David maintains an active trial and appellate practice and has consistently worked on financial institution litigation matters throughout his career. David is the primary author of the Texas Fiduciary Litigator blog, which reports on legal cases and issues impacting the fiduciary field in Texas. Read More
David's financial institution experience includes (but is not limited to): breach of contract, foreclosure litigation, lender liability, receivership and injunction remedies upon default, non-recourse and other real estate lending, class action, RICO actions, usury, various tort causes of action, breach of fiduciary duty claims, and preference and other related claims raised by receivers.
David also has experience in estate and trust disputes including will contests, mental competency issues, undue influence, trust modification/clarification, breach of fiduciary duty and related claims, and accountings. David's recent trial experience includes:
Representing a bank in federal class action suit where trust beneficiaries challenged whether the bank was the authorized trustee of over 220 trusts;
Representing a bank in state court regarding claims that it mismanaged oil and gas assets;
Representing a bank who filed suit in probate court to modify three trusts to remove a charitable beneficiary that had substantially changed operations;
Represented an individual executor of an estate against claims raised by a beneficiary for breach of fiduciary duty and an accounting; and
Represented an individual trustee against claims raised by a beneficiary for breach of fiduciary duty, mental competence of the settlor, and undue influence.
David is one of twenty attorneys in the state (of the 84,000 licensed) that has the triple Board Certification in Civil Trial Law, Civil Appellate and Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Additionally, David is a member of the Civil Trial Law Commission of the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. This commission writes and grades the exam for new applicants for civil trial law certification.
David maintains an active appellate practice, which includes:
Appeals from final judgments after pre-trial orders such as summary judgments or after jury trials;
Interlocutory appeals dealing with temporary injunctions, arbitration, special appearances, sealing the record, and receiverships;
Original proceedings such as seeking and defending against mandamus relief; and
For example, David was the lead appellate lawyer in the Texas Supreme Court in In re Weekley Homes, LP, 295 S.W.3d 309 (Tex. 2009). The Court issued a ground-breaking opinion in favor of David’s client regarding the standards that a trial court should follow in ordering the production of computers in discovery.
David previously taught Appellate Advocacy at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law located in Fort Worth. David is licensed and has practiced in the U.S. Supreme Court; the Fifth, Seventh, and Eleventh Federal Circuits; the Federal District Courts for the Northern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas; the Texas Supreme Court and various Texas intermediate appellate courts. David also served as an adjunct professor at Baylor University Law School, where he taught products liability and portions of health law. He has authored many legal articles and spoken at numerous legal education courses on both trial and appellate issues. His articles have been cited as authority by the Texas Supreme Court (twice) and the Texas Courts of Appeals located in Waco, Texarkana, Beaumont, Tyler and Houston (Fourteenth District), and a federal district court in Pennsylvania. David's articles also have been cited by McDonald and Carlson in their Texas Civil Practice treatise, William v. Dorsaneo in the Texas Litigation Guide, and various authors in the Baylor Law Review, St. Mary's Law Journal, South Texas Law Review and Tennessee Law Review.
In In the Estate of Sakima, the probate court appointed a decedent’s sister as his administrator in 2011. No. 05-18-01288-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 8209 (Tex. App.—Dallas September 10, 2019, no pet. history). After multiple show-cause notices, the probate court removed the administrator in 2018. The court held that an estate with a foreclosed home… Continue Reading
In Gray vs. Ward, Ward and Gray started a limited partnership where Ward was a limited partner and Gray was a limited partner and the manager of the general partner. No. 05-18-00266-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 6992 (Tex. App.—Dallas August 9, 2019, no pet.). Ward was also an employee of the partnership, but there was… Continue Reading
In In the Estate of Brazda, the trial court found an administrator guilty of neglecting to timely distribute the property and ordered the administrator to pay one of the heir’s damages for the neglect. No. 01-18-00324-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5924 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 11, 2019, no pet. history). The administrator moved for… Continue Reading
In Waldron v. Susan R. Winking Trust, a daughter was a beneficiary of a trust set up by her parents. No. 12-18-00026-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5867 (Tex. App.—Tyler July 10, 2019, no pet. history). The original trustee resigned, and the trust document provided: Successor. If the original trustee fails or ceases to serve for… Continue Reading
In Sanders v. Hathaway, the decedent’s estate’s representative sued her sister for various claims arising from the decedent’s beneficiary designation changes, deed transfers, and accounts payable on death changes that benefited the sister. No. 01-18-00661-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5708 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 9, 2019, no pet. history). The sister alleged that the… Continue Reading
In Shopoff Advisors, LP v. Atrium Circle, GP, the buyer and seller to a real estate transaction sued each other. No. 04-18-00438-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5764 (Tex. App.—San Antonio July 10, 2019, no pet. history). The plaintiff alleged that the defendant conspired with the escrow agent, who owed the plaintiff a fiduciary duty. The… Continue Reading
In In re Estate of Moore, a decedent executed a will that provided that the residuary of his estate would be held in trust for his mother, and such trust would terminate on her death with the assets then passing to certain charitable remainder beneficiaries. No. 05-18-00019-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3871 (Tex. App.—Dallas May… Continue Reading
