Author: Lauren Collazo

Hartline Barger Obtains Full Dismissal on Summary Judgement

Dallas, Texas, June 29, 2022 – Hartline Barger LLP announced another victory for the Hartline Barger Navistar team in Nashville, Tennessee! The lawsuit was part of pattern litigation related to Navistar’s MaxxForce engine. In First Express, Plaintiff purchased 40 trucks with the MaxxForce engine alleging various fraud and warranty claims arising out of the purchase and operation. After careful consideration of the facts and the law of Tennessee, the Court threw out the case entirely. Congratulations to Jeff Patterson, Clayton Callen, Luke Spencer, and Jake Ramsey on obtaining full dismissal on summary judgment!

 

Hartline Barger Attorney Jim McInerny Secures a Victory for a Workers’ Compensation Carrier

Dallas, Texas, June 17, 2022 – Hartline Barger LLP Jim McInerny secured a victory for a workers’ compensation carrier by successfully defending against a claim for death benefits, alleging that a worker died after he was exposed to COVID-19 at work.  At an administrative hearing, Jim argued there was no evidence work was the only place the worker could have been exposed to COVID-19, and that the claim for benefits was not filed within the one-year limitations period under the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.  The administrative judge agreed, and found in favor of the insurance carrier.  Both the carrier and the insured are pleased with the outcome.

 

Hartline Barger Partner Jeff Patterson Obtains Unanimous Defense Verdict

Dallas, Texas, May 09, 2022 – Hartline Barger LLP Jeff Patterson obtains unanimous defense verdict. Patterson’s client, Navistar, won a defense verdict from a Dallas County jury on May 2, 2022 after a six-day trial in Judge Maricela Moore’s court. Plaintiff was driving a 26-foot moving van made by Navistar when he drifted off a New Mexico highway, overcorrected, and turned the truck onto its side. Mr. Forge injured his left arm—resulting in an amputation—when it came in contact with the highway. Plaintiff claimed the truck was not crashworthy, failed to keep Plaintiff inside the truck, and failed to provide adequate ejection mitigation features, including laminated glass in the side window. Navistar argued there was no defect in the truck, and that Forge’s employer, Raphael Djine, failed to train him in safe driving, failed to comply with the federal regulations for on-duty time for drivers, and created an itinerary for his route that did not provide for ten hours of rest per day.

Congratulations to Jeff Patterson, Jake Ramsey, Katrina Colwell-Arp and Judy Vice for another successful defense of Navistar.

Hartline Barger LLP Announces Opening of its New Office in Lubbock, Texas

Dallas, Texas, March 28, 2022 – Hartline Barger LLP announces opening of its new office in Lubbock, Texas. With four Texas locations and two in New Mexico, the firm’s new Lubbock office bridges the neighboring states and provides additional support to clients in West Texas and the Panhandle.

“Our Lubbock office is an important step in continuing the firm’s dedication to serving its client’s needs in West Texas, including Lubbock, Amarillo, Midland, Odessa, San Angelo, and El Paso,” said Managing Partner Richard Crews. He added, “Our firm is not in the business of expanding just to become bigger, it’s about the maintaining the quality of our work. Having a physical presence in Lubbock allows us to be more available and more responsive to our West Texas clients.”

Hartline Barger attorney and Texas Tech alum, Brennon D. Gamblin, is the lead attorney for the firm’s new Lubbock location. He is licensed in Texas and in New Mexico. Gamblin has significant arbitration, trial, and appellate experience representing individuals, corporations, and insurance carriers, in a variety of civil litigation matters. His practice covers product liability, business and commercial, construction, personal injury, employment, and professional liability cases in both state and federal courts. Gamblin is also a trained mediator in the State of Texas and has successfully mediated a number of civil matters to resolution.

 

Ten Hartline Barger attorneys selected for inclusion in the 2022 Texas Rising Stars® list.

Ten attorneys at Hartline Barger LLP have earned recognition from their peers by being selected for inclusion in the 2022 Texas Rising Stars® list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. These annual selections are based on a rigorous, multiphase process, including peer nominations and review, and independent research. 

Darrell Barger Named the Recipient of the 2022 Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award from the Texas Bar Foundation

Darrell Barger has been named the recipient of the 2022 Ronald D. Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award from the Texas Bar Foundation. This distinguished award recognizes only one active trial lawyer each year who, in his or her practice, has demonstrated high ethical and moral standards and has demonstrated exceptional professional conduct, thus enhancing the image of the trial lawyer. Established in June 2002, this award celebrates Ronald Secrest’s life as an outstanding trial lawyer who devoted himself to the highest standards of the trial practice.

TXBF Secrest Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award Press Release

Hartline Barger Attorney Andrew L. Petersen Obtains Texas Supreme Court Appellate Victory

February 9, 2022 – Andrew L. Petersen and Hartline Barger Appellate Team obtained a recent appellate victory when the Texas Supreme Court denied Plaintiff’s petition for review of an award of death penalty sanctions based on Plaintiffs’ bad faith Non-Suit during a Summary Judgment hearing.

In the case of Cox v. Vanderburg, 06-20-00078-CV, 2021 WL 4055487 (Tex. App—Texarkana Sept. 7, 2021, pet. denied), Plaintiffs were passengers in a vehicle driven by an independent contractor for Cedar Creek and claimed they were injured when the contractor drove through a red light while part of a police escorted caravan and impacted another vehicle traveling through the intersection with a green light. After almost two years of litigation, Plaintiffs non-suited Cedar Creek right before the depositions of the co-defendant’s corporate representative and the Defendants’ jointly designated Biomechanic expert.  Plaintiffs filed their 10th and 11th amended petitions adding Cedar Creek back to the suit after the depositions and the deadline for dispositive motions had passed. Cedar Creek filed motions for summary judgment which were joined by its co-defendant.  During the hearing on the motions for summary judgment, after the Court had granted many of Cedar Creek’s objections to Plaintiffs’ evidence, the Court announced it was likely going to also strike Plaintiffs’ 10th and 11th amended petitions.  Plaintiffs’ counsel stood up during Cedar Creek’s argument and non-suited the case without prejudice. Cedar Creek and Co-defendant Premier filed a motion for death-penalty sanctions asking the Court to convert the non-suit to being with prejudice based on opposing counsel’s bad faith actions in addition to requesting lesser sanctions. The Trial Court granted the motion, awarded death penalty sanctions converting the non-suit to with prejudice and ruled Defendants were prevailing parties.  The Sixth Court of Appeals in Texarkana upheld the Trial Court’s decision finding the non-suit was filed for an improper purpose under Chapter 10 and held that the Texas Supreme Court’s holding in Epps v. Fowler, 351 S.W.3d 862 (Tex. 2011), regarding the determination of prevailing parties extends to matters decided under Chapter 10 where a non-suit is taken to avoid an unfavorable ruling.  As a result the Sixth Court of Appeals upheld the Trial Court’s determination that Defendants were prevailing parties.  Plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing en banc which was denied and their petition for review to the Texas Supreme Court was also denied.

