Strong Pipkin Congratulates John Bissell on his 50th Anniversary with the Firm

John BissellJohn was raised in Beaumont and attended Lamar University. After graduating from the University of Texas School of Law in 1971, he joined Strong, Pipkin, Nelson, Parker and Powers.

Through the years he tried to verdict well over one hundred cases in state and federal courts in several states.

Under John’s leadership the firm grew and opened our Houston office and expanded our practice to serve clients nationwide.

From early in his practice, John has represented leading industry companies in the earliest stages of emerging legal claims and evolving scientific knowledge.

He was one of the earliest choices as joint defense lead counsel for major oil and chemical companies in toxic tort cases.

Based on his breadth and success in litigation, he has been tapped as lead and additional counsel pro hac in many jurisdictions across the country. He was also regularly sought to providing assistance as local counsel with responsibilities from witness preparation,  jury selection, and  lead trial roles. His substantive local counsel roles have included major anti-trust, electric power take-or-pay, insurance coverage, and catastrophic personal injury and death cases.

Most recently, he was co-counsel in a 30 day trial in Philadelphia Federal Court arising from a massive oil spill.

We thank John for his 50 years of leadership, outstanding representation of our clients and for his deep and unfailing loyalty and friendship.

Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Lawyers Honored

2 Partners Named “Lawyer of the Year” in their specific areas of practice.

Michael L. Baker named 2021 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in the Beaumont area for Personal Injury Litigation.

Greg M. Dykeman named 2021 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in the Beaumont area Real Estate Litigation.

9  Strong Pipkin Bissell & Ledyard, L.L.P. Lawyers Honored

Strong Pipkin congratulates the following lawyers named to 2021 The Best Lawyers in America list:

Michael L. Baker – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

K.B. Battaglini – Commercial Litigation and Natural Resources Law

John G. Bissell – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Environmental, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

John W. Bridger – Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Michael T. Bridwell – Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Joe Michael Dodson – Litigation – Insurance, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Greg M. Dykeman – Litigation – Construction, Litigation – Real Estate, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Michael Hendryx – Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Environmental, Litigation – Labor and Employment, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

David W. Ledyard – Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Strong Pipkin recognized – 2020 “Best Law Firms”

Strong Pipkin is included in the 2020 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms.”  Firms are recognized for professional excellence with consistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.  Firms that received a tier designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers and clients from the same communities and practice areas.  Strong Pipkin is ranked in the Metropolitan Tier 1 category in the following practice areas:

Beaumont

Litigation – Construction
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Houston

Commercial Litigation
Litigation – Environmental
Litigation – Labor & Employment
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Mike Hendryx receives the Exceptional Service Award

Partner Mike Hendryx receives the Exceptional Service Award from the Texas Association of Defense Counsel at its Annual Meeting. The Award recognized his efforts during the last legislative session to pass House Bill 1693, which returned fairness and balance to a key process used in civil trials.

John Bridger Presents Attorneys’ Fees Paper at HBA CLE Event

Strong Pipkin senior partner John Bridger spoke on the topic “Maximizing Prosecuting or Defending Your Attorneys’ Fees Claim in Texas” at a Houston Bar Association Continuing Legal Education event presenting a paper he wrote along with David Kirby, a Strong Pipkin senior associate.

A video of the presentation can be viewed at https://vimeo.com/340743062/2bf6a98363 and HBA members may receive CLE credit by accessing the presentation at https://apps.hba.org/cle-videos/all/6/.

John and David are rapidly becoming two of the most prolific attorneys’ fees authors in Texas having also written Recovering Attorney’s Fees in Federal CourtFor The Defense, March 2019, Prosecuting and Defending Attorneys’ Fees in Texas: A Primer (2nd ed.) for the Jefferson County Bar Association in 2018, and Prosecuting and Defending Attorneys’ Fees in Texas: A Primer (1st ed.) for the Texas Association of Defense Counsel in 2017. As a result, they have also been retained as attorneys’ fees experts by clients both prosecuting and defending attorneys’ fees claims.

Strong Pipkin Partner Mike Hendryx Testifies before the Texas Senate in Favor of Changes to CPRC Section 18.001

Strong Pipkin Partner Mike Hendryx on the Floor of the Texas Senate after testifying in support of HB 1693, a bill that made needed changes to the affidavit process provided under Texas Civil Practices and Remedy Code section 18.001.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 18.001 was intended to provide a cost saving measure at trial by allowing a plaintiff to submit proof by affidavit that the amount he or she was charged for a service was reasonable at the time and place that the service was provided and that the service was necessary. If the responding party does not agree, Section 18.001 allows that party to serve a counter affidavit contesting the reasonableness of the charges or the necessity of the services.  Unless struck, the counter affidavit essentially negates the evidentiary effect of the initial affidavit.

Over time, practical problems arose regarding the timing of the affidavits and counter affidavits, as well as the breadth of what proof was established by the affidavit.

