In the News: Texas 2019

A roundup of relevant news from lawyers listed in Texas.

Legal News Roundup Texas
Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers

June 10, 2019 11:00 AM

In the Headlines

Thompson & Knight: William L. Banowsky (Commercial Litigation; Corporate Compliance Law; Corporate Governance Law; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation - Health Care; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – First Amendment; Litigation – Mergers and Acquisitions; Litigation – Securities; Litigation – Regulatory Enforcement (SEC, Telecom, Energy), 2006) was a member of the trial team representing Encompass Office Solutions against BlueCross BlueShield Louisiana. BlueCross BlueShield Louisiana was found to have improperly reimbursed Encompass for medical procedures. Encompass, a Dallas-based company focused on women’s health, was awarded $9.5 million.

Wright Abshire, Attorneys: Wesley E. Wright (Elder Law; 2008) and Molly Dear Abshire (Elder Law; Trusts and Estates, 2008) alerted the public to a Medicaid-related policy change that would have a serious impact on Texas seniors’ retirement accounts. “It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still consider Medicaid planning,” wrote Wright and Abshire for the Houston Chronicle. “It means you need the planning even more because you are trying to exercise wisdom in the selection of options that will allow you to obtain Medicaid but still protect assets.”

Honorable Mention

Bracewell: J. Tullos Wells (Employment Law – Management; Labor Law – Management, 2001) hosted the 11th annual UNCF Mayor’s Luncheon at the Norris Conference Center in San Antonio. Nearly 250 guests, including corporate partners and community leaders, attended the event. “I am proud to be continuing this tradition in San Antonio, and I appreciate all of the sponsors who help make this event a major success. UNCF's work helping people of color get access to higher education must go on," said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. "Scholarships such as those awarded by UNCF make a significant difference. They reduce student debt and allow more Americans to work their way into high-income brackets."

Greenberg Traurig: Thomas J. Bond (Administrative/Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice; Insurance Law, 2006) welcomed Elizabeth “Heidi” G. Bloch, a Texas appellate lawyer, to the firm’s Austin office as a shareholder. At Greenberg, Bloch will focus her practice on commercial litigation, construction litigation, and natural resources law. “We are very excited to have Heidi join our firm and the Austin office. Our strategy in Texas—and firm-wide—is about finding the finest practitioners who have as their top priority to produce stellar results for our clients,” Bond said. “Heidi exemplifies those standards, and we are proud to get to work with her.”

Norton Rose Fulbright: Jane Snoddy Smith (Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Real Estate; Real Estate Law, 2008) was one of two partners appointed to the firm’s global head of real estate. “Norton Rose Fulbright serves many of the world’s leading players in real estate, and these major clients will benefit from the deep experience of Jane and Dan,” said Peter Martyr, Norton Rose Fulbright’s global chief executive. “Their leadership will guide our team as it advises on complex and sophisticated real estate matters around the world.” Smith advises foreign and domestic pension funds, REITS, and other institutional investors in direct investments and joint ventures, according to press statement from the firm.

ITN Feature

DeGuerin, Dickson, Hennessy & Ward: Dick DeGuerin (Criminal Defense: General Practice; Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 1983) revealed in court that the recorded confession of real estate mogul Robert Durst was misrepresented by the HBO television show “The Jinx.” Durst, 75, stands accused of murdering writer Susan Berman in a high-profile trial following his 2015 arrest. Durst was also accused of killing his wife, Kathleen, in 1982.

DeGuerin previously represented Durst in 2003, when he stood accused of murdering 71-year-old Morris Black. Black and Durst were neighbors in Galveston, Texas, where Durst lived briefly after his wife’s case was reopened in 2000. Durst was found innocent by way of self-defense.

Durst’s latest case attracted media attention after his alleged murders became the subject of the 2010 film All Good Things, and later the true-crime show “The Jinx” in 2015. The day before the documentary series finale aired, Durst was arrested in New Orleans.

For many following along with the case as it unfolded, damning evidence against Durst appeared to take the form of a recorded confession: “What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course,” said Durst in audio that played at the end of the show.

But that audio, which prosecutors considered “extremely damning,” according to the Los Angeles Times, didn’t reveal the whole story. “It was edited and taken out of order,” said DeGuerin. The judge agreed. After delays, the trial is set to begin in September 2019.

Following his 2015 arrest, DeGuerin told the Los Angeles Times that this case was “not based on facts, it’s based on ratings.”

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