DENTON COUNTY. DCBA President. and we have only two meetings left this program year.

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1 DENTON COUNTY LAWYER Volume 113, Issue 7 April 2004 DCBA Officers President, Gary Kollmeier Immediate Past President, Michelle Jones President-Elect, David Bouschor Vice President, Brian Cartwright Secretary/Treasurer and Membership, Jim Ashmore CLE Director, Charles E. Beachley, III DCBA Directors Tiffany Haertling, Hugh Coleman, Darcy E. Loveless, Earl Dobson DCBA Committee Chairs Courts Committee, Brian Cartwright Library Board of Governors, Roger Yale Social Committee, Earl Dobson, Scott Alagood Fee Arbitration, Darcy E. Loveless CLE Committee, Chuck Beachley Newsletter, Camille Milner Internet/Web Page, Gary Kollmeier DCBA Membership Your DCBA Membership includes Free and discounted CLE programs Monthly lunch and happy hours Networking opportunities Your DCBA Membership offers Family Law Section Real Estate, Trust, and Probate Law Section Criminal Law Section Denton County Trial Lawyer s Association Greater Denton County Young Lawyers Association From Your DCBA President Summer is just around the corner, and we have only two meetings left this program year. We have many exciting things planned for the next few months. Look for details shortly about the golf tournament at Robson Ranch from Bill Neal and Patricia Ryan. The tournament, on Friday, April 30 will benefit Hannah s House. You are encouraged to bring guests. We are also finalizing plans for the year-end social in June. I am excited to report that membership is up this year. Monthly meetings have consistently broken records. The CASA Ad Litem seminar drew over 150 attendees. The upcoming Bench- Bar and Young Lawyer s CLE seminars and luncheon meetings will also draw large crowds. The April 2 Bench-Bar Conference, coordinated by Chuck Beachley, includes an informative and interesting program. The CLE for the April lunch meeting will be led by Bob Eames and Curtis Loveless and will focus on the grievance process. All Denton County attorneys are invited. Lunch for nonmembers costs $ The Denton Young Lawyers have lined up a varied program appealing to all lawyers. This May 7 seminar will Gary Kollmeier be very fun and informative. Door prizes will be given away. We hope to unveil the new website at the May meeting. We will also distribute the membership directory that day so we can include the new local rules as approved by the Supreme Court. Please attend to pick up your new directory. If you would like to become a director or officer, please review the bylaws posted on the Bar website and contact any director or officer for information about the process. To allow for greater continuity, one of our strategic goals this year was to implement a program to determine which new and ongoing programs and activities will be supported in the next year. Please let me or David Bouschor, your incoming president, know of programs or functions you would like to see next year. Your input helps plan events and programs that appeal to all members. 1

2 2004 Bench-Bar Conference Friday riday,, April 2, 2004 Oakmont Country y Club, Corinth, TX Time 8:15 AM 8.55 AM 9:00 AM 9:45 AM 10:30 AM 10:45 AM 12:00 PM 1:30 PM 3:15 PM 3:30 PM 4:15 PM Topic Registration Welcoming/Opening Remarks District Judges Panel Discussion (Family) Judges Panel Discussion (Civil) Break District Judges Panel Discussion (Criminal) How to Avoid a Grievance II (DCBA Monthly Luncheon Meeting) County Criminal Court Judges Panel Discussion Break Contested Matters in Probate Court Juvenile Speakers None Gary Kollmeier Judges Jake Collier, Lee Gabriel, Vicki Isaacks, Bruce McFarling, Carmen Rivera-Worley, L.D. Shipman * Judges Margaret Barnes, Jake Collier, Lee Gabriel, Vicki Isaacks, Bruce McFarling, Carmen Rivera-Worley, L.D. Shipman * None Judges Jake Collier, Lee Gabriel, Vicki Isaacks, Bruce McFarling, Carmen Rivera-Worley, L.D. Shipman * Robert Eames, Curtis Loveless Judges Joe Bridges, Jim Crouch, David Garcia, Richard Podgorski, Virgil Vahlenkamp * None Judge Don Windle, Associate Judge Tom Whitlock Judge Darlene Whitten 2 Yes, Your Honor, perhaps I am an ignoramus for missing Your Honor s presentation at the 2004 DCBA Bench-Bar Seminar. Program Cost Lawyers licensed two years or less, $75.00 Lawyers licensed two years or more, $ CLE Credit Seminar offers 6.00 hours of CLE credit. Luncheon offers 0.50 hours or CLE credit. * Some Judges may not be able to attend this session.

