and a copy of the course brochure is available here.


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Flip Whitworth and Stephanie Kover to Speak at Texas Bankers Association’s Real Estate and Oil & Gas Conference
March 10, 2017

SDM’s Flip Whitworth and Stephanie Kover will be speaking at the Texas Bankers Association’s Real Estate and Oil & Gas Conference in San Antonio on Friday, March 24, 2017. Flip and Stephanie will cover surface estate issues related to Texas Relinquishment Act lands, including recent developments in General Land Office leasing policy and procedure, surface damage use agreement requirements, and case law defining which substances belong to the surface estate for mineral classified lands.  More information about the Seminar can be found here.


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Nine Scott Douglass & McConnico Attorneys Selected to the Texas Rising Stars® 2017 List
March 10, 2017

SDM is pleased to announce that Super Lawyers® has selected nine Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys for inclusion in Texas Rising Stars®  2017 by Thomson and Reuters.  The following firm attorneys were selected for this honor:

Business Litigation:

Energy & Natural Resources:
General Litigation:
Products Liability:
Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. To be eligible, lawyers must be 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. Less than 2.5% of Texas attorneys are chosen for this honor. The complete list will be published in the April 2017 issues of Texas Monthly and Super Lawyers magazines.  We are proud that so many of our attorneys were nominated and selected as Rising Stars again this year. Super Lawyers® is a Thompson Reuters publication.


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Mary Byars and David Shank Present State Bar Webcast About Privilege Issues
January 4, 2017

Mary ByarsDavid ShankSDM’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.


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Ryan Squires and Bryan Lauer Prevail in Civil Rights Trial
January 3, 2017

Ryan SquiresBryan LauerAfter 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.


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SDM's Curtis Osterloh to Speak at COST Conference in San Antonio
January 3, 2017

Curtis OsterlohSDM'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.


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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

Kim BuenoSteve McConnicoThe 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.


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SDM is pleased to welcome Aaron Collins and Stephanie Kover to the firm
December 30, 2016

Aaron CollinsAaron 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 KoverStephanie 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.


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SDM's Cindy Saiter to Speak at Austin Bar Association Holiday Ethics CLE
November 28, 2016

Cindy SaiterSDM'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.


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SDM’s John Ellis to Speak at Advanced Business Law CLE
November 16, 2016

John EllisSDM’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.


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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.


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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.).


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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.


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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.


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SDM's Cathy Webking to Speak at National Energy Marketer's Association's Policy Roundtable
October 21, 2016

Cathy WebkingSDM'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.


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SDM's Curtis Osterloh prevails in the Houston Court of Appeals on behalf of Anheuser Busch, L.L.C.
October 13, 2016

Curtis OsterlohSDM’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.


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SDM's David Shank to present Austin Bar Civil Litigation Section's October CLE Luncheon
October 11, 2016

David ShankSDM’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.


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Cindy Saiter to Speak on Ethics of Advertising and Barratry at Austin Bar Association October Luncheon
October 11, 2016

Cindy SaiterSDM’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.


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John Ellis to Serve on Texas Young Lawyers Association Board of Directors
September 28, 2016

John EllisSDM’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.


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SDM's Dan Bitting and Olga Kobzar Prevailed in 5th Circuit Appeal
September 28, 2016

Dan BittingOlga KobzarSDM’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.


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SDM's Dan Bitting to Speak at Hays County Bench Bar Conference
September 28, 2016

Dan BittingSDM’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.


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Steve McConnico Featured in Super Lawyers Magazine
September 26, 2016

Steve McConnicoSDM 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.


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SDM's Doug Dashiell and Carroll Martin to Speak at TexasBarCLE's OGERL CLE
September 23, 2016

Doug DashiellCarroll MartinSDM’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.


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Ryan Squires Spoke at Baylor's Legal Mapmaker Program
September 22, 2016

Ryan SquiresSDM’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.


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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

Steve McConnicoInJane Webre 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.


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Sam Johnson to Speak at TexasBarCLE's Advanced Civil Trial Course in October
September 22, 2016

Sam JohnsonSDM’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.


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SDM Helps GlobeRanger Corporation Win Appeal in Precedent-Setting Software Trade Secret Case
September 21, 2016

David ShankSDM 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.


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Steve McConnico to Speak at UT Law's Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference
September 7, 2016

Steve McConnicoSDM’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.


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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:

SDM is honored that so many of our attorneys consistently rank among the most highly peer-reviewed attorneys in the state.


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Kennon Wooten to Speak at In-House CLE Program for Harris County Civil District Court Judges
August 2, 2016

Kennon L. WootonSDM’s Kennon Wooten will be a speaker at a three-day, in-house CLE program for Harris County civil district-court judges on August 2 in San Antonio.  Kennon will address dismissal procedures under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a, including how Texas courts have handled cases involving Rule 91a challenges and the extent to which federal dismissal standards have crept into Texas jurisprudence as a result of the enactment of Rule 91a.


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Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter to Speak at In-House Counsel Course
July 19, 2016

SDM’s Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter will speak at the upcoming TexasBarCLE’s 15th Annual Course on Advanced In-House Counsel.  Held in San Antonio August 11-12, this two-day course will cover a variety of legal issues that in-house counsel may encounter in their business and practice.  Prior to the course, Dan will address steps in-house counsel should consider upon being sued at the In-House Counsel 101 seminar held on August 10.  Cindy will also address litigation strategies for in-house counsel as part of the main conference.  Additional information about the course, including registration information, can be found here.


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Sam Johnson and Kennon Wooten to Speak at State Bar’s Advanced Civil Trial Course
July 11, 2016

SDM’s Sam Johnson and Kennon Wooten will be featured speakers at the upcoming State Bar Advanced Civil Trial Course on July 13-15 in San Antonio.  Sam will address issues relating to legal ethics and professional responsibility.  Kennon will address dismissal procedures under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a, including how Texas courts have handled cases involving Rule 91a and the extent to which federal dismissal standards have crept into Texas jurisprudence.  The three day 39th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course will cover various civil litigation topics such as pre-trial evidence issues, spoliation of evidence and summary judgment practice.  Additional information about the course, including registration information, can be found here.


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U.S. Supreme Court to Review SDM Case About Equal Access for Deaf Texans
June 30, 2016

Olga KobzarIn a recently-issued order, the United States Supreme Court agreed to review a case concerning access to first-time licenses for young Texans with hearing disabilities.  Along with the Texas Civil Rights Project, SDM partner Olga Kobzar and former SDM partner Joe T. Sanders represent deaf driver’s license applicants in a suit against the state agency in charge of driver education for failing to provide accommodations in state-mandated driver education classes.  Failure to provide any accommodations effectively bars those with hearing disabilities from obtaining a driver’s license in violation of Title II of the ADA.


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SDM’s Kennon Wooten Co-Authors Book
June 29, 2016

Kennon L. WootenSDM’s Kennon Wooten has co-authored, with Robert K. Wise, a book entitled Texas Discovery: A Guide to Taking and Resisting Discovery Under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.  This book addresses all types of discovery in Texas proceedings and includes guidance on comparable federal discovery standards when case law regarding the Texas discovery standards is lacking.  Information on the book, including purchase options, can be found here.


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SDM Honored with Joseph P. Hart Award
June 7, 2016

VLS-AwardOn May 24, 2016, SDM’s Sara Clark and Carroll Martin jointly accepted the Joseph P. Hart Award on behalf of the firm. Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas (VLS) gives this award to the law firm who has demonstrated integrity in and commitment to providing legal services to the poor.  The award recognizes SDM’s significant financial and volunteer contributions, including handling over 50 VLS pro bono cases in the last three years. Congratulations to all of our attorneys for their steadfast efforts and considerable time commitment to such a worthy cause. You can learn more about the important work of VLS in Central Texas here.


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Dan Bitting and Anthony Arguijo defeat $7 million oil and gas lease remediation claim.
May 16, 2016

After a week-long jury trial in Federal Court for the Southern District of Texas, SDM attorneys Daniel Bitting and Anthony Arguijo— working with former SDM partner Joe T. Sanders (now with Sanders Bajwa, LLP)—defeated a claim against their client for close to $7 million in damages for an alleged failure to remediate property used for oil and gas operations.  Bitting, Arguijo and Sanders obtained summary judgment against some of the claims and then convinced the jury to award only slightly over $100,000 for restoration that their client agreed still needed to be done.  A final judgment has not yet been entered.


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Curtis Osterloh to Speak at the Tax Executives Institute New Orleans 2016 State & Local Tax Seminar
May 9, 2016

Curtis OsterlohSDM’s Curtis Osterloh will be a featured speaker, giving the Texas tax update, at the Tax Executives Institute New Orleans 2016 State & Local Tax Seminar on May 17. Tax Executives Institute, Inc., is an international association of business executives responsible for the tax affairs of their employers. The all-day State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Seminar will cover various topics including Federal Tax Treatment of State Credits & Energy Credit Opportunities, Federal and State Tax Issues for Aircraft, SALT Disconnects with Federal Subchapter C Law, SALT Tax Accounting, and a Tax Update for Southern States. More information about the Institute and the Seminar, including registration information, can be found here.


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Kennon Wooten to Participate in State Bar Webcast About Rulemaking
May 5, 2016

Kennon L. WootonSDM attorney Kennon Wooten will join Chief Justice Nathan L. Hecht and Texas Supreme Court Rules Attorney Martha Newton for a live State Bar webcast on May 17, 2016, from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. The webcast, entitled The Texas Supreme Court Rulemaking Process: Historical Perspectives and Practice Pointers, will provide insights and advice relating to the rulemaking process in Texas. To register or obtain more information, click here.


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Ryan Squires Honored as 2016 Young Baylor Lawyer of the Year
May 5, 2016

Ryan SquiresOn May 3, 2016, at a Baylor Law Alumni Reception, Dean Brad Toben named SDM’s Ryan Squires as Young Baylor Lawyer of the Year. Ryan’s family members, law partners, and friends were in attendance to share in Ryan’s surprise. The award recognizes Ryan’s service to the profession and his community, his steadfast support of the Baylor Law Alumni Association and the Austin Baylor Law Network, and his dedication to the aims and ideals of Baylor Law School. This is not the first time Ryan’s accomplishments as a young lawyer have been recognized; in 2013, he received the Austin Young Lawyers Association’s Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. Ryan successfully manages a busy litigation docket and still finds time to serve his community and to spend time with his three children and his wife, Hillarey. SDM is proud to have Ryan—a good lawyer and a good person—on our team.


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UT Law 26th Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals Features Jane Webre and Kennon Wooten
April 26, 2016

SDM’s Jane Webre and Kennon Wooten will be featured speakers at the upcoming 26th Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals on June 9-10 in Austin. Jane will discuss attorney disqualification, including rules regarding migrating lawyers and former judicial law clerks and the role regarding Chinese Walls to screen conflicts and avoid disqualification of a firm. Kennon will address dismissal procedures under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a, including how Texas courts have handled cases involving Rule 91a and the extent to which federal dismissal standards have crept into Texas jurisprudence. Additional information, including registration information, is available here.


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UT Law 38th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute Features Daniel Bitting and Cindy Saiter
April 26, 2016

SDM attorneys Daniel Bitting and Cindy Saiter will be featured speakers at the UT Law 38th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute—held this year in Houston, April 7-8, and in Dallas, May 5-6. Their topic will be “So You’ve Been Sued:  What Do You Need to Do Now?”—and will examine steps to take immediately after being sued to minimize the damage and maximize the chances for a favorable outcome. The Institute is presented by the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas and offers in-depth, practical discussions on legal issues for in-house counsel and outside counsel who represent companies of all sizes. Additional information, including registration information, is available here.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Announces Expansion of Public Utility Law Practice and Welcomes Catherine Webking to the Firm
April 26, 2016

SDM is excited to announce the expansion of our public utility law practice under the leadership of Catherine Webking, who has joined the firm as a partner. Catherine brings more than 25 years of experience and is highly rated by Chambers USA for Electricity Regulatory & Litigation. Catherine has a deep understanding of the Texas utility regulatory environment and its migration to competitive services in the relevant markets. The firm’s practice encompasses regulatory and litigation matters in areas involving electricity, telecommunications, water and natural gas. Catherine joins the SDM legacy of providing results-oriented advocacy for clients on regulations and compliance, rulemaking proceedings, contract negotiations, contested cases, rate cases, enforcement actions, complaints, litigation and appeals. Clients include retail electric providers (REPs), generators, commercial and industrial customers, transmission and distribution providers, cooperatives, water utilities, competitive telecommunications providers, real estate developers, and property owners.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Presents Corporate Counsel Ethics CLE and Networking Event on March 31
March 9, 2016

Together with the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas, Scott Douglass & McConnico will sponsor a Complimentary Ethics CLE and Networking Event at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in Austin on March 31. SD&M attorneys Asher Griffin and Cindy Saiter will be featured speakers at the event. The program will address the attorney-client relationship from the perspective of in-house counsel, including issues that may arise when multiple entities are involved and the impact of these issues on confidentiality, the attorney-client relationship, and work product privileges. More information about the event, including registration details, can be found here.


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Six Scott Douglass & McConnico Attorneys Named Rising Stars in 2016
March 7, 2016

Super Lawyers® has selected six Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys as Rising Stars in 2016 in the practice areas of Energy & Natural Resources (Olga Kobzar), Business Litigation (John Ellis, Bryan Lauer, David Shank and Ryan Squires), and General Litigation (Kennon Wooten). Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. We are proud that so many of our attorneys were nominated and selected as Rising Stars again this year. Super Lawyers® is a Thompson Reuters publication.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Presents Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on April 14
March 7, 2016

Scott Douglass & McConnico’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held April 14 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin. The seminar is designed to present an overview of current Railroad Commission rules and procedures, related litigation issues, and other oil and gas issues that will be useful to attorneys, engineers, geologists, landmen, and others whose business brings them in contact with the Railroad Commission of Texas or the General Land Office.

The firm has hosted the popular seminar for more than 30 years. Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys John Camp, Jim Cowden, Doug Dashiell, Mark HannaJohn HicksOlga Kobzar, Bryan Lauer, Carroll MartinDavin McGinnis, John Soule, and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event. Among other topics, they will discuss Railroad Commission rules, regulations and hearing procedures, drilling permits and Rule 37/38 exceptions, horizontal drilling, comingling, voluntary and forced pooling, retained acreage clause issues, surface and subsurface use, and inactive well issues. Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing Jackie Harrison. A link to our Application Form is attached here.


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Paige Amstutz and Dan Bitting to Speak at the 17th Annual Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference
March 3, 2016

Paige Amstutz and Dan Bitting will be featured speakers at the upcoming 17th Annual Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference on March 4-5 in College Station. Dan Bitting will moderate a panel of state court judges on the topic: "Everything You Wanted to Know About State Court But Were Afraid to Ask." Paige Amstutz will speak on state bar advertising rules: "State Bar Advertising Rules - Can You Say That?" More information about the Conference and the Texas Aggie Bar Association can be found here.


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Flip Whitworth Selected for the 2016 Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award by the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law
January 27, 2016

Flip WhitworthThe Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law has selected Philip “Flip” Whitworth as the 2016 recipient of the prestigious Ernest E. Smith Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award honors legal practitioners who have made significant contributions to the oil, gas, and energy industry and participated in the advancement of natural resources law, policy, or scholarship. The Award is named after Professor Ernest E. Smith, Rex G. Baker Centennial Chair in Natural Resources Law at the University of Texas School of Law. The first recipient of this Award was the late Frank Douglass, founding partner of Scott, Douglass & McConnico. Flip will be honored and presented with the Award at the Journal’s 11th Annual Symposium Banquet on January 28, 2016. More information about the Journal and its Annual Symposium can be found here.


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Texas Supreme Court Appoints Kennon Wooten to Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services
December 4, 2015

Kennon L. WootenThe Texas Supreme Court recently appointed Kennon Wooten to serve on an newly created 18-member Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services. Former Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson will lead the Commission. The mission of the Commission is to gather information on initiatives and proposals to expand the availability of civil legal services to low- and middle-income Texans, to evaluate that information, and to recommend to the Court ways to accomplish that expansion. The Commission is scheduled to submit its first report to the Court by November 1, 2016. The Order creating the Commission and appointing its inaugural members can be found here.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Welcomes Mary Byars and Willie Cochran to the Firm
November 30, 2015

SDM is pleased to welcome Mary Byars and Willie Cochran to the firm.

Mary ByarsMary Byars earned her J.D. in 2015, cum laude, from Harvard Law School. Mary represents individuals, business entities, professionals, and governmental entities in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on energy-related disputes, oil and gas matters, and litigation related to real estate development.


Willie CochranWillie Cochran earned his J.D. in 2014 from Stanford Law School, where he served as an Articles Editor for the Stanford Law Review. He joins the firm after clerking for Judge Patrick E. Higginbotham on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He represents defendants and plaintiffs in complex legal matters with an emphasis on commercial litigation, appellate litigation, and energy-related disputes.


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Ryan Squires Presents Tips on Avoiding Legal Malpractice Claims and Grievances
November 30, 2015

Ryan SquiresSDM's Ryan Squires spoke at the recent Basic Course in Texas Construction Law sponsored by the Construction Law Foundation of Texas and the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. His presentation “introduced perils encountered by practitioners, key strategies and day-to-day law practice management tips that will help avoid malpractice claims and grievances,” and provided participants with one hour of continuing legal education ethics credit. Additional Information about the Construction Law Section and its annual Basic Course in Texas Construction Law is available here.


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SDM Wins Appeal in Dispute Over Waiver of Arbitration Rights
November 19, 2015

Steve McConnico, Robyn Hargrove, and Kim Bueno recently won an appeal in a dispute over waiver of arbitration rights.  At the trial court, the plaintiff sought to compel arbitration after the trial court issued some adverse pretrial rulings against her. SDM, on behalf of its client, successfully defeated the motion to compel on the basis of waiver. The appeals court affirmed, holding that the plaintiff’s attempts to manipulate the judicial process resulted in a waiver of her right to arbitrate.


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The State Bar Litigation Section’s Fall 2015 Report “The Advocate” Features Article by Jane Webre
October 2, 2015

The Fall 2015 edition of The Advocate, a quarterly State Bar of Texas Litigation Section publication, features an article by SDM’s Jane Webre. The edition as a whole includes a symposium on Texas state court motion practice, and Jane Webre’s article addresses whether an interlocutory appeal or mandamus relief may be available from a trial court’s ruling on the various motions discussed by the other contributing authors in the symposium.


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Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Prevail in Property Rights Dispute
September 29, 2015

Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter recently defeated a lawsuit against their client in a long-running property rights dispute.  The court found that the suit—that attempted to limit Bitting and Saiter’s client’s use of its property—was barred by a prior lawsuit that Bitting and Saiter had won.  The court also awarded their client attorneys’ fees.


