News

News

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

David W. Ledyard honored as “Lawyer of the Year” for 2018 in Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants by The Best Lawyers in America©

David W. Ledyard has been selected by The Best Lawyers in America© (by Levine Leichtman Capital Partners) for 2018 as “Lawyer of the Year” in Beaumont Texas in the category of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.  Ledyard has been selected by The Best Lawyers in America© for each of the last seven years in three separate categories – Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants (2013-2018); Product Liability Litigation – Defendants (2012-2018); and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants(2012-2018).

Ledyard was previously honored as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2016 for Product Liability – Defendants, and in 2015 as “Lawyer of the Year” for Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants.

Ledyard has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Litigation by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 1980.

Mike Hendryx passes gavel to new President of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel

Mike Hendryx completed his service as President of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (TADC) for 2016-2017 at the Annual Meeting on September 22nd in Seattle, Washington. With a membership of 1586 attorneys, the TADC is one of the largest professional associations of Commercial Litigation, Business Defense and Personal Injury Defense Attorneys in the United States. During his tenure he represented TADC at the Legislature, testifying on bills and working with legislators and others interested in legislation affecting civil litigation. He authored joint letters from the TADC, Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TADC) and the Texas Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (Tex-ABOTA) commenting on pending legislation. In the course of his year as President, he traveled to many Texas cities, speaking to members and interested groups about civil litigation and the TADC. Hendryx also spoke at continuing legal education sessions of the TADC and State Bar of Texas. He represented the TADC at meetings of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) and was the TADC spokesperson for issues before the American Bar Association (ABA). As President he coordinated efforts by the TADC to reach out to members who suffered from flooding or other aspects of Hurricane Harvey.

Senior Associate David Kirby honored at Annual Meeting of Texas Association of Defense Counsel

Senior Associate David Kirby attended the Annual Meeting of the Texas Association of Defense Counsel (TADC) in Seattle and was honored for his work as Chair of the TADC Young Lawyers Committee. He was selected by the TADC as the Outstanding Young Lawyer for 2017 in recognition of his extraordinary work in increasing young lawyer membership and organizing activities for your lawyers across the state.

K.B. Battaglini Admitted to Practice Before U.S. Supreme Court

On June 5, in Washington, D.C., in formal proceedings and after announcements by Justices Kagan, Sotomayor and Alito of the court’s decisions for the day, a motion for admission was presented orally to the court by Donald Guter, Dean of South Texas College of Law-Houston, and was granted by Chief Justice John Roberts.  Later, following the formal hearing, Justice Roberts stopped by the lawyer’s lounge to offer congratulations to Mr. Battaglini and the other attorneys admitted that day to the bar of the supreme court.