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May, 2018

Senior Partners William M. Toles and Scott W. Self Prevail in Tarrant County Trial.

 

FSSV senior partners William M. Toles and Scott W. Self obtained a defense verdict for FSSV's client in a trial in state court in Tarrant County, Texas, in a case involving allegations of car dealer negligence.  The plaintiff, a pedestrian who was filling her SUV with gas, was struck by a car that FSSV’s client had sold approximately 3½ months before the accident.  The car’s owner and her boyfriend, who was driving the vehicle when it struck the plaintiff, alleged that the car’s brakes failed.  The plaintiff suffered a number of severe injuries and had medical bills of $491,000 as a result of the accident.  The plaintiff alleged that FSSV’s client failed to inspect and service the car properly before selling it and therefore asked the jury to award damages in excess of $6 million.  Plaintiff counsel previously demanded $5.75 million prior to trial.  FSSV partners Toles and Self showed the jury that the accident was caused by the negligence of the car’s owner and driver, rather than by FSSV’s client.  After a week of trial, the Tarrant County jury rendered a defense verdict for FSSV's client. Toles and Self were recently named “Best Lawyers in Dallas 2018”

by D Magazine.

 

 

 

May, 2018

FSSV Senior Partners Scott Self and William Toles have been selected for inclusion on

D Magazine’s “Best Lawyers in Dallas 2018” list, in the May issue of the magazine.

 

D Magazine describes attorneys featured on the “Best Lawyers in Dallas 2018” list as “members of the legal community representing the people and institutions of Dallas with mastery and drive.”  Honorees are selected through peer-review voting, with the final selections determined by an independent panel of distinguished attorneys who work with editors at the publication.

 

 

 

March, 2018

Senior Partner Michael Sharp and Senior Counsel Robyn Wise Obtain Defense Verdict

 

On March 22, 2018, FSSV senior partner Michael Sharp and senior counsel Robyn Wise obtained a defense verdict for FSSV's client in state court in Collin County, Texas.  The case arose from a trucking accident that occurred in McKinney, Texas.  FSSV’s motor carrier client was operating a tractor-trailer northbound on I-75 when their driver encountered traffic that suddenly stopped for road construction.  The truck driver contended that the construction restricted his view of traffic traveling ahead of him.  The truck driver took evasive action, but collided with the rear of the Plaintiff’s vehicle.  Plaintiff argued that FSSV’s client was negligent for failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to apply his brakes in a reasonable manner, failing to maintain proper control of his vehicle, and driving while distracted.  Plaintiff claimed injuries to her neck, back and lower extremities.  She received extensive medical care and sought recovery for past and future medical expenses, impairment, pain and suffering.  Plaintiff’s counsel demanded $1,000,000 prior to the start of trial.  FSSV asserted a sudden emergency defense although the presiding judge refused to submit that definition to the jury.  Nevertheless, the jury found no negligence on the truck driver after deliberating for approximately 30 minutes.

 

 

 

March, 2018

Senior Partner Jeff C. Wright Wins Arbitration for Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Nonsubscriber Lawsuit Pending in South Texas

 

On March 6, 2018, FSSV Senior Partner Jeff C. Wright obtained a successful defense verdict in a Nonsubscriber lawsuit that went to binding, Final Arbitration in Edinburg, Texas. The Plaintiff initially filed her lawsuit in the Hidalgo County Court, seeking an unspecified amount of damages for a displaced, fractured femur that allegedly resulted from a fall at work. Since Plaintiff’s claims fell within the scope of an Arbitration Agreement between Plaintiff and FSSV’s client, Jeff Wright filed a Motion to Compel Arbitration that was hotly contested by Plaintiff and her attorney. After oral argument and taking the matter under advisement, the Hidalgo County Court Judge granted our Motion to Compel Arbitration, which was a good initial victory given the South Texas venue. Thereafter, the litigation proceeded in Arbitration. At the final Arbitration Hearing, Plaintiff asserted negligence claims and sought an award of $153,000 in damages, plus an unspecified amount for mental anguish, pain and suffering. After presentation of all testimony and evidence, the Arbitrator agreed with the defense argument presented by FSSV senior partner Jeff Wright and concluded that (1) FSSV’s client did not breach its duty to exercise reasonable care to provide a safe place to work, and that (2) Plaintiff’s alleged injuries and damages were not caused by any negligent act or omission on the part of FSSV’s client. The Arbitrator ordered that Plaintiff take nothing by her lawsuit.