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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 29, 2015

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.


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SDM Wins Appeal Affirming Summary Judgment Rulings in Well Blowout Coverage Dispute
September 15, 2015

SDM lawyers Jane Webre, Steve Wingard, and Robyn Hargrove prevailed in an appeal of summary judgment orders. SDM represented the operator of a well in Reeves County, Texas. After the well suffered  a blowout, the insured paid to bring the well under control, to attempt to restore production at the well, and to address pollution cleanup. The insured filed claims with its insurance carriers under well-control and commercial-general-liability policies, but the carriers denied coverage. SDM won summary judgments at the Midland County District Court, which ruled that the well was a “well-insured” under the policies and that the insured incurred damages in excess of the policies’ limits. The insurance companies appealed to the Eastland Court of Appeals. Finding no error, the Eastland Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s summary judgment rulings and taxed all costs against the insurance companies.


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SDM Attorneys Serve in Diverse Legal Leadership Roles
September 14, 2015

Each year, SDM attorneys dedicate significant time serving in a variety of legal leadership roles. This year, these SDM attorneys will serve on the following diverse local and state-wide boards and committees:

Anthony Arguijo is the President-Elect of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.  
 
Dan Bitting serves on the Board of the Texas Aggie Bar Association.

Sara Clark serves on the Board of the Litigation Section of the Austin Bar Association, the Board of Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, and the Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee.
 
Cindy Saiter serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Association and is Co-Chair of its Membership Committee. She also serves on the Nominating Committee for District 9 of the Texas Bar Foundation, the State Bar Committee on Women in the Profession, and the Board of the Travis County Women Lawyers Scholarship Fund, and is Chair of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation.
 
John Ellis serves on the Board of the Texas Young Lawyers Association where he is Co-Chair of the Marketing and Technology Committee, serves on the Outreach and Public Service Committees, and serves as the Association’s representative to the Austin Young Lawyers Association.
 
Asher Griffin serves on the Steering Committee for the Texas Minority Counsel Program of the State Bar Office of Minority Affairs.

Olga Kobzar is the President of the Texas Energy Law Association and Treasurer for the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.

Ray Langenberg serves on the Comptroller’s Taxpayer Advisory Group, which advises the Comptroller on tax policy matters.

Carroll Martin serves on the Council for the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar.

Ryan Squires is Co-Chair of the Austin Bar Association’s 2016 Leadership Academy Committee.

Jane Webre serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Foundation.

Kennon Wooten serves as a member of the Board of the Austin Bar Association, the Board for the Texas Legal Services Center, and the Editorial Board for The Advocate, a quarterly publication of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. Kennon is also Vice Chair of the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee, Chair of the Austin Bar Association's Publications Committee, and Editor-in-Chief of Austin Lawyer, an Austin Bar Association publication.
 
To learn more about the missions of these organizations, visit their websites:

Austin Bar Association
Austin Young Lawyers Association
Downtown Austin Community Court Advisory Committee
Hispanic Bar Association of Austin
State Bar of Texas
Texas Aggie Bar Association
Texas Energy Law Association
Texas Young Lawyers Association
Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association
Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas


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Doug Dashiell to Speak at the Texas Bar Advanced Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Course on October 2
September 14, 2015

SDM’s Doug Dashiell will speak on “Allocation Wells, Production Sharing Agreements, and  Pooling” at the Texas Bar’s 33rd Annual Advanced Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Course on October 2, 2015. The course will be rebroadcast in Santa Fe and Midland later in October. More information on the October 1-2 event can be found here.


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Kennon Wooten to Give Texas Trial Rules Update at the State Bar of Texas 7th Annual Business Disputes Course
September 9, 2015

SDM's Kennon Wooten will speak at the State Bar's 7th Annual Business Disputes Continuing Legal Education course on September 11, 2015, at the Hilton Park Cities Hotel in Dallas. Her presentation will cover recent developments in Texas trial rules. The course will air again via video in Houston on October 9. Additional Information about the course is available here.


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Ten SDM Lawyers Named “Super Lawyers” in Texas in 2015
September 9, 2015

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 2015 are:

SDM is honored that so many of our attorneys consistently rank among the most highly peer-reviewed attorneys in the state.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Welcomes John Ellis and David Shank to the Firm
September 9, 2015

We are pleased to welcome John Ellis and David Shank to Scott Douglass & McConnico.

John Ellis regularly represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters. Prior to joining Scott Douglass & McConnico in August 2015, John practiced in the litigation section of the Austin office of Locke Lord LLP.  Before entering private practice, John was a briefing attorney for the Honorable Paul W. Green of the Supreme Court of Texas. While in law school, John served as the Editor in Chief of the Texas Tech Law Review, competed on various award-winning advocacy teams, and helped launch a mentoring program with a local high school law and justice magnet program.  

David Shank is a commercial trial lawyer who represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of complex disputes before federal courts, state courts, and arbitration panels around the country. Prior to joining Scott Douglass & McConnico in August 2015, David practiced in the Dallas office of Susman Godfrey L.L.P. David has extensive trial experience, having tried three jury trials and one arbitration. Before entering private practice, David served as a law clerk to Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. David graduated with honors from The University of Texas School of Law, where he served as an Articles Editor on Texas Law Review, earned a spot as a teaching assistant for the first-year legal writing course, and was elected to Order of the Coif.  David also brought home a national championship in interscholastic moot court, winning the top prize in the 18th Annual Duberstein Moot Court Competition.


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Flip Whitworth to Lecture University of Texas Law Students on Oil & Gas Law
September 8, 2015

Professor Ernest Smith has invited SDM’s Flip Whitworth to return as a regular guest lecturer to his Oil & Gas Law course at The University of Texas School of Law. His topics will include horizontal drilling and Texas Railroad Commission regulation of oil and gas drilling and production.


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Ten SDM Attorneys Named “Best Lawyers” in 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Rankings
August 26, 2015

The 2016 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Report ranks ten SDM attorneys as “Best Lawyers” in the areas of appellate practice, commercial and bet-the-company litigation, legal malpractice defense, natural resources law, oil and gas law, personal injury litigation defense, and professional malpractice litigation defense. Inclusion in Best Lawyers is based on a peer-review methodology designed to capture the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and legal practice area. 

Appellate Practice
Commercial and Bet-the-Company Litigation
Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
Natural Resources Law
Oil and Gas Law
Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants


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Becky Miller named 2016 Austin “Lawyer of the Year” in Natural Resources Law and Flip Whitworth named 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in Oil & Gas Law
August 26, 2015

The 2016 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® Report has named Becky Miller as Austin’s 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Natural Resources Law and Flip Whitworth as Austin’s 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Oil & Gas Law. Both Becky and Flip are board certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral law. Becky has practiced exclusively in the firm's oil, gas and energy practice since she joined the firm in 1981. She has represented operators, lessees, non-operating working interest owners and lessors in oil,  gas & energy litigation. She also serves as a mediator and arbitrator. Flip joined the firm in 1977 when the firm’s practice centered on oil and gas litigation and regulation. His practice continues to focus primarily on oil and gas regulatory issues and he frequently speaks and writes on oil and gas regulatory topics.


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Curtis Osterloh Featured Speaker at Annual Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance Convention
August 21, 2015

SDM attorney Curtis Osterloh was a featured speaker at the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance (“TBNA”) Second Annual Convention on August 17 in Austin. Curtis spoke regarding Texas mixed beverage tax audits:  how to prepare for them, manage them and contest them for the most positive result. The TBNA is an organization of bars and nightclubs that strives to educate its members on relevant political and legal matters that effect bar and nightclub industry. For more information on TBNA and their upcoming events, please visit their website.


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Ray Langenberg, Curtis Osterloh and Eric Hagenswold Featured at the COST Southwest-West Regional State Tax Seminar
August 21, 2015

SDM Attorneys Ray Langenberg, Curtis Osterloh and Eric Hagenswold spoke at the Council on State Taxation (“COST”) Southwest-West Regional State Tax Seminar on August 4 in Austin, Texas.  Ray spoke on Texas Franchise Tax Planning. Curtis moderated a panel on Resolving Your Texas Tax Dispute with personnel from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. Eric spoke on State Tax Cases, Issues and Policy Matters. COST is a non-profit trade association seeking to preserve and promote equitable and nondiscriminatory state and local taxation of multijurisdictional business entities. You can learn more about COST and its upcoming events here.


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Kennon Wooten Joins the State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College
August 11, 2015

In July 2015, SDM attorney Kennon Wooten became a member of the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas. Created by the Bar in 1992, the Pro Bono College recognizes those attorneys who have far exceeded the Bar’s aspirational pro bono goals in their efforts to meet the vast unmet legal needs of the poor—by providing at least 75 hours of eligible pro bono services during the previous year. Kennon far exceeded even the Pro Bono College requirements, completing 113.5 hours of pro bono service for Volunteer Legal Services in 2014.


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Carroll Martin to Speak at Texas Bar Oil & Gas Lease Seminar on September 16
August 11, 2015

SDM attorney Carroll Martin will speak on “Drafting the Pooling Clause” at the upcoming Texas Bar Oil & Gas Lease Seminar on September 16, 2015. The title of the article she will present is “To Pool or Not to Pool—And How”. The seminar will be held at the Texas Law Center in Austin or can be viewed as a webcast online. More information on the course and how to register for the webcast can be found here.


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Ray Langenberg and Curtis Osterloh to Speak at the University of Texas School of Law Margin Tax Conference
August 11, 2015

SDM attorneys Ray Langenberg and Curtis Osterloh will speak at the University of Texas School of Law Margin Tax Conference on September 25, 2015 in Austin, Texas.  Ray will be the presiding officer of the conference and speak on “Taxes Under the Commerce Clause, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Due Process Clause.”  Curtis will moderate an “Ask the Auditors” discussion with a panel of auditors from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.  More information on the Conference can be found here.


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Steve McConnico Speaks to the Litigation Section at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting
July 8, 2015

Steve McConnico addressed the Litigation Section at the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting on June 18, 2015 at the Henry H. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. His topic was “What You Need to Know Now:  A Business Litigator’s Perspective." Additional information about the Annual Meeting may be found here, and a link to Steve's presentation may be found here.


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SDM Chosen for the 2015 Firm Award by the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association
June 2, 2015

Scott Douglass & McConnico has been chosen for the 2015 Firm Award by the joint Boards of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association and the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation. SDM was recognized as a firm that retains, supports and promotes women lawyers and one that sets an example for others to follow in the legal community. SDM’s culture in this regard was set from the very beginning thanks to Frank Douglass and Wally Scott, along with our first female attorneys, Carroll Martin and Becky Miller, and we are grateful to them. Additional information about the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association and Foundation can be found here.


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Casey Dobson and Paige Amstutz Win Jury Trial
May 15, 2015

Representing one of the largest law firms in San Antonio, SDM attorneys Casey Dobson and Paige Amstutz prevailed after more than a week-long jury trial in a breach-of-fiduciary-duty case. Plaintiff, a former client of the San Antonio firm, sued alleging legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty and sought damages in excess of $40 million. After Mr. Dobson and Ms. Amstutz won summary judgment defeating plaintiff’s legal malpractice claims and establishing the client had suffered no damages, the jury trial proceeded solely on the issue of whether defendants breached their fiduciary duties. In its verdict delivered on May 11, 2015, the jury unanimously found in favor of SDM’s client. The court then entered a final judgment that the plaintiff take nothing and imposed costs on the plaintiff. To date, plaintiff has not appealed the judgment.


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Sam Johnson to Speak at the University of Texas Law School Continuing Legal Education Conference on State and Federal Appeals
May 14, 2015

SDM attorney Sam Johnson will speak at the University of Texas Law School Continuing Legal Education Conference on State and Federal Appeals on June 4, 2015 in Austin. His topic is Legal Malpractice Issues for Appellate Lawyers. More information, including registration details, can be found here.


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John Hicks to Speak at the Institute of Energy Law’s 2nd Texas Mineral Title Course
May 14, 2015

SDM attorney John Hicks will speak at the Institute of Energy Law’s 2nd Texas Mineral Title Course in Houston on May 15, 2015. His topic is Land & Regulatory Issues Related to Horizontal Wells. The Institute of Energy Law is part of the Center for American and International Law and provides educational and professional opportunities for lawyers and other professionals in the energy industry. More information about the Institute and the 2nd Texas Mineral Title Course can be found here.


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Anthony Arguijo Elected President-Elect of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin
May 13, 2015

SDM attorney Anthony Arguijo has been elected President-Elect of the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin (HBAA). The HBAA is an organization of Latino lawyers who volunteer their time and energy towards the betterment of the Hispanic community in central Texas. Its membership includes attorneys practicing in Austin and the surrounding areas, judges, legislators, lobbyists, government officials, law professors, law students and non-lawyers who join as associate members. The HBAA's goal is to foster and encourage the involvement of Austin's Latino lawyers in the local community. The HBAA is an affiliate of the Mexican-American Bar Association of Texas and the Hispanic National Bar Association. You can learn more about the HBAA and its important work here.


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Doug Dashiell to Speak at American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Annual Meeting in June
May 13, 2015

SDM attorney Doug Dashiell is speaking at the American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s 61st Annual Meeting in Nashville on  June 17th. His topic is state regulation of horizontal drilling. More information about AAPL and its Annual Meeting, including registration information, can be found here.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Attorneys Prevail, Defeating Motion to Dismiss in Structured Finance Securities Fraud Case
April 30, 2015

Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys Casey Dobson, Asher Griffin, and John Gasink won a motion to dismiss before the New York Supreme Court in New York County regarding a collateralized debt obligation (CDO) note buyer’s purchase of Subordinated Notes from an investment bank. The firm represents the plaintiff, Basis Yield Alpha Fund (Master), which sued Morgan Stanley for common law fraud and fraudulent concealment. The primary issue before the Court involved whether the risk disclosures and reliance disclaimers in the CDO offering documents barred the plaintiff from pursuing its claims against Morgan Stanley. The Court refused to grant the motion to dismiss, finding that the reliance disclaimers and risk disclosures were an insufficient basis for barring the plaintiff’s claims given the allegations concerning Morgan Stanley’s peculiar knowledge of the problems with the CDO and its underlying assets, which were predominantly residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS). The Court also rejected all of Morgan Stanley’s arguments concerning pre-investment due diligence, actionable misrepresentations, and loss causation. This is one of a number of cases in which the firm has represented domestic and international clients in fraud matters relating to structured finance securities such as CDOs, RMBS, and SIVs (structured investment vehicles). The Court's opinion can be found here.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Presents Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on May 19
April 16, 2015

Scott Douglass & McConnico’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held May 19 at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Austin. The seminar will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures, developments in the law, and various oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.
 
The firm has hosted the popular seminar for more than 30 years. Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys  Jim Cowden, Doug Dashiell, Mark Hanna John HicksOlga Kobzar, Carroll MartinDavin McGinnis, Joe Sanders, John Soule, and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event. Among other topics, they will discuss Railroad Commission nuts and bolts, Commission Rules 32, 37, and 38, surface commingling, horizontal drilling, forced and voluntary pooling, surface and subsurface use, and injection/disposal wells. Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing Jackie Harrison. A link to our Application Form is attached here.


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Scott Douglass & McConnico Welcomes Santosh Aravind to the Firm
April 9, 2015

We are pleased to welcome Santosh Aravind to Scott Douglass & McConnico. Santosh is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer whose areas of practice include complex civil litigation and white collar criminal defense.  After graduating from the University of Michigan Law School, Santosh served as a law clerk for the Honorable Julian Abele Cook, Jr., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan from 2003 to 2005. From 2005 to 2009, Santosh was an associate in the litigation department in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, LLP.  At Latham, Santosh represented individuals and defendants in securities and complex commercial litigation and government investigations, including a former CEO against allegations of stock option backdating, an investment bank against allegations involving mortgage-backed securities, and an investment bank in securities litigation related to derivative warrants.  Prior to joining the firm in January 2015, Santosh served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York for over five years.  While a federal prosecutor, Santosh investigated and prosecuted a variety of offenses including murder, racketeering, weapons and international narcotics trafficking, international money laundering, public corruption, organized crime, and securities, bank, and tax fraud.  Santosh has extensive trial experience, having tried eight jury trials and one bench trial. As an appellate advocate, Santosh has briefed and argued several appeals before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.


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SDM Lawyers Win Order Enjoining Judgment Debtor from Dissipating or Transferring Assets
April 8, 2015

After winning a final judgment in an amount in excess of $10 million against defendants Lakeway Regional Medical Center and Surgical Development Partners, SDM lawyers Abe Kuczaj, Paige Amstutz, and Steve Wingard filed an application for an injunction to preclude one of the defendants from dissipating or transferring assets to avoid satisfaction of the judgment pending appeal of the final judgment. Finding that SDM presented evidence establishing that the defendant was likely to dissipate or transfer assets in the future to avoid satisfaction of the judgment, the Court entered an injunction in favor of SDM’s client.


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Legal Team including SD&M Lawyers Win Dismissal of Patent Infringement Case
March 31, 2015

SDM attorneys Steve McConnico, Paige Amstutz, and Steve Wingard, along with lead counsel from Latham & Watkins, won dismissal of a patent infringement lawsuit when their Motion to Disqualify opposing counsel was granted.  SDM represented a large, publicly-traded energy company in defense of claims brought by a publicly-traded non-practicing entity.  SDM filed a motion to disqualify plaintiff’s in-house general counsel, plaintiff’s entire legal department, and plaintiff’s outside counsel. In addition, SDM requested that the court dismiss the lawsuit. The court granted SDM’s motion, disqualified all plaintiff’s counsel, and dismissed the lawsuit.


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Ray Langenberg to Speak at Institute for Professionals In Taxation Annual Conference
March 24, 2015

Scott Douglass & McConnico attorney Ray Langenberg will speak at the Annual Conference for the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, to be held June 28 – July 1 in San Diego. He will serve on an “Ask the Expert” panel discussing Texas sales tax issues. The Institute is a national organization that educates and certifies state and local income, property, and sales tax professionals. You can learn more about the Institute and the upcoming Annual Conference here.


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We’ve Moved! Scott Douglass & McConnico Relocates to Colorado Tower.
March 9, 2015

Scott Douglass & McConnico is excited to announce that it has relocated its offices to the 24th and 25th floors of the new Colorado Tower. Located downtown in the heart of Austin’s Warehouse District, Colorado Tower is a state of the art 30 story office building.

Our new mailing address is:

Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP
303 Colorado Street, Suite 2400
Austin, Texas  78701


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Six Scott Douglass & McConnico Attorneys Named Rising Stars in 2015
March 9, 2015

Super Lawyers® has selected six Scott Douglass & McConnico attorneys as Rising Stars in 2015 in the practice areas of Energy & Natural Resources (Mark Hanna and Davin McGinnis), Business Litigation (Bryan Lauer, Joe Sanders and Ryan Squires), and General Litigation (Kennon Wooten). Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. We are proud that so many of our attorneys were nominated and selected as Rising Stars again this year. Super Lawyers® is a Thompson Reuters publication.


