Whether or we citizens are supportive of the current Chief Exec., it’s troubling that Congressional investigators are focusing on this social media platform (Facebook) in the ongoing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. This social media site may have provided the platform Russia used to spread untrue/negative facts about Hillary Clinton. Social media Read More »

SAFETY ALERT There was a tragedy in our neighboring state of Oklahoma yesterday when a four month old little girl died from heat and exposure after she was left inside an SUV for most of the day, the Oklahoma County sheriff’s office reported. Please make sure to check your vehicles when you’re transporting your babies Read More »

Special Prosecutor Mueller empaneled a grand jury in the Russia probe. A grand jury is composed of a number of citizens usually between 16 and 24, and has extensive investigatory power. A grand jury is usually empaneled when a prosecutor has sufficient probable cause that a crime has been committed. There’s an old saying, “a Read More »

Wells Fargo recently disclosed that it may have caused thousands of car buyers’ loan defaults and resulting repossessions by charging those borrowers for unwanted insurance. This new scandal is raising doubts about the Bank’s ability to salvage its already damaged reputation. The Bank’s internal review showed that the auto lending arm found more than half Read More »

Scan Jul 26, 2017, 9.17 AM

Summer time is fun time by the pool time (or the lake, or the ocean). However, a refresher about recognizing the signs of water distress and drowning is in order; especially since children are at the high end of the spectrum on risk of injury/death due to drowning. The signs of water distress and drowning Read More »

In an effort to “protect family” and “reduce divorce,” the Texas Legislature is considering a bill to revise the Texas Family Code to end the “no-fault” divorce. While divorce does take a strain on spouses and their children, the American legal majority (in other words, most of the 50 United States) moved some 30 or Read More »

Thanks to all the soldiers and sailors that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Very proud of my colleague, Deborah Riherd’s brilliant trial work, in which her timely objection in the case First Bank v. Richard Brumitt, regarding whether extrinsic evidence could be considered to show a third party as a contract beneficiary was the basis for the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion that the claimant, when looking solely at Read More »

The Antikythera mechanism, an ancient greek analog computer, made between 87 BC and 200 BC, was discovered under water in a shipwreck of the coast of the Greek island Antikythera. The mechanism is a fascinating triumph of machinery, a complex clockwork-like device that was used to predict astronomical positions, etc. Sadly the technology was lost Read More »

Perhaps the kindest client review and endorsement we have ever received. It is our privilege to serve our clients, and especially Ms. Fleming, who served our country with fierce determination and loyalty for so many years.

I am humbled, honored, and privileged to have been informed that I have again been nominated by my colleagues as a super lawyer in the state of Texas.  I will continue to try to earn that respect from them and cannot articulate how appreciative I am of their goodwill, as many of them are former Read More »

The Family Code provides for general jurisdiction over a suit affecting the parent child relationship when the parties and children meet the residency requirements set forth in the family code. But what happens when they don’t? Fortunately, the Code sets forth an “emergency” or “default” jurisdiction provision, where, if there is not another court with Read More »

Our friend and neighbor Dana K. Cullins Macalik

Our  founding fathers specifically set forth that the press in this country would enjoy certain freedoms, this was in direct response to silencing of the press by the crown  and its agents in the colonies. A free and independent press has been (for centuries). called ‘the fourth estate’-meaning that it is essentially the fourth branch Read More »

The Executive branch (EB) will reportedly begin working to dismantle the financial regulations enacted in response to the 2008 economic crisis (Dodd-Frank), and is predicted “not to have an immediate effect” on financial sector monitoring/enforcement. These laws were passed to prevent another (global) financial meltdown. These rules, which the EB claims are a burden to Read More »

Just read an Feel Good News article from Victoria, Texas; Christian and Jewish neighbors rallied around their Muslim counterparts after a fire destroyed a local Mosque. Friends and neighbors donated money, necessities, and space to conduct worship services. Good to know that this is still the friendly State.

This is a nation founded by refugees and foreigners-fleeing serfdom (slavery) and religious persecution in Europe. Turning on the ‘no vacancy’ sign doesn’t seem to live up to the rhetoric of the revolution or the principles set forth by the founding fathers.