 

 

 

February, 2018

America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators®

 

Announcing the selection of Scott W. Self among America’s Top 100 Civil Defense Litigators® for 2018.  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.

 

 

 

February, 2018

Senior Partner Scott W. Self and Senior Counsel Kelly C. Walker Prevail

in Denton County Jury Trial

 

FSSV senior partner Scott W. Self and senior counsel Kelly C. Walker obtained a defense verdict for FSSV's client in a trial in state court in Denton County, Texas, involving complex environmental issues. The plaintiff, which owns real property in Denton County, claimed that FSSV's client, a heavy civil contractor, had unlawfully removed fill dirt from the plaintiff's property and dumped contaminants onto the property. The plaintiff demanded more than $13 million before trial and asked the jury to award damages in excess of $8 million during trial. FSSV attorneys Self and Walker showed the jury that FSSV's client had lawfully purchased the fill dirt from the landowner's agent and had brought non-hazardous and commercially useful replacement material back to the property. After two weeks of trial, the Denton County jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict for FSSV's client.FSSV senior partner Scott W. Self and senior counsel Kelly C. Walker obtained a defense verdict for FSSV's client in a trial in state court in Denton County, Texas, involving complex environmental issues. The plaintiff, which owns real property in Denton County, claimed that FSSV's client, a heavy civil contractor, had unlawfully removed fill dirt from the plaintiff's property and dumped contaminants onto the property. The plaintiff demanded more than $13 million before trial and asked the jury to award damages in excess of $8 million during trial. FSSV attorneys Self and Walker showed the jury that FSSV's client had lawfully purchased the fill dirt from the landowner's agent and had brought non-hazardous and commercially useful replacement material back to the property. After two weeks of trial, the Denton County jury rendered a unanimous defense verdict for FSSV's client.

 

 

 

January, 2018

Senior Partner, Jennifer Mauer Lee selected to serve as a Course Director for the 2018 Advanced Personal Injury continuing legal education program.

 

Jennifer Mauer Lee, Partner in our Dallas office, was recently selected to serve as a Course Director for the 2018 Advanced Personal Injury continuing legal education program. Ms. Lee will serve for the Dallas event while Judge David Canales will serve in San Antonio and Mark Murray will serve in Houston. This program is an annual course offered by the Texas Bar CLE and the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas. 2018 will mark the program's 34th annual course. We are pleased to have Ms. Lee serve as a course director for this distinguished event.

 

 

 

December 30, 2017

Partners, Aaron J. Burke and Jennifer Mauer Lee named to Best Lawyers Under 40 of 2018

by D Magazine.

 

Congratulations to FSSV Partners, Aaron J. Burke and Jennifer Mauer Lee for being recognized as outstanding young lawyers in the

North Texas area.

 

 

 

 

FSSV Partner Scott Self inducted into the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)

 

November 18, 2017

Congratulations to Partner, Scott Self for his induction into the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).

 

Photographed from left to right: Thomas W. Fee, Scott W. Self and William M. Toles

 

Scott Self was inducted into the Dallas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) on November 18, 2017. ABOTA is a national association of trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Membership is by invitation only. Senior Partner Tom Fee and Partner William Toles are also members of ABOTA.

 

 

 

 

 

September 21, 2017

Congratulations to the newest Texas Super Lawyers Honorees.

 

Clint V. Cox, IV, Thomas W. Fee, Howard J. Klatsky, Bret A. Sanders, Scott W. Self, William M. Toles and Jeff C. Wright

 

Super Lawyers 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 patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

 

 

 

September 10, 2017

Partner Clint V. Cox, IV Leads the Firm’s Catastrophic Weather-Related Loss Team

 

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, FSSV stands ready to assist our clients with risk assessment and claims handling. Our Austin, Dallas and Houston based attorneys are experienced in managing catastrophic weather-related losses regarding first- and third-party personal/commercial property, casualty and coverage. Should you or your business have experienced a loss, be in the process of managing pending risk or need coordinating counsel for diligence on existing insuring/commercial contracts, our attorneys and staff are available to help. If you have specific questions, please contact our lead partner, Clint Cox, at (972) 934-9100.