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Steve Wingard and Steve McConnico Win Dismissal of Shareholder Derivative Case
March 7, 2015

Steve Wingard and Steve McConnico won a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Standing and Plea to the Jurisdiction in favor of the general partner and limited partners of a family limited partnership. SDM defended a limited partnership, its general partner, and several individuals who owned limited partnership interest in lawsuit asserting breach of fiduciary duty. The plaintiff was the executor of the estate of a deceased limited partner who claimed the right to bring derivative claims on behalf of the limited partnership. The Court dismissed the lawsuit holding that the plaintiff lacked standing to bring his claims.


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Steve McConnico to Speak at Corpus Christi Bar Association’s Trial Law Seminar
February 13, 2015

Steve McConnico will speak on “Legal Malpractice:  What’s the Law and How to Prevent Committing Malpractice” at the 2015 Advanced Civil Trial Law Seminar sponsored by the Corpus Christi Bar Association on March 6, 2015. More information on the Seminar, titled “The Ultimate Trial Notebook – From Voir Dire to Verdict,” can be found here.


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Steve McConnico to Speak at Texas Bar Career-Building Course on March 27
February 13, 2015

Steve McConnico will speak on “The Secret to a Long and Successful Career” at the Texas Bar CLE Course:  “Building Your Career:  A Guide for New Lawyers” on March 27, 2015. The course will be held at the Texas Law Center in Austin or can be viewed as a webcast online. More information on the course and how to register for the webcast can be found here.


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SD&M Lawyers Win Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Case
February 13, 2015

SD&M Lawyers Paige Amstutz, Sara Clark, and Robyn Hargrove obtained a final summary judgment in favor of a national hotel chain client. The case arose from an arrest on the hotel premises of an individual who claimed that the hotel’s conduct wrongfully contributed to his arrest. The trial court disagreed, and granted final summary judgment for the defendant on all claims.


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Dan Bitting to Speak at the Texas Aggie Bar Association Annual Conference
February 13, 2015

Dan Bitting will be a featured speaker at the 16th Annual Conference of the Texas Aggie Bar Association in College Station on Saturday, March 7, 2015. Dan’s topic is “Civil Litigation for the Non-Litigator.” Additional Information about the Aggie Bar Association and its Annual Conference can be found here.


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Carroll Martin to Speak at American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminar in February and March
February 5, 2015

SD&M attorney Carroll Martin is speaking at the American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminars in Dallas on February 6, 2015 and in Midland on March 13, 2015. The AAPL Pooling Seminar is a one-day program designed for intermediate to experienced landmen desiring an in-depth overview of pooling. It is well suited for both the field landmen and in-house landmen who want to learn more about pooling and related land practices. More information about AAPL and their events, including the Pooling Seminars can be found here.


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Davin McGinnis Joins Board of Advisors for the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.
January 28, 2015

SD&M’s Davin McGinnis has accepted an invitation to join the Board of Advisors for the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law. The journal is the nation’s premier energy law journal, published twice a year by students at the University of Texas School of Law, and promotes scholarship in the energy legal field.  More information about the journal is available here.

Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law


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Becky Miller to Speak at State Bar Oil & Gas Disputes Course on January 8
January 8, 2015

SD&M attorney Becky Miller is speaking at the Texas State Bar’s Oil & Gas Disputes Course on January 8, 2015, in Houston. Her topic is “Drafting Oil and Gas Leases.”  More information on the course can be found here.


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SD&M Welcomes Michael Bernstein to the Firm
November 21, 2014

SD&M is pleased to welcome Michael Bernstein to the firm. Michael earned his J.D. in 2014, with highest honors, from the University of Texas School of Law.  While in law school, Michael was honored as a chancellor-at-large and served as a member of the Texas Law Review. Michael represents both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation, with an emphasis on energy related disputes, litigation related to real estate development, and cases involving complicated financial instruments.


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Carroll Martin to Speak at American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminar on November 18, 2014
November 18, 2014

SD&M attorney Carroll Martin is speaking at the American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminar on November 18, 2014 at the Marriott Plaza in San Antonio.  The AAPL Pooling Seminar is a one-day program designed for intermediate to experienced landmen desiring an in-depth overview of pooling. It is well suited for both the field landmen and the in-house landmen who want to learn more about pooling and related land practices. More information on the Seminar can be found here.


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Abe Kuczaj, Paige Amstutz, and Steve Wingard Win Jury Trial
October 16, 2014

Representing the owner of a hospital under construction in Lake Travis, SD&M attorneys Abe Kuczaj, Paige Amstutz, and Steve Wingard prevailed after a two-week-long jury trial in a breach-of-contract case. In its verdict handed down on August 27, 2014, the jury found defendants breached their confidentiality agreement with Lake Travis Specialty Hospital and caused $7.9 million in damages. The court also awarded SDM’s client $2 million in attorneys’ fees. The final judgment is on appeal, with an injunction in place precluding dissipation or transfer of assets to avoid satisfaction of the judgment.


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Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter Win Jury Trial
October 16, 2014

Representing the owner of a marina on Lake Travis, SD&M attorneys Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter prevailed after a week-long jury trial in a property rights dispute.  In its verdict handed down on October 9, 2014, the unanimous jury rejected the claim that the marina owner had acted improperly.  The jury also awarded the marina owner the full amount of attorneys’ fees requested.


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Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter to Speak at the October 21 Meeting of the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association
October 16, 2014

SD&M attorneys Dan Bitting and Cindy Saiter will be the featured speakers at the October 21, 2014 meeting of the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association. Their topic is “Ethical Traps for the Intellectual Property Lawyer.” Additional Information about the Association and the October 21 event can be found here.


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Eleven SD&M Lawyers Named “Super Lawyers” in Texas
September 12, 2014

Eleven SD&M 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 SD&M “Super Lawyers” for 2014 are:

  • Paige Amstutz         (Business Litigation)
  • Doug Dashiell         (Energy & Resources)
  • Casey Dobson        (Business Litigation)
  • Sam Johnson          (Civil Litigation: Defense)
  • Carroll Martin           (Energy & Resources)
  • Steve McConnico  (Business Litigation; “Top 100” Texas Super Lawyer; “Top 50” Central/West Texas Super Lawyers)
  • Becky Miller              (Energy & Resources)
  • Cindy Saiter             (Business Litigation)
  • Chris Sileo               (Business Litigation)
  • Jane Webre              (Appellate; Top 50: Central/West Texas Super Lawyers)
  • Flip Whitworth          (Energy & Resources)
SD&M is honored that so many of our attorneys consistently rank among the most highly peer-reviewed attorneys in the state.


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Curtis Osterloh to Speak on Cloud Computing, Digital Products, and the Impact on State Income and Sales Taxes on October 21
September 3, 2014

SD&M’s Curtis Osterloh will speak at the 45th Annual Meeting of the Council on State Taxation in Hollywood, Florida on October 21. His topic is “Cloud Computing, Digital Products, and the Impact on State Income and Sales Taxes.” More information about the event and registration can be found here.


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Jane Webre named among Texas Lawyer’s “Winning Women”
September 3, 2014

SD&M’s Jane Webre is among 19 lawyers to be profiled as “Winning Women” in a special edition to be published by the Texas Lawyer on September 1, 2014.  The Texas Lawyer describes the group as “lawyers who have achieved significant recent victories and established a track record of prevailing in high-stakes cases; won large monetary awards; successfully defended against actions seeking substantial damages; handled first-of-their-kind cases; made a substantial changes to the practice of law; or claimed victory in cases that had a national or statewide impact.”  Jane and the other Winning Women will be honored at a luncheon at the Belo Mansion in Dallas on October 8, 2014.  You can read Jane’s “Winning Woman” profile here.


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Cindy Saiter to Speak on Corporate Fiduciary Duties and Shareholder Oppression on September 5 and September 11
September 2, 2014

SD&M’s Cindy Saiter will speak on September 5 and September 11 on the topics of Corporate Fiduciary Duties and Shareholder Oppression. On September 5, she will speak at the 22nd Annual Texas Minority Counsel Program in Austin. On September 11, she will speak, along with Joe Escobedo of Escobedo, Tippit & Cardenas, at the Texas Bar “Business Disputes 2014” seminar in Houston.


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Davin McGinnis to Speak on Leasing State Lands on June 6
May 15, 2014

SD&M’s Davin McGinnis will speak at the 2014 Oil, Gas and Mineral Title Examination Course in Houston on June 6.  He will present a paper he co-authored with SD&M’s Olga Kobzar titled “Death, Taxes . . . and the General Land Office.  A Title Lawyer’s Guide to Dealing with Life’s Third Certainty.”  The paper discusses key issues and recent developments related to leasing lands owned by the State of Texas.  More information about the event and registration can be found here.


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John Hicks to Speak at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation Special Institute on Shale Development
May 2, 2014

SD&M’s John Hicks will speak at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Special Institute on “Development Issues in Major Shale Plays – What’s on the Horizon?” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on May 2, 2014. His topic will be “Pooling and Unitization Methods Across Shale Basins – Texas (Eagle Ford / Barnett).” Additional information about the Institute can be found here.


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SD&M Presents Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on May 1
April 4, 2014

SD&M’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held May 1 in Houston. The seminar will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures, developments in the law, and various oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.
 
SD&M has hosted the popular seminar for more than 25 years. SD&M attorneys  Jim Cowden, Mark Hanna, Joe Sanders, Bryan Lauer, John HicksOlga Kobzar, Davin McGinnis, John Camp, and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event. Among other topics, they will discuss horizontal drilling in Texas, forced and voluntary pooling, Commission Rules 37 and 38, and a General Land Office update. The seminar will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel from 8:15 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing Jackie Harrison. A link to our Application Form is attached here.


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Ray Langenberg to Speak on Administrative Law at the Texas State Bar 2014 Agricultural Law Conference
April 1, 2014

SD&M’s Ray Langenberg will speak at the Texas State Bar 2014 Agricultural Law Conference in Lubbock, Texas on May 29, 2014.  His topic will be “Administrative Law for the Non-Administrative Lawyer.” Additional information about the course can be found here.


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Dan Bitting to Give Guest Lecture on Privacy and Computer-Based Discovery at UT
April 1, 2014

SD&M attorney Dan Bitting has been invited to give a guest lecture to a University of Texas at Austin “Elements of Computing in Society” class. The course addresses ethical and privacy issues arising from the use of computers in today’s society. Dan’s lecture will focus on the balancing of privacy interests and the computer-based discovery of relevant facts in lawsuits.


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Jane Webre Elected to American Academy of Appellate Lawyers
March 27, 2014

SD&M attorney Jane Webre, who has been  Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1996, was elected to be a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. The American Academy of Appellate Lawyers was founded in 1990 to recognize outstanding appellate lawyers and promote the improvement of appellate advocacy and the administration of the appellate courts. Academy membership is open only to a person who possesses a reputation of recognized distinction as an appellate lawyer. To be eligible for membership, a nominee's practice must have focused substantially on appeals during at least the last 15 years. Academy membership is limited to 500 members in the United States. Additional information about the Academy can be found here.

American Academy of Appellate Lawyers


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Olga Kobzar to Speak on Fracking Developments
March 21, 2014

SD&M attorney Olga Kobzar will speak on recent developments in fracking at the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association’s Annual CLE on March 28. More information about the event and the TCWLA can be found here.


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Ray Langenberg to Speak at Tax Executives Institute on March 26
March 21, 2014

SD&M attorney Ray Langenberg will be the featured speaker at the Houston Chapter of the Tax Executives Institute on March 26. His topic will be Texas franchise tax planning opportunities. Additional information can be found here.


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Kennon Wooten to Give Rules Update at Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course on April 4 and May 23
March 21, 2014

SD&M attorney Kennon Wooten will give a “Rules Update” entitled “What’s New and What’s Around the Corner” at the State Bar of Texas Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course to be held April 3-4 in Dallas, Texas, and May 23-24, in San Antonio, Texas. Her topics will include dismissal procedures, pleading requirements, expedited actions procedures, e-filing rules, and potential amendments to the Texas Rules of Evidence. Additional details about the course can be found here.


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SD&M’s Cindy Connolly Wins Public Information Act Case on Behalf of Prison Legal News
March 21, 2014

SD&M attorney Cindy Connolly, together with attorneys from the Texas Civil Rights Project, represents Prison Legal News, a monthly publication that reports on criminal justice issues and a project of the Human Rights Defense Center. The News filed suit against Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest for-profit prison company, after the company refused to disclose records in response to a public information request. This week, a Travis County District Court granted summary judgment to the News, holding that the company is a “governmental body” for purposes of the Texas Public Information Act. More information on the decision, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and the Human Rights Defense Center can be found here.

HRDC


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Six SD&M Attorneys Named Rising Stars
March 21, 2014

Super Lawyers® has selected six SD&M attorneys as Rising Stars in 2014 in the practice areas of Energy & Natural Resources (Mark Hanna and Davin McGinnis), Business Litigation (Abe Kuczaj, Joe Sanders and Ryan Squires), and General Litigation (Kennon Wooten). Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. SD&M is proud that so many of our young attorneys were nominated and selected as Rising Stars again this year. Super Lawyers® is a Thompson Reuters publication.


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Carroll Martin and Flip Whitworth Named “Who’s Who in Energy” by Austin Business Journal
February 14, 2014

The Austin Business Journal partnered with business journals in multiple cities — from Houston to Philadelphia — in taking nominations for and compiling a multi-field listing of “Who’s Who in Energy” for 2013-2014.  SD&M attorneys Carroll Martin and Philip “Flip” Whitworth were named among the honorees in the legal field in Austin.


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Joe Sanders to Moderate Panel on "Energy Policy and Environmental Law” at Austin College Law Symposium on February 21
February 13, 2014

SD&M attorney Joe Sanders will moderate a panel of other Austin College alums speaking on the topic of "Energy Policy and Environmental Law" on February 21, on the college campus.  Additional information on the symposium can be found here.


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Carroll Martin to Speak at American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminar on February 14
February 13, 2014

SD&M attorney Carroll Martin is speaking at the American Association of Petroleum Landmen’s Pooling Seminar on February 14, 2014 in The Woodlands at the Anadarko Conference Center.  The AAPL Pooling Seminar is a one-day program designed for intermediate to experienced landmen desiring an in-depth overview of pooling. It is well suited for both the field landmen and the in-house landmen who want to learn more about pooling and related land practices. More information on the Seminar can be found here.


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Nine Attorneys Now Board Certified in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law at Scott, Douglass & McConnico, L.L.P.
February 10, 2014

SD&M attorney John Hicks has earned board certification in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Within the Texas legal community, board certification means an attorney has substantial, relevant experience in a select field of law as well as demonstrated, and tested, special competence in that area of law.  John’s board certification brings the total number of SD&M attorneys who have earned board certification in Oil, Gas & Mineral Law to nine—more than any law firm in Austin, Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio.  John joins SD&M attorneys John Camp, Jim Cowden, Doug DashiellCarroll Martin, Davin McGinnis, Becky Miller, John Soule, and Philip “Flip” Whitworth in this prestigious category of board certified Oil, Gas & Mineral Law attorneys.  More information on the firm’s Oil & Gas practice can be found here.


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John Hicks to speak at the Permian Basin Landmen’s Association on February 11
February 10, 2014

SD&M attorney John Hicks will speak at the general meeting of the Permian Basin Landmen’s Association on February 11, 2014, at the Petroleum Club in Midland.  His topic will be “Production Sharing Agreements and Allocation Wells.”  More information on Permian Basin Landmen’s Association can be found here.


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Ray Langenberg and Curtis Osterloh Prevail in Tax Litigation
February 10, 2014

On February 6, 2014, SD&M attorneys Ray Langenberg and Curtis Osterloh won a trial against the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts regarding the taxability of wellbore video services.  The Comptroller contended that the video was taxable as the sale of tangible personal property like the sale of a wedding video, but the SD&M tax team convinced the judge that the essence of the transaction was a non-taxable service, comparable to 3D geophysical surveys and MRIs where the ultimate goal of the customer was to obtain information from the image rather than the image itself.  This decision will be useful in other cases in which tangible personal property is delivered as part of a service.


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Kennon Wooten Becomes a Partner in the Firm
January 31, 2014

SD&M is pleased to announce that Kennon Wooten has become a partner in the firm. Kennon joined the firm in May 2011, after serving as the rules attorney for the Supreme Court of Texas. Kennon’s service as the rules attorney gives her a unique understanding of statewide and local rules of practice and procedure, as well as the disciplinary standards that govern lawyers who practice in Texas and in other states. Since joining the firm, Kennon has represented individuals and entities involved in complex commercial litigation, general civil litigation, and civil appeals. At the trial level, she represents plaintiffs and defendants. To the appeals, she brings experience and expertise that she gained as the rules attorney and as a law clerk to Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Supreme Court of Texas. Kennon is also dedicated to serving the local community, including members of the local bar. She is the Immediate Past President of the Austin Young Lawyers Association (AYLA) and is actively involved with the Austin Bar Association and the State Bar of Texas.


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SD&M Welcomes Anthony Arguijo to the Firm
January 31, 2014

SD&M is pleased to welcome Anthony Arguijo to the firm. Anthony joined the firm in 2013 after serving as a law clerk for Judge Edward C. Prado on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Before that, he was a briefing attorney for Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson on the Supreme Court of Texas. Anthony earned his J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University. While in law school, Anthony served as the Managing Editor of the Texas Law Review, was honored as a member of the Order of Barristers, and won a national championship in moot court.


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SD&M Kids Pose for Dell Children's Miracle Book
January 28, 2014

Earlier this year, twenty-three children of current and former SD&M attorneys posed for a page in the Dell Children's Miracle Book. "The Miracle" is a beautiful coffee-table style calendar book, sold annually to raise donations for Dell Children's Medical Center.

Little Litigators


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Becky Miller to Teach “Oil and Gas Law, Leasing and Regulation” Course at the University of Texas School of Law
January 9, 2014

Becky Miller will continue teaching a course titled “Oil and Gas Law, Leasing and Regulation” this spring at the University of Texas School of Law. The course focuses on the oil and gas lease and regulation of oil and gas operations to the extent they may impact the oil and gas lease or the lessee/lessor relationship. The class includes instruction on: (1) basic oil and gas concepts necessary to analyze lease issues, (2) practical application of the law and policy to oil and gas leases, operations, disputes between lessors and lessees, duties owed, elements of damages, proof issues and remedies for breach;  and (5) basic governmental regulation of operations for production of oil and gas. Students in the class include both UT law students and LLM candidates in UT Law’s Center for Global Energy, International Arbitration and Environmental Law.


