A Few Notable Results
Each case is fraught with its own issues, and a lawyer cannot guarantee success at any stage of the proceedings. Peter has represented clients at all stages of litigation for over twenty-five years. Below is just a short list of the kinds of results he has achieved for his clients in various courts.
Federal District Court
United States v. John Doe. Our firm represented a former union official accused of embezzling union funds over the course of years. We presented key arguments to the Government regarding certain defenses to the case. The Government opted not to pursue charges against our client. Another target of the investigation who had served alongside our client pleaded guilty, and was ordered to pay several hundred thousand dollars in restitution. Our client kept his position while his co-defendant was fired after conviction.
United States v. Janicek. The PSR added a two-level enhancement for the presence of a firearm during the course of the offense. We objected to the enhancement, and cross-examined the case agent at the sentencing hearing. (Other defendants didn’t assert an objection.) The district court struck the enhancement based upon our cross-examination, which lowered our client’s Guideline advisory range about thirty-six months.
Federal criminal Appeals
United States v. Milo Eaden. The trial court enhanced Eaden’s advisory Guideline range four levels for possessing a weapon in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime based upon some ammunition found in his home. In an appeal concerning two first-impression issues, we argued that the district court erred in assessing the enhancement against Eaden. The Fifth Circuit agreed, reversing the trial court’s judgment in a published opinion. Mr. Eaden was resentenced to time served.
United States v. Grover Clendon Elrod. Grover Elrod appealed his 180-month, mandatory-minimum sentence that was imposed pursuant to the Armed Career Criminal Act . We persuaded the Fifth Circuit that the district court plainly erred by holding that Elrod’s prior convictions for burglary under the Texas Penal Code constituted violent felonies. The Fifth Circuit vacated the judgment and remanded the case for resentencing with his advisory Guidelines being 37–36 months' imprisonment without the enhancement. Mr. Elrod was subsequently released for time served.
United States v. Franklin Delano Inman. Inman was ordered to pay $135,283.11 in restitution after a jury convicted him of fraud. We appealed the judgment, arguing that the trial court erred in ordering restitution over and above the time period outlined in the indictment. The Fifth Circuit reversed the judgment, holding that restitution was limited to the four corners of the indictment. This particular opinion may have cost the Government billions of dollars over time.
United States v. DeMarquis Williams. DeMarquis Williams was charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 371 (18 U.S.C. § 1029(a)(2)), Conspiracy to Traffic and Use Unauthorized Access Devices (credit card fraud in layman's terms). He pleaded guilty to the charge, but preserved his rights to appeal his sentence. We handled the appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and obtained a reversal on one of the two issues presented.
Dan Simmons v. Richard Wylie, et al. Simmons sold certain identified clients to a Wylie-controlled corporation. Wylie failed to pay promissory notes that he had executed in relation to the purchase. Simmons sued, and Wylie countersued, asking for several hundred thousands of dollars in damages. We prevailed at trial, and a jury found that Wylie had fraudulently conveyed assets to escape a judgment. The jury awarded just under $1 million in damages. The case continues as Wylie-controlled entities have sought bankruptcy protection to try to avert judgment..
Air Power Tool & Hoist, Inc. v. Atlas Copco Tools, Inc. Air Power was a power-tool distributor who represented Atlas Copco Tools. Atlas Copco abruptly cancelled Air Power’s distributorship and reassigned its clients to another entity. Air Power filed suit and obtained a multi-million dollar verdict that included a trebling of damages. Unfortunately, the case was reversed on appeal even though a federal court had upheld a similar verdict in a similar case.
Frances Riley. Frances Riley was shot by an apartment tenant whom she had given an eviction notice. Riley filed suit against the owner of the apartment complex, alleging that it had failed to provide her reasonable protection for evicting problem tenants. A jury returned a six-figure reward for Riley’s injuries which had resulted in RSD in her shoulder and arm.
Texas Civil Appeals
Alexander v. Kent, 480 S.W.3d 676 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2015, no pet.). We were retained to appeal a judgment over a contract for the construction of a car lot. We were able to persuade the court of appeals to vacate the awards of attorney's fees and special damages which comprised the majority of all damages awarded.
Smith v. Pena, 321 S.W.3d 755 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2010, no pet.). We were retained to appeal the judgment of the trial court which had entered a judgment after a summary proceeding in the context of a mediation. We persuaded the court of appeals to vacate the judgment.
Texas Criminal Appeals
Wordlaw v. State. In a written judgment, the trial court assessed restitution damages and reparations against Wordlaw. We appealed the judgments, arguing that these awards constituted error because the trial court failed to orally pronounce them in open court. The court of appeals modified the judgments to delete the restitution awards and fines.
Thomas v. State, 461 S.W.3d 305 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2015, no pet.). In this appeal, we sought to reverse our client's conviction based upon a witness's invocation of his Fifth Amendment privileges on cross-examination. The court of appeals ultimately held that because our client's defense lawyer was ultimately able to cross-examine the witness on a tax-cheating scheme any error was harmless.