Trial Experience

Eddie Jay Thatcher v. Oak Bend Medical Center ; Case no. 4:14-cv-03551; Honorable Gray Miller; In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were trial counsel in a three day trial representing Plaintiff who alleged he was terminated from Oak Bend for engaging in constitutionally protected speech pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Firm drafted and filed pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge(s), exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and trial briefs. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff. Date Concluded: 2/10/2016.

Mary Ellen Wolf and David Wolf v. Wells Fargo, N.A.; Case no. 2011-36476; Honorable Mike Engelhart; In the 151st District Court of Harris County, Texas. Plaintiffs originally brought this case as a class action. On May 1, 2013, the district court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification.  Shortly thereafter, Defendants’ filed an interlocutory appeal of the Court’s order granting class certification to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals (No. 14-13-00435-CV).  On appeal, Plaintiffs argument was that the trial court implicitly withdrew a previous MSJ order by issuing an inconsistent class certification order. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Wolf, 444 S.W.3d 685, 689 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, no pet.). On August 21, 2014, after briefing and oral arguments, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued its opinion reversing the trial court’s order granting class certification.  Plaintiffs opted to pursue the case individually in the trial court.  Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a four day trial representing Plaintiffs in this wrongful foreclosure action. The Firm prepared and drafted responses to Motions for Summary Judgment. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge(s), exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and trial briefs.  Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff. Date Concluded: 11/17/2015.

Danielle Geoffrion and Darren Kasmir v. Nationstar Mortgage, LLC; Case no. 4:14-cv-00350; Honorable Amos Mazzant; In the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a two day trial representing Plaintiffs in a RESPA claim against their mortgage servicing company. The Firm prepared and drafted responses to Motions for Summary Judgment. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge(s), exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and trial briefs. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff. Date Concluded: 09/10/2015.

Yvonne Downs v. Red River Hospital, LLC; Case no. 7:13-cv-00129; Honorable Reed O’Connor; In the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a three day trial representing Plaintiff in an employment / wrongful termination lawsuit pursuant to Texas Health & Safety Code 161.134. The Firm prepared and drafted responses to Motions for Summary Judgment. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge(s), exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and trial briefs. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff. Date Concluded: 12/17/2014.

Carl Thompson v. The Methodist Hospital; Cause No. 2012-33451; Honorable Michael Landrum; In the 113th District Court, Harris County, Texas; Lead trial counsel in a three day trial representing Plaintiff in an employment / wrongful termination lawsuit against defendant The Methodist Hospital (“Methodist”). Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys prepared and drafted responses to Motions for Summary Judgment.  Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge(s), exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and trial brief on exclusion of evidence under the collateral source rule.  Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Opposing counsel: Daniel Patton, Scott Patton, P.C. (Texas Bar No. 24013302). This was a wrongful termination case brought pursuant to Texas Labor Code § 451.  Plaintiff, a former security guard employed by Methodist, alleged Methodist terminated his employment in retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim in good faith.  Methodist claimed they fired Plaintiff pursuant to its Leave of Absence (“LOA”) Policy.  The LOA Policy says all employees will be fired if they take a combined LOA longer than six months in any 12-month rolling period.  Plaintiff presented evidence during trial showing he was fired before his LOA expired. Amount in Controversy: Past Lost Wages & Benefits – $71,624.00. Future Lost Wages & Benefits – $68,759.04. Past Mental Anguish – $142,000.00. Future Mental Anguish – $50,000.00. Date Concluded: 04/16/2014.