As to timing, in some instances the plaintiff was serving the affidavit with the Original Petition, requiring the defendant to respond within thirty days of service. That meant reviewing the evidence and then hiring an expert to controvert the initial affidavit within the first thirty days of the lawsuit. On the other hand, some plaintiffs waited until thirty days before trial to file and serve the initial affidavits, forcing the defendant to respond on the eve of trial.

As to what the affidavits established, some courts were taking the position that the initial affidavit, if unchallenged, was binding on the jury and could not be disputed at trial.  What had started out as a cost saving vehicle for undisputed charges, had turned into a very unfair process for the defendant.

HB 1693, passed in 2019, made much needed changes to Section 18.001.  The amendments primarily address two issues:

(1)     The deadlines to file the initial affidavits were changed and the deadlines for counter affidavits were shifted to give more time to respond, and

(2)    The amendment made it clear that the affidavit process did not establish proximate cause; that issue remained in the hands of the jury and could be addressed by experts.

The amendments to Section 18.001 also built in flexibility.  It allows the parties to agree on different deadlines or with leave of court, set different deadlines.

Strong Pipkin Successfully Recovers from London Insurers for Renewable Energy Policyholder

Strong Pipkin attorneys Mike Hendryx and David Kirby recently resolved a lawsuit on highly favorable terms for its corporate policyholder client, a renewable energy company operating a wind farm outside of Lubbock, Texas.

Strong pipkin’s client purchased an “all risk” insurance policy subscribed to by national and international insurers, including various syndicates of Lloyd’s of London.  The policy covered the insured’s West Texas wind farm.  The policy contained a London Engineering Group 1/96 endorsement, purportedly excluding coverage for design and manufacturing defects. After a fire destroyed a multi-million dollar wind turbine, the insurers initiated an investigation.  They continued to investigate the loss, without making a coverage determination, for two and a half years, continually claiming the need for more documents and data.

After fending off the insurer’s preemptive, federal declaratory judgment action due to lack of complete diversity, the policyholder filed its own suit in state court alleging breach of contract, common law bad faith, and violations of Chapters 541 and 542 of the Texas Insurance Code.  The insurers filed a motion for summary judgment seeking to avoid coverage by claiming New York law would bar recovery because suit was not filed by the policyholder within one year of the fire.  Following a deposition of the outside claim adjuster and briefing to the court regarding the application of Texas law, which would render the one year suit limitation provision void, the insurers resolved the case on a very favorable basis with Strong Pipkin’s policyholder client.

Attorney Greg Dykeman Re-appointed Trustee for Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas

Strong Pipkin attorneys are proud to serve as leaders in our communities.  Greg Dykeman was recently reappointed for a 3 year term as a Trustee for Baptist Hospital of Southeast Texas.

Established in 1945 when L.E. Stagg Sr. — a Beaumont businessman and Baptist leader — led the effort to build a “City of Healing” as a response to the serious hospital bed shortage in the Southeast Texas area. Having served Southeast Texas for more than 65 years, Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas has had the opportunity to touch, heal, and change many lives. With a long history of clinical excellence, high quality healthcare, cutting-edge technology, excellent customer service, and a mission and vision founded in faith, Baptist Hospitals is privileged to be entrusted with the health of our families, friends, and neighbors.

Strong Pipkin Provides Legal Support for the Feature-length Film “The Challenger Disaster”

Strong Pipkin attorney K.B. Battaglini performed all of the legal work for the feature-length film “The Challenger Disaster” to be released in theaters on January 25.  The film chronicles the issues surrounding the decision to launch the ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger (OV-099), which broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew member aboard.  The cast includes Dean Cain and Les Miles.  In addition to performing legal work in support of the film, K.B. Battaglini is also a producer and made a cameo appearance in the movie.

“The Challenger Disaster” is now available to buy or rent on Amazon and can be viewed without charge through Amazon Prime.

Enjoy the trailer below:

Strong Pipkin attorneys are recognized in the 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©

Best Lawyers®, by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, highlights the extraordinary accomplishments of those in the legal profession.  Eight Strong Pipkin attorneys are recognized in the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© in the following categories:

Commercial Litigation

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Michael T. Bridwell
  • Houston, TX
    • K. B. Battaglini
    • John G. Bissell
    • John W. Bridger
    • Michael Hendryx

Litigation – Construction

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Greg M. Dykeman

Litigation – Environmental

  • Houston, TX
    • John G. Bissell
    • Michael Hendryx

Litigation – Labor and Employment

  • Houston, TX
    • Michael Hendryx

Litigation – Real Estate

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Greg M. Dykeman

Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Michael L. Baker
    • Michael T. Bridwell
    • Greg M. Dykeman
    • David W. Ledyard
  • Houston, TX
    • John G. Bissell
    • John W. Bridger

Natural Resources Law

  • Houston , TX
    • K. B. Battaglini

Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Michael L. Baker
    • Michael T. Bridwell
    • Greg M. Dykeman
    • David W. Ledyard
  • Houston, TX
    • John G. Bissell
    • John W. Bridger
    • Michael Hendryx

Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

  • Beaumont, TX
    • Michael L. Baker
    • Michael T. Bridwell
    • David W. Ledyard
  • Houston, TX
    • John G. Bissell