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Becky Miller to Speak at 65th Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference and University of Texas School of Law’s 2014 Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law
January 9, 2014

Becky Miller has been named by The Center for American and International Law to give the Deans of Oil and Gas Practice Lecture at their 65th Annual Oil and Gas Law Conference to be held February 19-20 in Houston, Texas. More information about this conference can be found here.

Then on March 27th, Becky will speak on Implied Covenants at the University of Texas School of Law’s 2014 Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law in Houston. More information about this conference can be found here.


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Ryan Squires to Coach 2014 National Ethics Mock Trial Team
January 9, 2014

Ryan Squires will coach the 2014 Pacific McGeorge National Ethics Mock Trial Team at the University of Texas School of Law. The competition was established in 2006 to promote ethical and civility awareness through the mock trial competition format. Ryan’s Team will be made up of dedicated law students at the University of Texas who will work hard to develop and display their knowledge and skills of professional responsibility in trial work. More information can be found here.


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Ryan Squires to Speak at AYLA Trial Academy
January 9, 2014

Ryan Squires will discuss trial tips and techniques with Austin’s young lawyers at the AYLA Trial Academy. The Academy is a hands-on trial skills training program intended to improve advocacy skills for young lawyers licensed five or less years through a combination of lectures and demonstrations.


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Curtis Osterloh to Speak at the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Sales Tax Symposium on September 30
September 30, 2013

SD&M’s Curtis Osterloh will be speaking with Michael Sontag at the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Sales Tax Symposium in Monterey, California, on September 30. His speech is entitled “Outwit, Outplay, Outsource: A Survivor’s Guide to Outsourcing Contracts from a SALT Perspective.” More information about the Institute and the Symposium can be found here.


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SD&M Attorneys to Speak on Disqualification of Judges, Attorneys and Witnesses at the Texas State Bar “Ultimate Motions Practice” Course on September 20
September 19, 2013

Dan Bitting, Ryan Squires, and Kennon Wooten will speak at the State Bar of Texas Ultimate Motions Practice CLE course on September 20, 2013, at the Texas Law Center in Austin, Texas. Their topics are “Motions to Disqualify/Recuse the Judge,” “Motions to Disqualify Opposing Counsel,” and “Motions to Disqualify or Exclude Expert Witnesses.”  Additional details about the course can be found here.


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SD&M Lawyers Prevail in Appeal on Important Immunity Issue
September 17, 2013

SD&M lawyers Steve McConnico, Jane Webre, Ryan Squires, and Kennon Wooten won an appeal before the Third Court of Appeals at Austin regarding an important issue of municipal immunity from certain contract suits. SD&M represents the LCRA, which had sued the City of Georgetown for repudiating an agreement to purchase electric power. The issue on appeal was whether the City was immune from suit over that contract, and the court of appeals held that it is not. The court recognized a dichotomy between a municipality’s governmental functions and its proprietary functions, and held that a city does not enjoy immunity from contract claims that arise out of its proprietary functions. Because the contract at issue arose out of the City’s proprietary functions of operating an electric utility, it was not entitled to immunity from the LCRA’s contract claim. The majority opinion can be found here.


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SD&M Lawyers Prevail in Appeal Resolving Important Standards in Legal Malpractice Cases
September 17, 2013

SD&M lawyers Steve McConnico, Jane Webre, and Ryan Squires won an appeal before the Supreme Court of Texas that resolved an important issue regarding the proper measure of damages in legal malpractice cases where the allegation involves an inadequate settlement in the underlying case. In affirming a summary judgment for SD&M’s clients, the Court also clarified the standards for expert testimony regarding the adequacy of settlement amounts in an underlying case. The case is styled Elizondo v. Krist, and the majority opinion can be found here.


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SD&M Named Among “Best Law Firms” and Ten SD&M Attorneys Named “Best Lawyers” in 2014 U. S. News – Best Lawyers® Rankings
September 12, 2013

The 2014 U. S. News – Best Lawyers® Report has ranked SD&M as among the “Best Law Firms” in the areas of commercial litigation, legal malpractice – defendants, litigation – eminent domain and condemnation, natural resource law, oil & gas law, personal injury litigation, and appellate practice. “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. These outstanding SD&M attorneys led the firm in these practice areas, each ranking individually in the 2014 report as “Best Lawyers” in these areas:

Appellate Practice
Commercial and Bet-the-Company Litigation
Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants
Natural Resources Law
Oil and Gas Law
Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants


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Becky Miller named 2014 Austin “Lawyer of the Year” in Natural Resources Law and Flip Whitworth named 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in Oil & Gas Law
September 11, 2013

The 2014 U. S. News – Best Lawyers® Report has named Becky Miller as Austin’s 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Natural Resources Law and Flip Whitworth as Austin’s 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” in the area of Oil & Gas Law. Both Becky and Flip are board certified in Oil, Gas and Mineral law. Becky has practiced exclusively in the firm's oil, gas and energy practice since she joined the firm in 1981. She has represented operators, lessees, non-operating working interest owners and lessors in oil,  gas & energy litigation. Becky is an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law where she teaches oil and gas law, and oil and gas leasing and regulation. She also serves as a mediator and arbitrator. Flip joined the firm in 1977 when the firm’s practice centered on oil and gas litigation and regulation. His practice continues to focus primarily on oil and gas regulatory issues and he frequently speaks and writes on oil and gas regulatory topics.


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Jane Webre and Chris Sileo Win Appeal Entitling Electric Company to Multi-Million Dollar Energy Efficiency Bonus from the Public Utility Commission
September 11, 2013

SD&M lawyers Jane Webre and Chris Sileo were part of a team that recently won an appeal from an order of the Texas Public Utility Commission. The Third District Court of Appeals determined that the PUC improperly reduced a performance bonus owed to a unit of CenterPoint Energy Inc. after it spent a substantial sum implementing successful energy efficiency programs. The Court said that in calculating the payment owed to CenterPoint under an agency rule incentivizing energy efficiency, the PUC incorrectly excluded funds the utility agreed to invest in energy savings projects under a separate settlement agreement. CenterPoint is entitled to an additional bonus each year for the 4 years it performed under the settlement. CenterPoint was also represented in the appeal by its general counsel Jason M. Ryan as well as Christian J. Ward and Ryan P. Bates of Yetter Coleman LLP. Jane Webre argued the case in the Court of Appeals. The opinion can be found here.


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Eight SD&M Lawyers Named “Super Lawyers” in Texas
September 10, 2013

Eight SD&M 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 SD&M “Super Lawyers” for 2013 are Doug Dashiell, Casey Dobson, Sam Johnson, Carroll Martin, Steve McConnico, Becky Miller, Jane Webre, and Flip Whitworth. SD&M is honored that so many of our attorneys consistently rank among the most highly peer-reviewed attorneys in the state, and that Steve McConnico ranked among the “Best of the Best” in the evaluations, placing him among the “Top 100” Texas Super Lawyers. SD&M is also proud to report that Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, and Jane Webre have also been selected to be included in the Martindale-Hubbell® Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers.


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Cindy Connolly and Kennon Wooten to Speak at Business Disputes Course on September 12-13
September 5, 2013

SD&M attorneys Cindy Connolly and Kennon Wooten will speak on “Fiduciary Duty, Shareholder Oppression, Director and Officer Liability” and “Business Litigation Under the New Texas Expedited Trial Rules,” respectively, at the State Bar of Texas Business Disputes CLE course on September 12-13, 2013, at Hilton Park Cities in Dallas, Texas.  Additional details about the course can be found here.


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Ray Langenberg to Speak at the National Association of State Bar Tax Sections in Washington D.C., on October 26
September 4, 2013

SD&M’s Ray Langenberg will be addressing the National Association of State Bar Tax Sections in Washington D.C. on October 26.  His topic will be “Federal and State ‘Responsible Person’ Liability Determinations.”


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SD&M Attorneys Serve in Diverse Bar Leadership Roles
August 8, 2013

Each year, SD&M attorneys dedicate significant time serving in a variety of bar leadership roles for our local and statewide bar associations. This year, these SD&M attorneys will serve on the following diverse boards and committees:

  • Sara Clark serves on the Board of the Litigation Section of the Austin Bar Association.
  • Cindy Connolly serves on the Boards of the Austin Bar Association, the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation, and the Travis County Women Lawyers Scholarship Fund. Cindy is also the Chair of the Judicial Affairs Committee of the Austin Bar Association, and serves on the Nominating Committee for District 9 of the Texas Bar Foundation and the State Bar Committee on Women in the Profession.
  • Doug Dashiell serves on the Council for the Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section of the State Bar.
  • Asher Griffin serves on the Steering Committee for the Texas Minority Counsel Program of the State Bar Office of Minority Affairs.
  • Britney Harrison serves on the Board of the Austin Young Lawyers Association and is Vice-President of the Austin Black Lawyers Association.
  • Olga Kobzar serves on the Judicial Affairs Committee of the Austin Bar Association.
  • Joe Sanders is the Chair of the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the Austin Bar Association.
  • Jane Webre serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Foundation.
  • Kennon Wooten serves on the Board of the Austin Bar Association, the Board for the Texas Legal Services Center, and the Editorial Board for The Advocate, a quarterly publication of the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. Kennon is also the Chair of the Local Rules Subcommittee of the State Bar of Texas Court Rules Committee, and serves on the Austin Bar Association's Publications Committee, the Budget & Audit Committee for the Texas Legal Services Center,  and the Austin Young Lawyers Association’s Marketing Committee. As its Immediate Past President, Kennon also serves on the Executive Committee of the Austin Young Lawyers’ Association.
To learn more about the missions of these bar organizations, visit their websites:  
 
Austin Bar Association
Austin Black Lawyers Association
Austin Young Lawyers Association
State Bar of Texas
Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association


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Jamie Baskin and Jane Webre Win Appeal in the Texas Supreme Court Involving Defamation
August 1, 2013

SD&M attorneys Jamie Baskin and Jane Webre were successful in an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court that resolved a substantial legal issue regarding defamation. Their client contended that he was defamed professionally when a television station aired a broadcast about him that reported third party statements that were not true. The television station contended that it could not be liable for defamation so long as it accurately reported what the third parties said, and it did not matter whether the third parties’ statements were true or false. The Texas Supreme Court rejected that contention and held that the standard for defamation under Texas law requires not only accurate reporting of the third party statements, but also asks whether the third party statements themselves were true or false. The case is Neely v. Wilson, and the majority opinion can be found here.


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Sam Johnson to Speak at Advanced Civil Trial Course on August 22
July 16, 2013

The 36th Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course will feature SD&M’s Sam Johnson on August 22 in Dallas. His topic is “When the Tank Gets Smaller, the Sharks Eat Each Other…. Legal Malpractice in the 21st Century.” Additional details about the course can be found here.


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Sam Johnson to Speak at Advanced Personal Injury Law Course in August
July 16, 2013

SD&M’s Sam Johnson will speak on “Multiple Representation and Drafting Contingency Fee Agreements” at the upcoming 29th Annual Advanced Personal Injury Law Course to be held in San Antonio on August 8 and in Houston on August 29. Additional details about the course can be found here.


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Texas Lawyer Features Article on Rights of Co-Tenants by Joe Sanders
July 16, 2013

Texas Lawyer’s July 2013 Special Report on Energy Law features an article by SD&M’s Joe Sanders on the rights and obligations that individual surface co-tenants possess in relation to other co-tenants titled “Unscrambling the Puzzle of Surface Co-Tenants’ Rights.” A copy of the article can be found here.


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St. Mary’s Journal on Legal Malpractice & Ethics Features Article by Sam Johnson
July 12, 2013

The 2013 edition of St. Mary’s Journal on Legal Malpractice and Ethics features a scholarly article titled “The Litigation Privilege in Texas” by SD&M’s Sam Johnson. The article explores the contours of the litigation privilege in Texas by analyzing the primary Texas cases where one party’s claim against the other party’s attorney was dismissed based on the litigation privilege. It also discusses Texas cases where the court found an exception to the litigation privilege, allowing one party in litigation to sue an opposing party’s attorney. A copy of the article can be found here.


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SD&M Welcomes Outstanding Summer Clerks
July 9, 2013

SD&M actively recruits outstanding law students from across the country to work in our annual summer clerkship program. This summer, SD&M welcomes an exceptional group of students to the program from Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School, and the University of Texas School of Law. SD&M is excited to welcome each to our working clerkship program:

  • Michael Bernstein is a UT honors graduate in real estate finance, a UT law school student, and a member of the Jewish Legal Society.
  • Mary Byars is a summa cum laude Smith College graduate in psychology and Spanish, a Harvard law student, and a member of the Environmental Law Review.
  • William Cochran is a UT Plan II honors graduate, a Stanford law school student, and a member of the Stanford Law Review.
  • Aaron Collins is a University of Oregon graduate in political science, a UT law school student, and a member of the Texas Law Review.
  • Alexandra Holmes is a UT Plan II honors graduate, a UT law school student, and a member of the Texas Law Review.
  • Jaclyn Joseph is a UT high honors graduate in marketing, a UT law school student, and a Street Law and Texas Oil & Gas Law Society member.
More information about SD&M’s recruiting efforts and summer clerkship program can be found here.


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Trial Team Including Paige Amstutz Wins Defense Verdict in Patent Infringement Case
June 17, 2013

Paige Amstutz, along with attorneys from Kilpatrick Townsend, successfully defended Motorola Mobility at a jury trial against patent infringement claims related to wireless earpiece technology in the Western District of Texas. The jury returned a verdict of non-infringement and invalidity against all claims that were at issue.


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SD&M Welcomes Michael Merriman to the Firm
May 28, 2013

SD&M is pleased to welcome Michael Merriman to the firm. Mike’s legal career has focused on preparing for and taking complex cases to trial. Prior to returning to his home state of Texas in 2013, Mike served as an Assistant United States Attorney (“AUSA”) at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California. As an AUSA in the Major Frauds and Special Prosecutions Section, Mike prosecuted a wide range of complex matters, including public corruption, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations (related to a Fortune 500 Company), wire fraud and mortgage fraud. Mike also tried five cases to verdict and argued in front of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. From 2005-2008, Mike was an associate at Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott, a trial-based litigation boutique in Chicago. At Bartlit Beck, Mike focused on complex commercial litigation for clients such as Ernst & Young, Bayer and Federal Signal. At the firm, he participated in two jury trials and one arbitration. After graduating from Stanford Law School, Mike served as a law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for the Honorable Susan Y. Illston.


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SD&M Welcomes Kim Gustafson Bueno to the Firm
May 16, 2013

SD&M is pleased to welcome Kim Gustafson Bueno to the firm. Kim is a 2008 graduate of The University of Texas School of Law, where she graduated with high honors and was selected for Order of the Coif. Kim started her legal career at Fulbright & Jaworski LLP and Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, LLP, where she focused on pharmaceutical products liability and complex commercial litigation. After a short stint as the Public Affairs Administrator at the State Bar of Texas, Kim joined SD&M in May 2013. She chose SD&M because of the firm's dedication to achieving excellent results and its willingness to try tough cases. Kim's past experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer, social worker, pharmaceutical sales representative, and real estate agent provide her unique insight into a variety of industries. She leverages these experiences to quickly understand her clients' business challenges and develop strategies for resolving disputes. Most of all, Kim enjoys digging into complex fact scenarios and learning the intricacies of every case. Kim's current docket focuses on pharmaceutical products liability, professional malpractice, and general civil litigation.


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23rd Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals Features Jane Webre on June 14
May 10, 2013

SD&M’s Jane Webre will speak at the University of Texas School of Law 23rd Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals on June 14, 2013. She will present a “Case Study: The Intersection of Legal Malpractice and Federal Jurisdiction.” You can find more information, and register for the Conference here.


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Through the Texas Supreme Court Pro Bono Program, John Hicks and Olga Kobzar Successfully Defeat Petition for Review on Behalf of Royalty Owner
May 10, 2013

SD&M attorneys John Hicks and Olga Kobzar successfully represented a royalty owner in an appeal involving competing claims to a mineral estate based on adverse possession, statute of frauds, and estoppel by deed. Their client had represented himself pro se in the lower courts but after the opposing party filed a petition for review to the Supreme Court of Texas, Hicks and Kobzar agreed to represent the client through the Texas Supreme Court Pro Bono Program. Following full briefing on the merits, the Court denied the petition for review, preserving the client’s favorable judgment.


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Austin Intellectual Property Law Association to Feature Jane Webre on May 21
May 10, 2013

SD&M’s Jane Webre will speak at the May CLE lunch meeting of the Austin Intellectual Property Law Association on May 21, 2013. The title of her presentation will be: “Do Patent-Related Claims Always Belong in Federal Court?: A Case Study.” You can find more information and register for the presentation here.


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American Bar Association Features Podcast by Jane Webre
May 3, 2013

The Litigation Section of the American Bar Association featured an online podcast by Jane Webre as part if its regular feature, "Sound Advice."  The podcast involves the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Gunn v. Minton, involving federal court subject matter jurisdiction. The podcast can be found here.


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Corporate INTL recognizes Scott, Douglass & McConnico L.L.P. as the Energy Law Firm of the Year in Texas
April 30, 2013

Scott, Douglass & McConnico L.L.P. has been recognized as Texas’ Law Firm of the Year for Energy Law by Corporate INTL's 2013 Legal Awards for its expertise in oil and gas regulatory matters, litigation, and related business advice.  The winners of Corporate INTL awards are carefully chosen by an independent committee following a nomination process and extensive research into the firms in the selected categories and a detailed review of practice information and results submitted by the nominees.

Corporate INTL


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Texas Supreme Court’s Dedication to Chief Justice Jack Pope Features Steve McConnico
April 25, 2013

In honor of Retired Chief Justice Jack Pope’s 100th birthday, the Texas Supreme Court’s website features brief interviews with Steve McConnico and others who worked with Chief Justice Pope over the years. Chief Justice Pope is also being honored in a ceremony in the Texas House of Representatives today. You can view Steve’s and others’ dedications to Chief Justice Pope here.


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Dan Bitting to Speak at Trust and Estate Administration Seminar on May 9
April 17, 2013

SD&M’s Dan Bitting will speak on “Recent Trends in Trust and Estate Litigation” at the upcoming Trust and Estate Administration Seminar to be held at the Westin Riverwalk in San Antonio, May 9-10. Additional details about the seminar can be found here.


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Flip Whitworth to Speak at the Texas Mineral Title Course on May 3
April 17, 2013

SD&M’s Flip Whitworth will speak on “Land and Regulatory Issues Related to Horizontal Wells” at the upcoming Texas Mineral Title Course in Houston, May 2-3. Additional details about the course can be found here.


