Victory On Appeal in Fourteenth Court of Appeals

  • January 24, 2013

On Jan. 17, 2013, the Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals issued a ruling in favor of the Firm’s client in a lawyer liability case.  In Daneshjou v. Bateman, the appellate court upheld the decision of District Judge Michael Gomez on a legal question about the proper interpretation of a jury verdict.  

The controversy began after actress Sandra Bullock sued her homebuilder over construction defects in her house.  She won a large judgment against the homebuilder and then settled with him for several million dollars less than the judgment.  The homebuilder then sued his lawyer for alleged malpractice.  The jury answered a damage question with a relatively small dollar amount, which was far less than the amount saved by the settlement in the underlying case.  Judge Gomez ruled that the verdict called for a judgment in favor of the lawyer, and the homebuilder appealed.  The court of appeals affirmed.  Although the court divided three ways on the reasoning, all three judges agreed that the judgment should be affirmed. 

Beck Redden partners David Gunn and Connie Pfeiffer handled the appeal for the lawyer.  They worked in cooperation with the trial lawyers, Ken Tekell and Dan Van Winkle of the Tekell Book law firm. 

Opinions from the Fourteenth Court of Appeals attached.