Cox v Vanderburg

 

Hartline Barger Partner Melissa Dorman Matthews Achieves Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Victory

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.

Hartline Barger partner Angela Gordon and attorney Abigail Foreman assisted Matthews in the case, along with appellate counsel from Beck Redden LLP.

MDM Fifth Circuit Opinion

Hartline Barger LLP Promotes Angela Gordon and Daniel Erwin to Partnership, Promotes Clayton Callen and Tyler Stuart to Equity Partners, Elects Peter Blomquist to Management Committee, and Elects Richard Crews as Managing Partner

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.

 

Hartline Barger LLP Joins Diversity Lab’s Midsize Mansfield Rule Program

DALLAS, Texas, September 21, 2021Hartline Barger LLP is pleased to announce its participation in Diversity Lab’s second iteration of the Midsize Mansfield Rule Program. The main objective of the Mansfield Rule is to boost diversity within law firms by innovating the hiring process to broaden the pool of candidates considered for hiring opportunities.

Diversity Lab is an organization dedicated to developing initiatives that boost diversity and inclusion in law. Through creative collaboration, behavioral science, and technology, Diversity Lab is able to develop ideas, measure results, and share valuable lessons learned with the legal community.

Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule Certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30 percent women, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitch opportunities, and senior lateral positions.

“Seeking Mansfield Rule certification is the next logical step in our efforts to improve and promote diversity and inclusion. This process will help us build upon the great strides we’ve made over the last several years, and will allow us to better measure our efforts and results,” said Partner Melissa Dorman Matthews.

The certification period for the Midsize version is 18 months (September 15, 2021 to March 14, 2023) to provide sufficient time for the participating firms to take action on hiring, promotion, and leadership transition activities.

 

Hartline Barger LLP is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation, professional liability defense, and toxic torts, to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. Founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP has offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, and serves clients across the country. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.  

##

Seven Hartline Barger attorneys have been selected to the 2021 Texas Super Lawyers list.

Seven Hartline Barger attorneys have been selected to the 2021 Texas Super Lawyers list.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Hartline Barger LLP is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation, professional liability defense, and toxic torts, to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. Founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP has offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, and serves clients across the country. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.  

##

13 Hartline Barger LLP Lawyers Named to 2022 Best Lawyers® List

Dallas, July 6, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP is pleased to announce that 13 lawyers have been included in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.

Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers based on professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

Hartline Barger LLP would like to congratulate the following lawyers named to 2022 The Best Lawyers in America list:

  • Darrell L. Barger – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Insurance, Litigation – Trusts and Estates, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Peter C. Blomquist – Commercial Litigation
  • Richard W. Crews – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Donald A. DeCandia – Commercial Litigation
  • Scott G. Edwards – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • David H. Estes – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Larry D. Grayson – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Thomas G. Jacks – Litigation – Construction
  • Melissa Dorman Matthews – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Jeffrey S. Patterson – Litigation – Intellectual Property, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
  • Marshall G. Rosenberg – Litigation – Construction and Professional Malpractice Law – Defendants
  • J. Reid Simpson – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Michael G. Terry – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs

Hartline Barger Speaks at Driving Diversity in Law & Leadership Summit

Partner Melissa Dorman Matthews and Associate Amanda A. Saputo from Hartline Barger’s Dallas office were honored to speak at the Driving Diversity in Law & Leadership Summit. Over the last four years, women, minorities, LGBTQ individuals, and individuals with disabilities represented almost 70% of our attorney hires at Hartline. This has coincided with our tremendous growth with opening three new offices since 2019, and D&I will continue to be key priorities for the firm.

Hartline Barger Partner Don DeCandia Selected to 2021 Southwest Super Lawyers List

Hartline Barger Partner Don DeCandia has been selected to the 2021 Southwest Super Lawyers list. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor.

Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

Hartline Barger Managing Partner Larry Grayson Selected to America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators® for 2021

April 2, 2021 – Hartline Barger is pleased to announce the selection of Larry Grayson among America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators® for 2021. Selection to America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators® is by invitation only and is reserved to identify most exceptional Civil Defense Litigators in throughout the nation.

Candidates are carefully screened through comprehensive Qualitative Comparative Analysis based on a broad array of criteria, including the candidate’s professional experience, litigation experience, significant case results, representative high stakes matters, peer reputation, and community impact in order to rank the candidates throughout the state.

Only the top 100 qualifying defense litigators in each state will receive this honor and be selected for membership among America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators®. With these extremely high standards for selection to America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators®, less than one-half percent (0.5%) of active attorneys in the United States will receive this honor — truly the most exclusive and elite level of litigators in the community.

 

Hartline Barger is a Southwest-based law firm founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP serves clients throughout the state and across the country, with offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The firm is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation and toxic torts to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.  ##

Hartline Barger LLP Begins Q1 with Partner Promotions and New Hires

DALLAS, TX – Hartline Barger LLP closes its first quarter of 2021 with the promotion of attorneys Casey Batchelor, Sarah Jones, and Lisa Massey to partners, and the addition of nine attorneys firm-wide.

The offices of Hartline Barger proudly announced the addition of Casey Batchelor, Sarah Jones, and Lisa Massey to the firm’s partnership earlier in the year.

Casey Batchelor 

Sarah Jones 

Elizabeth “Lisa” Massey

In addition to partner promotions, Hartline Barger hired nine new attorneys throughout its offices within the first quarter of the year.

Faisal Al Alam

Casey Fitch 

Jordan Freeman

Ryan Goodhue 

Brittany Gavulo

David Henderson 

Caroline Sileo Lawhorn 

Michael Smith

Fanny Turcios

Hartline Barger is a Southwest-based law firm founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP serves clients throughout the state and across the country, with offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The firm is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation and toxic torts to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.  ##

More Than 10 Hartline Barger Attorneys Selected for the 2021 Texas Rising Stars® List

More than 10 attorneys at Hartline Barger LLP have earned recognition from their peers by being selected for inclusion in the 2021 Texas Rising Stars® list. Each year, no more than 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. 
These annual selections are based on a rigorous, multiphase process, including peer nominations and review, and independent research. Eleven of the firm’s attorneys received this recognition, including partners Roy B. McKay, Stephanie J. Roark, and J. Reid Simpson.