Like many thousands of Americans, I am very concerned about the possible return of the big business model “for-profit university system.” These For-Profit universities (FPUs) aggressively recruited poorer students, helped these students get guaranteed student loans from the federal government, and then gave them worthless degrees and little/no help in securing jobs with their new Read More »

The Emoluments clause (emoluments means compensation for labor) prevents office holders of the Federal government from accepting benefits or gifts from foreign states. The clause last reared its head when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize, and now has popped up again in light of President-Elect Trump’s business ties. It has been reported that Read More »

It has been reported that Wells Fargo’s legal costs could balloon into the billions over the lawsuits and investigations regarding the fake account scandals that rocked the investment world in the last few months. According to the Bank’s recent SEC filing, the litigation costs (losses and costs) could total $1.7 Billion dollars. The Bank’s forecast Read More »

Classified website hosting page Backpage CEO was arrested for sex related crimes in Houston. It has also been reported that the company headquarters in Dallas was raided. The investigation, which started in California, claims that Backpage records show that close to 99% of its revenue comes from adult services pages, i.e., sex traffic. It has Read More »

I just want to say thank you to the volunteer election staff and volunteer election judges that are working today to ensure the election process works. I saw no signs and go no sense of anything rigged in favor of one candidate over another. There was a political candidate standing the required and respectable distance Read More »

As a father of 4 children, two of whom are WOMEN, I feel compelled to speak up for the weak excuse of “locker room talk” that is being passed around to salve the inflammatory statements made by the GOP front runner in this year’s election.  The bottom line is that those comments, if they were Read More »

Wells Fargo was sued in Federal court in Minnesota over the fake accounts scandal on behalf of employees who may risk a devaluation of their retirement benefits, which are tied to the stock price of the Bank. The Bank’s shares have been reported to have fallen about 12% since the scandal broke in September (2016). Read More »

Yahoo mail may have built, implemented, and used software to filter ALL of its users incoming emails at the direction of U.S. Intelligence agencies. While the story is breaking news, and all the details are not known, reports indicate that Yahoo mail, in compliance with U.S. Government directives, scanned millions of accounts. There will be Read More »

As you may be aware, one of the largest banks in North America, and one of the most trusted banks (post mortgage crisis), Wells Fargo, was recently fined by regulators for unethical actions related to the bank’s “marketing tactics.” The bank was caught opening millions of fake bank and credit card accounts for customers over Read More »

Earlier this summer the Supreme Court of Texas issued the opinion Ochsner v. Ochsner, which could impact how our family law courts (and appellate courts) have previously interpreted child support statutes and Texas law. While the case is extremely fact specific (and may be limited in its future application because of those facts), the bottom line Read More »

The APD crime lab was shuttered this summer, and recently updated that the closure may go on for the remainder of the year, as it responds to questioned techniques, and an update in DNA technology, which throws doubt on a number of convictions. The closure was spurred by the FBI’s corrections and updates to allele frequency data; these Read More »

After watching the documentary, Making a Murderer, I am not surprised that the conviction of the then (teenager) Brendan Dassey was overturned. The Federal Magistrate judge, issuing a 91 page opinion, which goes through the entire spectrum of facts about the tragic death of Ms. Halbach (the vicitim), and those that lead to the shaky Read More »

Brief recap: 50th anniversary of the “Tower Shooting” at the University of Texas Austin, coincides with the “campus concealed carry” law, now reported as the nation’s first mass shooting. Having lived in Austin as a youngster, I grew up in an age where the Tower incident was discussed, if not frequently, certainly memorably (as it Read More »

We need healing, peace, and love, in our community.

And not the gritty, violent, sci-fi thriller from our youth (or even the remake from a few years ago). The Dallas Police force, faced with a dangerous situation in a standoff with a gunman who opened fire on (and killed) many police officers in a Black Lives Matter protest, used a robot to deliver a Read More »

In Memory of James J. Savage, May 24, 1963 – July 6, 2016: James Savage, a native Houstonian, and long-time resident of both Houston and Morgan City, Louisiana, passed away on July 6, 2016 at the age of 53 surrounded by family. In his younger years, Jim was an avid hunter and cowboy/rancher. Always on Read More »

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the fallen, especially the Dallas Law Enforcement officers who were attacked at a protest last night. The protest was (reported to have been originally organized peacefully) in response to police shootings of African American citizens in other cities (also very tragic).

