Abe Kuczaj, Robyn Hargrove, and Jamie Baskin Win Appeal on Behalf of Hundreds of Victims of the Bastrop County Complex Fire
SD&M attorneys Abe Kuczaj, Robyn Hargrove, and Jamie Baskin recently won an appeal on behalf of hundreds of victims of a wildfire in Bastrop County. The property owners sued Asplundh Tree Expert Co., alleging that its negligence caused the fire and resulted in devastating losses to nearby property owners. Asplundh sought dismissal of all claims on the basis of the statute of limitations. On appeal, the Austin Court of Appeals held that the property owners’ claims were not barred by the statute of limitations. The court of appeals’ holding was based on the doctrine of American Pipe tolling, which delays running of the statute of limitations during the pendency of a related class action against the same defendant. The court of appeals’ opinion contains one of the most in-depth discussions of American Pipe tolling by a Texas court to date.
SDM Wins Appeal in Dispute Over Waiver of Arbitration Rights
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.
SDM Wins Appeal Affirming Summary Judgment Rulings in Well Blowout Coverage Dispute
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.
SD&M Lawyers Win Summary Judgment in Premises Liability Case
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.