3 Section Family Law News Section News The Good that Trial Lawyers Do By David S. Casey, Jr., President ATLA; Contributed by Frank G. Lyle As last year came to a close, I received an message that described 2003 as the year of the greatest assault on the US civil justice system in history. From my perspective, it certainly appeared that way. Without trial lawyers, what would our country be like? That question makes me think of the experience of George Bailey, Jimmy Stewart s character in the classic film It s a Wonderful Life. We all know the story: At a moment of crisis, George can t see the good he has done for his family and community, and he is tempted to give up. The revelation that his life and work have made a difference gives him hope and a renewed sense of purpose. Like George, we occasionally need to be reminded of the good we have done. For years, we have made insurers pay losses when they are due. We have forced auto makers to design safer cars, minimizing injuries and saving innumerable lives. Because of our work, industrial polluters have compensated those they have harmed and cleaned up the environment. Legislation didn t change tobacco industry marketing campaigns aimed at children; trial lawyers did. Where sexual abusers have preyed on innocent victims in the therapist s office, the workplace, or the church trial lawyers have forced institutional changes and held the abusers accountable. America s standards for product safety and professional conduct are among the highest in the world. But without trial lawyers, America would be more like Pottersville that is, Bedford Falls without George Bailey. Safety and Responsibility Many in positions of power do not like the scrutiny that litigation brings. These powerful interests seek to close the doors of the justice system to the public. They want to dismantle a legal system that is the envy of the world. A US senator once told a corporate CEO that our civil justice system is the moral compass for American business because it compels companies to integrate safety and responsibility into their culture. We have seen what happens when companies ignore safety and environmental considerations in pursuit of profit: Society pays, in increased health care costs and decreased productivity. Our colleague Joe Jamail in his autobiography, Lawyer: My Trials and Jubilations describes a verdict (one of many in his extraordinary career) that not only compensated his client but forced a product recall. He writes: This is the exercise of law at its most fundamental level, the protection of the public interest. If there is a distinction I believe justifies my existence on Earth, it is this: I am personally responsible for three national recalls by Remington Arms, Honda, and Parlodel drugs. They can engrave that on my tombstone. Reports of civil lawsuits that have resulted in more responsible business practices and a safer society would fill volumes. Consider these: A 1970 case of a four-year-old burned badly by highly flammable pajamas led to congressional action setting tougher standards. Injuries and deaths caused by the Dalkon Shield intrauterine device gave rise to litigation that forced the manufacturer, A.H. Robins Co., to remove its product from the market. As a result of a 1998 lawsuit brought by a Boeing employee who contracted leukemia after continual exposure to electromagnetic pulse radiation, the company implemented safety procedures to protect others. And most recently, after numerous lawsuits were filed seeking compensation for deaths linked to the dietary supplement ephedra, the FDA banned the product. Those who attack civil justice do not understand that they are attacking the legal system that protects them. In a now well-known ironic tragedy, one tort reform advocate learned this the hard way: A medical association lobbyist, Frank Cornelius, who had worked for passage of a medical malpractice damages cap in Indiana in the 1970s, later became a victim of medical negligence. When he sought to hold those who had injured him accountable, the very law he had helped enact limited his rights. He worked to change that law until his death. Many legislators support tort reform except when they or their families Trail Lawyers continued on page 4. 3

