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D. Todd Smith has an appellate boutique law firm handling matters throughout Texas.

The firm helps trial lawyers and their clients navigate the appellate system by anticipating and addressing legal issues at all stages of litigation.

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  • After oral argument, obtained reversal of an order denying a motion to compel arbitration between a law firm and its client.
  • Procured reversal of an uncapped punitive-damages award in a fraud case argued before the Court.
  • Preserved a school district’s trial date in a multimillion-dollar case by defeating mandamus petitions and motions for emergency relief in both the court of appeals and the Texas Supreme Court. Relators settled shortly afterward.
  • Represented nine national domestic-violence-prevention organizations as amici curiae in an appeal from a custody modification on temporary orders.
  • Defeated a petition for writ of mandamus challenging a trial court’s ruling allowing discovery of prior accidents involving the defendant/relator’s trucks.
  • Presented oral argument in a highly publicized case involving nurses’ duty to diagnose and treat a psychological illness when an inpatient committed suicide.
  • Successfully defended a significant money judgment in an oilfield-injury case, including denial of the operator’s petition for review.
  • Obtained reversal of a court of appeals’ decision denying an award of attorney fees.
  • Successfully opposed mandamus, preserving an order favorable to a client’s appraisal award in a case against an insurer.
  • Represented a physicians’ professional organization as amicus curiae in a mandamus proceeding involving whether expert medical testimony constitutes the practice of medicine.
  • Pursued mandamus relief and obtained a stay of an order compelling discovery from a major automobile insurer. The underlying case settled after the Court requested merits briefing.
  • Defeated a mandamus petition asserting that a trial court abused its discretion by refusing leave to designate a responsible third party and by declining a motion to severe negligence and contract claims.
  • Represented a trade association of major property and casualty insurance companies appearing as amicus curiae in a case involving a carrier’s duties to additional insureds.
  • After oral argument, persuaded the Court to narrowly construe a permanent injunction against a former oilfield services company employee accused of violating an intellectual property agreement.
  • Obtained leave and filed an amicus curiae brief for public interest groups opposing arbitration in a matter affecting medical patient privacy rights.
  • Secured affirmance of a district court’s summary judgment rejecting a police chief’s attempt to escape First Amendment retaliation liability based on a qualified immunity defense.
  • After oral argument, retained a judgment for mental-anguish damages and attorney fees in a professor’s statutory retaliation case against a state medical school.
  • Served as local counsel in a case involving the constitutionality of a state statute prohibiting caller-ID spoofing.
  • Represented fifty former employees of a county sheriff’s department in a First Amendment retaliation case brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • After oral argument, preserved a district court’s summary judgment for a mortgage lender in a dispute involving the payoff of a home loan by a third party to the transaction.
  • Represented an investment management company in a proceeding to vacate an award under the Federal Arbitration Act.
  • Obtained affirmance of a district court’s dismissal of a lawsuit against a doctor and regional medical center for lack of personal jurisdiction.
  • Successfully defended a judgment awarding damages to a warehouse employee who was severely injured when his arm was caught in a conveyor belt while he was repairing it.
  • Successfully defended the judgment on appeal after a trial court awarded full damages to a driver whose car was hit by a city bus.
  • Successfully defended a judgment awarding damages to a journeyman electrician severely injured after contacting live current while working on a commercial remodeling job.
  • Obtained acquittal on appeal of a public official convicted of official oppression.
  • Secured reversal of final order in a suit to modify the parent-child relationship that included a substantial fee award to an amicus attorney the appellate court held was improperly appointed.
  • Assisted a trade association with an amicus curiae brief addressing how medical factoring affects a claimant’s recovery of medical expenses.
  • Obtained reversal of a summary judgment granted on the sole ground that a police officer’s administrative appeal to a city’s civil service commission was untimely.
  • Achieved reversal and remand for a new trial on all issues after the trial court granted summary judgment on the affirmative defense of penalty and rendered judgment that the client pays the opposing party’s attorney fees.
  • Successfully defended a summary judgment favoring homeowners association officer accused of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and fraud by nondisclosure.
  • Acquired client’s unconditional release on the petition for writ of habeas corpus after persuading the appellate court that order client was accused of violating an order holding client in contempt of court was void.
  • Obtained en banc reconsideration in a mandamus proceeding to allow the trial court to consider new circumstances arising after its ruling on the enforceability of a forum-selection clause.
  • Opposed a discovery mandamus in which the relators sought to prevent disclosure of an insurer’s claim file based on attorney-client and work product privileges, facilitating a settlement favorable to the real parties in interest.
  • Successfully defended a summary judgment for the defendant in a legal malpractice case.
  • Secured reversal of a trial court’s order refusing to enforce a mediated settlement agreement in a divorce case.
  • Obtained a judgment of acquittal on appeal for a public official charged with failure to file a conflict-of-interest affidavit.
  • Preserved an award of damages and attorney fees to an unleased cotenant who sued an oil and gas operator for underpayment of royalties.
  • Successfully defended consolidated direct and restricted appeals in a property tax case involving a municipality’s foreclosure on the residential property. The appellate court dismissed the direct appeal as moot and affirmed the trial court’s judgment of foreclosure on the restricted appeal, holding that the taxpayer’s participation in the summary-judgment hearing precluded relief.