Jennifer Ober v. John Thomas Wilson; Cause No. C-1-CV-10-011403; Honorable Eric M. Shepperd; In the County Court at Law No. 2, Travis County, Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a two-day trial representing Plaintiff in a personal injury auto accident lawsuit against defendant John Thomas Wilson. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, and motion in limine.  Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, presented Plaintiff and other witnesses for direct examination testimony at trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, and conducted the closing argument at trial. Opposing counsel was Eric J. Martin (Texas Bar No. 24032571). Details of Principal Issues Involved: What amount of damages would reasonably and adequately compensate Plaintiff for the injuries she suffered as a result of the auto accident, including (a) physical pain and mental anguish in the past and future, (b) medical bills in the past and future, and (c) and loss of earning capacity in the past. Amount in Controversy: $7,747.96 in past medical bills (paid and incurred). Amount Awarded: $12,500.00 – Past pain and suffering. $4,500.00 – Future pain and suffering. $7,747.96 – Past medical bills. $4,500.00 – Future medical bills. $194.00 – Loss of earning capacity in the past. Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $29,441.96. Date Concluded: 10/08/2013.

Daniel E. Supkis, Jr., M.D. v. The Methodist Hospital; Cause No. 2012-06189, Honorable Sylvia A. Matthews; In the 281st District Court, Harris County, Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a seven-day trial representing Plaintiff in an employment / retaliation lawsuit against defendant The Methodist Hospital (“Methodist”). Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys took the oral and videotaped depositions of approximately thirteen (13) witnesses. Prepared and drafted responses to Motions for Summary Judgment.  Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the proposed jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and motion to exclude expert testimony. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial; and made the jury argument during closing statements. Opposing Counsel was R. Paul Yetter, Yetter Coleman, LLP (Texas Bar No. 22154200). Details of Principal Issues Involved: This was an employment / retaliation case brought pursuant to Health & Safety Code § 161.135.  Plaintiff, the former Medical Director of the Methodist Hospital’s Anesthesia Pre-Operative Clinic, alleged Methodist, as a non-employer, unlawfully retaliated against him in numerous ways for reporting violations of law.  Plaintiff alleged Methodist retaliated against him by causing Plaintiff’s termination; repeatedly interfering with Plaintiff’s right to practice medicine at Methodist, to which he is entitled as a Medical Staff member in good standing; and intentionally misrepresenting facts surrounding Plaintiff’s termination to members of Methodist’s medical staff. Amount in Controversy: $7,000,000.00. Describe Result: Verdict for Defendant (10-2). Date Concluded: 08/22/2013.

Darryl McKnight v. TEAM Industrial Services, Inc. and TEAM, Inc.; Cause No. 2012-03767; Honorable Larry Weiman; In the 80th District Court, Harris County, Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a three-day trial representing Plaintiff in an employment / wrongful termination lawsuit against defendants TEAM Industrial Services, Inc. and TEAM, Inc. (“Team”). Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and motion to exclude evidence of criminal history. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial. Opposing Counsel was Barry G. Flynn, Gordon & Rees, LLP (Texas Bar No. 07196560). This was a wrongful termination case filed under the Texas common law principals established by Sabine Pilot Services v. Hauck, 687 S.W.2d 733, 735 (Tex. 1985). Plaintiff claimed he was terminated for refusing to commit an illegal act. In approximately June of 2011, Plaintiff was hired as a machinist for Defendants.  In approximately December of 2011, Plaintiff observed several firearm silencers designed for an AK-47 assault rifle on his supervisor’s desk, and also noticed aluminum shavings in the shaving bin of his machine on Defendants’ Premises. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff’s supervisor approached him and asked Plaintiff to manufacture a firearm silencer designed for an AK-47 assault rifle using the Defendants’ Equipment on Defendants’ Premises.  The National Firearms Act (“NFA”) definition of “firearm” includes “any silencer.” See 26 U.S.C. §§ 5845(a)(7). According to the NFA, all firearms, including silencers, must be registered in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record maintained by the Secretary of the Treasury. See 26 U.S.C. § 5841.  Section 5861(d) makes it a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for any person to possess a firearm or silencer that is not properly registered. See 26 U.S.C. §§ 5861(d), 5871.  Any person intending to manufacture firearms or silencers shall, before commencing manufacture, obtain the license required by the Gun Control Act of 1968. Plaintiff refused to commit the illegal act of manufacturing a firearm silencer without the proper license, and told his supervisor he would not participate in the manufacture of firearm silencers. Amount in Controversy: $19,000.00 (past lost earnings) and $60,000.00 (future lost earnings). Amount Awarded: $25,000.00 (past lost earnings) and $100,000.00 (future lost earnings). Describe Result: Unanimous Jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $125,000.00. Date Concluded: 05/30/2013.

