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New Partner Named

December 9, 2013

The firm is pleased to announce that Christopher M. Lamm was named partner in the firm, effective January 1, 2014.

Chris joined the firm as an Associate in 2006 and concentrates his practice in corporate transactions, insurance, securities, and privacy law. Chris also works closely with foundations and non-profit corporations.

Chris earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University in 1999 with honors. He earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2002 from the University of Houston Law Center where he graduated with honors.

The firm is pleased to have Chris join as a partner and looks forward to many years of working with him and the service he will continue to provide to our clients.

Porretto Beach Case Argued before the Texas Supreme Court

Andrew J. Mytelka argued before the Texas Supreme Court in Williams, et al. vs. Texas General Land Office, et al., Case No. 12-0483 on November 5, 2013, asking the Court to reinstate a $5 million jury award issued in 2009, after the trial court found the State had wrongfully taken private beach property owned by Sonya Porretto. Mr. Mytelka argued that the State, through the Texas General Land Office, wrongfully took private property by instructing the County to replace the private landowner’s name with the State’s name in County tax rolls, by leasing private property, by authorizing the alteration of the shoreline through beach renourishment without surveying the proper shoreline boundary, and through several public rejections of the Porretto family’s ownership. The State’s actions quashed several offers to purchase the property.

The GH&A team appearing before the Texas Supreme Court included Andrew J. Mytelka, Stephen G. Schulz and Angie Olalde.

Joe Cavanah Joins Firm

GH&A welcomes Joe Cavanah as a new associate. Joe focuses his practice on Commercial Litigation.

Joe graduated from the Naval Leadership School in 2005, received a B.A. in History & Anthropology from the University of Colorado, magna cum laude, in 2010, and a J.D. from Tulane University Law School in 2013 with a certificate in Maritime Law. While at Tulane, he served as the Senior Articles Editor of the Tulane Maritime Law Journal and was also selected as a Senior Fellow that assisted foreign post-doctoral students in Tulane’s International L.L.M. program.

Prior to becoming an attorney, Joe spent five years in the United States Navy. Shortly after being injured in Navy SEAL training, Joe assumed supervision of the armory aboard the U.S.S. Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. He completed two deployments between 2003 and 2007.

Joe will be working primarily in our Galveston office.

Greer, Herz & Adams Ranked in 2014 "Best Law Firms"

Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P. has been ranked in the 2014 "Best Law Firms" list by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® in the following areas:
Metropolitan Awards

  • Tier 1, Houston, Health Care Law
  • Tier 1, Houston, Health Care Law
  • Tier 2, Houston, Commercial Litigation
  • Tier 2, Houston, Commercial Litigation

Firms included in the 2014 "Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.

The 2014 Edition of "Best Law Firms” includes rankings in 74 national practice areas and 120 metropolitan-based practice areas.

The U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings, for the fourth consecutive year, are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. Clients and peers were asked to evaluate firms based on the following criteria: responsiveness, understanding of a business and its needs, cost-effectiveness, integrity and civility, as well as whether they would refer a matter to the firm and/or consider the firm a worthy competitor.

Steve Windsor Passes Away

It is our sad duty to inform you that Steve Windsor, Sr. Counsel at Greer, Herz & Adams, L.L.P. has passed away. We know you will join us in offering his family and friends our sincerest condolences during this sad time. We will all miss him as a work colleague and friend after his many years of loyal service to this firm.

 

Annweiler assists in acquisition of 1892 Bishop’s Palace

July 2013

Tara Annweiler recently represented the firm’s longtime client, Galveston Historical Foundation, in its successful acquisition of the 1892 Bishop’s Palace from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. Greer Herz & Adams, LLP is proud to have been a part of this historic transaction which allows for the preservation of this most significant architectural Island landmark and secures it to the use of the public for generations to come.

Ms. Annweiler is a Partner with the firm and works primarily in the Galveston office.

Freddie Black honored by Meals on Wheels

The Firm congratulates Freddie Black for being honored by Galveston Island Meals on Wheels. At the 2013 Meals on Wheels Wine and Dine fundraiser, Mr. Black was presented with an Award of Excellence for being Past President from 2003-2004 and an Outstanding Volunteer for more than fifteen years.

Mr. Black works in the Galveston office and has been a partner since 1994.