DRI For The Defense published Amanda A. Saputo and Meghann Reeves’ in-depth article regarding spoliation. The article focuses on strategies for companies facing a product liability claim when the product at issue has not been preserved.

DRI For The Defense published Amanda A. Saputo and Meghann Reeves’ in-depth article regarding spoliation. The article focuses on strategies for companies facing a product liability claim when the product at issue has not been preserved.

Click below to read full article.

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Dallas 18-Wheeler Accident Case

Dallas, Texas; February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Stephen Elkind were successful on summary judgment while defending a construction company in an 18-wheeler accident case.

The case arose from a July 2018 auto-accident in Dallas, Texas. The two plaintiffs were driver and passenger in an automobile and allegedly ran over a metal part that fell off an 18-wheeler, causing them injuries. They filed suit against the construction company, arguing that it employed the driver of the 18-wheeler and was negligent in doing so.

Hartline Barger LLP responded with a summary judgment motion, arguing that the plaintiffs had sued the wrong company because the defendant did not employ the driver nor have any other relevant relationship with either the driver or the 18-wheeler.

On November 6, 2020, District Judge Aiesha Redmond in the 160th District Court in Dallas County, Texas granted the summary judgment motion and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: DC-19-12966

Judge: Aiesha Redmond

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment for BYOB Establishment

Dallas, Texas; February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Tyler Stuart, and Courtney Kenisky were successful in obtaining a full dismissal for their client in an overservice of alcohol case in Austin, Texas.

This lawsuit arises out of an automobile accident that occurred on June 22, 2018, in Bastrop County, Texas, when a vehicle driven by Brandon Casey Lee Gonzales crossed onto the wrong side of US-290 and struck another vehicle head-on. Plaintiff, age 21, was a passenger in Gonzales’ Ford F-150 at the time of the accident and was trapped in the vehicle when it rolled over and caught fire. Plaintiff sustained third-degree burns on her left arm and left side, a broken foot, and cuts and bruises. Plaintiff received stitches on her chin, thigh, the back of both of her legs, and the bottom of her leg. She had surgery to insert a plate into her left foot. Plaintiff also underwent a skin graft procedure during which half of the skin was taken from her back to cover the areas that were burned on her left side and stomach.

 

Prior to the subject accident, Gonzales had been a patron at Hartline Barger’s client’s establishment, which was a BYOB club, where he allegedly consumed alcohol that he brought to the club. Plaintiff left the club with Gonzales. The subject accident occurred approximately 25 minutes after Gonzales and Plaintiff left the club together. Blood tests revealed that Gonzales’ blood alcohol content was found to be 0.17 g/dl, a little over two times the legal limit to drive in Texas. Plaintiff, who was represented by plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas J. Henry, sued the club for negligence, negligence per se, and gross negligence. They were seeking over $2 million for her alleged injuries and damages.  

Hartline Barger filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Plaintiff’s negligence claim fails because (i) under Texas law there is no duty to control the conduct of a third party, absent the existence of a special relationship or some other unusual fact pattern, not found here, and (ii) in light of the onerous burden to recover against a commercial alcohol provider for alcohol provision under the Texas Dram Shop Act, over and above that required to prove negligence, it would be improper to allow recovery on the less demanding negligence standard against a commercial BYOB enterprise for simply allowing alcohol consumption on its premises. On October 6, 2020, Judge Dustin Howell of the 419th Judicial District Court in Travis County agreed with Hartline Barger, finding no duty for a BYOB establishment to monitor, regulate, or prevent a patron from overconsuming alcohol on its premises and then driving, and granted full summary judgment, which dismissed Hartline Barger’s client from the case.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: D-1-GN-18-003747

Judge: Dustin Howell

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Dismissal in Houston Slip and Fall Death Case

Dallas, Texas; February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful in getting a Harris County premises liability death case dismissed against the Houston Country Club.

This lawsuit arises from an alleged fall that occurred in the early morning hours of December 12, 2018 at the Houston Country Club. Plaintiff alleges that he was working as part of an overnight cleaning crew at the club when he allegedly fell and hit his head on two pipes that were on the kitchen floor, which resulted in his death later at the hospital. Plaintiff’s wife brought suit individually and as the representative of her husband’s estate against the Houston Country Club under theories of premises liability, negligence, wrongful death, and survival causes of action. She was seeking over $1 million in damages.

Hartline Barger was successful in obtaining a complete dismissal of the Houston Country Club from this case on July 23, 2020, after it had filed a motion for summary judgment.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2019-24685

Judge: Tanya Garrison

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Houston Nightclub Shooting Case

Houston, Texas, February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Tyler Stuart, and Roy McKay were successful on a summary judgment while defending a commercial landlord in a premises liability case brought by a man who was shot while visiting the landlord’s property.

The case arose from a July 2018 shooting at a Houston nightclub. The plaintiff was a patron at the club when he was shot in the abdomen by an unknown person. He filed suit against the landlord in October 2018, seeking over $1 million in damages.

Hartline Barger LLP responded with a summary judgment motion, arguing that under Texas law, a landlord is not liable for injuries suffered by invitees of its tenants, and that none of the narrow exceptions to the general no-duty rule, such as injury sustained in an area still under the landlord’s control, applied.

On June 30, 2020, Harris County District Judge Rabeea Collier granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims entirely with prejudice.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2018-72545

Judge: Rabeea Collier

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Dallas County Premises Liability Case

Dallas, Texas, February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP announced a summary judgment victory today. Attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Stephen Elkind successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of a commercial property manager in a premises liability case brought by a patron who claimed she tripped and fell due to a dangerous condition on the sidewalk of the property.

The plaintiff was a patron at a popular shopping center in Dallas, Texas and broke her wrist as a result of her fall. The plaintiff filed suit against the property manager and affiliated companies in September 2018, seeking over $100,000 in damages.

Hartline Barger LLP responded with a summary judgment motion, arguing that (1) the condition of the side-walk was open and obvious and not unreasonably dangerous and (2) Plaintiff lacked essential evidence to meet her burden of proof to show the property manager knew or should have known of the allegedly dangerous condition.

On June 26, 2020, Dallas County District Judge Mark Greenberg granted the motion for summary judgment in full and dismissed the all the plaintiff’s claims with prejudice.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: CC-18-05182-E

Judge: Mark Greenberg

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Charlotte, North Carolina Shooting Case

Charlotte, North Carolina; February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Tyler Stuart, and Roy McKay were successful on a summary judgment while defending a nightclub operator in a premises liability case by a patron who was shot on the property.

