Beaumont, TX, January 13, 2022 — Hartline Barger LLP attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Holly Naehritz prevailed on an appeal before the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont, Texas. Owners of pipelines on certain property sued the property owner for damage to the pipelines allegedly caused by washout and subsidence due to excavation of the property. The property owner alleged that the damage was caused by a logging company’s work and a sand mining company’s work on the property. The property owner alleged that its contract with the logging company required the logging company to obtain liability insurance listing the property owner as an additional insured. An insurance agency issued a Certificate of Liability Insurance purportedly listing the property owner as an additional insured; however, the property owner was not an additional insured under the policy. The property owner filed a claim under the policy, which was denied. The property owner then sued the insurance agent and insurance agency, asserting claims based on negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, violations of the Texas Insurance Code, and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. Hartline Barger LLP filed a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the insurance agent and agency, arguing that (1) the claims against them were barred by the statute of limitations, (2) the insurance agent and agency did not make any representations directly to the property owner, and (3) the property owner’s damages were not proximately caused by the insurance agent or agency. The trial court granted the insurance agent and agency’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the claims against them with prejudice, and the appellate court affirmed.
January 12, 2022 – Partner Melissa Dorman Matthews secures another victory for Hartline Barger at the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after a hard-fought battle over attorney’s fees awarded for a class action settlement.
Matthews, who served as lead trial counsel for the matter, argued the case in front of the Fifth Circuit in March of 2021. Plaintiffs’ counsel requested $12,726,376.00 in fees – a lodestar calculation of $4,388,405.50 with a multiplier of 2.9. The U.S. District Judge awarded Plaintiffs’ counsel more than $4.3 million in fees.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated this award yesterday, and has instructed the District Judge to recalculate the award and take into account the two issues Matthews and her team pointed out throughout the litigation: 1) the fees Plaintiffs’ counsel incurred on behalf of the successful claims were a fraction of the amounts incurred for pursuing all claims, many of which were unsuccessful; and 2) the actual benefit to the class, which counsel estimates to be less than .05% of the requested fee award.MDM Fifth Circuit Opinion
Dallas, Texas, January 1, 2022 – Hartline Barger LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Santa Fe attorney Angela Gordon and Houston attorney Daniel Erwin to partners, the promotion of Dallas attorneys Clayton Callen and Tyler Stuart to equity partners, the election of Dallas partner Peter Blomquist to the management committee, and the election of Corpus Christi partner Richard Crews as Managing Partner.
“The past two years have proved to be challenging in countless ways but our firm has persevered, in large part because of attorneys like Daniel, Angela, Clayton, and Tyler, who consistently demonstrate the dedication and drive required to be included in partnership, “ said Managing Partner Richard Crews. “In addition to our partner promotions, we are thrilled to welcome Houston partner, Peter Blomquist, to our management committee. His legal experience and strong character make him a great asset to our leadership team,” added Crews.
With a wide-ranging practice, Angela Gordon handles appeals, class actions, product liability litigation, insurance defense litigation, and has also defended lawsuits filed against governmental entities. Her extensive experience includes successfully obtaining dismissals in cases involving international tire manufacturers, local city governments and other clients.
Daniel Erwin focuses his practice in general civil litigation, commercial litigation and business torts, insurance law, construction defect, professional liability and products liability. He has a particular emphasis on cases involving personal injury litigation as well as transportation matters. He represents multiple Fortune 500 clients across the state and routinely handles complex, catastrophic losses.
Clayton Callen focuses his practice in the areas of civil litigation and political law. He has litigated a wide range of cases in state and federal courts across the country. This includes extensive litigation experience in cases involving complex commercial matters, products liability, constitutional law, election law, and “whistle-blower” claims under the False Claims Act, at both the trial court and appellate court levels. Additionally, Clayton serves as part of the national trial team for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, implementing strategies for and managing litigation pending nationwide.
Tyler Stuart’s practice focuses on commercial litigation, automotive and equipment product liability, personal injury defense, contracts, warranty, fraud and deceptive trade practices. Before joining the firm in 2015, Tyler gained significant litigation experience at a notable firm in Dallas assisting in all areas of the firm’s commercial and personal injury litigation practice. During that time, Tyler served as lead associate on a case involving a dispute over natural gas rights and received a jury verdict of $38 million for the client.
Additionally, the partnership has elected Richard Crews to serve as Managing Partner of the firm’s six offices.
Richard Crews has been actively engaged in a varied and extensive trial practice for more than 40 years. His general civil litigation experience not only includes defense of personal injury claims, but also the trial of commercial and business disputes, defense of fiduciary claims, representation of automobile manufacturers, defense of designers and manufacturers of seat belts, airbags, child seats and other automotive components. He has also defended pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, doctors, hospitals, and attorneys in professional liability claims. He has tried cases involving wills and estates, oil and gas disputes, and represented banks and trust companies.
Throughout his career, Richard has been both active in his profession and recognized by his peers. As a young lawyer he was recognized as Nueces County’s “Outstanding Young Lawyer.” Having been repeatedly selected for listing in The Best Lawyers in America©, he was selected as 2018’s Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” in Corpus Christi. He is an Advocate in the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), served two terms on that organization’s National Board of Directors and twice served as President of the Corpus Christi Chapter. He was appointed to serve on the Attorney Admissions Committee for the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Texas, serving as the committee’s chairman for six years. He has been named to Texas Super Lawyers® for more than fifteen consecutive years, is rated “AV Preeminent®” by Martindale-Hubbell and has been selected to membership in the Litigation Counsel of America. Further, he has been named to America’s Top 100 Attorneys®, South Texas Region and was selected as a Master of the Reynaldo Garza’s Chapter of American Inns of Court. He remains active in numerous and civic and professional organizations.