To Those Who Help

As they do each year, the Dallas Morning News published their list of those for whom we should be thankful on this truly American holiday.  I was struck by the common theme of their selections: people who help and serve others.  While hardly a novel concept, it was a good reminder of who constitutes the most remarkable among us.


Like many in our line of work, I grow weary of the sweeping assaults on the legal profession by the politicians and comedians (despite the undeniable humor of many.)  Too often I feel forced to explain that “I don’t practice THAT kind of law,” tacitly agreeing with the gist of their critique.  Why?

The commercials are sickening.  

Relax. It’s Going to be Okay.


On September 23, 2014, Aaron Rogers of the Green Bay Packers gave his fans some great advice, “Five letters here just for everybody out there in Packer-land:  R-E-L-A-X.  Relax.  We’re going to be OK.”  While Aaron Rogers was talking about the Packers’ football season, I strive to apply this advice to my litigation practice on a daily basis.

It has been my experience that the amount of stress I inflict on myself rarely changes the outcome of a case.  In addition, it would seem that, more often than not, everything has a way of working itself out.  With this in mind, I would like to offer a few observations that may help relieve some of your stress, should you be the client or the attorney.

Don’t “Waive” Goodbye to Your Personal Jurisdiction Challenge


In the law, “waiver” is defined as the voluntary relinquishment of a known right. Lawyers waive defenses and legal argument in courts more often than you might think. Sometimes it’s intentional, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s the result of the lawyer’s mistake. A lawyer forgets to raise a defense, or simply overlooks one.

Dallas Court of Appeals Imposes Sanctions for Frivolous Appeal of Special Appearance

Dallas COA

In a rare move, the Dallas Court of Appeals has levied sanctions against a party for filing a frivolous appeal of a trial court’s order denying that party’s special appearance.  In Estate of Deuel-Nash, 2014 WL 5581044 (Tex. App. – Dallas 2014, n.p.h.), the defendant (Nash) in a probate proceeding filed a plea to the jurisdiction (which is different from a special appearance contesting personal jurisdiction) and later filed a “motion to nonsuit” the plea to the jurisdiction.  The defendant also served a non-party with a subpoena.  The defendant thereafter failed to produce documents in response to a demand from the plaintiff, prompting the trial court to issue an order to the defendant to appear and respond to the plaintiff’s motion to show cause.  In response to that order, the defendant filed a special appearance, contesting the probate court’s jurisdiction over him.

Be Careful Where You Vacation: Personal Jurisdiction Based on Physical Presence


My family spent this past 4th of July weekend at a bed and breakfast in Granbury, Texas. We haven’t done any “small town” Texas vacations, and this seemed about as good an opportunity as any. Granbury puts on a great celebration of our nation’s birthday in its town square. A big parade, huge fireworks show, vendors on the square (yes, more food trucks, and with Cajun food!) and craft beer from a local brewery. Oh, and Babe’s Chicken Dinner House. For a brief getaway to celebrate the 4th, it doesn’t get much better than that.