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which Read More »

Formerly, South Texas College of Law, recently changed its name to Houston College of Law, to more closely tie it to the city and area where it has operated continuously since 1923. Houston College of Law is one of the oldest and most distinguished law schools in the Country. Since law schools were not necessarily Read More »

The U.S. Supreme Court unsurprisingly struck down Texas’ restrictive abortion legislation, which forced over half of the State’s clinics to close. The law required a number of restrictive conditions for the medical providers that operated them, none of which ultimately could be established to protect the health of women.http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/15-274_p8k0.pdf As the stewards of our State’s Read More »

The U.S. Supreme Court has drafted a proposed amendment to the search and seizure rule, authorizing courts to green light extra-territorial searches of computer devices. Before, these broad search and seizure rules limited a Federal court to its own jurisdiction (in other words, a Texas federal judge would presumably not have authority to green light Read More »

I am again flattered and humbled to have been nominated by my peers as a Super Lawyer, THANK YOU.

A semi-submersible vessel was reported captured last week, which was shipping just under 13,000 lbs. of cocaine. Congratulations and accolades to the United States Coast Guard, and the law enforcement community for detecting and intercepting the “narco-sub.” The more obvious danger, however, is how glaringly porous our border is to narco (and other) traffic. Border Read More »

The Government is seeking to unlock the phone of the deceased terrorist Farook, one of the California killers that commited mass murder last year before being killed in a police shoot out. The Government’s request is to pierce the password security on the county issued iPhone (Farook was reportedly a county employee) and access about Read More »

The United States Supreme Court lost one of its most polarizing and prominent members-Justice Scalia. His presence and rhetoric will be missed (by some, and some more than others) and will likely further divide the Senators who have already worked diligently to delay our current President’s appointments to other vacancies on the Federal bench. He Read More »

It’s not a Netflix “infotainment” conspiracy, the Actual Innocence movement, which has been underway in the American justice system since at least Gideon v. Wainright, at the national level (the case acknowledging a defendant’s right to a lawyer), and certainly since the early 1980s in Texas (e.g., Texas v. Adams) has freed the wrongly accused across Read More »

Gov. Greg Abbot and Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar have reportedly written a joint letter to DHS chief J. Johnson objecting to the Department’s slashing of about 50% of aerial surveillance along the Texas border. The Texas border certainly has not gotten any safer or more secure in the last few years, and it has been Read More »

The U.S. Supreme Court had previously ruled juvenile offenders sentenced to life without the possibility of parole was cruel and unusual punishment. The Court voted in the last two weeks that the same rule applied retroactively to cases like Montgomery v. Louisiana, where a 17 year old boy was sentenced to life without parole (admittedly, Read More »

In the recent case Key v. Richards, –S.W.3d–, 2016 Tex. App. Lexis 283 (Tex. App. -Austin 2016), the appeals court acknowledged that our state law broadly insulates LLC members from liability for the LLC’s obligations but that the law did not abrogate “longstanding common law recognizing that corporate agents are liable for their own tortious Read More »

Newman, a former portfolio manager at Diamondback Capital Management, and Chiasson, co-founder of Level Global Investors, were part of a group calling themselves “Fight Club” (after the popular book/film by the same name written by Chuck Palahniuk). The members of “Fight Club” allegedly shared information, eventually leading to a double conviction based on leaks reported to have started Read More »

I am humbled and flattered once again by my colleagues that nominated me for inclusion in the 2015 list of Superlawyers. THANK YOU.

