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Tuesday, 23 August 2016 13:39

Legal Department acknowledges recent litigation victories

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Spa with numerous violations shut down

The Neighborhood Services Section successfully sought and obtained a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") against the owner of 10150 Almeda Genoa, where the Oriental Bath House Spa ("Spa") operates. 

Damon Crenshaw, senior assistant city attorney, argued that activities at the spa constituted a “common nuisance” under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 125. The property owner elected not to appear at the hearing, even though the city provided notice of its application for a TRO.

Judge Elaine Palmer, ancillary judge, granted the city’s request for a TRO.  The Order requires the owner to take reasonable measures to abate the nuisance, including changing the locks on the building and preventing the Spa, or any similar business, from operating on the property.

City stipulates to liability, city’s lawyers convince jury plaintiff is 40 percent negligent

Trial team Jackie Leguizamon and Pat Casey, senior assistant city attorneys in the General Litigation Section, saved the city $211,748 by taking an auto accident case to trial where plaintiff refused to settle for less than the city’s liability cap of $250,000.

City documents and witnesses faulted the city driver; however, Leguizamon and Casey told the jury the rest of the story. After three days of trial and several hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict finding the plaintiff 40 percent negligent and awarding zero for plaintiff’s future surgery claim costing more than $180,000. The plaintiff recovered only $38,251.80.

Meticulous trial preparation pays off

Recently, Brian Amis and Fernando De Leon, senior assistant city attorneys in the General Litigation Section, achieved and excellent settlement before trial.

Plaintiff, HS Tejas, Ltd. (“Tejas”), a successful real estate company, demanded over $300,000 for lost rental income in an inverse condemnation case arising from the city’s regulations. Tejas alleged that, from Oct. 1, 2006 to Sept. 1, 2008, a city ordinance resulted in a regulatory taking of its four vacant/unimproved properties located within the floodway because it prohibited the issuance of building permits for “new construction, additions to existing structures or substantial improvement of any structure” on its properties.

Based on evidence that Tejas bought the largest property tract for $108,000 and sold it in 2012 for $1,300,000, the city contended that there was no taking as a matter of law. Although Tejas did not concede the point, Tejas substantially discounted its claim allowing to case to be settled on a cost of defense basis.


Read 2354 times Last modified on Friday, 26 August 2016 11:01