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Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Special Institute to Feature Becky Miller on May 2
April 16, 2013

Becky Miller will be speaking at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation’s Special Institute on Oil & Gas Agreements, Contracting for Goods Services and People, to be held in Santa Fe on May 2-3.  Her topic is Contract Enforcement, and will include a discussion on damage limitation, waiver and reliance clauses, alternative dispute resolution provisions, as well as protecting privileged documents and communications.


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American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference to Feature Robyn Hargrove on April 25
April 16, 2013

Robyn Hargrove will be speaking as part of a panel on “The Ethics of Lawyer-Client Fallout,” at the American Bar Association Section of Litigation Annual Conference on April 25, 2013, in Chicago Illinois.  More information about the conference is available here.


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Ray Langenberg to Speak at Annual Conference of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation
April 9, 2013

SD&M’s Ray Langenberg will be speaking on “Officer Liability: Personal Responsibility for Corporate Returns and Assessments” at the 37th Annual Conference of the Institute for Professionals in Taxation, which will be held in Orlando, Florida from June 23-26. More information about the Conference is available here.


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Ten SD&M Lawyers Named “Best Lawyers” in Texas
April 9, 2013

Ten SD&M Lawyers have been selected as among the “Best Lawyers” in Texas by the Best Lawyers® publication, which bases its selections on an exhaustive professional peer-review process. The SD&M “Best Lawyers” for 2013 are Jim Cowden, Doug Dashiell, Casey Dobson, Sam Johnson, Carroll Martin, Steve McConnico, Becky Miller, John Soule, Jane Webre, and Flip Whitworth. SD&M is honored that so many of our attorneys rank among the most highly peer-reviewed attorneys in the state.


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Texas Bar Journal Features Article by Flip Whitworth and Olga Kobzar
April 9, 2013

The April 2013 issue of the Texas Bar Journal features an article titled “In Development: Staying up-to-date with the Railroad Commission and the General Land Office” by Flip Whitworth and Olga Kobzar. The article includes information on proposed RRC rule amendments, horizontal drilling and permitting, GLO complaints regarding state free royalty tracts, and force pooling unleased riverbed tracts. This informative article can be found here.


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Ryan Squires Named 2013 Outstanding Young Lawyer
April 4, 2013

The Austin Young Lawyers Association has selected Ryan Squires as the recipient of its 2013 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award. This award recognizes an attorney who has shown exemplary professional proficiency, service to the profession, and service to the community. Ryan will receive the Outstanding Young Lawyer Award at the Austin Bar Association’s annual Law Day Luncheon, which is tentatively scheduled to occur on May 6 at the Four Seasons.


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SD&M Welcomes New Firm Administrator Bobby Zamen
March 20, 2013

SD&M is pleased to announce that Bobby Zamen has rejoined SD&M as its firm administrator. Bobby was the firm’s operations manager many years ago before leaving to pursue his M.B.A. degree and joining STG Design, Inc., where he served as chief financial officer for many years. SD&M is excited to have Bobby back on board and at the helm of our firm’s administration.


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SD&M Attorneys to Speak on Implied Lease Covenants and Recent Developments in Saltwater Disposal, March 21-22
March 20, 2013

SD&M attorneys Becky Miller, Davin McGinnis, and Olga Kobzar have authored papers for the 39th Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute, presented by the University of Texas School of Law and the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Becky Miller will speak on implied lease covenants during the March 21 Fundamentals of Oil, Gas and Mineral Law program. Davin McGinnis will speak on recent developments in saltwater disposal at the Institute on March 22. You can find more information and registration details here.


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State Bar Live Webcast on New Rules to Feature Kennon Wooten on March 19
March 19, 2013

On March 19 (2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.), Kennon Wooten will participate as a panelist in a State Bar of Texas live webcast is entitled “The New Dismissal Rule and Rules for Expedited Actions: Tips and Traps for the Unwary.” Panelists will discuss the new dismissal rule and the new and amended rules relating to expedited actions in Texas.  Other participants include Judge Elizabeth Ray, the Honorable Alan Waldrop, Edward Trey Bergman III, Michael G. Guajardo, and Daniel K. Worthington.  You can register for the Webcast (and receive 2 hrs. CLE credit) here.


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SD&M Presents Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on April 25
March 12, 2013

SD&M’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held April 25 in Houston. The seminar will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures, developments in the law, and various oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.
 
SD&M has hosted the popular seminar for more than 25 years. SD&M attorneys Doug Dashiell, Jim Cowden, John Soule, Mark Hanna, Joe Sanders, Bryan Lauer, Carroll Martin, Olga Kobzar, Davin McGinnis, John Camp, and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event. Among other topics, they will discuss horizontal drilling in Texas, forced and voluntary pooling, Commission Rules 37 and 38, saltwater disposal well update and how to use the Commission’s website.
 
The seminar will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel from 8:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing Jackie Harrison. A link to our Application Form is attached here.


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Seven SD&M Attorneys Named Rising Stars
March 11, 2013

Super Lawyers has selected seven SD&M attorneys as Rising Stars in 2013 in the practice areas of Energy & Natural Resources (Mark Hanna and Davin McGinnis), Business Litigation (Abe Kuczaj, Joe Sanders and Christopher Sileo), Civil Litigation Defense (Kennon Wooten) and Professional Liability: Defense (Ryan Squires). Rising Stars are considered the top up-and-coming attorneys in Texas. SD&M is proud that so many of our young attorneys were nominated and selected as Rising Stars again this year.


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Asher Griffin to Serve on the Texas Minority Counsel Program's Steering Committee
March 11, 2013

SD&M partner Asher Griffin was recently selected to serve on the 2013 Texas Minority Counsel Program's Steering Committee. Steering Committee members are selected for their hard work and leadership skills demonstrated by their service in other civic and bar activities. The Program works to increase opportunities for women and minority attorneys who provide legal services to corporate and government clients, and to expose organizations to the legal talent found in minority communities.


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Jane Webre Selected for 2013 Litigation/Appellate Attorney Award
February 27, 2013

The Travis County Women Lawyers Association and Travis County Women Lawyers Foundation have selected Jane Webre for the 2013 Litigation/Appellate Attorney Award. Jane and other outstanding women attorneys will be honored at the TCWLA/TCWLF annual Grants and Awards Luncheon on April 26, 2013 at the Four Seasons.


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Jane Webre and Cindy Connolly Win Important U.S. Supreme Court Patent Law Malpractice Ruling
February 20, 2013

Jane Webre and Cindy Connolly have won an appeal in the Supreme Court of the United States in a case involving legal malpractice claims arising out of an underlying patent matter.   The legal issue in the appeal was whether those claims should be litigated in state court or federal court.  The Supreme Court of Texas had held that the claims were within exclusive federal court jurisdiction, and Jane Webre and Cindy Connolly represented the Petitioners asking the SCOTUS to reverse that decision and allow the claims to go forward in state court.  Jane Webre argued the case before the Court, and just five weeks after argument the SCOTUS reversed the Supreme Court of Texas and held that the claims should be litigated in state court.  Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for a unanimous Court.  A copy of the full opinion can be found here.


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Bryan Lauer Becomes a Partner in the Firm
February 20, 2013

SD&M is pleased to announce that Bryan Lauer, who joined SD&M as an associate in 2009, has become a partner in the firm. Bryan’s practice consists of commercial litigation generally, with a focus on energy litigation and regulatory matters. Before joining SD&M, Bryan served as law clerk for the Honorable Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.


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Ryan Squires to Coach 2013 TYLA National Trial Competition Scout Team
January 23, 2013

Ryan Squires will help coach the 2013 TYLA National Trial Competition Scout Team at the University of Texas School of Law. The Texas Young Lawyers Association established the National Trial Competition in 1975 to encourage and strengthen law students' advocacy skills through quality competition and valuable interaction with members of the bench and bar. Ryan’s Scout Team will be made up of dedicated law students who help prepare the third year law student competitors for the 2013 National Trial Competition and hope to participate as competitors themselves in the 2014 National Trial Competition.


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Paige Amstutz and Ryan Squires Obtain Favorable Jury Verdict Against Alarm-Monitoring Company
January 23, 2013

Paige Amstutz and Ryan Squires obtained a favorable verdict against an alarm-monitoring company after a week-long jury trial in Travis County.  The case arose from the burglary of a jewelry store in Austin, Texas.  Paige and Ryan represented the jewelry store in claims arising from how the alarm-monitoring company handled the alarm signals that it received from the jewelry store on the night of heist.  The alarm-monitoring company vigorously contested liability.  After a week-long trial, the jury found the alarm-monitoring company negligent in how it handled the alarm signals on the night of the heist.  The jury also found that the alarm-monitoring company negligently misrepresented the signal information to the jewelry store’s owner.  The jury only decided liability as the parties stipulated to damages.


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American University Washington College of Law Features Jane Webre for Petitioners in Live Webcast of Gunn v Minton: Post-Argument Discussion
January 15, 2013

On Wednesday, January 16, 2013, the United States Supreme Court will hear argument in Gunn v. Minton, which concerns the jurisdiction of federal and state courts over legal malpractice claims that involve an attorney’s handling of a patent law matter.  Jane Webre and Cindy Connolly will represent the Petitioners at oral argument.  American University Washington College of Law and the Federal Circuit Bar Association are co-sponsoring a post-argument discussion of the case.  Panel members, including Jane Webre for Petitioners, will explain the merits of the case and provide fresh commentary about the argument.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
4:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
American University Washington College of Law, Room 603
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Live webcast, registration, and more information can be found here.


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Flip Whitworth and Steve McConnico Selected for Texas Lawyer Go-To Guide
December 19, 2012

Flip Whitworth and Steve McConnico were selected for Texas Lawyer magazine’s Go-To Guide.  The Guide recognizes five top lawyers in 18 practice areas.  Flip was selected for energy law, and Steve for commercial litigation.  The editorial board of Texas Lawyer selects attorneys for the Guide using a nomination process and interviews with hundreds of attorneys across Texas.


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Sara Clark and Britney Harrison Join the 2013 Austin Leadership Academy
December 19, 2012

Attorneys Sara Clark and Britney Harrison were recently selected as members of the 2013 Austin Bar/Austin Young Lawyers Association Leadership Academy.   The Academy assists Austin-area lawyers in serving the local community and the Austin Bar.  Sara and Britney were selected from among 60 candidates by current and past presidents of the Austin Bar, the Austin Young Lawyers Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of Austin, and the Austin Black Lawyers Association.  The full list of members can be found by clicking here.


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SD&M Hosts Employment Law Seminar on November 2
October 23, 2012

SD&M will host a half-day employment law seminar at its offices on November 2. The seminar, led by SD&M attorneys, will cover issues many employers are facing with today's mobile workforce, including social media, protecting electronic data, agency workplace investigations and absence and leave policies. Human resources directors and managers, lawyers and other professionals dealing with hiring, firing and managing employees are invited to attend. There is no fee to attend the seminar, and lunch and parking will be provided. Seating is limited. Continuing education hours are available. E-mail Sharon Gardner for additional information.


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SD&M Super Lawyers: SD&M Leads Again in Energy & Natural Resources Law; Steve McConnico Named to Top 100
October 23, 2012

Nine SD&M Lawyers were recently named 2012 Super Lawyers.   SD&M again had the most lawyers recognized in energy and natural resources law, and Steve McConnico made the Texas Top 100 list for the tenth consecutive year.  The list appears in the October issue of Texas Monthly magazine.   No more than five percent of Texas lawyers receive the honor annually. Candidates are evaluated based on several criteria, including verdicts, settlements, and transactions; representative clients; honors and awards; experience; community service and bar activities; lectures and writings; and education.

The SD&M Super Lawyers include:

Texas Top 100 – Steve McConnico

Central & West Texas Region Top 50 – Steve McConnico

Appellate Law – Jane Webre

Business Litigation – Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Civil Litigation Defense – Sam Johnson

Energy & Natural Resources – Doug Dashiell, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth


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Jane Webre and Cindy Connolly to Argue at U.S. Supreme Court
October 5, 2012

The Supreme Court of the United States granted the petition for a writ of certiorari to review Gunn v. Minton.  The issue is whether federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction to hear state law legal malpractice claims that arise out of patent matters.  The Court will hear argument in early 2013.  The case is docketed as No. 11-1118.


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SD&M Employment Law Seminar POSTPONED
September 24, 2012

Please accept our apologies for the late notice, but Scott, Douglass &  McConnico needs to postpone the Employment Pitfalls Seminar scheduled for Friday, September 28th.  It is with heavy hearts that we postpone this event, as we will be attending funeral services for our long-time firm administrator, Clay Singleton.  This is a tremendous loss for the Scott, Douglass & McConnico family, and our attorneys and staff will of course be honoring Clay's memory and supporting his family.  
 
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. We have rescheduled the seminar for Friday, November 2, 2012 and hope that you will still be able to attend. We will send an updated invitation with further details and RSVP information later this week.


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Sad News at SD&M - Passing of Firm Administrator Clay Singleton
September 24, 2012

We are sad to report the passing of our long-time firm administrator, Clay Singleton.  In many ways, Clay was the glue that held the firm together.  We will miss our good friend.  Services will be Friday, September 28, 2012 at 10:00 at Weed-Corley-Fish North Funeral Home, 3125 North Lamar, Austin, TX 78705.


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SD&M Hosts Employment Law Seminar on September 28
August 29, 2012

SD&M will host a half-day employment law seminar at its offices on September 28.  The seminar, led by SD&M attorneys, will cover issues many employers are facing with today's mobile workforce, including social media, protecting electronic data, agency workplace investigations and absence and leave policies.  Human resources directors and managers, lawyers and other professionals dealing with hiring, firing and managing employees are invited to attend.  There is no fee to attend the seminar, and lunch and parking will be provided.  Seating is limited.  Continuing education hours are available.  E-mail Sharon Gardner for additional information.


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Flip Whitworth and Davin McGinnis Published in Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, & Energy Law
August 29, 2012

Flip Whitworth and Davin McGinnis recently published the lead article in the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law.  The article, “Square Pegs, Round Holes: The Application and Evolution of Traditional Legal and Regulatory Concepts for Horizontal Wells,” discusses the changing legal landscape for horizontal drilling.  The article appeared in volume seven, number two.  The journal is published by The University of Texas School of Law.


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Steve McConnico and Flip Whitworth Named Go-To Guide Finalists
August 29, 2012

Attorneys Steve McConnico and Flip Whitworth were named finalists for Texas Lawyer magazine’s Go-To Guide.  The Go-To Guide includes the state’s leading lawyers in 18 practice areas and will be published by Texas Lawyer on December 10.  Steve is a finalist in the commercial litigation category, and Flip is a finalist in energy law.  The Go-To lawyers will be announced December 6 at an event held at the Belo Mansion & Pavilion in Dallas.


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Joe Sanders and Sean Flammer Obtain Dismissal of Libel Lawsuit
July 24, 2012

Joe Sanders and Sean Flammer secured a dismissal of all claims against the Southern Poverty Law Center in a lawsuit alleging libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress.   Joe and Sean successfully argued that the libel claim was barred by the statute of limitations and that the plaintiff, Richard Mack, a candidate in last May’s Republican primary for U.S. Congress, could not recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress because the claim was based on the same alleged conduct as the libel claim.   Plaintiff's lawsuit alleged that he was misquoted in an article entitled "Willing to Kill" in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Winter 2010 issue of a magazine entitled the Intelligence Report.  Mack also filed his lawsuit against several individuals who allegedly wrote or edited the article.  The court dismissed those claims based on a lack of personal jurisdiction. The lawsuit was Richard Mack v. Southern Poverty Law Center, Cause No. A-12-CV-00016, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.  U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel dismissed the case with prejudice.


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Olga Kobzar and Joe Sanders Receive Pro Bono Award
June 22, 2012

Attorneys Olga Kobzar and Joe Sanders received the Texas Civil Rights Project’s 2012 Kristi Couvillon Pro Bono Hero Award.    Olga and Joe received the Award for their work on a pending lawsuit aimed at helping drivers with hearing disabilities secure sign-language interpreters for driving tests after a change in state law.   Olga and Joe will be honored at the TCRP’s annual Bill of Rights Dinner on October 27.


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Dan Bitting and Cindy Connolly Win Appeal Allowing Marina Development to Proceed
June 1, 2012

Dan Bitting and Cindy Connolly recently prevailed in an appeal before the Austin Court of Appeals, preserving their trial court victory in an important property rights dispute.  In October 2010, Dan and Cindy won a trial court judgment finding that their client’s property on Lake Travis was not subject to any restrictions prohibiting commercial use, which meant that their client could use the property for a marina.  The opposing landowner appealed.  On May 18, 2012, the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of Dan and Cindy’s client in all respects.  The case was Diane Crumley Dee v. Crosswater Yacht Club, LP;  No. 03-10-00796-CV in the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas.  The victory will enable the multi-million dollar marina development to proceed.


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Cindy Connolly Elected to Austin Bar Association Board of Directors
May 29, 2012

Partner Cindy Connolly was recently elected to the Austin Bar Association’s Board of Directors.  Cindy will serve a two-year term beginning in July.

Cindy’s practice has expanded into a wide range of commercial litigation since she joined the firm in 1996.  Her areas of emphasis include technology litigation, estate litigation, officer and director litigation, securities litigation, insurance litigation and professional malpractice defense.

Cindy also serves as president of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association.


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Sean Flammer and Ryan Squires Honored for Pro Bono Work
May 29, 2012

Attorneys Sean Flammer and Ryan Squires were recently recognized by the Texas Civil Rights Project for their pro bono legal services.  The organization’s Board of Directors passed two resolutions honoring Sean and Ryan.  The Texas Civil Rights Project partners with firms like SD&M to provide legal services to low-income Texas.   SD&M congratulates Sean and Ryan.


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Ryan Squires and Sean Flammer Win Legal Malpractice Case
May 29, 2012

Ryan Squires and Sean Flammer recently won a legal malpractice lawsuit tried before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Craig Gargotta.   Sean and Ryan represented the lawyer who was sued and obtained a complete victory.

SD&M has an extensive practice representing lawyers and other professionals in lawsuits and before their respective licensing and regulatory boards. For more information on this practice area, click here.


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Britney Harrison Elected to AYLA Board of Directors
May 24, 2012

SD&M attorney Britney Harrison was recently elected to the Austin Young Lawyers’ Association Board of Directors in a runoff election.  The runoff for the fourth director position took place May 15 through May 22.   Britney will serve a two-year term beginning in July.  Britney currently serves as the AYLA-ABLA (Austin Black Lawyers’ Association) Board Liaison.   SD&M attorney Kennon Wooten is president-elect of AYLA and will begin serving as president in July.


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Cindy Connolly and Dan Bitting Speak on Stockholder Oppression Lawsuits
May 15, 2012

Attorneys Cindy Connolly and Dan Bitting will speak on shareholder oppression actions May 18 at the Austin Bar Association’s Estate Planning and Probate Section meeting.   The speech, “Stockholder Oppression Actions from the Plaintiff’s and Defendant’s Perspectives,”  will be held at the Austin Bar Association offices, 816 North Congress Avenue, at noon.  The cost, which includes lunch, is $20 for members and $25 for non-members.  Please RSVP to Fred Helms.