Spammer bot filled out the following on our firm website: “Please, I would need your skilled legal counsel to help me handle a full spectrum of purchase and sale agreements transaction, a complete package from contract preparation through closing.If this is not your legal field a referral would be fine.” email purported to be from: Read More »

You put on your suit, dust off your brief case and handy Texas Rule book, but decide to make a “murder for hire” solicitation call on the way into the office. Those are the (slightly embellished) allegations an Austin area attorney (licensed since 1981) is now facing. While the case turns on the information provided Read More »

We send our thoughts and prayers with all those touched by the tragedy of the attacks on the United States of America fourteen years ago on 9/11/01. Thanks also go out to the thousands of police officers, firefighters, and military service men and women fighting to protect us from future attacks.

Two brothers from North Carolina were freed from over three decades of wrongful incarceration this last year, after being charged with and convicted of killing a young child. The brothers were also awarded a substantial payout this month, which will be put into trust, to provide for their future support. New DNA evidence pointed to Read More »

The Grand Jury investigating Mr. Ken Paxton, current Attorney General of Texas, is expected to (and is reported to) have indicted the Texas “top cop” for several felonies related to an alleged investment scheme (i.e., a securities violation). The allegations stem from referral fees paid to Paxton (without full disclosure), for funneling clients to a Read More »

“The Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint”–a pop culture quote from John Goodman’s character in “The Big Lebowski” about exercising his 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech in a “family restaurant,” which has become immortalized in at least one Texas Supreme Court opinion about the exercise of free speech rights. Kinney v. Barnes, 443 Read More »

Our Texas State Bar’s vigilance over Prosecutorial Misconduct continues, last week the bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline filed a petition against Fort Bend County District Attorney Mr. John Healey & his chief narcotics prosecutor, Mr. Mark Hanna, relating to a 2006 drug case against Mr. Jacob Estrada. The Bar’s petition states that the Prosecutors delayed in notifying Read More »

In the last few weeks, the State Bar of Texas found that Charles Sebesta, one time elected as Burleson County district attorney, committed misconduct when he prosecuted one Mr. A. Graves in 1994 for a family’s murder. Mr. Graves was freed in 2010 after serving 18 years in prison, 16 on death row. Mr. Graves Read More »

Yesterday marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, which was born out of a dark time in England’s early days, and is the point at which the rule of law began to take shape in what would later, eventually become part of the common law (which carried over to our shores later during colonial Read More »

We are getting to the time of year where prom is coming up, college acceptance letters are showing up in mailboxes, and the excitement of high school graduation is growing. The last thing you want to think about is sending your kid off to college or what goes with that! However, one thing that will Read More »

If you are involved in a lawsuit, the chances are good that the Court will require you to attend mediation. What is mediation? Do you have to go? And what should you expect? Mediation is an opportunity to see if you can reach an agreement with the other party. You can mediate all sorts of Read More »

Germany is beginning the trial of the “Accountant of Auschwitz.” The “Accountant,” Mr. Oskar Groening, now 93 years old, is accused of accessory to murder (of millions) as part of his duties in working at the notorious death camp Auschwitz as a member of the SS from 1942-1944. Mr. Groening apparently made a lengthy statement Read More »

The U.S. Government struck a plea deal with former San Antonio State District Court Judge Angus Kelly McGinty, charged in federal court in New Mexico with corruption charges & wire fraud. Mr. McGinty resigned from the bench last Feburary (2014) as a result of the bribery investigation. While other judges being investigated for a multitude Read More »

Before former Gov. Perry’s indictment, most Texans had never heard of the Texas Public Integrity Unit. Now, multiple lawmakers (during this legislative session) are proposing reforms about this state’s (almost non-existent) investigation and prosecution force tasked with the policing of public officials. In other words, there are few law enforcement agencies (read–NONE) watching the public Read More »

How do you modify a support order (that is final) when mother and father now live in different states? This is a brief, non-comprehensive discussion about how these scenarios can play out in real life. There are a number of scenarios where a family may need to seek a modification of a support order after Read More »

Last summer, the Houston Chronicle broke the news of the filing of a complaint against former Navarro County prosecutor John Jackson relating to the trial/conviction/execution of Cameron Todd Willingham. Mr. Willingham’s case gained notoriety from the outset as he was charged/ultimately convicted for the murder of his children (by burning them alive around the holidays). Read More »

