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by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:35:00 pm

Trial attorneys Chris Hamilton and Paul Wingo of the newly formed Hamilton Wingo law firm spent the first part of 2017 helping immigrant detainees held at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport during President Trump’s travel ban. Hours spent at the airport assisting detainees with their legal rights led to the formation of Lawyers for America, a nonprofit organization that provides legal assistance to people whose rights have been violated.

Their hard work and dedication haven’t gone unnoticed, as both attorneys have been nominated for the Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year. The Dallas Morning News Texan of the Year allows community leaders to nominate individuals who made a significant impact in 2017. The winner is announced December 31. 

“It’s a tremendous honor to have someone say your name in this context,” said Mr. Hamilton. “The true heroes are the people who came to this country and had the courage to fight through the roadblocks the system created. We only made sure their rights were protected.”

“Chris and I fight for the same causes,” said Mr. Wingo. “We partnered this year to continue fighting for justice and help people who have been legally wronged. To be nominated for Texan of the Year means so much.”

For more information, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 4:37:00 pm

There’s no question that Texas has been affected by a number of executive orders originating in Washington, D.C., in 2017, whether they involved walls, sanctuary cities, deportations or travel bans. But in compiling our annual list of Texas’ top legal news stories we kept the focus on issues directly related to state-based businesses or stories originating in the Lone Star state. The following are the state’s top legal news stories this year as determined by the staff at Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

  1. Facebook Loses Trade Secret Theft Case in Dallas

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a stir when he came to Texas to testify in a federal trial early in 2017. Facebook subsidiary Oculus VR, a virtual reality developer, was accused of trade secret theft and related intellectual property crimes. Mr. Zuckerberg ventured far from the courtroom during his Texas trip, visiting the Fort Worth Stock Show and helping plant a community garden in Dallas – all to the delight of techie stargazers. As for the trial, a jury ordered Facebook to pay plaintiff ZeniMax Media Inc. $500 million for violating nondisclosure agreements, copyright infringement and misuse of trademarks. But the jury did not find Oculus liable for trade secret theft, and the jury award was far less than the reported $6 billion ZeniMax had sought.


  1. Best of Times, Worst of Times for Jerry Jones

The 2017 NFL season may go down among Jerry Jones’ wildest years as owner of the Dallas Cowboys. The mercurial Mr. Jones was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, honored for his transformative role as a team owner. But just a week later, the league handed a six-game suspension to the team’s star running back Ezekiel Elliott, touching off a lengthy appeals process during which he continued to play for the team. The NFL and Mr. Elliott traded court wins until Mr. Elliott announced that he was dropping further appeals and would agree to the original six-game suspension. Whether he was smarting over the protracted battle over his star’s eligibility or if he was simply looking out for the “best interests” of the league, Mr. Jones threatened to sue the NFL if Commissioner Roger Goodell’s contract was extended. The threat was short-lived and the contract was extended, with Mr. Jones recording a 0-2 legal record for the year.


  1. Mass Shootings Do Little to Produce Tough Gun Laws

Two mass shootings captured the nation’s attention in a two-month span: the Oct. 1 attack in Las Vegas that killed 58 and injured more than 500 at a music festival and the Nov. 5 slaying of 25 and the wounding of 20 members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In the Las Vegas shooting, the gunman in a high-rise hotel used semiautomatic rifles, outfitted with Moran,Texas-manufactured bump stocks, devices that help mimic the action of a fully automatic gun. The manufacturer temporarily halted sales, but the ATF continues to look at potential regulations. Following the Sutherland Springs massacre, Texas Sen. John Cornyn helped produce a bipartisan bill designed to tighten federal background checks for gun sales. But that tougher measure has been rolled into a House bill which would allow concealed carry license holders to take handguns into states with strict gun laws, a measure backed by the National Rifle Association.


  1. Speaker Straus Wins Bathroom Battle, But Tires of the Fight

On July 21, after months of uncertainty and nearly 10 hours of often emotional testimony, a Texas Senate committee signed off on Senate Bill 3, the so-called “Bathroom Bill.” Backed by the Tea Party and religious conservatives, it requires people in public schools and government buildings to use the bathroom that matches the sex listed on their birth certificates. It was hailed as an important victory for Senate Republicans led by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who argued it was a public safety issue. But major corporations warned it would harm business investment in Texas. Despite passing the Senate, House Speaker Joe Straus, a moderate Republican, never brought up the bill for debate, effectively killing it. That made him a target for the state’s most conservative legislators, who vowed to challenge his rule of the State House. Mr. Straus removed that option, announcing his retirement in October after five terms as speaker. He vowed to “work for a Republican Party that tries to bring Texans together instead of pulling us apart.”