The case arose from an October 2014 shooting at a Charlotte, North Carolina nightclub. The plaintiff was a patron at the club watching the rap group Migos when he was shot in the left side by an unknown person. He filed suit against the club operator in October 2017, seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Hartline Barger LLP responded with a summary judgment motion, arguing that under North Carolina law, the operator owed no relevant duty to the patron and that the shooting was unforeseeable.

On June 24, 2020, Mecklenburg County Superior Court Judge Carla Archie granted the Motion for Summary Judgment and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims entirely with prejudice.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 19 CVS 10596

Judge: Carla Archie

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment for Houston Restaurant

Houston, Texas, February 1, 2021 —Hartline Barger LLP today announced a summary judgment victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Neil Stockbridge were successful on a summary judgment while defending a Houston restaurant in a premises liability case filed in Harris County, Texas.

The case arose from a November 2017 incident at a popular Houston restaurant and bar in which the Plaintiff alleged he slipped and fell on a slippery substance in the men’s restroom. The Plaintiff filed suit seeking up to $1 million in damages.

Hartline Barger argued there was no evidence that the business operator knew or reasonably should have known of the allegedly dangerous condition on the floor of the restroom, a critical element of the Plaintiff’s premises liability claim. Hartline Barger also challenged the Plaintiff to identify a cognizable legal theory on which the parent company could be liable for the alleged torts of a subsidiary company and identify any evidence that might support such a theory. The Plaintiff dropped his lawsuit against the parent company; and on June 3, 2020, Harris County District Judge Donna Roth granted the Motion for Summary Judgment, dismissing with prejudice all of Plaintiff’s remaining claims against the restaurant.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2019-32057

Judge: Donna Roth

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Houston Nightclub Shooting Case

Houston, Texas, February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a summary judgment victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Tyler Stuart, and Roy McKay were successful on a summary judgment while defending a commercial landlord in a premises liability case brought by a security guard who was shot while providing security on the landlord’s property.

The case arose from a July 2018 shooting at a Houston nightclub. The plaintiff was working as a security guard for the club when he was shot in the lower abdomen by an unknown person. The security guard filed suit against the landlord in August 2019, seeking over $1 million in damages.

Hartline Barger LLP responded with a summary judgment motion, arguing that under Texas law, a landlord is not liable for injuries suffered by invitees of its tenants, and that none of the narrow exceptions to the general no-duty rule, such as injury sustained in an area still under the landlord’s control, applied.

On May 28, 2020, Harris County District Judge Donna Roth granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed the man’s claims entirely with prejudice.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2019-61872

Judge: Donna Roth

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Dismissal in Bexar County Dram Shop Case

Dallas, Texas; February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Stephanie Roark, and Roy McKay were successful in getting a San Antonio Dram Shop case dismissed against Twin Peaks Restaurant.

This lawsuit arises from an automobile accident that occurred in the early morning hours of October 20, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas. Plaintiff, who was represented by plaintiffs’ attorney Thomas J. Henry, alleged that she was traveling southbound on the Loop 410 access road when Devin Lopez, traveling northbound (the wrong way) on the access road, struck Plaintiff’s car head-on. Lopez admitted to San Antonio police officers at the scene that he had been drinking and was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Plaintiff claimed she suffered from severe injuries in the subject crash.

Plaintiff brought several negligence-based claims against Lopez and Dram Shop claims against the establishments where Lopez had allegedly consumed alcohol that night, including Twin Peaks. Plaintiff was seeking monetary relief of over $1,000,000. Hartline Barger was successful in obtaining a complete dismissal of Twin Peaks from this case on March 24, 2020, after it had filed a motion for summary judgment.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 19-CI-06503

Judge: Aaron Haas

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Harris County Professional Liability Lawsuit

Houston, Texas, February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced a summary judgment victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful on summary judgment while defending an insurance agent and agency in a professional liability lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas. The case involved allegations that Hartline Barger’s client failed to provide notice to insureds concerning the termination of their flood insurance policy. Plaintiffs alleged that the insurance agent and agency should have forwarded the insurance carrier’s termination notices regarding Plaintiffs’ flood insurance. Damage occurred to Plaintiffs’ property after Hurricane Harvey flooded Plaintiffs’ residence.

Hartline Barger argued, among other grounds, that the claims were time-barred because Plaintiffs knew or should have known of the termination of their flood insurance policy from other sources more than two years before filing suit. Plaintiffs argued that the “discovery rule” should apply to prevent their claims from being time-barred and that Plaintiffs did not acquire knowledge of the termination through the means shown by Hartline Barger’s motion. Plaintiffs sought over $1 million dollars in damages.

On March 13, 2020, Harris County District Judge Larry Weiman granted Hartline Barger’s summary judgment motion and rejected the Plaintiffs’ arguments that the “discovery rule” should apply to their claims. Accordingly, the Court dismissed all of the Plaintiffs’ claims against the insurance agent and agency.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2018-15037

Judge: Larry Weiman

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment for Texas Children’s Medical Charity in Brownsville, Cameron County, Texas

Brownsville, Texas, February 1, 2021 — Hartline Barger LLP today announced another victory after attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Neil Stockbridge were successful on summary judgment while defending a children’s medical charity against personal injury claims by participants of a charity run. Four plaintiffs and two intervenors argued that a temporary archway set up at the charity race’s starting line fell on top of and injured them, and they sued Hartline Barger LLP’s client in the 138th District Court of Texas in Brownsville, Texas, alleging the entity improperly secured or supervised the race.

The charitable entity filed motions for summary judgment on the Intervenors’ claims, arguing the claims failed because the entity was not sufficiently involved with race security or supervision to render it responsible for personal injury suffered by race participants. Cameron County District Judge Arturo Cisneros Nelson agreed and dismissed both Intervenors’ claims against the entity on January 14, 2020.

 

CAUSE/CASE NO: 2018-DCL-07231

Judge: Arturo Cisneros Nelson

 

Contact:

Brian Rawson

Partner

Hartline Barger LLP

214-369-2100

brawson@hartlinebarger.com

Ten Hartline Barger attorneys have been selected to the 2020 Texas Super Lawyers list.

Ten Hartline Barger attorneys have been selected to the 2020 Texas Super
Lawyers list.

Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by the
research team at Super Lawyers to receive this honor. Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters business, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a
statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by
practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

Hartline Barger Announces the Passing of Attorney, Charles Wayne Lyman

DALLAS, TX – Hartline Barger LLP, with saddened hearts, announce the passing of Charles Wayne Lyman, age 75, on Tuesday, the 17th of November 2020.

Charlie was born in 1945 in Arkadelphia, AR, and after graduating from the University of Arkansas, he and Ginny moved to Houston, where he attended law school at the University of Houston. Additionally, he served our Nation as an officer in the United States Army in Vietnam.

Upon returning home from the army, Charlie practiced law in his adopted hometown of Houston, for over 50 years. He tried his first lawsuit to a jury verdict two weeks after going to work for the firm (then known as Talbert, Gissel & Stone) in 1972. Since that time, he had tried over 200 cases to verdict.

Charlie’s practice focused on representations of individuals, and companies, large and small, in construction-related litigation, products liability medical device litigation, professional-malpractice claims, premises-liability cases, personal-injury matters, plant-explosion cases, catastrophic industrial accident cases, as well as all other types of civil litigation. He was Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization for more than thirty years.

With his keen wit, endless work ethic and caring heart, Charlie led a remarkable life. Charlie will be deeply missed by his family and friends, and will always be remembered for his integrity, generosity and loyalty.

In lieu of customary remembrances, please feel free to make memorial contributions in Charlie’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105; or to the American Heart Association, 10060 Buffalo Speedway, Houston, TX 77054.

C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. named the Best Lawyers® 2021 Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action Defense “Lawyer of the Year” in Dallas/Fort Worth

C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. Hartline Barger’s late founding partner, has been named Best Lawyers® 2021 Mass Tort Litigation/Class Action Defense “Lawyer of the Year” in Dallas/Fort Worth. This recognition is only awarded to individual lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region. Vernon was also included in this esteemed list in 2017 under the same practice area.

Vernon loved practicing law and being in the courtroom. It seems only fitting that after practicing law for nearly five decades, his distinguished career as a defense lawyer continues to be highlighted by such prestigious awards. He genuinely cared about the firm and its people, and he took time each day to reach out to his partners, colleagues, and staff. Congratulations to our founding partner who will be missed dearly.

Twelve Hartline Barger Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

The Best Lawyers in America©, the oldest lawyer-rating publication in the U.S., has selected 12 Hartline Barger LLP attorneys for inclusion in their 2021 Best Lawyers edition.

Hartline Barger congratulates its listed Best Lawyers in America:

Hartline Barger LLP Establishes the C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Law, Benefiting Baylor Law Students, In Memoriam of Founding Partner C. Vernon Hartline, Jr.

DALLAS, TX – Hartline Barger LLP, proudly announces the establishment of the C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Law, benefiting Baylor Law students, to honor its founding partner, C. Vernon Hartline, Jr.

C. Vernon Hartline, Jr., a long time-time Dallas lawyer, went home to be with the Lord on Monday, July 13, 2020 at the age of 75. Vernon was born November 5, 1944 in Dallas, Texas to Clyde Vernon Hartline and Betty Angel Hartline. After graduating from Plano Senior High School in 1963, he attended Baylor University and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1968. Vernon married Lynne Thompson on September 3, 1966. During his first year of law school at Baylor Law, Vernon was drafted and served in the U.S. Army as a First Lieutenant in Vietnam. After being injured in combat in early 1971, he was medevaced to the Air Force Military Hospital in Okinawa, Japan, where he recuperated for several months. He was discharged and came back to Texas in April of 1971, and just days after arriving home, he returned to Baylor Law to finish his law degree.

During law school he was a member of the Order of the Barristers. After Vernon was graduated from Baylor Law in 1973, he joined Gardere, Porter & DeHay, where he began his career as a trial lawyer. After a merger in 1979, Vernon and several of his colleagues formed DeHay & Blanchard. Vernon continued his career as a trial lawyer with Strasburger & Price beginning in 1984. In 1994, he and several colleagues in the firm’s product liability group decided to form their own firm, Hartline, Dacus, Dreyer, & Kern, L.L.P., to provide services to their clients more efficiently and effectively. At the prior firm they had been told, “Big ships turn slowly,” so Vernon and his colleagues vowed be nimble, able to adjust their sails to meet their clients’ needs while providing the highest quality legal services. It was that commitment that carried Vernon through to his last day with his colleagues at Hartline Barger, LLP, on July 13, 2020.

Vernon loved practicing law and being in the courtroom. His distinguished career as a product liability defense lawyer was highlighted by successes in the automotive and tire industry, which led to the firm’s representation of several major automotive and tire manufacturers on a regional and national basis. He also selflessly trained young lawyers, many of which started their careers at Hartline Barger LLP and have become his partners. He genuinely cared about the firm and its people, and he took time each day to reach out to his partners, colleagues, and staff.

Vernon served as President of the Baylor Law Alumni Association from 1993-1994, and was frequently designated a “Best Lawyer,” “Lawyer of the Year,” and “Texas Super Lawyer” during his career. He also received the Bridgestone Firestone General Counsel Award. Among Vernon’s many honors and awards are the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal; the Vietnam Campaign Medal; and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

“Our firm has lost one of its original founders,” says managing partner, Larry Grayson. “Vernon Hartline’s clients will remember him as a tenacious advocate. His partners will remember him as a loyal colleague and mentor. His family and acquaintances will remember him as a caring and compassionate soul. All will remember him as a friend.”

Hartline Barger invites those wishing contribute to Vernon’s memory and legacy, to visit the Baylor Memorial Funds page and learn more about the C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship in Law.

Founder Vernon Hartline, Passes Away

With great sadness we report that Vernon Hartline – our partner, founder, and friend  – has passed away. Since launching the firm in 1994, Vernon taught us what it meant to be hard-working, tenacious, and that family always comes first. Our Hartline Barger family will miss him dearly.

Hartline Barger LLP Attorneys Successfully Resist Plaintiffs’ Counsel’s Request for a $13.1 Million Award for Fees and Costs.

On April 24, 2020, Lead Counsel Melissa Dorman Matthews, Partner Darrell Barger, and Attorneys Angela Gordon and Abby Foreman successfully resisted Plaintiffs’ counsel’s request for a $13.1 million award for fees and costs in a class action settlement for defective toilet tanks. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant rejected Scott Carpenter and Rebecca Bell-Stanton’s request for a 2.9 times multiplier above the lodestar calculation, awarding them only 36 percent of their requested award. 

Click to view full court order.