Cobb - Texas Rising Stars

Meredith Cobb has been selected for inclusion in Texas Rising Stars® 2013 by Thomson Reuters, in the real estate practice area. The list will be published in the April 2013 issue of Texas Monthly. The Texas Rising Stars® represents the top 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or those attorneys who have been practicing for 10 years or less. This is the sixth year Ms. Cobb has been selected for this honor. Ms. Cobb is a partner in the Firm’s Bay Area Houston office.

Third Year to Participate in Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade

The Firm again sponsored a group of employees, family and friends to participate in the 3rd Annual Mardi Gras! Galveston's Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade. 1,792 participants with decorated umbrellas beat last year's record of 1,516 and danced the Hokey Pokey as they walked through Galveston’s historic Strand area with the parade.

New Partners Named

The firm is pleased to announce that effective January 1, 2013, Tara Annweiler and Meredith Cobb were named partners in the firm.

Ms. Annweiler joined the firm as librarian in 1985, worked as a paralegal from 1986 to 1992 when she started as an Associate, and later became Senior Counsel. She has been representing the firm’s clients in banking law, real estate, mortgage lending and bankruptcy law. Ms. Annweiler earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Houston in 1986 where she graduated cum laude. In 1992, she received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from South Texas College of Law.

Ms. Cobb joined the firm as an Associate in 2011 representing clients in real estate law and real estate finance. She is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Ms. Cobb earned a Bachelor of Science in 1997 at the University of Arkansas graduating magna cum laude. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2002 from South Texas College of Law where she graduated summa cum laude.

The firm is pleased to have Ms. Annweiler and Ms. Cobb join as partners and looks forward to many years of working with them and the service they will continue to provide to our clients.

GHA Commercial Litigation Group Success

Partners Joseph R. Russo, Jr. and Andrew J. Mytelka achieve $17.75 Million commercial result for Port of Galveston.  The lawsuit, which can be read here, joined Lexington Insurance Company, York Risk Services Group, Lancashire Insurance Co. and Allied World Assurance Company on allegations of misrepresenting insurance coverage and terms, failing to properly investigate and adjust claims and conspiring to increase deductibles and reduce coverage, all during a three-year adjustment process following Hurricane Ike. "This was a case involving hundreds of thousands of pages of documents maintained by custodians scattered throughout the United States and abroad," said partner Joseph R. Russo, Jr.  "We analyzed that material and, in a little over two months conducted 24 depositions taken in New York, Seattle, Houston, Galveston, and London.  GHA employed its organizational skills and litigation experience to prepare the case for trial on a rocket docket that initially set the complex case for trial with 100 days to conduct discovery."  The Defendants were represented by several large national law firms with home offices in New York, Washington DC, and Houston.

Greer, Herz & Adams, LLP members are proud of the firm heritage, being based in Galveston County for over 70 years.  The firm is called home by dedicated and experienced commercial litigation attorneys.  The commercial practice group works all manner of complex business disputes, class actions, banking, insurance, employment, and securities fraud matters.

Windsor cited by Supreme Court

The firm is pleased to congratulate Steve Windsor who is the co-author of a law review article that was recently cited by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court in Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P.A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 130 S.Ct. 1431, 1441 (2010) cited Jose R. Torres & Steve Windsor, State Legislative Histories: A Select Annotated Bibliography, Law. Libr. J. 547, 547 (1993). Mr. Windsor is Senior Counsel and works primarily in the Galveston office.

Firm Sues Galveston City Council

The Firm filed a lawsuit against the City of Galveston on behalf of the Indian Beach Property Owners after the City Council overturned a Planning Commission decision that a dog kennel on the West End of Galveston was not compatible with the neighborhood and is not in compliance with the Comprehensive Plan of the City of Galveston. An appeal of the Planning Commission’s decision asked the City Council to review whether the Planning Commission acted in an “arbitrary and capricious manner” when it denied approval of the plan.

The lawsuit asks that the City Council’s decision be overturned and that the City be enjoined from approving building permits for the business.

Attorneys representing Indian Beach Property Owners are Partners, Stephen G. Schulz and Andrew J. Mytelka, and Associate, Eric Kirkpatrick, all of the Galveston office.