4 Section News Denton County Fee Arbitration By Darcy Loveless The Denton County Bar Association offers a Fee Arbitration Committee for your use and benefit. The committee is made up of several panels of three two attorneys and one nonlawyer per panel, split evenly across gender and area of county residence. Each August we replace both attorney and nonlawyer members of the committee. The committee arbitrates any fee dispute, but has no method to force a fee arbitration. If you have a fee dispute, contact my office for an inquiry form to complete. After receiving the completed form, we will inform the other party that an arbitration has been requested. If the other party agrees to participate, we will assign a panel of abitrators and arbitration date. If the other party does not agree, a Judge must order you and the other party to participate in an arbitration before we can schedule the arbitration. The arbitration panel issues a written award to the parties. For those wishing to add fee arbitration to their contract, my office has some language, which I believe was adopted from Mike Gregory. Other resources include many attorneys in town who have provisions that make fee arbitration mandatory. It would be my hope that for attorneys with mandatory fee arbitration in a contract, the Courts would be likely to order disputes to our committee. To use this resource, contact Darcy Loveless at (940) or (972) Trial Lawyers continued from page 3. become the victims of wrongdoing then they don t hesitate to turn to the courts for justice. This is hypocrisy at its worst. Consumers do not want their rights restricted for the sake of greater corporate profits. What they do want are sensible laws and a jury system, one not subject to political pressure, where people like themselves can make reasoned decisions. They recognize that jurors, who are regularly entrusted with deciding whether a criminal defendant will live or die, are clearly capable of sorting through complex issues to make fair decisions in civil cases. Section Meetings Family Law Date: April 26, 2004, 5:30 PM networking, 6:00 PM program Real Estate in Family Law, Speakers: Scott Alagood, Ronnie Anderson Location: The Greenhouse REPTL Date: April 24, 2004, 12:00 PM TX Principal and Interest Act & TX Prudent Investor Act, Speaker: Rex Hogue Location: Courtyard Café Trial Lawyers Date: April 21, 2004, 12:00 PM Negotiation of Health Care Claims and Hospital Liens, Speaker: Doug Robinson Location: The Radisson Hotel CLE Credit These meetings provide 0.50 hours of CLE credit with specialization credit in one or more related areas. The past year was a challenging one, and 2004 will probably bring ever greater threats to the civil justice system. The attacks will stop only if trial lawyers stop representing people harmed by powerful interests. As long as we remain dedicated to the public good, that won t happen, and ATLA will continue leading the charge against every assault on citizens rights. Reprinted with permission of TRIAL (February 2004). Copyright the Association of Trial Lawyers of America. Meeting your content needs Brochures Forms Publications Trial Exhibits 1413 E. McKinney Denton, TX (940) x 227 4

5 Classifieds 5

6 Classifieds KARIN SELIGMANN RESIDENTIAL SPECIALIST Direct (940) Office (888) Toll Free Fax (940) Lillian Miller Parkway Denton, TX An Independent Member Broker EdwardJones Serving Individual Investors Since 1871 Laura Gentry Investment Representative 502 W. Oak Suite 101 Denton, Texas local toll free home fax Jones STOFFELS & ASSOCIATES, INC. Certified Shorthand Reporters JANEL M. STOFFELS, CSR KAUFFMAN SUMMARIES Quality Deposition Summaries Julie Kauffman (940) FAX: (940) COURT 207 W. HICKORY, STE. #304 DENTON, TX John Dr. Denton, TX (940) HEXTER-FAIR TITLE COMPANY ORR & ASSOCIATES COLLABORATIVE LAW CHILD CUSTODY EVALUATIONS/ADOPTIONS PEYTON ORR 5535 MARTEL DALLAS, TX REBECCA L. ARNOLD Senior Vice President Area Manager Fax Mobile 3201 Teasley Lane Suite 801 Denton, Texas