Click to view Law360 Article

 

Hartline Barger Coronavirus Update

While we have physically closed our doors in the wake of current events, Hartline Barger is still up and running remotely.  Our attorneys and staff have the tools to connect with our clients and colleagues, including videoconferencing, phone conferencing, and WebEx.  Please view the links below for a list of current court closures in the states of Texas and New Mexico. We encourage everyone to stay safe, practice healthy habits, and stay positive!  We’re here when you need us, especially in times of crisis.

Texas Court Closures

New Mexico Court Closures

HARTLINE BARGER ATTORNEY ANDREW PETERSEN OBTAINS APPELLATE VICTORY IN THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT IN PRODUCTS LIABILITY CASE

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently upheld a Motion for Summary Judgment granted in favor of the Defendant by Judge Sam R. Cummings of the Northern District of Texas. The underlying case involved an accident were a welder’s uniform shirt caught fire while he was working resulting in second degree burns. The Plaintiff asserted a strict liability-failure to warn and negligence cause of action based upon the claim that the company to supply the uniform, had a duty to clearly warn him that the uniform was in fact flammable. The District Court agreed with the Defendant’s argument that there was no duty to warn Plaintiff in this instance because it is common knowledge that a non-flame retardant uniform suffers from the danger of catching fire when exposed to sparks derived from welding. The District Court held Plaintiff’s remaining negligence claims were subsumed within his strict liability claim and dismissed the case in its entirety. On appeal, Plaintiff attempted to assert a claim for negligent undertaking for the first time in addition to arguing for preservation of his original claims. The Fifth Circuit agreed with the Defendant’s argument that the negligent undertaking claim was forfeited as it was not asserted and held that the negligence and strict liability claims were defeated by the common knowledge defense presented by the Defendant. The Fifth Circuit further agreed with the District Court that, as a matter of law, it is common knowledge that a cotton shirt is flammable.

Hartline Barger is a Southwest-based law firm founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP serves clients throughout the state and across the country, with offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The firm is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation and toxic torts to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.
##

Hartline Barger Attorneys Win Defense Verdict in a Dram Shop Trial for a Dallas Restaurant/Bar

DALLAS, Texas, March 6, 2020 Hartline Barger LLP today announced a jury trial victory after attorneys Darrell Barger, Brian Rawson, and Stephanie Roark successfully defended their client in a three-week Dram Shop liability trial in Dallas County Court of Law No. 1, before Judge D’Metria Benson.

The case involved an automobile-pedestrian accident that resulted in the death of a 26-year-old man in 2015. Earlier in the night, that man was watching sporting events on TV with friends at a Bombshells Restaurant and Bar, where he consumed at least 10 alcoholic beverages over a four hour period. Towards the end of his visit, the man became aggressive with another table of patrons and slammed his hands down on a table. Within 10 seconds, a Bombshells security guard escorted the man outside, took his car keys, and called him a cab. The security guard told the cab driver to take the intoxicated individual home, but unexpectedly, the man was dropped off at a gas station a mile from the restaurant. One hour later, he was hit by a car and killed while walking across a street. At the time of his death, the intoxicated individual had a blood-alcohol level of three times the legal limit.

The parents of the victim filed suit against Bombshells, alleging the restaurant/bar was negligent in continuing to serve alcohol to their son when he was obviously intoxicated and that negligence was the proximate cause of their son’s death. Plaintiffs’ counsel asked the jury to award nearly $5 million to the parents of the victim.

Defense counsel argued that their client had safeguards in place to prevent serving alcohol to someone showing signs of intoxication. The defense also emphasized that within 10 seconds of the intoxicated patron displaying signs of intoxication by slamming his hands on a table, restaurant staff reacted quickly and correctly took his car keys and arranged for a cab ride home.

After approximately two weeks of trial testimony and one week of deliberations, the Dallas County jury returned a complete defense verdict on December 20, 2019.

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Dallas County

On February 28, 2020, Judge Gena Slaughter of the 191st District Court of Dallas County, Texas, granted Hartline Barger’s summary judgment dismissing all claims against a food services company in a personal injury case.

The case arose from an alleged December 26, 2015 accident on Texas Christian University’s Fort Worth, Texas campus. Plaintiff, a man employed in transporting dishware in connection with a TCU football game, was injured when an automated loading ramp lowered and shifted a small vehicle onto Plaintiff’s foot, which caused Plaintiff to suffer a ruptured Achilles tendon. Plaintiff alleged that Hartline Barger’s client was negligent because it instructed Plaintiff to use a smaller vehicle to move the dishware instead of a full-size truck. Hartline Barger countered by arguing that even assuming its client asked Plaintiff to use the smaller vehicle, they did not tell him to use the ramp in combination with that vehicle, and therefore Plaintiff was responsible for his own injuries.

Defendants were represented by Hartline Barger’s Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Stephen Elkind.

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment for Restaurant and Server in Dram Shop Case

On February 11, 2020, Judge Jason Cashon of the 266th District Court of Erath County, Texas, granted Hartline Barger’s summary judgment for a Stephenville, Texas restaurant and its bartender in a Dram Shop death case.

The lawsuit centered on Dram Shop claims by the wife of a man who consumed one beer and two shots at the restaurant in under an hour between 11:00 a.m. and noon on July 19, 2016.  The man then left the restaurant, and approximately four hours later was found dead sitting in his parked truck in his driveway. His postmortem blood-alcohol concentration was .346.  The wife sued for Dram Shop Act violations (among other claims), and the Defendants successfully moved for summary judgment, arguing that the evidence conclusively established the man was not obviously intoxicated when Defendants served him, and that Defendants’ provision of alcohol was not the proximate cause of the man’s death.

Defendants were represented by Hartline Barger’s Brian Rawson, Stephanie Roark, Roy McKay, and Stephen Elkind.

Hartline Barger LLP today announced a summary judgment victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful on a summary judgment while defending an insurance agent and agency in a professional liability lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas.

HOUSTON, Texas, March 6, 2020 Hartline Barger LLP today announced a summary judgment victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful on a summary judgment while defending an insurance agent and agency in a professional liability lawsuit filed in Houston, Texas. The case involved allegations that Hartline Barger’s client failed to obtain coverage for an alleged additional insured under an insurance policy.

The Third-Party Plaintiff was an entity that alleged it should have been an additional insured under a general liability policy because it was listed as an additional insured on the policy declarations page. However, it was not afforded additional insured status under the policy.

Rawson and McKay argued, among other grounds, that the claims were time-barred and that the declaration page clearly and conspicuously includes a disclaimer providing that the declarations page does not confer any rights that are not conferred within the underlying policy. The Third-Party Plaintiff’s cross motion for summary judgment argued that it proved all the elements of its causes of action as a matter of law and its claims were not defeated by the statute of limitations.