Mikel Boston v. Henry Otto Strunk a/k/a Butch Strunk; Cause No. 22,765; Honorable William C. Kirkendall; In the 2nd 25th District Court, Colorado County, Texas; Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a two-day trial representing Plaintiff Mikel Boston in a personal injury lawsuit alleging defendant hit plaintiff with a bulldozer. Responsible for arguing all pretrial motions at the pre-trial hearing, lead counsel during the pretrial conference, selected the jury, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, solely responsible for arguments and responses during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, conducted closing arguments in the trial. Opposing Counsel was Harold Wayne “Hal” Hargis (Texas Bar No. 00784213). Amount in Controversy: $27,000 in past medical bills. Describe Result: Defense Verdict. Date Concluded: May 14, 2013.

Rafter Irving v. Karla S. Eubanks; Cause No. 2011-58913; Honorable Kyle Carter; In the 125th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas; Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead trial counsel in a one-day trial representing Plaintiff Rafter Irving in an auto collision lawsuit. Solely responsible for arguing all pretrial motions at the pre-trial hearing, lead counsel during the pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, solely responsible for arguments and responses during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, conducted closing arguments in the trial. Opposing Counsel was Esther Cortez Treneer (Texas Bar No. 04844900); Amount in Controversy: $120,000.00. Describe Result: Unanimous Jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $30,093.98. Date Concluded: 02/20/2013.

SSC Opportunity Partners, LLC v. L.S. “Trey” Halberdier, III, Robert D. Banzhaf, Bandier Realty Partners, LLC, et al.; Cause No. 2011-43194; Honorable Steven Kirkland; In the 215th Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas; Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a month-long trial (17 full days of trial) representing Plaintiff SSC in a commercial litigation lawsuit against several defendants. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and page / line deposition designations.  Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, presented plaintiff’s witnesses for testimony at trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial. Opposing Counsel was Craig H. Clendenin (Texas Bar No. 04375000), Chris Bell (Texas Bar No. 00783631), and Patricia A. Peterson (Texas Bar No. 24053765). Amount in Controversy:   $15 Million (actual damages). Describe Result: Unanimous jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $16.5 Million, including $1.5 Million in punitive damages. Date Concluded: 12/21/2012.

Mona Hartnett v. CT Intercontinental, Ltd. d/b/a MINI of the Woodlands; Cause No. 11-09-10290-CV; Honorable Kathleen A. Hamilton (Judge Claudia Laird presided at trial); In the 359th Judicial District Court, Montgomery County, Texas (Jury trial was held in County Court at Law #2, Montgomery County, TX). Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a three-day trial representing Plaintiff in a consumer fraud / DTPA lawsuit against defendant CT Intercontinental, Ltd. d/b/a MINI of the Woodlands. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and page / line deposition designations. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, presented plaintiff’s expert witness for testimony at trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, and conducted rebuttal closing argument at trial. Opposing Counsel was Mark Bankston (Texas Bar No. 24001430). Describe Result: Defense verdict. Date Concluded: 09/19/2012.

Krishna D. Day v. Sylvia Perez; Cause No. 2009-54894; Honorable Joseph J. “Tad” Halbach Jr.; In the 333rd Judicial District Court, Harris County, Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a two-day trial representing Plaintiff in a personal injury auto accident lawsuit against defendant Sylvia Perez. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and page / line deposition designations. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, presented plaintiff’s expert witness for testimony at trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, and conducted the closing argument at trial. Opposing Counsel was Allen A. King (Texas Bar No. 11433490). Describe Result: Jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $43,077.76. Amount Awarded: $11,677.76 – Past medical bills. $21,400.00 – Future medical bills. $10,000.00 – Past physical pain and mental anguish. $43,077.76 – Total Verdict. Date Concluded: 06/20/2012.