An SR 22 is a certificate of financial responsibility, a guarantee of insurance that you need to request from an insurance company if you commit a number of serious driving offenses, including but not limited to violating the drink/driving laws. Basically the SR 22 insurance document shows that you have complied with Texas’ minimum financial Read More »

Apparently, this coming December, at a restaurant near you, (chain) restaurateurs will be required to comply with the F.D.A’s new calorie labeling regulations. In other words, it will be required that a restaurant provide specific nutritional information upon customer request. Also, it seems these new rules will target ALL chain type food vending, yes even the Read More »

  Have you ever wondered what “back child support” really is? Just how far back do courts go to calculate money that could be owed to a child and/or parent? What if you didn’t even know that you had a child? Will you still have to pay child support?   Back child support is different Read More »

What happens to your children if you and your spouse die? Who will take care of them? What if you have not had an opportunity to do your will? Who gets your children? Do you want a judge, who does not know you, to decide who will care for your kids if the unthinkable happens Read More »

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a Florida fisherman, where US Attorneys attempted to stretch Section 1519 of the Sarbanes-Oxley act, to be a catch all spoliation offense applicable to any crime, not just financial crimes, which the Sarbanes-Oxley act was expressly drafted to protect against. The dissent, which surprisingly included Justice Scalia Read More »

If a criminal defense attorney offer to witness anything in exchange for testimony he or she would be charged with any number of felonies (for tampering, or obstruction of justice, etc.). The Government, however, often offers “deals” to suspects that are not a prime target of an investigation, so that those suspects “cooperate,” in exchange for Read More »

Last summer, the Texas Supreme Court limited (eliminated) common law shareholder oppression claims that had developed over many years. The result of this left minority business owners with really only one remedy, which is applicable only the worst of situations: when there is sufficient evidence of corporate fraud/wasting of the corporate assets, the minority shareholder can Read More »

If you have been hurt in a car accident, or maybe on-the-job, the insurance company for the other driver or your employer may want to take a recorded statement. This is usually a phone call where someone working for the company or insurance company will call you and ask you a lot of questions about Read More »

In case you have not heard, Texas is “open for business” and that means that if you signed a contract, or any written agreement, you are bound to it, period. Texas has a very developed and sophisticated body of contract case law, which arose out of various litigation between business partners, both individuals and corporations. The Read More »

As I reflect on the many privileges bestowed on me in this profession, one of the greatest, and the bedrock of my career, were my judicial clerkships. I had the privilege to serve as a clerk under the Honorable Elizabeth Ray, in the Harris County Civil District Courts, and later, as a clerk to the Read More »

Have you been hurt in an accident? Or, maybe at work? I have over ten years of experience in defending numerous companies against people that have been hurt. Now, I am taking that experience and knowledge and helping people recover when they have been hurt. Remember – time is of the essence. The evidence that Read More »

Have you been hurt in an accident? Or, maybe at work? I have over ten years of experience in defending numerous companies against people that have been hurt. Now, I am taking that experience and knowledge and helping people recover when they have been hurt. Remember – time is of the essence. The evidence that Read More »

-a quote paraphrasing the wisdom of M. Gandhi. A true, simple, and often used expression. On this National holiday, we give thanks for the tireless efforts of the many leaders of our nation (and world) to “live up to the rhetoric of the [American] Revolution”-and to aspire to create a society, for the first time in human Read More »

Every weekend, there are high profile arrests, where suspects unravel their own case by giving law enforcement the best evidence against them: their own words, statements, and admissions. Sometimes these suspects lash out at law enforcement, which can negatively alter their case even more. There are numerous cases involving media celebrities and even, occasionally, area government Read More »

As the year comes to a close, many of us will reflect on this past year, and make resolutions regarding our plans for next year. We would like to thank our many friends, clients, and colleagues for their blessings, prayers, and support over the past year, and for the continued opportunity to serve our citizens Read More »

Colorado’s neighbors (Oklahoma & Nebraska) filed a challenge to its marijuana laws in the Supreme Court, alleging that the state is disregarding “federal law” (regarding marijuana), and that the U.S. Government should intervene. This legal action should not come as a surprise, as there has been heated opposition to Colorado’s legalization law since before it Read More »

