Dallas Court of Appeals Sets Aside New Trial Order Based on Claimed Violation of Disciplinary Rule
May 6, 2016 in Case Summaries
Assisted by trial counsel Ken Chaiken and appellate co-counsel Carl Cecere, Jeff Levinger convinced the Dallas Court of Appeals to grant mandamus relief compelling the trial court to set aside its order granting a new trial in a hotly-contested real estate dispute. Following a week-long trial, a Dallas County jury found that Levinger PC clients Douglas Hickok and VSDH Vaquero Venture did not defraud or breach their contract with the plaintiffs. The trial court, however, granted the plaintiffs a new trial, finding that Vaquero’s trial counsel had violated Texas Disciplinary Rule 3.08 by acting as both an advocate and a witness at trial. Invoking the recent Texas Supreme Court trilogy of cases allowing mandamus review of orders granting new trials, Hickok and Vaquero claimed that a purported violation of Rule 3.08 was not a legally appropriate basis for granting a new trial. The Court of Appeals agreed, and ordered the trial court to render a take-nothing judgment on the jury’s verdict. In re VSDH Vaquero Venture, Ltd., No. 05-15-0513-CV, 2016 WL 2621073 (Tex. App.-Dallas May 6, 2016, pet. denied).
Courts: Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Ethics & Professional Malpractice, Procedural & Evidentiary Issues