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Steve McConnico Speaks at Baylor’s Annual General Practice Institute
April 20, 2012

Attorney Steve McConnico spoke at Baylor Law School’s annual General Practice Institute on April 20.  Steve gave a speech titled “Legal Malpractice: What’s the Law, And How to Prevent Committing Malpractice.”   The program typically draws more than 100 attorneys from Waco and Central Texas.  The Waco-McLennan County Bar Association and the Solo and Small Firm Section of the State Bar of Texas co-sponsored the event.


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SD&M Presents Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on April 26
April 10, 2012

SD&M’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held April 26 in Houston. The seminar will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures, developments in the law, and various oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.

SD&M has hosted the popular seminar for more than 25 years. SD&M attorneys Doug Dashiell, Becky Miller, John Soule, Mark Hanna, Joe Sanders, Bryan Lauer, Carroll Martin, John Hicks, Davin McGinnis, John Camp, and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event. Among other topics, they will discuss horizontal drilling in Texas, frac case law, special field rules and development issues in the Eagleford Trend, pipeline regulation, forced and voluntary pooling, and Commission Rules 37 and 38.

The seminar will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel from 8:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing Jackie Harrison.


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Doug Sigel Speaks on Income Tax Cases at American Bar Association/Institute for Professionals in Taxation Seminar
March 30, 2012

Partner Doug Sigel spoke on income tax cases in the pipeline at the American Bar Association/Institute for Professionals in Taxation’s Advanced Income Tax Seminar in New Orleans on March 20. Doug was also on the planning committee for the sales tax portion of the seminar and served as a moderator for two sessions on nexus and manufacturing exemptions and bad debt deductions.


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Flip Whitworth Speaks Twice in March
March 22, 2012

Attorney Flip Whitworth will give two speeches in March related to oil and gas issues.   The first will be March 26 at the 2012 Tyler Area Energy Policy Summit.   Flip will present “How to Use Texas Force Pooling Law to Resolve Land and Legal Problems.”

Flip’s second speech will be March 30 at the 38th Annual Ernest E. Smith Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Institute in Houston.  Flip’s speech there will be an update on recent developments at the Texas Railroad Commission and General Land Office that may be of interest to the oil and gas practitioner and could impact lessors, lessees and unleased owners of mineral interests.


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Six SD&M Lawyers Recognized as Rising Stars
March 13, 2012

AUSTIN - Six SD&M lawyers were named 2012 "Rising Stars," a Thomson Reuters business, by Texas Monthly magazine, an honor bestowed on no more than 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys.

The "Rising Stars" list recognizes the state's top up-and-coming lawyers who are age 40 and under or who have been practicing law 10 years or less. "Rising Stars" are nominated by their peers.

Congratulations to the following "Rising Stars:" Sean Flammer, Abe Kuczaj, Davin McGinnis, Joe Sanders, Chris Sileo, and Ryan Squires.


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Doug Dashiell Joins the State Bar's Oil and Gas Section Council
March 13, 2012

SD&M attorney Doug Dashiell joined the State Bar of Texas' Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section Council.  Doug will serve on the nine-member council through 2014.
 
Established in 1938, the Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Law Section is the oldest section of the State Bar of Texas and has more than 3,000 members.  The Section strives to promote excellence in the practice of oil, gas and energy resources law by monitoring legal developments, providing education, encouraging and facilitating practice in the field, and promoting ethics and professionalism.


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Asher Griffin Selected for Texas Minority Counsel Program Steering Committee
March 1, 2012

Attorney Asher Griffin will serve on the steering committee for the 2012 Texas Minority Counsel Program.   Asher served on the committee for the first time last year after TMCP selected him from among hundreds of applicants. The TMCP’s mission is to increase opportunities for minority and women lawyers and to encourage corporations and government agencies to hire them.

Asher represents defendants and plaintiffs in a variety of complex litigation matters. Asher's docket regularly includes all types of business disputes including breach of contract, non-competition, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, usurpation of corporate opportunity and trade secrets cases. Asher also represents individuals and entities in labor and employment cases involving alleged violations of various federal and state employment laws.


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Steve McConnico Receives Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award
March 1, 2012

Steve McConnico received the 2012 Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award for exemplifying exceptional professional conduct.   The Texas Bar Foundation awards the honor each year to a lawyer who demonstrates high ethical and moral standards.  The law firm of Beck, Redden & Secrest, L.L.P.  established the award in memory of Ronald Secrest, a trial lawyer and founding partner of the firm.  The Texas Bar Foundation provides funding to enhance the justice system in Texas, particularly for programs related to public education, legal ethics, legal assistance for the needy, and research.


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Ray Langenberg and John Hicks Prevail in Appeal of Sales Tax Refund Case
February 27, 2012

Attorneys Ray Langenberg and John Hicks successfully appealed a sales tax refund case on behalf of client Zimmer US, Inc.  On February 9, the Austin Court of Appeals held that Zimmer’s specialized medical instruments qualified for exemption as heath care supplies.  The Court’s opinion is significant for administrative law principles in stating that courts will not follow even longstanding agency interpretations of an agency rule if the interpretations are inconsistent with the language of the rule.


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Steve McConnico Named 2011 Baylor Lawyer of the Year
February 16, 2012

Baylor Law School has named Steve McConnico its 2011 Baylor Lawyer of the Year.  Presented since 1963, the award is given annually to an alumnus who has brought honor and distinction to Baylor Law School and the legal profession.  Steve was recognized at a luncheon on February 16 in Austin.

Steve is a 1976 honors graduate of Baylor Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Baylor Law Review.  After graduation he became the briefing attorney for Justice Jack Pope of the Texas Supreme Court.

Steve joined SD&M in 1981 and has tried more than 200 cases to jury verdict.  His vast experience includes representing clients in matters involving breach of fiduciary duty, theft of trade secrets, probate, breach of contract, environmental regulation, election law, class actions, business torts, oil and gas, personal injury, and professional malpractice.  He is board certified in personal injury and civil trial law.

Steve is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, and the International Society of Barristers, as well as an advocate on the American Board of Trial Advocates. He has served as president of both the Austin Chapter of ABOTA and Tex-ABOTA.  Since 2003, Texas Monthly has selected him as one of 100 Texas Super Lawyers.
 
He was practice court professor at Baylor Law School in 2005 and president of the Baylor Law School Alumni Association from 2003 to 2004.

Past recipients include Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski, former Texas Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock, former F.B.I. director William Sessions, former U.S. Rep. Jack Hightower and Gov. Price Daniel Sr.

SMcConnico BLY


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Jane Webre Speaks on Appellate Ethics
February 14, 2012

Attorney Jane Webre spoke Friday at the “Handling Your First Civil Appeal” seminar sponsored by the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas.  Jane’s speech covered the standards of appellate conduct.  The seminar was held at the Texas Law Center in Austin.


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Chris Sileo Becomes New Managing Partner
January 10, 2012

Attorney Chris Sileo became SD&M’s new managing partner effective January 1.  Since joining the firm in 2001, Chris has litigated a variety of business disputes including breach of contract, securities fraud, and theft of trade secrets, as well as cases alleging professional malpractice and class action lawsuits with an emphasis on employment matters. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Texas School of Law.  Ray Langenberg previously served as managing partner for six years.  SD&M welcomes Chris to his new role.


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Casey Dobson Joins Greater Austin Economic Development Corporation Board
December 29, 2011

Attorney Casey Dobson was elected to the Board of Directors of the Greater Austin Economic Development Corporation.   Established in 2003, the organization's mission is to develop, fund and monitor an economic development strategy for Central Texas called "Opportunity Austin."  The organization is currently implementing its second five-year strategy.  Casey will serve a three-year term.


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SD&M Employees Donate Holiday Gifts
December 7, 2011

SD&M employees will give holiday presents to forty Galindo Elementary School students and seventy Elderhaven of Austin residents this year.   The firm’s employees buy presents for Galindo Elementary students each year in conjunction with the Anonymous Angels Project.  The students receive gifts from their wish list and stockings stuffed with toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, gloves, hats and candy canes. Galindo Elementary is a Title I school where more than 92 percent of the children qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.  Elderhaven is an adult day center.  SD&M is partnering with Elderhaven for the first time this year.


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Steve Wingard, Asher Griffin & Steve McConnico Secure Favorable Settlement in Well Blowout Lawsuit
December 7, 2011

Attorneys Steve Wingard, Asher Griffin and Steve McConnico obtained a favorable settlement for their client in a well blowout lawsuit after a week of trial in Reeves County, Texas.  The three attorneys brought the products liability lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiff after the plaintiff’s gas well blew out.  They argued that the blowout preventer failed to seal the well during a pressure kick.  

SD&M started as an oil and gas firm.  Its attorneys know the industry and handle oil and gas litigation, business advice, and matters before the Texas Railroad Commission and General Land Office.


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Cindy Connolly, Dan Bitting & Sam Johnson on Speaker’s List at Fiduciary Litigation Seminar
December 1, 2011

SD&M attorneys Cindy Connolly, Dan Bitting and Sam Johnson will speak at the State Bar Fiduciary Duty Seminar in San Antonio.  Sam’s speech on December 1 will cover various aspects of the permissible remedies in fiduciary litigation, including exemplary damages caps, constitutional limitations, and legal and equitable considerations.   Cindy and Dan will speak on the topic of shareholder oppression actions on December 2.


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Sean Flammer Earns Pro Bono Award from Texas Civil Rights Project
November 28, 2011

Attorney Sean Flammer recently received a Pro Bono Hero Award from the Texas Civil Rights Project.  Sean received the award for a brief he submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on behalf of several non-profit organizations.  The brief addressed the applicable constitutional standard in a civil rights case.  The Texas Civil Rights Project recognized Sean at its 21st Annual Bill of Rights Dinner on November 12.


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Sam Johnson Speaks Twice on Legal Malpractice
November 11, 2011

Attorney Sam Johnson spoke twice this fall on legal malpractice.  He delivered his first speech, “What Every Business Tort Lawyer Should Know About Legal Malpractice,” at the Texas State Bar’s Business Torts Institute, and his second speech, an update on recent developments in legal malpractice, at the Page Keeton Civil Litigation Conference put on by the University of Texas School of Law.  Sam litigates complex business disputes and defends lawyers in legal malpractice cases.


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Carroll Martin and Jane Webre Win Bench Trial Over Disputed Mineral Interest
October 7, 2011

Carroll Martin and Jane Webre won a judgment declaring that their clients’ beneficiaries own a disputed undivided mineral interest in three sections of land within a producing gas field.  After a bench trial, the court declared that the firm’s clients—and not the plaintiffs—own the disputed interest on the basis of the original conveyance in the 1930s and a stipulation of interest/settlement agreement made in the 1990s.   The clients’ beneficiaries are members of a family that has owned the subject property in Duval County for three generations.  Hon. Ana Lisa Garza rendered final judgment for the firm’s clients, including attorneys’ fees and costs, in September 2011.


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Mark Hanna to Speak to HAPL Shale Seminar
October 5, 2011

Mark Hanna has been invited to speak at the Shale Seminar of the Houston Association of Professional Landmen on October 6, 2011.  Mark’s speech will focus on regulatory and legal issues arising out of horizontal drilling in Texas.


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Carroll Martin, Davin McGinnis and Joe Sanders Speak at Advanced Oil & Gas Course
October 3, 2011

Attorneys Carroll Martin, Davin McGinnis and Joe Sanders will speak at the 29th Annual Advanced Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Course.  The continuing education course will be held October 5-7 at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston.  Carroll will speak on drafting oil and gas leases, Davin will speak on the various types of units used in the oil and gas industry, and Joe’s speech will cover legal issues arising from horizontal drilling.


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SD&M Super Lawyers: Steve McConnico Named to Top 100, SD&M Leads in Energy & Natural Resources Law
September 29, 2011

Ten SD&M Lawyers were recently named 2011 Super Lawyers, with Steve McConnico making the Texas Top 100 list for the ninth consecutive year and SD&M leading in energy and natural resources law.  No more than five percent of Texas lawyers receive the honor annually.  The list is published in the October issue of Texas Monthly.  Candidates are evaluated based on several criteria, including verdicts, settlements, and transactions; representative clients; honors and awards; experience; community service and bar activities; lectures and writings; and education.

The SD&M Super Lawyers include:

Texas Top 100 – Steve McConnico

Central & West Texas Region Top 50 – Steve McConnico

Appellate Law – Jane Webre

Business Litigation – Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Civil Litigation Defense – Sam Johnson

Employment & Labor – Julie Springer

Energy & Natural Resources – Doug Dashiell, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth


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Kennon Peterson Named to Task Force on New Rules
September 28, 2011

The Texas Supreme Court appointed attorney Kennon Peterson to a task force that will advise the Court on the adoption of new rules for certain civil lawsuits.  The rules will be adopted pursuant to House Bill 274 from the 82nd Texas Legislature, which requires that they promote prompt, efficient, and cost-effective resolution of civil lawsuits involving $100,000 or less.  The task force will make a final recommendation on the rules to the Court by February 1, 2012, and the Supreme Court Advisory Committee will publish them for public comment.


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SD&M Welcomes New Attorneys with Reception
September 26, 2011

SD&M hosted a reception on September 22 to welcome associates John Gasink, Olga  Kobzar and Kennon Peterson to the firm.  John is a 2011 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and launched and co-managed a hedge fund before law school.  Olga recently completed a clerkship with Texas Supreme Court Justice Debra Lehrmann and graduated from the University of Texas School of Law in 2010.   Kennon, a 2004 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, comes to SD&M after serving as rules attorney for the Texas Supreme Court.


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Dan Bitting Scheduled to Speak on Estate Litigation
September 19, 2011

Attorney Dan Bitting will speak on recent developments in estate litigation on September 30.   Dan will present his speech, “Emerging Trends in Estate Litigation,” at the Texas Bankers Association’s Estate Administration Seminar in San Antonio.


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Becky Miller Serves on Pattern Jury Charge Committee
September 12, 2011

SD&M attorney Becky Miller is serving on the Pattern Jury Charge Committee of the State Bar’s Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Section.   The committee is reviewing and revising the proposed pattern jury charges pertaining to oil, gas and energy law issues.  Pattern jury charges assist lawyers in drafting jury instructions, definitions, and questions for trial.


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Becky Miller Teaches at UT Law
September 12, 2011

SD&M attorney Becky Miller is teaching a course on oil and gas law this fall at the University of Texas School of Law.  The three-hour course will cover oil and gas leasing and regulation. SD&M attorneys John Soule and Flip Whitworth will be guest lecturers.


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SD&M Lawyers Named Best Lawyers in America.
September 12, 2011

Eleven SD&M lawyers were selected for the 2012 list of Best Lawyers in America.  The Best Lawyers in America is one of the leading guides to the legal profession in the United States.  Lawyers are selected for the list based solely on the vote of their peers.  More than 41,000 attorneys cast almost 3.9 million votes to determine who is included.
 
The SD&M lawyers on the list include the following:
 
Appellate Practice – Jane Webre
 
Bet-the-Company Litigation – Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico
 
Commercial Litigation – Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico
 
Legal Malpractice Law (Defense) – Steve McConnico
 
Litigation & Controversy (Tax) – Mark Eidman
 
Natural Resources Law – Becky Miller, Flip Whitworth
 
Oil & Gas Law – Jim Cowden, Doug Dashiell, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth
 
Personal Injury Litigation (Defense) – Steve McConnico
 
Professional Malpractice Law – Steve McConnico
 
Professional Malpractice Law (Defense) – Sam Johnson
 
The Best Lawyers in America is a registered trademark of Woodward/White, Inc., copyright 2011 by Woodward/White, Inc.


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Doug Sigel Published in the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report
July 21, 2011

SD&M partner Doug Sigel published an article in the July 2011 Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report.  The article, "Recent Texas Supreme Court Case Involving Apportionment of Geophysical and Seismic Data," analyzes the Texas Supreme Court's recent opinion regarding how gross receipts from the licensing of seismic and geophysical data are treated for purposes of the Texas franchise tax.


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Doug Sigel Appointed to Executive Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section's State and Local Tax Committee
July 21, 2011

SD&M partner Doug Sigel has been appointed to the executive committee of the State and Local Tax Committee of the American Bar Association Tax Section.  This is a nationwide group of state and local tax lawyers that is part of the American Bar Association.


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Ray Langenberg Obtains Dismissal of Accountancy Board Complaint
July 19, 2011

SD&M attorney Ray Langenberg obtained the dismissal of a complaint by the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy against an audit firm.  The Board filed a complaint alleging that the firm had engaged in conduct indicating a lack of fitness to serve the public as professional accountants, including violations of various auditing standards.  The Board sought to reprimand the firm, place the firm on limited scope status, and require the firm to pay administrative penalties of $40,000 plus administrative costs.  
 
Ray prevailed on three motions for partial summary disposition that resolved many of the allegations in favor of his client.  Then, after a three-day hearing  and after the parties filed written closing statements, the Board agreed to dismiss the remainder of the complaint with prejudice.


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Sara Clark and Julie Springer Obtain Dismissal of Medical Board Complaint
July 5, 2011

SD&M attorneys Sara Clark and Julie Springer obtained a dismissal of a Texas Medical Board complaint on behalf of an Austin physician. The Medical Board dismissed the complaint during its initial investigation, finding that there was insufficient evidence to prove that a violation of the Medical Practice Act occurred.


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Ten SD&M Attorneys Named in Texas’ Best Lawyers
June 29, 2011

Ten SD&M lawyers made the 2011 list of Texas’ Best Lawyers.  The list is an excerpt of the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, one of the leading guides to the legal profession in the United States.  Lawyers are selected based solely on the vote of their peers.

The recognized attorneys include:

Appellate Law:  Jane Webre

Bet-the-Company Litigation:  Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Commercial Litigation: Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Legal Malpractice Law:  Steve McConnico

Oil & Gas Law:  James Cowden, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth

Natural Resources Law: Becky Miller, Flip Whitworth

Personal Injury Litigation:  Steve McConnico

Professional Malpractice Law:  Sam Johnson, Steve McConnico

Tax Law:  Mark Eidman


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SD&M Represents Voters Impacted by Congressional Redistricting Plan
June 21, 2011

SD&M has been hired to protect Texas voters impacted by the Texas Legislature’s congressional redistricting plan.  SD&M, in partnership with lawyer Renea Hicks, has filed a lawsuit to take on, in part, the questionable fracturing of Travis County’s congressional districts.   The lawsuit is Eddie Rodriguez, et al. v. Rick Perry, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of Texas, et al., filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.