The Third-Party Plaintiff sought over $1 million dollars in damages. On October 9, 2019, the Court granted Hartline Barger’s summary judgment motion and rejected the Third-Party Plaintiff’s arguments. Accordingly, the Court dismissed all of the Third-Party Plaintiff’s claims against the insurance agent and agency.

SOURCE: Official court documents and attorneys for the defense from Hartline Barger LLP

CAUSE/CASE NO: 17-09-11698

Judge: Jennifer Robin

Hartline Barger Wins Summary Judgment in Dram Shop Case in Dallas, Co.

On October 7, 2019, Judge Sally Montgomery, of Dallas County Court at Law No. 3, granted Hartline Barger’s summary judgment dismissing all of Plaintiffs’ Dram Shop liability and negligence claims against a Dallas nightclub and its parent company.

The case arose from a January 15, 2017, multi-vehicle auto accident at approximately 3:00 am, which resulted in the death of two passengers, ages 27 and 19. The two drivers involved in the accident received minor injuries and were arrested at the scene for DWI and intoxication manslaughter.

Parents of the deceased filed a lawsuit against the nightclub where one of the drivers had been earlier in the night, claiming the club was negligent and violated the Texas Dram Shop Act by allowing that driver to be served when it was apparent that he was obviously intoxicated to the extent he presented a clear danger to himself and others.

Hartline Barger argued at the summary judgement hearing that Plaintiffs’ claims based on violations of the Texas Dram Shop Act fail because the club was not a provider of alcohol, as defined by the Dram Shop Act. The club was a “bring-your-own-bottle” (“BYOB”) establishment, and considering the Texas Dram Shop Act only applies against a provider of alcohol, which the club was not, any claim based on same should be dismissed with prejudice. Further, Hartline Barger argued that Plaintiffs’ negligence claims fail because (i) under Texas law there is no duty to control the conduct of a third party, absent the existence of a special relationship or some other unusual fact pattern not found here, and (ii) in light of the onerous burden to recover against a commercial alcohol provider for alcohol provision, over and above that required to prove negligence, it would be improper to allow recovery on the less demanding negligence standard against a commercial BYOB enterprise for simply allowing alcohol consumption on its premises. The Court agreed with these arguments and granted summary judgment on Plaintiffs’ Dram Shop and negligence claims.

Defendants were represented by Hartline Barger’s Dallas attorneys Brian Rawson, Stephanie Roark, and Tyler Stuart.

 

Hartline Barger LLP today announced another victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful on summary judgment while defending an apartment complex owner in a premises liability lawsuit filed in Travis County, Texas.

Austin, Texas (March 6, 2020)Hartline Barger LLP today announced another victory after attorneys Brian Rawson and Roy McKay were successful on summary judgment while defending an apartment complex owner in a premises liability lawsuit filed in Travis County, Texas. The case involved allegations that the apartment complex knew or reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition in the landscaping on its premises, which caused Plaintiff to fall and injure herself.
Plaintiff was a resident of an apartment complex owned and operated by Hartline Barger’s client. She alleged that as she was walking her dogs, she fell on the premises, which caused her to suffer a fracture to her ankle. Plaintiff sought over $200,000.00 from the premises owner.

On August 27, 2019, after a hearing on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court found that Plaintiff had not presented any evidence of a dangerous condition on the premises that Hartline Barger’s client knew or reasonably should have known existed. Accordingly, the Court dismissed all of Plaintiff’s claims against the premises owner.

SOURCE: Official court documents and attorneys for the defense from Hartline Barger LLP
CAUSE/CASE NO: D-1-GN-19-000193
Judge: Tim Sulak

Hartline Barger LLP today announced attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Neil Stockbridge were successful through summary judgment in defending a premises owner on a premises liability claim filed in Montgomery County, Texas.

HOUSTON, Texas (March 6, 2020)Hartline Barger LLP today announced attorneys Brian Rawson, Roy McKay, and Neil Stockbridge were successful through summary judgment in defending a premises owner on a premises liability claim filed in Montgomery County, Texas. The case involved allegations that the premises owner knew or reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition on the premises, which caused Plaintiff’s injury.
Plaintiff was a resident of a multi-family residential property. He alleged that while exiting his residence debris from construction work above allegedly fell on him causing injury. Plaintiff sought over $200,000.00 in damages.

Rawson, McKay, and Stockbridge filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that neither the premises, nor the work, were under the control of their client, and as a result, Plaintiff’s claims should fail. On April 11, 2019, the Court granted Hartline Barger’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing all of Plaintiff’s claims against Hartline Barger’s client.

SOURCE: Official court documents and attorneys for the defense from Hartline Barger LLP
CAUSE/CASE NO: 18-03-03061
Judge: K. Michael Mayes

Twelve Attorneys from Hartline Barger LLP Selected for the 2020 Texas Super Lawyers® List of Rising Stars℠

Twelve Attorneys from Hartline Barger LLP Selected for the 2020 Texas Super Lawyers® List of Rising Stars℠

DALLAS, Texas, March 6, 2020— Hartline Barger is pleased to announce a dozen of the firm’s young attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the Texas Super Lawyers® list of Rising Stars℠.

Awarded to fewer than 2.5% of lawyers statewide, the Rising Stars℠ designation recognizes attorneys who are under the age of 40, or who have been in practice for no more than 10 years. These annual selections are based on a rigorous, multiphase process, including peer nominations and review, and independent research. Twelve of the firm’s attorneys received this recognition, including two of the firm’s newest partners Roy McKay and Stephanie Roark.

Other attorneys chosen for the list again this year include Matt Brower, Dale Fresch, Andrew Petersen, Colin Powell, Jake Ramsey, Allison Reppond, Brian Sawyer, Reid Simpson, Luke Spencer, and Laura Vega.

“We are very proud of the accomplishments of this group of attorneys,” said Managing Partner Larry Grayson. “It is nice to see each of them receive the recognition they deserve.”

Hartline Barger LLP is a Southwest-based law firm specializing in civil litigation and trials, with offices in Dallas, Corpus Christi, Houston, Waco, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. The firm’s attorneys pride themselves on providing uncompromising excellence to their clients in a variety of areas, including products liability, commercial litigation, class action and multidistrict litigation, intellectual property, personal-injury defense, premises liability, labor and employment, insurance coverage, healthcare, construction, and dealer/franchise litigation. For more information about Hartline Barger, visit www.hartlinebarger.com.