7 DCBA in History The Search for the Holy Grail Or,, Sometimes a Lawyer Can t t Help but do Good The practice of law is a business. Some are good and some are bad at business. But, sometimes the bad businessman/lawyer leaves a legacy that all lawyers aspire to achieve. A case in point is that of George A. Preston. George was born, raised, and educated in Denton County. His mother was from a distinguished family and his father ran Jagoe Public before his untimely death. George s mother started the Selwyn School when she decided she wanted more education for her son than was provided by the Denton Public Schools. George grew up privileged, went into the Peace Corps after college, attended UT Law School, and came back to Denton County to practice law. Intrigued by criminal law, George soon began hanging out in the flesh-pots of that calling. He became a partner with Alan Levy and Hal Jackson for some time. On the death of County Judge John Crawford, he was appointed County Judge. Being County Judge was probably the last time George made money as a lawyer. When his County Judge term ended in the late seventies, George moved his practice to Dallas and became a partner of Melvin Bruder, a storied, colorful, and brilliant criminal lawyer. They barely scraped by on criminal cases. One afternoon, George requested I get involved in a capital murder case involving a murdered Dallas Police officer. It was a most controversial case involving the then unknown Randall Dale Adams. Though claiming innocence, Adams had been convicted and sentenced to death in Dallas on the word of Teresa Turko, a Dallas Police officer. We met with Adams visibly shaken lawyer, Dennis White. White told an incredible story of prosecutorial misconduct. White, about thirty at the time, was so disgusted he never again practiced law to my knowledge. As there was limited money, we brainstormed a bit and I left the matter to George and Melvin Bruder. They ultimately appealed the case to the US Supreme Court, which overthrew the death penalty as applied and reversed the case a wonderful win in a difficult case. Unexpectedly, Henry Wade, the District Attorney of Dallas County, asked the Governor to commute the death sentence to one of life. The Governor complied, and Adams was to remain in prison for life, despite all of the effort. More years went by and more appeals and writs of habeas corpus were filed in Federal Court to no avail. Bruder and Preston broke apart in the interim, By Staff Writer and DCBA Historian (photo circa 1968) partly due to the strain of the Adams case. Adams remained in prison with only George Preston working to free him. More than a decade of work, interviews, gathering evidence, cajoling witnesses, and seeking help followed for George without hope of reimbursement. One day a filmmaker named Errol Morriss became interested and produced a film called Thin Blue Line outlining the fraud, perjury, and corruption of the prosecution of Adams. George recruited his friend from Houston, Randy Shaeffer, to help with the legal problems and they got a hearing. At the end of the hearing Adams was freed, the true killer confessed in prison and a case doggedly pursued for more than a decade against all odds and financed from George s own pocket ended in a victory for the defense. There was a small victory party; Adams went home to Ohio and never contacted George again. George Preston died a few years later from brain tumors. 7

8 Denton County Bar Association P.O. Box 1621 Denton, TX Address Service Requested DCBA: The Place to Be, ! April Bar Luncheon Time: Noon, Friday, April 2 Place: Oakmont Country Club 1200 Clubhouse Drive Corinth, TX How to Avoid a Grievance II Speakers: Robert Eames, Curtis Loveless For more information, contact Camille Milner at or 8 May Bar Luncheon Time: Noon, Friday, May 7 Place: Oakmont Country Club 1200 Clubhouse Drive Corinth, TX Annual Business Meeting Dsitribution: Membership Directory Announcing Golf Tour ournament The DCBA will sponsor a golf tournament on Friday, April 30 at Robson Ranch. Proceeds benefit Hannah s House. For more information, please contact Patricia Ryan at or Bill Neal at Member Joys and Concerns Helena Rose Coleman was born on February 10, 2004 to Bar Director Hugh Coleman and his wife, Bernadette. Jim Ashmore s father, John Ashmore, passed away on March 12, 2004.

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