HDBD Attorneys File Amicus Brief to U.S. Supreme Court
Attorneys Brad Robinson and Brandon Maxey, in the Dallas office of Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a group law professors from across the country.
The case stems from a 9th Circuit decision that raises concerns regarding the application of federal vs. state privilege law in federal cases where the court’s personal jurisdiction is based solely on diversity of citizenship—as well as overarching issues of federalism. The issue on appeal is whether state privilege law governs a state law claim in federal court, where the court’s jurisdiction is based solely on diversity. Or, as the 9th Circuit held, would Rule 501 of the Federal Rules of Evidence regarding privilege govern?
In this breach of contract case, the application of state privilege law would have resulted in the exclusion of a key email from a pre-suit mediation—while the application of federal law, according to the 9th Circuit, would have allowed the email into evidence. The email was the crucial piece of evidence supporting a motion for summary judgment. As such, the application of state vs. federal law was dispositive on the state law claim.
In the trial court, the defendant-petitioner argued that state law should apply because the district court’s jurisdiction on this state-law claim arose solely out of diversity. On appeal, the 9th Circuit reversed, holding that federal privilege law should have governed because the pre-suit mediation implicated potential federal claims—although no federal claims were present at the time of the trial court’s decision.
The law professors’ brief supports the petitioner’s position. In short, issues of federalism and the underlying policy of the Erie Doctrine support the application of state law in this context. As discussed in the law professors’ brief, Congress debated this very issue while designing Rule 501. Specifically, Congress designed the rule to avoid overriding states’ policy choices when state-law governs the claims and defenses in a case.
The case is Hannstar Display Corp. v. Sony Electronics, Inc., et. al., No. 16-1457. The petition has been distributed for the Court’s Conference of September 25, 2017.
Alan Carrillo, a summer associate at HDBD, also contributed to the work performed on this brief.
HDBD Elects Stephanie Roark and J. Reid Simpson to Partnership
Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP is pleased to announce the promotion of Dallas attorney Stephanie Roark and Corpus Christi attorney Reid Simpson to partners in the firm, effective July 6.
Stephanie Roark joined the firm after graduating from Baylor University School of Law in 2009. Stephanie focuses her practice on general litigation, including personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries and death, as well as product liability and dram shop litigation. She is also actively involved in a wide range of other practice areas, including premises liability, toxic torts, labor and employment claims and healthcare litigation.
Stephanie has defended multiple Fortune 500 and large publicly traded companies in both state and federal court. She has gained extensive experience at the trial level, successfully defending cases ranging from catastrophic injury and death claims on behalf of transportation companies to dram shop cases on behalf of large hospitality companies. Stephanie has been named a ‘Texas Rising Star’ by Thomson Reuters every year since 2014.
Reid Simpson focuses his practice on personal injury litigation, toxic exposure litigation, appellate law, legal malpractice claims, product liability litigation, and coverage/indemnity matters. Reid has represented several Fortune 50, Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies in both state and federal court. He has obtained numerous dismissals and summary judgements state court, federal court, and in arbitration for a variety of clients, including government contractors, medical research institutions, energy companies (midstream, upstream, and downstream), transportation companies, and professional service companies.
Reid earned his J.D. from Baylor University School of Law in 2009 and his B.A. from Northwestern University in 2006.
“Reid and Stephanie have proven themselves to be invaluable members of the firm,” said managing partner Jeff Patterson. “Their exceptional work ethic and commitment to their clients’ businesses made electing them to partnership an easy decision.”
Six HDBD Lawyers Selected for Inclusion in the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©; Vernon Hartline Named Dallas “Lawyer of the Year”
Hartline Dacus Barger Dreyer LLP partners Darrell Barger, Richard Crews, Michael Terry, Kyle Dreyer, Jeff Patterson and C. Vernon Hartline, Jr. were selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. Vernon Hartline Jr. was honored as Best Lawyers’ Dallas area “Lawyer of the Year” for his work in product liability defense litigation.