Eddie Hall v. Travis County; Cause No. C-1-CV-10-006555; Honorable David Phillips; In the Travis County Civil Court at Law No. 1. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a two-day trial representing Plaintiff in a personal injury auto accident lawsuit against Travis County. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and page / line deposition designations. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, and conducted the closing argument at trial. Opposing Counsel was Anthony J. Nelson, Travis County Attorney’s Office (Texas Bar No. 14885800). Facts of case: On May 11, 2009, Eddie Hall (“Plaintiff”) was the driver of a vehicle which was stopped at a red light at the intersection of Johnny Morris Road and F.M. 969 in Austin, Travis County, Texas.  Quincy Lamont Stiles was the driver of a vehicle behind Plaintiff, and rapidly approaching the back of Plaintiff’s stopped vehicle at the red light. Quincy Lamont Stiles negligently operated or used his motor driven vehicle, failed to control the speed of his vehicle, and negligently struck the back of Plaintiff’s vehicle while Plaintiff was stopped at the red light at the intersection of Johnny Morris Road and F.M. 969 in Austin, Travis County, Texas. (the “Collision”). At all times relevant to the lawsuit, Quincy Lamont Stiles (the “Employee”) was employed by Travis County (“Defendant”), acting in the course and scope of his employment for Defendant. Defendant owed Plaintiff a legal duty of ordinary care. Defendant, through its Employee, breached its duty to Plaintiff and was negligent by failing to control the speed of his vehicle resulting in Plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiff’s injuries and damages were proximately caused by Defendant and its Employee’s operation or use of a motor driven vehicle. Defendant’s Employee would have been personally liable to the Plaintiff under Texas law.  Plaintiff filed suit alleging negligence pursuant to the Texas Tort Claims Act (“TTCA”). Describe Result: Unanimous Jury verdict for Plaintiff in the amount of $4,854.00. The jury found Defendant 100% negligent. Date Concluded: 11/15/2011.

Georgia Duke v. Houston Aquarium, Inc.; Cause No. 932,979; Honorable Jacqueline Lucci Smith; In the Harris County Civil Court at Law No. 2. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were lead counsel in a four-day trial representing Plaintiff in a personal injury premises liability lawsuit against Laundry’s Restaurants. Drafted and filed all pre-trial preparation submission motions and documents, including the jury charge, exhibit list, witness list, motion in limine, and page / line deposition designations. Argued motions at the pre-trial hearings, conducted pretrial conference, selected the jury during voir dire, prepared and admitted trial exhibits into evidence at trial, preserved issues for appeal on the record at trial, cross-examined witnesses during trial, identified all possible issues and/or errors in the Court’s jury charge during the charge conference, conferred with defense counsel on various evidentiary issues, trial exhibits, and witness testimony throughout the trial, and conducted the closing argument at trial. Opposing Counsel was R. Edward Perkins (Texas Bar No. 15790410). Facts of case: Plaintiff tripped over an extension cord at the Downtown Aquarium during a business meeting presentation. Defendant designated Plaintiff’s company as responsible 3rd party (for negligently setting up equipment and power cord). Main issue: who was responsible for creating the dangerous condition (extension cord). Describe Result: Jury verdict for Plaintiff in the total amount of $87,644.90. Date Concluded: 12/06/2010.

In the Interest of Duncan Cannell, Meagan Stauss, Emily Conti, Children; Cause No. 08-CP-0097; Honorable Janice L. Yarbrough; In the 306th Judicial District Court, Galveston County, Texas. Hughes Ellzey and its attorneys were hired as lead counsel the day before a seven-day trial was scheduled to begin. We were representing respondents against Galveston County. The State of Texas was seeking termination of our clients’ parental rights. We were responsible for all pre-trial motions, voir dire, opening statements, direct examination of witnesses, cross-examination of over sixteen fact witnesses and two experts, and closing arguments. Opposing Counsel was Wade Greiner, Assistant District Attorney (Texas Bar No. 24053894). Describe Result: Verdict for State. Date Concluded: 01/21/2010.