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Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin, P.C. is pleased to provide you with our Fall 2010 Newsletter and Legal Update. Below you will find information regarding successes and activities of our attorneys.

Please click the hyperlinks for updates regarding Local Government Law, Constitutional/Civil Rights Law, Products Liability, Takings and Zoning, Employment Law, and School Law .

If you would like additional information regarding these updates, please contact the writers at 214-369-1300.


Victory Before The United States Court of Appeals

FHMBK attorneys Thomas P. Brandt and Joshua Skinner successfully represented three officials of Midland Independent School District in an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in a case involving allegations of a racially hostile work environment. The appellate court agreed that three of the officials were entitled to qualified immunity. The court held that the alleged actions were less severe than a variety of actions the court previously deemed insufficient to create a hostile work environment. The victory not only made clear that the individual defendants should be dismissed, but also made clear that the remaining claim of hostile work environment against the school district was insufficient to state a claim. McKee v. Lang et al, No. 09-50951.

Trial Victories

FHMBK attorney Rocky Little successfully defended a tow truck/wrecker service company that was sued for negligence, conversion, implied bailment, and violations of the DTPA. The Plaintiff, a trucking company, sought to recover about $80,000, of which about $30,000 was for attorney fees. Following a two-day trial in Abilene, Taylor County, Texas, and based on the jury’s verdict, the parties entered into an Agreed Judgment for $16,000, of which, $14,000 was for Plaintiff’s recovery of attorney fees. In other words, excluding reasonable attorney fees, the recovery of which are mandated by statute, the Plaintiff recovered $2000 for claimed property damages of more than $50,000.

FHMBK attorney Rocky Little successfully defended a Dallas area manufacturer in a construction defect lawsuit filed in Johnson County. The plaintiff building owner was seeking three million dollars in damages from the manufacturer. The jury attributed 100 per cent of the fault for the construction defects to the negligence of the building owner and awarded no money damages to the manufacturer.

Since August 23, 2010, Marc Fanning has presented, argued and won five motions for summary judgment involving slip and fall type claims on behalf of a prominent grocery store chain operating twenty-five stores in the North Texas area.

Don Martinson and Leslie Echols Pitts secured the dismissal of plaintiff’s state law claims in a federal copyright and trademark infringement case filed in the Northern District of Texas, arguing that the same were preempted under Federal law.

Barry Fanning and Gerald Lotzer were successful in obtaining a summary judgment in a Dallas County District Court in favor of a defendant HVAC manufacturer in a lawsuit filed against it by a plaintiff who was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a fall from a used ladder sold by the HVAC manufacturer to a relative of the plaintiff. The plaintiff unsuccessfully argued for an expansion of existing tort law applicable to sellers of used products. The case is now on appeal to the Dallas Court of Appeals.


FHMBK is pleased to announce that David R. Upham has joined the firm as “of counsel.”

FHMBK is please to announce that Thomas P. Brandt was recently featured on a television news report regarding the issue of the search and seizure of cell phones in public schools.

To find out more about these attorneys, or more about our firm, please visit our website at www.fhmbk.com.