Hartline Barger LLP Begins 2020 with Announcement of New Partners, Houston Merger, and New Mexico Expansion

DALLAS, TX – Hartline Barger LLP, a Southwest-based, nationally recognized law firm specializing in civil litigation and trials, starts 2020 with the promotion of attorneys Roy McKay, Victor Cardenas, and Jennifer Akre to partners; the promotion of Stephanie Roark and Reid Simpson to equity partners; the addition of four Houston attorneys, including partner David Merkley; and the introduction of partner Don DeCandia and two new offices in New Mexico.

Jennifer Akre has handled a wide array of insurance defense litigation including personal injury, premises liability, trucking accidents, products, and contract litigation. Prior to working at another well-respected Houston litigation firm, Jennifer managed a successful solo practice in Missouri. Jennifer has long made it a point to be active in her community, whether it be volunteering her time to local causes or proudly sponsoring charitable organizations.

Victor Cardenas joined Hartline Barger LLP after more than 8 years with a nationally recognized environmental and litigation law firm, where he was a founding member and shareholder. Victor has been instrumental in helping clients recover historic settlements in watershed environmental cases and successfully litigated high-stakes CERCLA contribution actions, railroad cases, contamination cases, and has complex commercial disputes.

Roy McKay joined the firm in 2011. His practice focuses on product liability, personal injury defense; and deceptive trade practices. Roy launched his career as a trial lawyer with a complete defense verdict in a commercial motor vehicle accident case he tried only four months after passing the Bar exam.

“The election of new partners Roy McKay from our Dallas office, and Jennifer Akre and Victor Cardenas from our Houston office, was an easy decision based on their talent and dedication,” says managing partner, Larry Grayson. “They each bring a unique level of commitment and experience to their practice. We are fortunate to have them.”

Stephanie Roark has defended multiple Fortune 500 and large publicly traded companies in both state and federal court. She has extensive trial experience, successfully defending cases including catastrophic injury and death claims against transportation companies and large hospitality companies. Stephanie has been named a ‘Texas Rising Star,’ by Thomson Reuters every year since 2014. Fewer than 3 percent of the attorneys in a state may be named to the list.

Reid Simpson joined the firm in 2010 after graduating from Baylor Law School. He has significant trial and litigation experience, having represented Fortune 50, Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies in both state and federal court. He has obtained numerous dismissals and summary judgments, and has successfully arbitrated for a variety of clients, including government contractors, medical research institutions, energy companies (midstream, upstream, and downstream), transportation companies, and professional service companies.

“Stephanie Roark from our Dallas office, and Reid Simpson from our Waco office, demonstrated the growth and maturity necessary to become equity partners at Hartline Barger,” says Larry Grayson, managing partner. “The future of the firm is in good hands.”

David Merkley is a board certified trial lawyer with a statewide practice involving the defense of catastrophic losses. He is routinely retained to oversee the containment of evidence and investigation immediately following an event, and then manage the litigation and try cases as lead counsel. He is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and was one of the youngest members of the ABOTA Houston Chapter elected to receive this distinction. David’s concentrated areas of practice include oilfield and refinery incidents, trucking and transportation accidents, products and premises liability claims, general maritime matters, and construction-related claims. He also assists clients in drafting and revising corporate safety manuals, training materials, employee handbooks, and other tools designed to improve a company’s overall safety record and risk avoidance.

“We’re thrilled to have David join our team,” says managing partner Larry Grayson. “He’s an accomplished trial lawyer with an impressive record of success and a stellar reputation.”

In addition to David Merkley, three more Germer attorneys, Sarah Jones, Lisa Massey and Selina Contreras, join Hartline Barger’s Houston office as of counsel and associate attorneys.

Of Counsel Sarah Jones has significant experience trying cases from inception to trial throughout the state of Texas. Sarah routinely represents clients in a wide array of litigation matters, including labor & employment, trucking & transportation, products liability, personal injury, premises liability, oil & gas, construction, warranty & DTPA, and insurance defense. Based on her extensive representation of Fortune 500 Companies, Sarah is highly sought after to provide clients with general risk assessment. In conjunction with providing clients with risk assessments, she is often hired to draft and revise corporate policies and procedures, employee handbooks, and safety protocols.

Of Counsel Elizabeth “Lisa” Massey routinely handles complex litigation for clients across a broad spectrum of legal areas, including oil & gas, trucking & transportation, residential and commercial construction, premises liability, products liability, professional liability, and personal injury. Lisa has an established track record of successfully representing her clients in state, federal and appellate courts and administrative bodies across Texas. As a native of Naples, Italy, Lisa is fluent in Italian.

Associate Selina Contreras focuses her practice on commercial litigation, trucking & transportation, personal injury defense, and premises liability. Before shifting her practice to civil litigation defense, Selina represented injured plaintiffs. This was a valuable experience which she now uses to understand opposing counsel’s approach to case strategy and negotiation.

Along with the firm’s new partner promotions and Houston additions, Hartline Barger is proud to announce its expansion into New Mexico with the addition of partner Don DeCandia and two new offices in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Don DeCandia joins Hartline Barger as he begins his 30th year of practice. He has litigated complex commercial cases and class actions and has a depth of experience in appellate work. Don believes that listening and attention to detail are key components of a successful practice. Don has handled scores of products liability cases in the vehicle context, including the defense of several tire manufacturers in tire failure litigation. Don’s extensive experience in ERISA litigation includes representation of life, health and disability insurers, HMOs, self-funded plans, plan sponsors, plan administrators, pension plans and third-party administrators.

Don’s team has a great deal of experience at both trial and appellate levels. Their practice areas include all manner of personal injury and wrongful death cases, particularly matters involving products liability, insurance defense, trucking, and premises liability. The team also handles matters related to insurance bad faith and coverage, construction law, and ERISA litigation.

“To better serve our clients we opened offices in Albuquerque, and Santa Fe, New Mexico’s largest city and its state capital, respectively,” says Santa Fe partner, Don DeCandia. “We have a team of attorneys and staff with a wealth of experience in litigation here in New Mexico, and we are excited to be a part of this firm’s future.”

Hartline Barger is a Southwest-based law firm founded in 1994, Hartline Barger LLP serves clients throughout the state and across the country, with offices in Dallas, Houston, Corpus Christi, Waco, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque. The firm is nationally recognized for its work in product liability litigation and a broad spectrum of practice areas—from personal injury defense, commercial litigation and toxic torts to warranty and deceptive trade practice litigation. For more information, visit hartlinebarger.com.  

##