The jury has given the Defendant, former Justice of the Peace and formerly licensed attorney, Eric Williams, the death sentence for his role in the murder of Mrs. McLelland the wife of the (then) District Attorney Mr. McLelland. The McLellands were murdered in their homes on Easter weekend, and Mr. Hasse was killed two months Read More »

No one wants to think about her death – it is not a pleasant thought. However, not having a will – especially if you have children or dependents – can leave your loved ones in a tough spot after you die. Or, maybe you have done your will and tucked it away in a safe Read More »

Additionally, one must consider very carefully the impact and effect of the lawsuit on your business operations. The former employee’s supervisors, managers, and co-workers (and former co-workers) may all be witnesses (subject to subpoena and thus absent from working). Moreover, the corporate representative of the company will not only be a witness, but also a true Read More »

Is the former employee valuable (to the new employer)?  Another factor that a party must ask itself, in the scenario of a former employee going to work for a competitor, is whether that former employee’s new job duties will intersect with the kind of duties as the job that employee had at your company. If Read More »

  The right to enforce a non-compete is a hot button topic in Texas these days, many employers ranging from shoe stores, athletic material manufactures, and even realtors are writing non-compete provisions into their employment agreements. Because of Texas’ open-for-business laws, employers may believe that they are universally enforceable. Having litigated both sides of these Read More »

Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 193.3(d) or the “snap back” rule, allows parties to demand the return of privileged material that is inadvertently produced. The Rule operates by allowing the producing party 10 days (or shorter if ordered per the court), after the discovery of the inadvertent production, to: 1) amend the discovery response, 2) Read More »

A court in Virginia recently ruled that a a suspect could be compelled to produce to law enforcement his/her fingerprint sample (to unlock a phone) because the constitution’s broad but limited protections allowed law enforcement to compel production of a fingerprint (similar to providing a photo image of yourself, a DNA sample, or handwriting sample, something Read More »

The Bard’s “St. Crispin’s Day speech” from Henry V is the most rousing and appropriate thanks that captures the sacrifices made by our service-members. Thank you vets, for everything you gave and continue to give. Westmoreland: O that we now had here But one ten thousand of those men in England That do no work to-day! Read More »

Texas (like most states) classifies drugs like marijuana, heroin, and cocaine as controlled dangerous substances, CS (or CDS), but also the compounds used to manufacture them. The illegal possession of controlled substances for personal consumption has one set of (fairly draconian) punishments, making or selling these illegal substances carries generally stiffer, completely separate punishments. Also, Read More »

Dallas Police recently announced that the department recently received Federal and State money to be used towards DNA testing for approximately 4,100 rape cases collected from 1996 and 2011. The Department indicated that it would submit up to 300 kits for testing each month. Because rape test kits cost between $500.00 and $1,000.00 to be Read More »

This is not an exhaustive discussion of assault offenses, which vary in degree and have special definitions with regard to such offenses against law enforcement officers, or when weapons are involved (aggravating factors, i.e., brandishing firearms, etc.). Generally, assault is any unwanted or offensive physical contact resulting in injury or the threat of unwanted or Read More »

Dallas police officers, starting next January, may no longer dedicate thousands of man hours and city/county/state resources to the arrest and detention of offenders in possession of the “gateway” drug, marijuana. The Legislature, recognizing that the state, city, and county governments had to invest the same amount of time on small MJ drug possession charges, as they Read More »

Recently, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Appeals Court, in the criminal case styled U.S. v. Zhyltsou, –F.3d–, No. 13-803 (Oct. 3, 2014), the appeals court reversed the conviction of the Defendant ruling that the trial court should not have permitted the introduction of un-authenticated social media page, which was represented to be the Zhyltsou’s profile page from Read More »

Refusal to perform, repudiation of a contract: Repudiation is an affirmative defense that can be raised by one party as a defense to an allegation of breach brought by the party prosecuting that claim. In plain English, repudiation is an excuse to performance, based on the premise that the other party refused to perform, and Read More »