In In re Amerisciences, a bankruptcy trustee sued a bankrupt company’s former officers for breach of fiduciary duty regarding the theft of trade secrets. No. 18-20394, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 20635 (5th Cir. July 11, 2019). The jury found for the trustee, and the officers appealed. The court of appeals addressed whether there was sufficient… Continue Reading
In the Estate of Gibbs, Bell transferred money to Gibbs for the purchase of real property and a trust agreement was executed that clarified that they owned the property equally. No. 02-18-00086-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4452 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth May 30, 2019, no pet. history). Later, Bell learned that Gibbs had transferred Bell’s half… Continue Reading
In In re Estate of Silverman, a trial court granted a will contestant’s summary judgment and denied a handwritten document’s admission to probate as the last will of the decedent. No. 14-18-00256-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4579 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] June 4, 2019, no pet. history). The proponent argued that the document could be… Continue Reading
In In re Ignacio G. & Myra A. Gonzales Trust, a couple formed a trust and named their daughter as the trustee. No. 06-19-00014-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4648 (Tex. App.—Texarkana June 6, 2019, no pet. history). The trust identified the settlors’ children as the two children that they had together. However, the trust then… Continue Reading
In CLC Roofing v. Helzer, a roofer purchased shingles from a seller and stored them on the seller’s property. No. 02-17-00229-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 5927 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth July 11, 2019, no pet. history). Six months after the relevant purchase was consummated, the seller, who was in financial trouble, returned the buyer’s shingles to… Continue Reading
In Wheatley v. Farley, a trial court entered an order awarding relief to both parties, and both parties appealed. No. 08-18-00106-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 4626 (Tex. App.—El Paso June 5, 2019, no pet. history). One party was a dependent administrator, and the trial court ruled that he did not have to post a supersedeas… Continue Reading
In Garcia v. Communities in Schools of Brazoria County, a director sued a nonprofit’s board for breach of fiduciary duty arising from his removal. 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97017 (S. D. Tex. June 10, 2019). The board alleged that he did not have standing to bring such a claim, and the district court agreed: Garcia… Continue Reading
In Godoy v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., a bank sued a guarantor to recover on a deficiency following a foreclosure sale. No. 18-0071, 2019 Tex. LEXIS 443 (Tex. May 10, 2019). The defendant guarantor alleged that any such claim was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The lender argued that the guarantor waived the… Continue Reading
In Ebert v. Dejoria (In re Latitude Sols., Inc.), a bankruptcy trustee sued a company’s former officers for breach of fiduciary duty. No. 18-10382, 2019 U.S. App. LEXIS 13060 (5th Cir. April 30, 2019). The trustee asserted that LSI was a sham company set up to fail from the outset and a vehicle for the… Continue Reading
In Marshall v. Ribosome L.P., a beneficiary of a trust sued a limited partnership of which the trustee was a partner. No. 01-18-00108-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 3787 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] May 9, 2019, no pet. history). The beneficiary asserted that the limited partnership aided and abetted a breach of fiduciary duty by making… Continue Reading
I. Introduction Historically, Texas courts could not resort to extrinsic evidence to construe an unambiguous will. San Antonio Area Foundation v. Lang, 35 S.W.3d 636 (Tex. 2000). The Texas Supreme Court stated as follows: In construing a will, the court’s focus is on the testatrix’s intent. This intent must be ascertained from the language found… Continue Reading
In In re Estate of Daniels, after the decedent’s death, his wife and his other heirs filed competing applications for independent administration of his estate. No. 06-18-00049-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2905 (Tex. App.—Texarkana April 11, 2019). After the homestead property was set aside and the temporary administrator conveyed the interests in that property to… Continue Reading
In In re Estate of Russey, the decedent was going through a divorce and signed a will. No. 12-18-00079-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 1536 (Tex. App.—Tyler February 28, 2019, no pet. history). She died before the divorce was finalized. Her children took their father’s side on some issues. During this time, a sister of a… Continue Reading
In In the Estate of Hargrove, two daughters offered their mother’s last will and testament dated in 2017 for probate. No. 04-18-00355-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 1703 (Tex. App.—San Antonio March 6, 2019, no pet. history). Their brother offered a subsequent codicil. After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court admitted the will to probate, issued… Continue Reading
In Freeman v. Fid. Brokerage Servs., LLC, the mother of the plaintiffs executed a living trust agreement. No 3:18-CV-0947-G, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34694 (N.D. Tex. March 5, 2019). Upon her death, the trust agreement directed that the trust assets were to be divided and allocated into trusts for the benefit of her husband if… Continue Reading
In Chabot v. Estate of Sullivan, the decedent’s attorney probated a holographic will as a muniment of title. No. 03-17-00865-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 2145 (Tex. App.—Austin March 20, 2019, no pet.). A claimant then asserted a claim that the decedent sexually abused him. The tort claimant and the decedent’s sister filed will contests. The… Continue Reading
In Goughnour v. Patterson, a beneficiary sued a trustee based on a failed real estate investment. No. 12-17-00234-CV, 2019 Tex. App. LEXIS 1665 (Tex. App.—Tyler March 5, 2019, no pet. history). In 2007, the trustee of four trusts invited his mother, the primary beneficiary, and his siblings, also beneficiaries, to participate in a real estate… Continue Reading