Cobb – Texas Rising Stars

Meredith Cobb has been selected for inclusion in Texas Rising Stars® 2012 by Thomson Reuters, in the real estate practice area. The list will be published in the April 2012 issue of Texas Monthly. The Texas Rising Stars® represents the top 2.5 percent of Texas attorneys who are 40 years old or younger or those attorneys who have been practicing for 10 years or less. This is the fifth year Ms. Cobb has been selected for this honor. Ms. Cobb is an associate in the Firm’s Bay Area Houston office.

Firm Participates in Mardi Gras! Galveston’s World Record

The Firm sponsored a group of employees and friends that participated in the 2012 Mardi Gras! Galveston’s Funky Uptown Umbrella Brigade Parade. Data collected from the event, by official notaries and record keepers, showed that approximately 1,503 participants broke the world record by dancing the Hokey Pokey with a decorated umbrella for five minutes. The data will be submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records for approval of the new world record.

Epstein honored by University of Houston Law Center

J. D. Epstein, Of Counsel, was honored by the University of Houston Law Center. As one of the founders of the Health Law & Policy Institute, Mr. Epstein has been involved with the Law Center for more than 30 years as a professor, supporter and adviser. He currently serves as a senior member of the HL&PI Advisory Board. Mr. Epstein has represented thousands of hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, HMOs, prepaid group practices, medical staffs and various vendors to the industry throughout the nation, as well as non-health care industry corporations with health care benefit concerns. The Epstein scholarship fund for health law LL.M. students has been established in Mr. Epstein’s honor.

Schulz represents client in contracts valued at $8 million

Partner Stephen G. Schulz represented Tegrity TH1, LLC in the assignment of 57 Homeowner / Contractor Reconstruction Contracts under the City of Galveston, Texas Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Housing Reconstruction Program from Compass Pointe Homes to Tegrity TH1, LLC. The contracts assigned had a value of $8 million.

Scott Andrews joins firm

GH&A welcomes Scott Andrews as a new associate.  Mr. Andrews has several years of experience in the areas of complex commercial litigation and patent litigation.

Mr. Andrews received a BS from Texas State University, summa cum laude in 2003, an MS from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in 2005, and a J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2008.  He will be working primarily in the firm’s Galveston office.

David Booth joins firm

GH&A welcomes David Booth as a new associate. Mr. Booth has nearly ten years of experience in the areas of admiralty and maritime; onshore/offshore oil and gas litigation; commercial litigation; commercial transportation; insurance defense; personal injury; premises liability; FDCPA/FCRA; and post-judgment enforcement.

Mr. Booth received a BA from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1991 and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law in 2001 and will be working primarily in the firm’s Bay Area Houston office.

Meredith Cobb joins firm

GH&A welcomes Meredith Cobb as a new associate.  Ms. Cobb focuses her practice on a variety of different financing and real estate transactions, representing numerous financial institutions and business entities, both private and public. She represents both lenders and borrowers in connection with the acquisition, sale, development, construction, and financing of raw land and improved property, including office buildings, apartments, condominiums, retail shopping centers and industrial office parks.  Her representation of lenders in commercial loan transactions involves various types of collateral, including real estate, equipment, accounts, inventory, and entity membership interests.

Ms. Cobb received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas, magna cum laude in 1997 and a J.D. from South Texas College of Law, summa cum laude in 2002.

Ms. Cobb is Board Certified in Commercial Real Estate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and will be working primarily in the firm’s Bay Area Houston office.

Rushing Serves as Deposition Training Instructor

Litigation Partner Janet Rushing has been selected as an Instructor for the much acclaimed Deposition Training course offered by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) at the University of Houston School of Law.  Ms. Rushing has been an instructor in this course several times in the last five years.

Court of Appeals Rules Trustee Has Authority to Enter Into Lease and Encumber Trust Assets

The First Court of Appeals issued an opinion upholding the right of the Trustee of a Trust whose principal asset is a large ranch in West Texas to enter into a Lease that would extend beyond the measuring life of the Trust. The Court of Appeals also agreed the Trustee has the authority to encumber Trust assets as necessary to preserve the corpus of the Trust. In rejecting the challenge of the Trust beneficiary to these actions, the opinion affirmed the broad authority granted to the Trustee under this particular Trust and well as under the Trust Act. The Court also rejected the beneficiary-Appellant’s challenge to ripeness. The Court approved the Trustee’s conclusion that given the litigious reputation of this beneficiary, as well as disagreement among all the beneficiaries, litigation seemed unavoidable on the issue, and therefore the issue was ripe for review.