  1. Harris County Fights ‘Debtors Prison’ Allegations

Bail is vital to the U.S. judicial system. It allows people awaiting trial to avoid weeks or months in jail. The bail bond, designed to ensure the defendant returns to court, is refunded after all appearances are completed. It is a simple system – for those who can afford it. Last year, indigent misdemeanor defendants sued Harris County, claiming it was in effect running a debtors’ prison, setting unaffordable bail amounts for minor crimes alleged against the poor. In April, a judge ruled the county’s bail practices were unconstitutional because they were “de facto detention orders against those financially unable to pay.” Harris County has appealed, and smaller Texas counties with similar practices are anxiously awaiting a final ruling.


  1. Indiscretions End Legislator’s Political Career

With growing scrutiny of the personal lives of lawmakers, reports of sexual improprieties have almost become routine. But up until an anonymous Twitter feed shared a most-intimate photo of Rep. Joe Barton, Texas legislators had not been accused of any indecencies. Mr. Barton has claimed the photo was originally sent to a woman during the course of their consensual relationship. Although its release could violate Texas’ 2-year-old law banning acts of “revenge porn,” his admission of “sexual immorality” brought a decisive end to his political career. A week after the photo surfaced, the longest-serving member of the Texas House delegation announced he would not seek re-election to an 18th term.


  1. Opposition to AT&T, Time Warner Merger

Until 2017, federal regulators had a 50-year history of prioritizing consumer benefits when approving vertical mergers such as Dallas-based AT&T’s proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner. However, the old regulatory regime has dramatically changed under President Trump. First announced near the end of 2016, scrutiny of the mega-merger hit critical mass in the fall when the U.S. Department of Justice sued AT&T to block final regulatory approval of the merger, citing concerns that the deal could hurt competing content providers. The trial to decide the fate of the merger is scheduled for March 19. The outcome could set the trajectory for similarly positioned mergers, most notably CVS Health Corp.’s $69 billion acquisition of Aetna Inc., announced on Dec. 4.


  1. Feds Fail to Convict Dallas County Commissioner

Accusations of public corruption have been the undoing of countless political figures who find defending themselves against formal federal charges to be a mostly impossible task. But few are John Wiley Price. The subject of federal investigations since 2005, the longtime Dallas County commissioner was indicted in 2014 on 11 counts of bribery, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, mail and tax fraud. Also included were charges of taking nearly $1 million in bribes in the form of cash, cars and real estate. The case finally made it to a Dallas federal jury in February, but almost immediately cracks began to form and it was disclosed that prosecutors failed to turn over evidence to the defense on multiple occasions. When the case finally went to the jury, days passed without a verdict. Finally, on the eighth day of deliberations, the jury returned with an acquittal on seven counts. They could not come to a decision on the remaining four and the court declared a mistrial on those counts. While the commissioner avoided a conviction – and potential jail time – he was ordered to repay nearly $500,000 in legal fees for his court-appointed attorneys. Prosecutors declined to retry Price, who continues to represent Dallas County’s District 3 on the Commissioner’s Court.


  1. Houston Floods Produce Onslaught of Litigation, Also Swamp Courts

With more than 50 inches of Hurricane Harvey-produced rain inundating Houston, business and homeowner insurance claims are expected to reach $10 billion or more. Harvey also produced a flood of litigation that some observers say could be some of the most complex and costly ever against the U.S. government. Hundreds of homeowners are suing over the “inverse condemnation” of their property, after a substantial amount of water was ordered to be released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The decision was reportedly made to protect the integrity of dams at two federal reservoirs but in the process flooded residential neighborhoods. Harvey’s flooding affected another part of the justice system, too. Harris County’s busy criminal courts were swamped – literally, as 40 courtrooms, the district attorney’s office and holding cells, as well as the nearby jury assembly building were flooded, delaying cases for weeks. To help ease the backlog, plea bargains skyrocketed and plans were made to begin using the Civil Court House and Juvenile Justice Center court rooms for criminal trials, with misdemeanor cases moving to the Family Law Center.


  1. Heartland Ruling Cripples Texas’ Rocket Docket

May 22, 2017, is a day that may have permanently altered the Texas legal landscape. On that day, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned nearly 30 years of federal law on where patent lawsuits must be filed. In the TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Brands LLC, the high court clarified and narrowed the term “residence” for corporate defendants, greatly restricting the venues where plaintiffs may file patent infringement lawsuits. Most affected was the “rocket docket” of the U.S. Eastern District of Texas, often viewed as friendly to plaintiffs but respected on both sides of the bar for its knowledgeable judges who move cases quickly through the docket. In the past, the Eastern District was home to roughly 35 percent of all patent lawsuits. For four days after the ruling, an unwelcome silence fell over the district as no new cases were filed. For comparison, in 2016, more than six patent cases were filed each day the court was open, totaling more than 1,600. The district has not been totally shuttered, with new filings picking up steam as plaintiffs’ lawyers test the full definition of “established place of business.”


by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:30:00 am

A Dallas County jury has awarded a North Texas real estate developer $98 million after finding that BBVA Compass Bank and one of its executives committed fraud.

