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Nina Cortell
+1 214.651.5579

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Representative Experience

Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway Co. v. City of Houston, 171 S.W.3d 240 (Tex. App. - Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.)
Obtained reversal of a judgment denying a railroad's right to condemn property for a proposed rail line, resulting in rendition of a judgment confirming the railroad's right to condemn under the doctrine of federal preemption.

George Grubbs Enters. v. Bien, 900 S.W.2d 337 (Tex. 1995)
Obtained reversal of a $5.8 million judgment in a case involving an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against an automobile dealer based on a faulty jury instruction in the exemplary damage question; the case made clear that exemplary damages cannot be awarded against one defendant according to the wealth of a separate entity based upon deficient corporate disregard instructions.

H&M Oil & Gas L.L.C. v. Brazos 440 Partners, L.P., 386 B.R. 631 (W.D.Tex. 2008)
Successfully obtained dismissal of a creditor's bankruptcy appeal on standing and mootness grounds.

Harvest House Publishers v. The Local Church, 190 S.W.3d 204 (Tex. App. - Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied)
In an interlocutory appeal following the trial court’s denial of summary judgment, obtained rendition of a take-nothing judgment for a media defendant in a defamation case.

Hollar v. Brackenridge Hospital, No. GN502643 (200th Dist. Ct., Travis County, Tex.)
As lead appellate counsel, led the trial team’s efforts that resulted in the pre-trial dismissal of medical malpractice claims against a health care provider on the basis of governmental immunity conferred by new Texas Health & Safety Code provisions, and successfully defended against a constitutional challenge to statutory immunity provisions.

In re Fort Worth Star-Telegram, et al, No. 02-14-00144-CV, 2014 WL 3906547 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth, August 12, 2014, no pet. h.)
Represented daily newspaper and three television stations in successful mandamus challenging juvenile court order excluding press and public from hearings in high-profile murder case. In case of first impression, the court of appeals held that Texas statute imposes a duty on juvenile court to open hearings to the public, in cases in which the accused juvenile is at least 14 years old, unless evidence in the record establishes good cause to close a proceeding. The court also held that the press and public have standing to challenge a closure order and that conclusion of the juvenile case in which the closed proceedings occurred did not render the media challenge moot.

ITL Int’l, Inc. v. Café Soluble, S.A. (5th Cir. 2012)
An American manufacturer sued an international firm client in district court in Mississippi, seeking a declaratory judgment that the parties’ distribution agreement had terminated, and an anti-suit injunction to prevent our client from suing the manufacturer in Latin America. Persuaded the Fifth Circuit to affirm the dismissal of the case on jurisdictional grounds.

Kent v. Baylor Medical Center Irving, No. 04-08723-D (95th Dist. Ct., Dallas County, Tex.)
Represented a health care client asserting Texas Tort Claims Act defenses and defended against constitutional challenges to statutes designating the client as a governmental unit.

Mars Inc., v. Constenla, S.A., 669 F.3d 493 (5th Cir. 2012)
In a case involving jurisdictional issues as to whether an American manufacturer can sue a foreign distributor in a U.S. court, persuaded the Fifth Circuit to affirm the dismissal of a lawsuit against a Costa Rican distributor brought by Mars, Inc. seeking damages and a foreign anti-suit injunction.

Mayhew v. Town of Sunnyvale, 964 S.W.2d 922 (Tex. 1998)
Won reversal of a multi-million dollar judgment in a zoning dispute against a Texas municipality.

McMillan v. Richmond, 400 F. App’x 878 (5th Cir. 2010)
Persuaded the Fifth Circuit to reverse the dismissal of a pro se plaintiff’s Section 1983 civil rights claim.

Midland Cent. Appraisal Dist. v. BP America Production Co., 282 S.W.3d 215 (Tex. App.-Eastland 2009, pet. denied), cert. denied, 2011 U.S. LEXIS 3129 (Apr. 18, 2011)
In the leading case on taxability of crude oil, persuaded the court to construe the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to hold that oil moving through a tank farm remains in interstate commerce and therefore is not subject to ad valorem taxation. This appellate decision controls the outcome in numerous pending cases in which an appraisal district seeks to tax oil in transit through a pipeline system.

Neeley v. West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District, 176 S.W.3d 746 (Tex. 2005)
Persuaded the Texas Supreme Court to strike down the Texas public school finance system on constitutional grounds; this decision was the culmination of a four- and-a-half year effort, including a previous successful appeal to the Texas Supreme Court and a successful five-week bench trial.

Reynolds v. Murphy, 188 S.W.3d 252 (Tex. App. - Fort Worth 2006, pet. denied)
Obtained the first appellate opinion in Texas protecting the First Amendment rights of a newsletter publisher and author to publish general investment advice.

Rodgers v. Commission for Lawyer Discipline, 151 S.W.3d 602 (Tex. App. - Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied)
Acting as Special Assistant Disciplinary Counsel for the State Bar of Texas, successfully defended on appeal a judgment sanctioning an attorney for a violation of lawyer advertising rules.

Southwestern Bell Telephone L.P. v. Edwards, No. 05-09-00606-CV, 2011 WL 3672288 (Tex. App.—Dallas Aug. 23, 2011, no pet.)
Persuaded the Dallas Court of Appeals to (1) reverse a jury verdict on race discrimination claims and (2) on cross-appeal, affirm a judgment notwithstanding the verdict on retaliation and hostile work environment claims.

Tenet Healthcare Corp. v. Texas Health Choice, No. 3:02-CV-1940-N (N.D. Tex. 2003); No. 03-10545 (5th Cir. 2004)
Successfully represented a health care client in the Fifth Circuit in a case that involved a question of first impression: whether the Medicare Act and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act preempt a state court lawsuit concerning insurance reimbursement contracts between private parties, warranting removal to federal court.

West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District v. Alanis, 107 S.W.3d 558 (Tex. 2003)
Obtained a ruling reinstating a constitutional challenge to Texas’ public school finance system, following the lower courts’ dismissal of the case on ripeness grounds.