  • On mandamus, obtained a stay of a trial court’s order appointing an auditor and requiring the client to pay for an appraisal of alleged partnership assets pre-trial.
  • Represented an amicus curiae supporting a developer’s position in an appeal in which the City of Austin denied approval of a site plan to build a hotel. The appellate court reversed the trial court’s judgment and held that the hotel was a permitted use under ordinances and regulations in effect when the preliminary plan was filed.
  • The supported law-firm client who obtained a take-nothing summary judgment for the defendant in a defamation case and successfully defended the summary judgment on appeal.
  • Preserved a final judgment awarding the title to the client by adverse possession and, by cross-appeal, modified the trial court’s judgment to remove costs improperly charged to the client.
  • Defeated a challenge to a divorce decree’s geographic restriction on a minor child’s primary residence.
  • Defended a Texas city from a motion to dismiss based on a certificate of merit in a construction-defect lawsuit. After oral argument, the appellate court unanimously ruled in the City’s favor. The Texas Supreme Court denied the opposing party’s petition for review.
  • Obtained affirmance of a money judgment for the client in a matter involving a breach of an employment contract.
  • Defended a school district in a complicated appeal regarding an anti-suit injunction and subject-matter jurisdiction. The case settled after oral argument.
  • Obtained reversal and rendition of judgment for the client following a bench trial on a conversion claim.
  • Successfully defended a money judgment for a metal building contractor against a purchaser’s usury and breach of contract counterclaims and, by cross-appeal, increased the amount of interest awarded to the contractor.
  • Defended a regional hospital against a claim of negligence in the adoption of policies and procedures governing emergency-room treatment of stroke patients. The appellate court affirmed take-nothing summary judgment for the client, holding that the trial court properly excluded plaintiffs’ expert testimony on the standard of care.
  • Obtained reversal and rendition of a take-nothing judgment in a premise-liability case.
  • Assisted trial counsel in securing a transfer from the Texas Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation of more than 100 fraudulent hospital lien cases to a single MDL pretrial court.
  • Procured a temporary restraining order and, after an evidentiary hearing, a temporary injunction prohibiting unauthorized access to and disclosure of medical records in violation of state and federal law.
  • Persuaded a trial court to set aside death-penalty sanctions based upon alleged discovery abuse.
  • Obtained a new trial after entry of a no-answer default judgment in a case involving a student loan procured by identity theft.
  • Assisted trial counsel representing a high-profile professional athlete with a briefing before an arbitration panel, a trial court, and appellate courts.
  • Persuaded a trial court to deny a stay of proceedings based on the liquidation of the defendants’ insurer.
  • Secured a settlement after obtaining relief from an automatic stay and pursuing summary judgment on client’s breach-of-contract claim against a bankruptcy debtor.
  • The co-chaired trial in a custody suit resulting in an award of primary conservatorship of minor daughter to father, assisting with jury selection, evidentiary issues, and drafting the jury charge.
  • Helped trial counsel oppose dismissal of a school district’s action and preserve the trial date in a construction defect case.
  • Successfully opposed a school district’s efforts to recover attorney fees from civil rights claimants in federal district court.
  • Provided trial support and handled the charge conference in a dispute between a homeowners association and client over the short-term rental of residential property. The association elected not to appeal the final judgment, which was favorable to the client and included an award of attorney fees.
  • Helped trial counsel achieve a take-nothing summary judgment for the broker, agent, and seller in a real-estate dispute alleging fraud, deceptive trade practices, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence.
  • Persuaded a trial judge to modify a partial summary judgment and revive a fraudulent-inducement counterclaim against the opposing party.
  • Handled the jury charge and other legal issues during the trial of a real-estate case resulting in a judgment favorable to the client.
  • Obtained a judgment of dismissal for an international air carrier based on federal preemption and the Montreal Convention.
  • Handled the jury charge and charge conference on behalf of a deceased plaintiff in a forklift tip over a case, successfully obtaining a new trial when the jury failed to award past disfigurement damages.
  • Represented a defendant sued twice in state court, successfully removing to federal court, preventing remand, and obtaining consolidation of the cases in federal court.
  • Assisted trial counsel with a briefing in opposition to the motion for summary judgment in a real-estate case. The trial court denied opposing counsel’s motion.
  • Provided trial support in an adversary case in which a bankruptcy trustee sought to recover millions of dollars in inter-corporate transfers. After a two-week trial, the court issued a detailed opinion denying all relief.
  • Obtained modification of a sanction order against an attorney, eliminating five-figure penalty imposed as a fine for civil contempt.
  • On behalf of a plaintiff school district, opposed multiple pleas to the jurisdiction and a motion to sever and abate at a contested hearing that would have effectively terminated the school district’s suit. Obtained post-hearing consolidation of five separate appeals, all of which settled after consolidation.
  • Represented several independent pharmacist groups as amicus curiae in opposition to a large pharmacy chain’s motion to compel arbitration of a dispute with six independent retail pharmacies.
  • Persuaded a district court to grant a new trial for a physician who had suffered a summary judgment on both liability and damages in a hospital’s breach-of-contract claim against him.
  • Served as lead counsel in several arbitrations and litigation matters for the administrator of a $1 billion class action involving allegedly defective plumbing systems.

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Texas Appellate Law

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