Ring, Ring!

The phones are ringing again, so a Texas firm non-suited its claims against a woman that the firm claimed had stolen the digits for its Fort Worth office. Pete Kennedy, who represented the plaintiff, Dunham & Jones, said the firm got its number back a long time ago. “That was the whole point of filing the suit,” says Kennedy, a shareholder in Graves, Dougherty, Hearon & Moody in Austin. Initially, the firm was concerned someone wanted its number to “siphon off some of our clients,” but Kennedy notes, “Certainly the woman didn’t turn out to be trying to run some competitive business against us.” He refers further comment to Dunham & Jones’ founder Paul Dunham, who didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment. “The Plaintiff no longer desires to pursue its claims against Defendant at this time,” says the July 18 Plaintiff’s Notice of Non-suit Without Prejudice in Dunham & Jones PC, f/k/a The Dunham Law Firm v. Theresa Palmer. In its Feb. 16, 2012, original petition, filed in the 353rd District Court in Austin, the firm alleged it noticed it wasn’t receiving incoming client calls on Feb. 15, 2012. It called its voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP) provider, Vonage America Inc., and learned its phone number was transferred or “ported” to magicJack, another VoIP provider. The firm alleged it called magicJack and learned the phone number was transferred on a request “submitted under the name Theresa Palmer.” The firm sued her for tortious interference with a contract and prospective business relations, fraud and violation of the Texas Breach of Computer Security Act. [See " Fort Worth 411; Firm Alleges Number-Napping Left Clients Incommunicado," Texas Lawyer, Feb. 27, 2012, page 1.] Public records listed two telephone numbers that match Theresa Palmer’s Azle address, which was listed on the non-suit’s certificate of service. A man who answered a telephone call to the first number says Palmer no longer works there. A magicJack voicemail message answered a call to the second number, but no one returned a message seeking comment.

Drawing on Experience

Plenty of lawyers are attracted to Northeast Texas courthouses because of what goes on inside of them: extremely lucrative patent and intellectual property litigation. Harry L. “Gil” Gillam Jr. is one of those lawyers who counts an IP practice as one of the reasons he set up Gillam & Smith in a historic Victorian house in Marshall years ago. Yet Gilliam’s fascination with East Texas courthouses goes beyond just the litigation aspect — he has an equal love of the buildings where he makes his living; a passion Gilliam has documented through his own artwork. So, when Gilliam & Smith decided to revamp its website recently, it featured Gilliam’s artwork as an advertising hook, titling it under the heading “Drawing on Experience.” “I just like to sketch. I like to draw and always have. There’s no formal training there. These courthouses are beautiful. If you look at the past, there’s some really pretty ones that don’t exist anymore,” Gilliam says, noting his drawings of early incarnations of state courthouses in Bowie and Smith Counties that have been lost to time. “The thing that just kills me about these things is some of the ones that aren’t around anymore,” says Gilliam, who used old photographs as guides to draw the demolished courthouses. “You wonder about the forefathers that tear them down just for a highway,” he says.

Alleged Negligence

A Houston doctor who hired Brown McCarroll to represent him in connection with a Medicare investigation filed a negligence lawsuit against the firm and two of its attorneys. Al Davies seeks more than $1 million in damages from Brown McCarroll of Austin, now known as Husch Blackwell, and partners Mark Choteau and Deborah Hiser, both of Austin. Davies alleges in the petition he filed on July 29 that the defendants represented him in a Medicare investigation of Southwest Healthcare and Diagnostics, but “failed to timely and/or adequately respond to Medicare deadlines.” That conduct put him in an “untenable position with Medicare and his future in the medical community.” “Nothing Davies did or failed to do caused or contributed to cause this occurrence and his continuing losses and damages. To the contrary, after Davies discovered Brown McCarroll’s wrongful conduct, he acted reasonably and prudently to mitigate his damages and is continuing to do so,” Davies alleges in the petition. Choteau declined comment, saying he had not been served with the petition. Hiser did not immediately return a telephone message. Neither did Adam Hauser, managing partner of Brown McCarroll, which merged on July 1 with Husch Blackwell, a St. Louis-based firm. “It is our firm’s policy that we not comment upon ongoing litigation,” Husch Blackwell chairman Maurice Watson wrote in a statement. Plaintiff’s attorney Brett Wagner, a partner in Doherty ☆ Wagner of Houston, did not return two telephone messages. Davies seeks unspecified monetary damages, costs and interest. The petition identifies Davies as a physician with an office on the West Loop in Houston.