Litigation Highlights Newsletter

05/19/2015

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Haynes and Boone Trial Lawyers Have Been On A Roll!

Across the country, Haynes and Boone litigation teams have been winning trials before juries, judges and arbitrators in big-ticket litigation. The Texas Lawyer has taken notice, recently naming Haynes and Boone the "Large Litigation Department of the Year" (June 2015).

Below are a few of our recent trial victories. 

Scoring a "Series of Touchdowns" for the National Football League 

Thad Behrens recently led a Haynes and Boone team in a high-profile jury trial for the National Football League involving the 2011 Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium. The case was originally brought in February 2011 as a class action on behalf of thousands of ticketholders who complained about their seats and sought tens of millions of dollars in damages. 

The Haynes and Boone team, which included Dan Gold and Jonathan Pressment, began dismantling the case back in 2012 and 2013, securing dismissal of nearly all tort claims as well as the denial of class certification. What then remained of the case were the claims of the eight individual named plaintiffs, who were seeking approximately $705,000 in actual and punitive damages. At trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on all of Plaintiffs' fraud claims, and awarded them a total of just $75,850 on their mostly uncontested contract claims. Plaintiffs have filed an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Breaking the SEC Winning Streak 

In March 2015, Kit Addleman and Ron Breaux secured a victory against the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Enforcement in a venue in which the government has lost only once over the last three years. 

Following a two-week litigated hearing before a SEC-appointed Administrative Law Judge, Haynes and Boone scored a complete win for its client Bill Yancey, the former CEO of Penson Financial. Mr. Yancey had been publicly accused by the SEC of failing to supervise two employees regarding securities trade closeout and delivery obligations. 

The SEC has won 22 of the last 23 litigated hearings before its administrative law judges, including every single case brought in FY 2014. But the Haynes and Boone team broke the SEC's winning streak, presenting a case on behalf of Mr. Yancey that Administrative Law Judge Jason S. Patil found "was frankly overwhelming."

Achieving a Trade Secret Win for Halliburton 

John Turner served as lead counsel to Halliburton in this trade secrets case in which the opposing party sought $300 million in damages. Ecosphere claimed that Halliburton had misappropriated alleged Ecosphere trade secrets related to the treatment of water for use in hydraulic fracturing operations. 

After two-week hearing in March 2014 in Miami, a three-arbitrator panel issued a unanimous written ruling in favor of Halliburton on all grounds. Specifically, the arbitrators found that Halliburton did not breach its confidentiality obligations and did not misappropriate any Ecosphere trade secrets. 

Prevailing for TGI Fridays™ in DFW Airport Joint Venture Dispute

Haynes and Boone litigators, led by Deborah Coldwell, teamed with Reese Gordon Marketos, to win a complete jury verdict for TGI Fridays™ in a multi-million dollar partnership. The lawsuit arose over a joint venture dispute involving six Fridays' restaurants at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. 

The complete win for Fridays came after three years of litigation that culminated in a six-week jury trial in Dallas state court. Jurors found for Fridays on its affirmative claims for relief, allowing for dissolution of the joint venture and recovery on a declaratory judgment action. The company was also accused of breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, tortious interference and conspiracy but prevailed on all of those claims. The case is pending on appeal, which is led by Haynes and Boone appellate partner Karen Precella.

Securing a Judgment Holding Texas School Finance System Unconstitutional 

Mark Trachtenberg and John Turner won a groundbreaking victory for a coalition of 88 school districts in the long-running dispute over funding requirements in late 2014. 

Following a 16-week bench trial, Trachtenberg and Turner secured a final judgment holding the state's school finance system unconstitutional on several grounds. The trial court's 1500 findings of fact and 120 conclusions of law - issued after the longest and most extensive school finance trial in state history - now set the stage for an appeal by the state to the Texas Supreme Court.

Successfully Defending Fiesta Restaurant Group Against Former Executive's Claims 

Haynes and Boone employment litigator Laura O'Donnell successfully defended publicly-traded Fiesta Restaurant Group against two breach of contract claims and a claim of FLSA retaliation brought by a former executive in JAMS arbitration. After Fiesta terminated the executive for cause, she filed the action, seeking 12,000 shares of FRGI stock and other substantial monetary damages. 

Following a multi-day arbitration in January, February and March 2015, the arbitrator delivered a complete win for Fiesta. The arbitrator issued a 39-page award in favor of Fiesta which awarded attorney's fees and costs to Fiesta due to the opposing side's abuse of the discovery process and spoliation of evidence. 

Succeeding for Chinese IP Firm in Trademark Battle 

In a dispute litigated from California to Oregon to the People's Republic of China, Aimee Furness and Glenn Westreich successfully defended a Chinese IP Firm's trademark against the claims of its former U.S. marketing partner. 

Haynes and Boone was successful in defeating most of plaintiff's claims on summary judgment. Following a four-day jury trial in Oregon federal court, Furness and Westreich obtained a unanimous jury verdict in favor of our client AFD China. The Oregon district court declared AFD China the owner of the AFD Mark and found that the plaintiff had committed trademark infringement and unfair competition. The result was a take-nothing judgment in favor of AFD China, rejecting plaintiff's claims of more than $10,000,000.

If you have any questions, please visit the Haynes and Boone Litigation Practice Group page of our website or contact one of the lawyers listed in this newsletter. 

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