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Asher Griffin Presents CLE on Electronic Discovery
June 20, 2011

SD&M attorney Asher Griffin presented a CLE on electronic discovery at the Austin Bar Association’s civil litigation section meeting.  The CLE covered the obligations of a party to a lawsuit in preserving electronic information and a lawyer’s duties in guiding a client through the process.

Asher represents defendants and plaintiffs in a variety of complex litigation matters. Asher's docket regularly includes all types of business disputes, including breach of contract, non-competition, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, usurpation of corporate opportunity and trade secrets cases. Asher also represents individuals and entities in labor and employment cases involving alleged violations of various federal and state employment laws.


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Steve McConnico Lectures on Cross-Examination at TEX-ABOTA CLE
June 17, 2011

Steve McConnico will speak on cross-examination at the TEX-ABOTA CLE Roundup in Santa Fe on June 18.  TEX-ABOTA is the umbrella organization for the fourteen Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  The preservation of the civil jury trial is ABOTA’s primary purpose.  Steve has served as president of both TEX-ABOTA and the Austin chapter of ABOTA.


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Steve McConnico Gives Demonstration on Deposition Skills
June 13, 2011

Attorney Steve McConnico will give a demonstration of deposition techniques at the University of Texas School of Law on June 15.   The demonstration will be part of the American College of Trial Lawyers’ Pre-Trial Academy for legal aid attorneys with the Texas Access to Justice Commission.


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SD&M Participates in AYLA Charity Softball Tournament
June 11, 2011

SD&M played in the AYLA Foundation's 15th Annual Charity Softball Tournament.  Proceeds benefited the Austin Young Lawyers Association Foundation, which raises money for local charities. Nine teams played in this year's tournament.  SD&M's team included attorneys, staff and their families.

Softball 2011


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Steve McConnico Speaks at Rededication of Portrait of Retired Chief Justice Jack Pope
June 9, 2011

Attorney Steve McConnico recognized the many accomplishments of former Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Jack Pope at the rededication of Justice Pope’s portrait in the Texas Supreme Court courtroom.   In 1964, Justice Pope was elected associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court.  He remained in that role until 1982, when Governor William P. Clements appointed him chief justice to fill a vacancy created when former Chief Justice Joe R. Greenhill resigned.  Justice Pope served as chief justice until retiring in January 1985.   Steve was a briefing attorney to Justice Pope from 1976 to 1977.   The event was sponsored by the Texas Supreme Court Historical Society. The Society assists with hanging portraits of former Texas Supreme Court justices in the courtroom.  Pictured with Justice Pope is Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson.

Pope Jefferson


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SD&M Celebrates Anniversary with Firm Party
June 2, 2011

SD&M held its annual party at The Retreat at Balcones Springs, celebrating the firm’s 35th anniversary.  The firm throws the party each May to celebrate the firm’s founding in 1976.  This year’s event was a family friendly retreat with zip lining, wall climbing, kayaking, tennis and other activities.  Click here to read about the firm's founders, Wally Scott and Frank Douglass.

Retreat at Balcones Springs


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SD&M Partners with Habitat for Humanity
May 31, 2011

SD&M participated in this year’s Legal Build, helping to raise money and build a home for a local family.  Legal Build is a partnership between Austin  Habitat for Humantiy and the Austin Bar Association.  It strives to bring the legal community together to help low-income residents achieve home ownership.  This year’s project will raise $65,000 to build a house for a single father raising his young daughter.  On May 21, volunteers from SD&M spent the day helping to build the home.  The house will be one of 26 that Austin Habitat for Humanity will build in 2011.  SD&M attorneys Sean Flammer, Diana Reinhart and Kennon Peterson serve on the Austin Bar Association’s Legal Build committee.

Habitat for Humanity


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Ray Langenberg on Speaker's List at Texas Margin Tax Conference
May 26, 2011

Attorney Ray Langenberg will speak at the University of Texas 5th Annual Texas Margin Tax Conference.  The conference will be presented in September in Austin, Dallas, and Houston.  Ray's topic, "Rebutting the Unitary Presumption," will cover options that affiliated entities may have to avoid filing a combined margin tax return.


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Kennon Peterson Presents CLE on June 1
May 26, 2011

Attorney Kennon Peterson will speak at this year's Texas Association of Appellate Court Attorneys CLE.   Kennon will present an update on appellate e-copy and e-filing rules, and speak on recusal and disqualification of judges.  The CLE will be held at the Texas Capitol Complex on June 1.  More information can be found at http://www.courts.state.tx.us/taaca/AnnualMeeting.asp.


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Attorney Kennon Peterson Joins SD&M
May 25, 2011

Attorney Kennon Peterson has joined SD&M as the firm’s newest associate.  Kennon came to SD&M from the Texas Supreme Court, where she served as Rules Attorney for nearly three years.  A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Kennon began her legal career as a law clerk to Wallace B. Jefferson, the Court’s Chief Justice, and then worked in the Austin office of Baker Botts, LLP.  Kennon has expertise in the rules of legal practice and procedure, and she has given  multiple presentations on the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.

Among other honors, Kennon received the State Bar of Texas Presidential Citation in 2010 and was named a Rising Star by Texas Monthly Magazine in 2008 and 2009.  Kennon is the treasurer of the Austin Young Lawyers Association and will become the Association’s president-elect in July of this year.  In 2009, she received the Association’s Outstanding Director Award.  In 2007, she became a member of the Texas Pro Bono College, which recognizes attorneys who have exceeded the State Bar’s pro bono goals.

Kennon received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas with highest honors in psychology and a concentration in business.  While at UT, she was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received the Lorene L. Rogers Scholar Athlete Award.

SD&M proudly welcomes Kennon to the firm.


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Ryan Squires and Steve McConnico Win Legal Malpractice Case
May 12, 2011

Ryan Squires and Steve McConnico obtained a complete victory for a local lawyer in a legal malpractice case brought by a former client.  After giving the plaintiff an adequate time to conduct discovery, Ryan and Steve moved for summary judgment, arguing that there was no evidence that the lawyer did anything wrong in the prior representation.  After defeating the plaintiff’s attempt to delay the hearing, Ryan and Steve argued the case to the trial judge.  The trial judge ruled from the bench in favor of Ryan and Steve’s client, finding no evidence in the record of any wrongful conduct.


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Jane Webre to Speak on Mandamus Proceedings
May 11, 2011

Jane Webre will speak on mandamus proceedings at the UT CLE’s 21st Annual Conference on State and Federal Appeals on June 2 and 3.   The conference will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin.  Jane practices civil appellate law and handles most of SD&M’s appeals.


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Ryan Squires and Steve McConnico Defeat Temporary Injunction Seeking to Halt Progress of Start-up Company
May 3, 2011

Ryan Squires and Steve McConnico blocked a temporary injunction that threatened the growth of a start-up company.  The founder’s former employer sought the temporary injunction, arguing that the founder’s actions in launching his new company violated a non-solicitation clause in an employment agreement between the founder and the former employer.  Ryan and Steve convinced the court that the former employer was not entitled to the injunction.


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SD&M Hosts Successful Oil & Gas Seminar
April 21, 2011

SD&M presented its annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” on April 14 to a crowd of nearly 200 people.  The seminar covered Railroad Commission rules and procedures as well as other oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.

SD&M has hosted the seminar for more than 25 years.  SD&M attorneys Doug Dashiell, Davin McGinnis, Joe Sanders, Flip Whitworth, John Hicks, John Soule, Jim Cowden, Mark Hanna, John Camp, and Becky Miller spoke at the event.  Among other topics, the speeches covered proposed amendments to Railroad Commission Rule 86 and new Rule 15 as it relates to inactive wells, new requirements for financial security, and removal of surface equipment.


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SD&M Defeats Suit to Halt City’s Construction of Drinking Water Infrastructure
April 18, 2011

A team of SD&M lawyers, representing the City of Austin and City officials, won dismissal of claims brought by two community interest groups to enjoin all construction on Water Treatment Plant No. 4.  Water Treatment Plant No. 4 is a long-planned municipal infrastructure project needed to provide drinking water to the growing population in Northwest Austin.  At the close of argument on April 12, Senior Travis County District Judge Margaret Cooper dismissed all of the claims to halt construction on the water treatment plant.  

The SD&M team on the case included Casey Dobson, Jane Webre, and Chris Sileo.


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SD&M Secures Dismissal of All Claims Against Bank Directors in Securities Fraud Class Action
March 30, 2011

A team of SD&M attorneys secured the dismissal of all claims against its clients in a securities fraud class action filed against Franklin Bank Corp.’s directors, officers and outside auditors.  SD&M represented all of the Bank’s directors.

The class plaintiffs alleged that the directors lied to shareholders to artificially raise the Bank’s stock price and keep the Bank afloat.  A Texas federal judge dismissed the claims with prejudice, concluding that the alleged misrepresentations were too “broad and generalized”  to be actionable.  The judge also determined that the plaintiffs failed to prove that some of the alleged misrepresentations were material or that the directors knew that other alleged misrepresentations were untrue.

The SD&M team on the case included Cindy Connolly, Abe Kuczaj, and Steve McConnico.


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Austin Appeals Court Upholds Judgment Obtained by SD&M Tax Litigators.
March 28, 2011

The Austin Court of Appeals upheld a sales tax judgment obtained by SD&M tax litigators Ray Langenberg and Doug Sigel for Health Care Services Corporation (formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas).  The decision is significant because it clarifies a number of principles regarding the sale-for-resale exemption.  The Court affirmed that the exemption covered many of the purchases made by Blue Cross in administering the federal Medicare program and the federal employee benefit program.  
 
The case was Combs v. Health Care Services Corp., Cause No. 03-09-00617-CV.


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Six SD&M Lawyers Named Rising Stars
March 25, 2011

Six SD&M lawyers were recognized as 2011 “Rising Stars,” a Thomas Reuters business, by Texas Monthly Magazine.  Less than 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys are selected for inclusion in the prestigious listing.   

The “Rising Stars” list recognizes the state’s top up-and-coming lawyers who are age 40 and under or who have been practicing law 10 years or less.  “Rising Stars” are nominated by peers who have seen them in action.

Congratulations to the following “Rising Stars:”  Paige Amstutz, Asher Griffin, Davin McGinnis, Joe Sanders, Chris Sileo, and Ryan Squires.


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SD&M Presents its Annual Oil & Gas Seminar on April 14.
March 16, 2011

SD&M’s annual oil and gas seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will be held April 14 in Houston.  The seminar will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures as well as other oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.

SD&M has hosted the seminar for more than 25 years.  SD&M attorneys Doug Dashiell, Davin McGinnis, Joe Sanders, Flip Whitworth, John Hicks, John Soule, Jim Cowden, Mark Hanna, John Camp, and Becky Miller will speak at the event.  Among other topics, the speeches will cover proposed amendments to Railroad Commission Rule 86 and new Rule 15 as it relates to inactive wells, new requirements for financial security, and removal of surface equipment.  

The seminar will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.   Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar or by e-mailing choover@scottdoug.com.


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Becky Miller Speaks on Implied Covenants in Oil and Gas Leases
March 7, 2011

Becky Miller will speak on implied covenants in oil and gas leases on April 7.   Her speech, “The Oil and Gas Lease, Part III: Implied Covenants,” will be part of the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Conference sponsored by the UT School of Law and the Oil, Gas and Mineral Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.  The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Houston in conjunction with the Ernest Smith Oil and Gas Institute the following day.  Becky is one of the state’s premier oil and gas attorneys and an adjunct professor at the University of Texas School of Law.


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Steve McConnico Set to Speak Twice on Cross-Examination
March 2, 2011

SD&M attorney Steve McConnico will speak twice in April on cross-examination.  The first speech will be at the Hidalgo County Bar Association’s  Legends of Litigation CLE on April 7.   The second speech will be the next day at the Corpus Christi Bar’s Advanced Civil Law Program.  Steve has tried more than 200 cases to jury verdict.


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Carroll Martin Published in Landman Magazine
February 24, 2011

SD&M attorney Carroll Martin published an article titled “Forced Pooling in Texas: The Mineral Interest Pooling Act” in the November/December 2010 issue of Landman magazine.  The article explains the legal requirements of the MIPA and describes how lessees and mineral owners  can pursue forced pooling  in Texas.  The magazine is the official publication of the American Association of Professional Landmen.


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Becky Miller Honored with Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association Award
February 22, 2011

The Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association selected SD&M attorney Becky Miller as one of its 2011 Pathfinders.  The Pathfinders award recognizes women who have excelled in the practice of law.  Becky joined SD&M in 1981 after graduating with honors from the University of Texas School of Law.  She was the second female attorney to join the firm.  In 1992, she became the firm’s managing partner and the first female managing partner of a major Texas law firm. At SD&M, Becky has built a career in oil and gas law and become an expert in the field.  SD&M congratulates Becky on her award.


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Asher Griffin to Serve on the Texas Minority Counsel Program Steering Committee
February 22, 2011

SD&M attorney Asher Griffin recently  joined the Texas Minority Counsel Program’s steering committee.  Asher was selected from hundreds of applicants to join the 29-member committee.  TMCP strives to increase opportunities for minority and women lawyers and to encourage corporations and government agencies to hire them.  Its next annual conference will be September 7-9, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency in Austin.  

Asher represents defendants and plaintiffs in a variety of complex litigation matters. Asher's docket regularly includes all types of business disputes including breach of contract, non-competition, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, usurpation of corporate opportunity and trade secrets cases. Asher also represents individuals and entities in labor and employment cases involving alleged violations of various federal and state employment laws.


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Jane Webre Speaks on Appellate Ethics
February 16, 2011

Jane Webre will speak on appellate ethics at the Handling Your First Civil Appeal seminar sponsored by the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas.  The seminar will be February 18 at the Texas Law Center in Austin.


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Steve McConnico Participates in Webinar on Legal Malpractice Trends
January 26, 2011

Steve McConnico participated in a State Bar CLE webinar on legal malpractice trends.  The webinar will be archived and posted on the State Bar website.


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SD&M Names John Hicks and Mark Hanna as Partners
January 24, 2011

SD&M proudly announces the promotion of John Hicks and Mark Hanna to partner.  John and Mark each joined the firm in 2006.  John is a former judicial clerk for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and a 2005 graduate from the University of Texas School of Law with high honors.

Mark’s practice focuses on oil, gas and energy matters.  Since joining SD&M, Mark has successfully represented clients in courts across Texas and contested cases before the Texas Railroad Commission.  Mark graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law in 2006.


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Doug Sigel Prevails in Tax Refund Trial
January 21, 2011

SD&M attorney Doug Sigel prevailed over the Texas Comptroller in a bench trial of a sales tax refund suit.  The issue was whether equipment for a facility owned and operated by Frito-Lay, Inc. qualified for the manufacturing exemption from sales and use tax.  The trial court awarded Frito-Lay, Inc. a refund in tax plus statutory interest.   The name of the case was Frito-Lay, Inc. v. Susan Combs, et al; Cause No. D-1-GN-08-004051.  Judge Suzanne Covington presided over the trial.


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Doug Sigel Published in the Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report
January 21, 2011

SD&M partner Doug Sigel published an article in the January 2011 Institute for Professionals in Taxation Tax Report.  The article, “Update on Court Cases Involving the Texas Manufacturing Exemption,” analyzes three recent Texas district court and court of appeals cases involving the manufacturing exemption from the Texas sales and use tax.   These cases involve the manufacturing of electricity, home decorating products, and food.


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Carroll Martin and Jane Webre Win Bench Trial Involving Title Dispute
December 30, 2010

Carroll Martin and Jane Webre prevailed in a bench trial involving a dispute over title to an undivided royalty interest in a productive gas field in South Texas.  The dispute involved whether a conveyance between the parties’ predecessors had conveyed a mineral interest or a fixed royalty interest, and whether the parties later entered into a binding stipulation as to the interest.  The trial court rendered a judgment in favor of the firm’s client based on both the original conveyance and the subsequent stipulation.


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SD&M Attorneys Prevail in Appeal of Legal Malpractice Lawsuit
December 20, 2010

Steve McConnico, Ryan Squires and Jane Webre prevailed in the appeal of their trial court victory in a legal malpractice suit.  The plaintiff sued several attorneys for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with an underlying personal injury claim.  In 2008, McConnico and Squires won summary judgment for their client in the trial court and plaintiff appealed.  Webre joined the team in handling the appeal.  On December 14, 2010, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston affirmed the judgment in favor of the firm’s clients.


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SD&M Adopts Children for the Holidays
December 16, 2010

SD&M adopted forty Galindo Elementary students for Christmas through the Anonymous Angels Project, giving them everything on their wish list.  The firm also provided the students with stockings stuffed with toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, gloves, hats and candy canes.  The children’s parents received gift cards. Galindo Elementary School is a Title I school where more than 92 percent of the children qualify for the free and reduced lunch program.

Anyonymous Angels


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Doug Sigel Prevails in Tax Refund Case
December 2, 2010

Attorney Doug Sigel prevailed over the Texas Comptroller in a trial over a sales tax refund.  The issue was whether computer software and equipment shipped to locations in Texas but actually used at out-of-state locations were subject to sales and use tax.  Judge Stephen Yelenosky awarded Verizon Business Network Services, Inc. a complete refund and dismissed the Comptroller’s counterclaim for more than $39,000,000 in tax, penalty and interest.  The case was Verizon Business Network Services, Inc. v. Susan Combs, et al; Cause No. D-1-GN-07-004221.


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Doug Sigel Speaks on Voluntary Disclosure Agreements at Institute for Professionals in Taxation
December 2, 2010

Attorney Doug Sigel spoke on voluntary disclosure agreements and amnesty programs at the Institute for Professionals in Taxation’s Advanced Sales Tax Academy in Miami, Florida on November 10


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Anthony Arguijo Accepts Offer to Join SD&M
November 18, 2010

Anthony Arguijo will join SD&M as an associate in the fall of 2013.  Anthony is completing his last year of law school at the University of Texas and received his undergraduate degree from Texas Tech University.  He has accepted judicial clerkships with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson and U.S. District Judge Edward Prado and will complete those before joining SD&M.


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Ryan Squires and Sean Flammer Win Case through Summary Judgment
November 12, 2010

Attorneys Ryan Squires and Sean Flammer obtained a complete victory on summary judgment in a case involving claims for premises liability and negligence.  The case arose from a shooting at an apartment complex.  The victim was a tenant and alleged that the landlord and management company failed to make the premises safe.  Sean and Ryan represented the management company, as well as an associated individual and related entities.  Within six months of being hired, they successfully moved for summary judgment, challenging all the claims based on the absence of a legal duty and causation, and the expiration of the statute of limitations.


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Jane Webre on Speakers’ List at the Ultimate Trial Notebook Seminar
November 10, 2010

Jane Webre will speak on Chapter 33 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code at the Ultimate Trial Notebook Seminar.  The full-day Seminar will be held on November 12 at the Austin Bar Association offices.