 

 

 

August 3, 2017

Partners Howard J. Klatsky and Jeff C. Wright Prevail in Dallas and Harris Counties

 

FSSV Obtains Summary Judgment in Apartment Assault Case

 

Lemus v. Cookscreek 255, LLC, et al; Dallas County District Court

On August 1, 2017 Partner Howard J. Klatsky obtained a final Summary Judgment in the 192nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County in favor of the firm’s clients, who had been sued for premises liability, deceptive trade practices, nuisance, breach of contract, and other causes of action. These claims were asserted  after a third party, who entered an apartment unit in the early morning hours through a window that had an alleged defective lock, assaulted and unsuccessfully attempted to rape a female occupant. Plaintiffs were seeking to recover a multi-million dollar Judgment in this case.

 

 

Partner Jeff C. Wright Wins Arbitration for National Retail Store Client in Nonsubscriber Lawsuit

 

On August 2, 2017, Partner Jeff C. Wright obtained a successful defense verdict in a case that went to binding, Final Arbitration in Harris County, Texas. The Claimant filed suit against her employer (a national retail store), alleging that she suffered a knee injury as a result of negligence on the part of her employer. Claimant underwent one knee surgery and alleged she was in need of a total knee replacement surgery.  Originally, the defense of this case was handled by a different law firm and different defense counsel. With just less than 60 days prior to the scheduled date of the Final Arbitration Hearing, the national retail store contacted Jeff Wright at Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo, LLP, asking if he would agree to take over the defense of the case and handle the Arbitration Hearing. Despite the short notice, Mr. Wright and our firm gladly stepped in to defend the Client. At the Arbitration Hearing, Claimant asserted various negligence claims (unsafe workplace, unsafe equipment, failure to train, failure to warn, etc.) and sought an award of $350,000 in damages. After the Arbitration Hearing, both parties submitted post-hearing briefing. In the end, the Arbitrator found in favor of our Client and ordered that Claimant take nothing by her lawsuit.

 

 

 

July 14, 2017

Partner Maria L. Fox and Senior Associate J. Kevin Shaw Prevail in Fatality Trucking Case in Beaumont, Texas.

 

On July 14, 2017, after 5 days of trial in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in Beaumont, Texas, a 9-member jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of FSSV’s clients Buckley Transport, Inc. and its driver Cravin Brock.  The case arose from an accident that occurred on February 29, 2016 at approximately 11:00 pm in Orange, Texas.  Mr. Brock’s 18-wheeler experienced an unexpected and catastrophic engine failure with limited warning while traveling on I-10.  After the engine failure, Mr. Brock was able to exit the freeway while coasting when his 18-wheeler came to a stop with it partially blocking the right hand lane of the two lane feeder road.  Plaintiff, driving a Ford SUV with his wife as his passenger, struck the rear of the disabled 18-wheeler without braking or taking evasive action.  Plaintiff was seriously injured and his wife died approximately one month later from her injuries.  Plaintiff argued that Mr. Brock was negligent and negligent per se alleging that the 18-wheeler lights and flashers were not operational at the time of impact due to other mechanical problems, that he delayed in setting out warning triangles, and that he should have exited the highway immediately upon the first warning of engine trouble by pulling into a parking lot so as to avoid becoming disabled in a travel lane.  Defendants’ evidence included testimony from a witness and the investigating officer that the trailer lights and hazard flashers were visible from a distance as they approached the scene after the accident and that the lights and flashers remained on throughout the investigation.  Plaintiff further claimed that Buckley Transport negligently hired, trained, supervised and retained Mr. Brock, and the actions of both Defendants constituted gross negligence.  Ms. Fox argued, and the jury agreed, that Plaintiff was the sole cause of the accident.

 

 

 

May 15, 2017

Congratulations to the newest Rising Stars Honorees.

 

Senior Associates Jason A. Burris and Margaret A. “Meg” Johnson

 

Super Lawyers 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 patented selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

 

 

 

May 5, 2017

Fee, Smith, Sharp & Vitullo LLP Attorneys Named The Best of 2017 by D Magazine.

 

Congratulations to FSSV Senior Partner Tom Fee, Partner William Toles, Associates Jas Braich and Kelly Walker for being selected by D Magazine as 2017 Best Lawyers in Dallas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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