Winter 2011 Newsletter and Legal Update
SUCCESS BASED ON LONG LASTING
RELATIONSHIPS FORGED IN INTEGRITY,
EXCELLENCE, COMMITMENT AND TEAMWORK.
Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin, P.C. is pleased to provide you with our Winter 2011 Newsletter and Legal Update. Below you will find information regarding successes and activities of our attorneys.
Please click the hyperlinks for updates regarding: Civil Rights Law, Products Liability, Employment Law, School Law, Commercial Trucking Litigation, Premises Liability, and Insurance Law. Please call us with your questions or comments.
Victories and Honors
Texas Supreme Court Hears FHMBK’S Oral Argument
Don Martinson recently orally argued an important case before the Texas Supreme Court involving the parameters of an insurance carrier’s right to invoke the appraisal clause of a commercial general liability (CGL) policy in reference to a property loss. The case, In Re Universal Underwriters of Texas Insurance Company¸ has attracted the interest of the insurance industry as well as others. Numerous amicus briefs were filed in this case. Don orally argued the case in December 2010. A ruling is expected to be rendered by the summer.
U.S. Fifth Circuit Grants FHMBK’S Petition for En Banc Review
In a case of national importance, Thomas P. Brandt and Joshua Skinner successfully petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to grant en banc review to consider whether two public elementary school principals should be given qualified immunity from Plaintiff’s claims of religious viewpoint discrimination. The appeal by the two principals in Morgan v. Swanson (the so-called “candy cane case”), focuses on whether the law was clearly established such that any reasonable public school official would have known that it was illegal to prohibit students from passing out religious literature at school. The case has been scheduled for oral argument the week of May 23, 2011.
District Court Victories
Thomas P. Brandt and Francisco J. Valenzuela successfully represented the Fort Worth Independent School District in a case involving allegations of race, age, and sex employment discrimination. After prevailing on a motion for sanctions and having fees awarded in Fort Worth ISD’s favor, FHMBK filed a motion for summary judgment. About two weeks later, the plaintiff dismissed her claims against Fort Worth ISD. Kelly v. Fort Worth ISD, No. 4:09-cv-00613-Y.
Joshua Skinner successfully represented a community college district in a civil rights case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff alleged violations of the United States Constitution as well as of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. FHMBK filed a motion to dismiss and the district court granted the motion and dismissed the case. Russell v DCCCD, No. 3:10-CV-724.
Joshua Skinner successfully represented employees of a community college district in an employment case in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff alleged negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and intentional interference with a contractual relationship. FHMBK filed a motion to dismiss and the district court granted the motion and dismissed the claims against the employee defendants. Mohamad v DCCCD, No. 3:10-cv-1189.
Thomas P. Brandt and John Husted successfully represented five officials of a local school district who had been accused of race discrimination and retaliation. Mr. Brandt and Mr. Husted filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of the individual defendants which was granted by the district court. Lovelace v. Coppell ISD; No. 3-10-cv-1015.
Thomas P. Brandt and John F. Roehm III successfully represented Carroll ISD in a case involving allegations of breach of contract. Mr. Brandt and Mr. Roehm filed a motion to dismiss on the basis of failure to exhaust administrative remedies. In response, the Plaintiff dismissed all her claims. Barton v Carroll ISD; No. 141-244776-10, 141st Judicial District Court, Tarrant County, Texas.
Thomas P. Brandt and Francisco J. Valenzuela successfully represented Superintendent Kelly Rodgers and Principal Danielle Whiffen in a case involving allegations of federal constitutional violations stemming from an alleged student-on-student sexual assault and alleged subsequent harassment. FHMBK filed motions to dismiss based on qualified immunity for Mr. Rodgers and Ms. Whiffen and orally argued the motions before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The Court held that Mr. Rodgers and Ms. Whiffen were entitled to qualified immunity and dismissed them from the lawsuit. Forsythe v. Terrell ISD, No. 3:10-CV-00204.
Honors and Announcments
FHMBK is pleased to announce that Jennifer L. Kelley and Laura O’Leary have joined the firm.
The State Bar of Texas’ Board of Directors approved FHMBK attorney Francisco J. Valenzuela as Co-Chairman of the State Bar’s History & Preservation Committee.
To find out more about these attorneys, or more about our firm, please visit our website at www.fhmbk.com