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SD&M Tax Team Launches Newsletter
November 8, 2010

The SD&M State and Local Tax attorneys launched the inaugural issue of its State and Local Tax Newsletter.  The Newsletter features developments in state and local taxation, with an emphasis on changes at the Texas Comptroller’s Office and significant court decisions.  Approximately 200 individuals received the inaugural issue by e-mail.  If you are interested in subscribing to the Newsletter, click the link below.

Subscribe Link
 


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Sean Flammer Published in the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute
November 5, 2010

Attorney Sean Flammer published an article on persuasive writing in the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.  The article, “Persuading Judges: An Empirical Analysis of Writing Style, Persuasion, and the Use of Plain English,” reports the results of a nation-wide survey that Sean conducted of 800 federal and state judges at both the appellate and trial level regarding the persuasiveness of certain pleadings.   The judges overwhelmingly found pleadings written in plain English more persuasive than pleadings written in legalese. The article was published in volume 16 of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute.


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Steve McConnico Speaks on Legal Malpractice on Oct. 20
October 18, 2010

Steve McConnico will speak on legal malpractice at the 33rd Annual Advanced Civil Trial Course on October 20.   The seminar, hosted by the State Bar of Texas, will be at the Westin Oaks in Houston.  The speech will start at 2:15 p.m.


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John Gasink Accepts Offer to Join SD&M
October 4, 2010

John Gasink will join SD&M as an associate in the fall of 2011.   John is finishing his last year of law school at the University of Virginia and received his undergraduate degree from Stanford University.  Prior to law school, John launched and co-managed a hedge fund.  He has also worked as a consultant to businesses seeking to improve their negotiation and relationship management practices.


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Britney Harrison Joins SD&M
September 28, 2010

SD&M welcomes Britney Harrison as the newest member of its legal team.   Britney graduated from the University of Texas School of Law with honors in 2010.  She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas in 2006, graduating summa cum laude.


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U.S. News & World Report Ranks SD&M Practice Areas in Top Tier
September 27, 2010

U.S. News & World Report ranked four SD&M practice areas in its Austin first-tier rankings.  The first-tier practice areas include legal malpractice defense, natural resources law, oil and gas law, and personal injury defense.  The “Best Law Firms” rankings are presented by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers.   The rankings can be found in the October issue of U.S. News & World Report.  They are also published in Best Lawyers, copyright 2010 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.


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Nine SD&M Attorneys Named Texas Super Lawyers
September 20, 2010

Nine SD&M attorneys made the 2010 list of Texas Super Lawyers.  No more than 5 percent of Texas lawyers receive the honor annually.  The Super Lawyers are listed in the October edition of Texas Monthly magazine.

Congratulations to the following Super Lawyers:

Appellate Law:  Jane Webre

Business Litigation:  Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Civil Litigation Defense:  Sam Johnson

Energy & Natural Resources:  Doug Dashiell, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth


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Julie Springer Joins Texas Board of Legal Specialization
September 20, 2010

Julie Springer was appointed to the board of directors of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Created in 1974 by the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization oversees the board certification process for attorneys and paralegals.  The board is a 12-member board appointed by the president of the State Bar of Texas.


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Cindy Connolly and Dan Bitting Defeat Multi-Million Dollar Legal Malpractice Claims
September 17, 2010

Cindy Connolly and Dan Bitting won final summary judgment against legal malpractice claims seeking millions of dollars in damages from their client. The claims arose in a dispute between the family members who own a popular summer camp in the Texas Hill Country.  The family members who own the camp property contended that the family member who runs the camp owed them millions of dollars in rent.  That camp operator sued his brother, a lawyer, claiming that he was negligent and breached fiduciary duties in connection with legal work he did in reorganizing the family’s business.  Cindy and Dan convinced the court both that no evidence supported the claims and that the statute of limitations barred them.


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Robyn Hargrove Speaks on Legal Malpractice at TCWLA Event on Sept. 15
September 10, 2010

Robyn Hargrove will speak on recent developments in Texas law on legal malpractice at the September meeting of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association.   The event is open to the public and will be held on September 15 from 11:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Texas State Teachers Association, Sturgeon Room, 316 W 12th St., Austin, TX 78701.  Register online at www.tcwla.org.  Lawyers who attend will receive one hour of CLE credit.


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Ray Langenberg and Doug Sigel Prevail in Tax Refund Lawsuit
August 27, 2010

SD&M attorneys prevailed over the Texas Comptroller in a trial of a sales tax refund suit. Attorneys Ray Langenberg and Doug Sigel obtained a judgment after the trial in favor of Health Care Service Corporation, formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The issue was whether the sale for refund exemption applies to sales tax paid on goods and services used in performance of contracts to administer the Medicare program and the Federal Employee Benefits program.  Judge Orlindo Naranjo was the trial judge.  The name of the case was Health Care Service Corporation v. Susan Combs, et al; Cause No. D-1-GN-08-001771.


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Dan Bitting and John Hicks Win Appeal of Legal Malpractice Suit
August 12, 2010

Dan Bitting and John Hicks prevailed in the appeal of their trial court victory in a legal malpractice suit.  The plaintiff sued two attorneys for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty in connection with the lawyers’ handling of a divorce and a related lawsuit.  In 2008 Bitting and Hicks won summary judgment for their clients in the trial court and plaintiff appealed.  On August 12, 2010 in a unanimous opinion the Austin Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment in favor of Bitting’s and Hick’s clients.


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SD&M Sues Merrill Lynch on Behalf of King County, Washington
July 27, 2010

SD&M represents King County, Washington in a lawsuit filed against Merrill Lynch for violations of the securities laws and breach of contract.  The complaint alleges that Merrill Lynch made material misrepresentations and omissions to King County in connection with the County’s purchase of over $100 million of commercial paper issued by two Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) known as Mainsail II and Victoria Finance.  These investments were not––as represented––safe, conservative, and liquid money market investments.  To the contrary, they were extremely risky investments  backed largely by subprime mortgages and other toxic assets.  Merrill Lynch––then the most active underwriter of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) in the world, and among a handful of the most sophisticated players in the Asset Backed Securities (ABS) business–– was aware of the very serious undisclosed risks associated with these investments.  King County was not.

The lawsuit, filed on July 16, 2010 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, seeks damages and equitable relief in excess of $60 million.  Casey Dobson, Jamie Baskin, and Abe Kuczaj lead the SD&M team on behalf of King County, along with co-counsel Themis PLLC of Washington, D.C., and Seattle- based Corr Cronin Michelson Baumgardner & Preece LLP.


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Becky Miller Speaks at Energy Litigation Conference on October 12
July 21, 2010

Attorney Becky Miller will give a speech at the Ninth Annual Energy Litigation Conference on October 12.  The speech, “Current Developments in Energy Litigation,”  will cover recent significant decisions and developments in energy litigation, including recent case law on lease disputes and operating issues, and include a discussion of potential Deepwater Horizon claims.  The conference will be in Houston at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel.


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Sean Flammer Inducted into Pro Bono College
July 20, 2010

Attorney Sean Flammer was inducted into the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas for his pro bono work for Texans who otherwise would not have legal counsel.   Created in 1992 by the State Bar of Texas, the Pro Bono College recognizes attorneys who have far exceeded the State Bar's aspirational pro bono goals.


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Steve McConnico and Ryan Squires Prevail in Legal Malpractice Jury Trial
July 16, 2010

Steve McConnico and Ryan Squires won a total defense verdict in a legal malpractice jury trial.  The plaintiff, represented by attorneys Broadus Spivey and Price Ainsworth, had sued SD&M’s client for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty.  The Travis County jury found for the defendant on all claims and awarded the plaintiff nothing.  Both Steve and Ryan practice extensively in the area of legal malpractice defense.


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Steve McConnico Speaks on Legal Malpractice on July 21
July 6, 2010

Attorney Steve McConnico will give a speech on legal malpractice at the State Bar’s Advanced Civil Trial Law Conference on July 21.  The conference will be in San Antonio at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa.


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Becky Miller Teaches at UT Law this Fall
June 17, 2010

Attorney Becky Miller will teach a class on oil and gas law this fall at the University of Texas School of Law.  The two-hour class, Oil and Gas Leasing and Regulation, will take a practical approach and cover leasing, regulation, and some litigation issues. Becky has practiced oil and gas law since she joined the firm in 1981.


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Ray Langenberg and Eric Hagenswold Win Sales Tax Refund Lawsuit
May 25, 2010

SD&M attorneys Ray Langenberg and Eric Hagenswold obtained a sales tax refund judgment against the Texas Comptroller, successfully arguing that the refund claim was timely.  The primary issue in the case was whether the statute of limitations had run.  District Judge Suzanne Covington ruled for the taxpayer, holding that a prior administrative proceeding tolled the statute of limitations.  The case was El Paso Merchant Energy-Petroleum Co. vs. Susan Combs, et al.; Cause No. D-1-GN-06-003071 in the 261st Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas.


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Ten SD&M Attorneys Named Among Texas’ Best Lawyers
May 24, 2010

Ten SD&M Attorneys made the 2010 list of Texas’ Best Lawyers.  The list is an excerpt of the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, one of the leading guides to the legal profession in the United States.  Lawyers are selected for the list based solely on the vote of their peers.
The following attorneys are on the list:
Oil & Gas Law:  James Cowden, Carroll Martin, Becky Miller, John Soule, Flip Whitworth
Professional Malpractice Law:  Sam Johnson, Steve McConnico
Legal Malpractice Law:  Steve McConnico
Commercial Litigation: Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico
Bet-the-Company Litigation:  Casey Dobson
Appellate Law:  Jane Webre
Tax Law:  Mark Eidman
Ten SD&M Attorneys made the 2010 list of Texas’ Best Lawyers.  The list is an excerpt of the 2010 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, one of the leading guides to the legal profession in the United States.  Lawyers are selected for the list based solely on the vote of their peers.

The following attorneys are on the list:


Professional Malpractice Law:  Sam Johnson, Steve McConnico

Legal Malpractice Law:  Steve McConnico

Commercial Litigation: Casey Dobson, Steve McConnico

Bet-the-Company Litigation:  Casey Dobson

Appellate Law:  Jane Webre

Tax Law:  Mark Eidman


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Julie Springer Recognized for Role in Class Action against Dell
May 18, 2010

Julie Springer received the 2010 Litigation Attorney Award from the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association and Foundation for her role as co-counsel in a  class action alleging gender discrimination against Dell Inc.  Julie represented a plaintiff class of nearly 5,000 female employees fighting for equal pay and promotion opportunities.  The settlement of the case included a $5.6 million payment to class members,  the creation of a $3.5 million fund to make salary adjustments for female employees at Dell, and programmatic relief designed to promote equal opportunity for all employees at Dell, including women and minorities.  The case was Hubley, et al. v. Dell Inc., Civil Action No. A-08-CA-804-JRN, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas.


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Jane Webre Speaks on Responsible Third Parties on June 3
May 13, 2010

Attorney Jane Webre will give a speech titled “Chapter 33:  Responsible Third Parties and Jury Submissions” at the UT CLE Conference on State and Federal Appeals on June 3.  The conference will be in Austin at the Four Seasons.


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Becky Miller Reviews Oil & Gas Pattern Jury Charges
May 13, 2010

Becky Miller is serving on the Blue Ribbon Committee to review, maintain, and expand the oil and gas pattern jury charges.  Becky also served on the original committee that drafted the charges. The pattern jury charges assist litigators in drafting the questions that are presented to the jury at the end of a trial.


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Jane Webre to Speak on Evidence and Discovery on May 20
May 6, 2010

SD&M attorney Jane Webre will give the Supreme Court Update talk at the State Bar CLE Advanced Evidence and Discovery Seminar on May 20.  The Seminar will be in San Antonio at the Hill Country Hyatt.


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Attorney Jamie Baskin Joins SD&M
May 1, 2010

Attorney Jamie Baskin has joined SD&M as “of counsel” effective May 1.  Jamie Baskin has practiced trial law for more than 30 years, with a special focus on complex business, corporate, and securities cases.  He has been centrally involved in the prosecution of some of the largest and most complex class action cases in the nation, including for example In Re Enron Corp. Securities Litigation; In Re Dynegy Inc. Securities Litigation; and In Re Global Crossing ERISA Litigation. Jamie has also successfully handled complex non-class cases both for plaintiffs and for defendants.  He has tried cases involving, among other things, federal securities claims, corporate governance and finance, fiduciary duty issues, banking, oil and gas, partnership issues, real property, and electronic commerce.

A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, Jamie began his career as an associate in the business litigation department at the Los Angeles firm of Adams, Duque & Hazeltine.  He moved to San Diego in 1980 and became associated with Sullivan, Jones & Archer.  From 1982 until 1989, he was senior partner of the San Diego firm of Hill & Baskin.  He returned to Austin in 1989 and practiced with the Baskin Law Firm and its predecessor, Baskin, Bennett & Komkov, LLP,  before joining SD&M.

Jamie is admitted to practice in Texas and California and is a member of the bars of the United States Supreme Court; the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fifth and Ninth Circuits; the United States District Courts for the Northern, Central, Southern, and Eastern Districts of California; the Western, Southern, Northern, and Eastern Districts of Texas; and the District of Colorado.


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Tax Attorney Curtis Osterloh Discusses Audit Challenges on April 29
April 27, 2010

Tax attorney Curtis Osterloh will present “Preparing for Audit Challenge and Controversy”  at the Council on State Taxation conference in Atlanta on April 29.  The COST conference, “Intermediate-Advanced State Income Tax School,” is a four-day intensive program designed for tax professionals involved in income and franchise tax planning and compliance.


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Robyn Hargrove and Steve McConnico Speak on Legal Liability on April 29
April 27, 2010

SD&M attorneys Robyn Hargrove and Steve McConnico will speak on legal liability before the Texas College for Judicial Studies on April 29.  The speech will take place at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol at 11 a.m.  The College is a multi-year program that provides advanced educational opportunities for judges.


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SD&M Prevails in Sales Tax Refund Case
April 23, 2010

SD&M prevailed over the Texas Comptroller in a sales tax refund case.  Attorneys Ray Langenberg and Doug Sigel obtained a favorable ruling that the transmission and distribution system of an electric utility qualifies for the pre-1997 version of the sales tax manufacturing exemption.

Mr. Langenberg and Mr. Sigel tried the case before Travis County District Judge Rhonda Hurley.  The case was El Paso Electric Co. v. Susan Combs, Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas, and Greg Abbott, Attorney General of the State of Texas, Cause No. D-1-GN-09-001489.


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SD&M’s Annual Oil & Gas Seminar Begins April 22
April 21, 2010

SD&M’s annual oil and gas seminar will be held April 22 in Houston.  The seminar, “Oil & Gas Regulation in Texas,” will cover Railroad Commission rules and procedures as well as other oil and gas issues encountered by attorneys, engineers, geologists, and landmen.

SD&M has hosted the seminar for more than 25 years.  SD&M attorneys Becky Miller, Dick Marshall, Doug Dashiell, Joe Sanders, John Soule, Jim Cowden, Davin McGinnis, John Camp and Flip Whitworth will speak at the event.  

The seminar will be held at the Hilton Post Oak Hotel from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.   Anyone interested in attending can register at the seminar.


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Eight SD&M Lawyers Recognized as Rising Stars
March 22, 2010

AUSTIN – Eight SD&M lawyers were named as 2010 “Rising Stars”, a Thomson Reuters business, by Texas Monthly magazine, an honor bestowed on no more than 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys.

The “Rising Stars” list recognizes the state’s top up-and-coming lawyers who are age 40 and under or who have been practicing law 10 years or less.  “Rising Stars” are nominated by peers who have seen them in action.

Congratulations to the following “Rising Stars:”  Asher Griffin, Robyn Hargrove, Abe Kuczaj, Davin McGinnis, Diana Reinhart, Joe Sanders, Chris Sileo and Ryan Squires.


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Scott, Douglass & McConnico, L.L.P. Unveils a New Website
March 12, 2010

AUSTIN – Scott, Douglass & McConnico, L.L.P. launched a new website with fresh content and a unique look.  SD&M’s original website was developed in 1999.  The new website features updated information about our lawyers, practice areas, and the services we provide.  SD&M thanks its Austin-based partners, emblem creative and White Lion, for their great work.


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Austin Bar Honors Steve McConnico
January 30, 2010

AUSTIN – Steve McConnico was named a Distinguished Lawyer by the Austin Bar Foundation.  Each year the prestigious award recognizes an Austin lawyer who has practiced at least 30 years and contributed significantly to the legal profession and the community. The Foundation presented the award to Mr. McConnico at its seventh annual gala at the Austin Music Hall.


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SD&M Announces New Partner
December 12, 2009

AUSTIN – Joe Sanders will become a partner with the firm effective January 1, 2010.  Since joining the firm in 2005, Joe has prosecuted and defended lawsuits and regulatory proceedings for clients ranging in size from small, local entrepreneurs to large, publicly traded companies.  Consistent with the firm’s philosophy to staff cases efficiently and to develop outstanding trial lawyers in a very short time, Joe has taken an active role in numerous depositions, jury trials, regulatory proceedings, and courtroom hearings.  Joe enjoys being in the courtroom, examining witnesses and arguing to judges and juries.  He prepares each case with an eye toward telling a convincing story at trial.

Joe’s practice is principally devoted to business litigation, with a recent focus on energy-related disputes.  He also represents clients in hearings before the Railroad Commission of Texas, as well as matters before the Texas General Land Office.  In addition to his advocacy practice, Joe advises the firm’s clients on a variety of topics, including contract rights, questions about title, lease pooling issues, and regulatory compliance.  He has also assisted clients in resolving a variety of legal issues arising during complex business transactions.


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Webre and McConnico Named "Top 50"
October 1, 2009

AUSTIN – Jane Webre and Steve McConnico received top honors.  Jane Webre was named one of the Top 50 Women Texas Super Lawyers.  Steve McConnico was named one of the Top 50 Central/West Texas Super Lawyers 2009 and Top 100 Texas Super Lawyers 2009.  These lawyers received the highest point totals in the Texas nomination, research and blue ribbon review process.


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SD&M Congratulates 2009 "Super Lawyers"
October 1, 2009

AUSTIN – Eight SD&M lawyers were selected as 2009 “Super Lawyers” by Texas Monthly magazine.

Each year, only five percent of lawyers in Texas are named “Super Lawyers.” “Super Lawyers” are nominated by their peers and then reviewed by a research team that evaluates the nominees based on professional accomplishments, peer recognition, and community involvement.

Congratulations to the following “Super Lawyers:” Doug Dashiell, Casey Dobson, Carroll Martin, Steve McConnico, Elizabeth Miller, John Soule, Jane Webre, Flip Whitworth


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