During the financial crisis of 2008-2009, developer David Bagwell sought to modify loan financing for three planned luxury subdivisions in Tarrant County through his lender, BBVA Compass. As reported in The Dallas Morning News, the bank told Mr. Bagwell his loans were being renewed, while simultaneously negotiating in secret to sell the loans at a substantial discount to a rival developer.

“Emails from Compass connected the dots for this jury,” said Derrick Boyd of Decatur, Texas-based Boyd Powers & Williamson, who represents Mr. Bagwell. “We were able to show that while Mr. Bagwell was actively trying to work with the bank to keep these developments operating, Compass was misleading him and working behind his back to sell his debt to a competitor.”

The $98.02 million verdict included $37.86 million to Mr. Bagwell and $20.16 million to related business entities. The jury also returned $40 million in punitive damages after finding that the bank’s fraudulent actions caused harm to the parties.

The case is David Bagwell et al v. BBVA Compass and Sam Meade, Cause No. DC-14-00991 in the 101st Judicial District Court in Dallas County.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:16:00 am

The digital assets of a deceased loved one can be photos or messages that have sentimental value or domain names and airline points that have monetary value. Digital property includes videos, music libraries, emails, social media accounts, credit card or hotel loyalty points, and even Bitcoin. A law went into effect in Texas in September to help estate executors and trustees gain access to the digital assets of people who died or have placed their assets in trust.

Aaron Dobbs, a Houston-area estate lawyer at Roberts Markel Weinberg Butler Hailey PC, said that although the Texas law could ease estate transitions, people in all states should consider putting what they want done with their digital assets in their estate planning documents.

“I’ve seen people fight over digital assets. It’s best to think about these matters along with tangible assets. Make sure your digital property is managed by the appropriate person. In some cases, you might even want the executor to terminate the account and destroy the contents like potentially revealing texts or emails,” Mr. Dobbs advises.

“There are legal considerations. For instance, executors, trustees, and heirs could be breaking federal cybersecurity laws if they know a deceased person’s passwords and just go in and use loyalty points. The executor is still governed by the same terms of services as the user. For example, the licensed iTunes music is not transferable.

“Another issue could be privacy for someone famous who would not want surviving heirs to publish intimate details for profit,” Mr. Dobbs said. “This should all be discussed as part of estate planning.”

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or



by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 10:00:00 am

Two Seattle parents have filed suit against Dallas-based Greyhound Lines, Inc., in the death of their 25-year-old son.

Paula Becker and Barry Brown are the parents of Hunter Brown, who was killed last June when the Greyhound bus he was riding ran over him.

The bus, bound from Seattle to San Francisco had stopped in Central Point, Oregon near the California state line so passengers could get food or use the bathroom. When the bus resumed its trip earlier than expected, Hunter was left behind.

As he ran beside the bus, banging on the door and asking the driver to let him on, the bus turned to the right and ran over him.

“This death was 100 percent preventable,” says Charla Aldous of Aldous \ Walker, who represents Hunter Brown’s parents. “Hunter trusted Greyhound and its bus driver to safely transport him from Seattle to San Francisco. That didn’t happen.”

 “Our son had a future ahead of him,” say Paula Becker and Barry Brown, the parents of Hunter Brown. “That future was taken away from him and from us because of the careless actions of the driver and Greyhound.”

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or


by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 2:17:00 pm

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, John Dowd, told CNN that he wrote a tweet for the president’s Twitter account stating former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn was fired not just for lying to the vice president, but also for lying to the FBI – the crime Mr. Flynn has since admitted he committed. That tweet was a new revelation and something that could be legally problematic. It implied the president knew Mr. Flynn had committed a crime before the time when then-FBI director James Comey said the president asked him to go easy on Mr. Flynn.

Houston lawyer and former federal prosecutor Philip Hilder of Hilder & Associates, P.C., said there is nothing wrong with a lawyer vetting or writing a statement or tweet for a client, but it can lead to problems if the lawyer discusses his advice in public.

“Once the client puts out that statement as his own, the client owns it. In fact, the White House and the Justice Department have both said President Trump’s tweets are official statements,” Mr. Hilder said.

“The problem here is this tweet could become evidence in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. It at least raises the question of obstruction of justice in a request that the FBI go easy on Flynn. And if lawyer Dowd is subpoenaed, he may have waived attorney-client privilege by talking about this publicly. That puts Dowd and his client on a dangerous and slippery slope,” Mr. Hilder said.

For more information or to set up an interview, contact Mary Flood at 800-559-4534 or