The Appellee’s brief was written by Partner John Buckley and Associate Angie Olalde. Ms. Olalde presented the Appellee’s oral argument before the panel that included Justices Keyes, Massengale, and Sharp.

David B.T. Myrick, Jr. v. Moody National Bank, Trustee, No. 01-09-00510-CV On appeal from the 10th District Court of Galveston County, Texas

Buckley Begins Sixth Year as Adjunct Professor at UH School of Law

Litigation Partner John A. Buckley, Jr. starts his sixth year as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Houston School of Law teaching Pre Trial Litigation.  The course is one of several Advocacy courses taught by practicing attorneys at the University of Houston.  The Pre Trial Litigation course takes second and third year law students through a case starting from client interviews, drafting pleadings, conducting discovery, including depositions, participating in a mediation, and motion practice, including arguing their Motions for Summary Judgment before a State Court Judge in the Courthouse in Harris County, Texas.

Buckley and Lamm assist client in obtaining patent.

Utilizing the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s recent Green Technologies Expedited Examination Pilot Program, Stefan Stamoulis, a client of the firm, was issued a patent for a tool and method to perforate existing landfill gas recovery wells.  Mr. Stamoulis’ tool and method can be utilized at landfill sites to recapture a greater amount of methane gas, thereby reducing emissions into the atmosphere.  Attorneys working on this included lead IP counsel Meg Boulware with Boulware and Valoir and Partner John A. Buckley, Jr. and Associate Chris Lamm with Greer Herz and Adams, L.L.P.

GH&A’s Real Estate and Mortgage Lending 2010 Report

In 2010, the Firm’s real estate and mortgage lending attorneys represented lenders in closing $539,566,368.00 of mortgage loans involving office buildings, shopping centers and multi-family residential units in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, Utah, Hawaii, New Mexico, Alabama, Tennessee, California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, Nevada, Virginia, and Colorado.  These closings include permanent financing, construction loans and participating mortgages.  In addition, in 2010 Firm attorneys closed commercial sales and acquisitions valued at $59,731,274.00 and clients’ equity investments in limited liability companies and limited partnerships in transactions involving $60,247,167.00.

Members of the Firm’s real estate team participating in these closings include partners, Darryl Levy and Jim Itin, and associate Steve Burzinski.

GH&A closes sale of registered broker-dealer and registered investment advisor

The GH&A Corporate Practice Group advised American National Insurance Company in the sale of its former subsidiary, Securities Management and Research, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and registered investment advisor.  The transaction closed December 31, 2010. 

GH&A advises client in formation and registration of investment advisor subsidiary

The GH&A Corporate Practice Group advised American National Insurance Company in the formation and registration of an investment advisor subsidiary, American National Registered Investment Advisor, Inc. 

Porretto Beach Case Argued in the First Court of Appeals

Andrew J. Mytelka argued in the First Court of Appeals on behalf of Appellees, Sonya and Rosemarie Porretto.  In January 2009, attorneys with the Firm won a judgment in excess of $5 million on behalf of the Porrettos.  In that case, the trial court also found that the State of Texas, through its General Land Office and Jerry Patterson, Land Commissioner, had unconstitutionally taken the Porrettos’ beachfront property, among other findings.  The panel consisted of Justices Keyes, Higley, and Bland.  The panel requested additional briefing on, among other things, the impact of the Texas Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Carol Severance v. Jerry Patterson, et al.  The Severance opinion held, on certified questions from the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, that private beachfront properties on Galveston Island’s West Beach are not impressed with a right of public use under Texas law without proof of an easement.

The GH&A team for trial and appeal included partners, Andrew J. Mytelka and Stephen G. Schulz, and associates, Kelly-Ann F. Clarke, Angie Olalde, Lucie Shipp Tredennick, and Austin L. Webber.

Buckley Serves as Deposition Training Instructor

Litigation Partner John A. Buckley, Jr. was selected and served as one of the Instructors for the much acclaimed Deposition Training course offered by the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA) at the University of Houston School of Law.  Mr. Buckley has been an instructor in this course, as well as the NITA Advanced Deposition course, several times in the last five years.

GH&A Post-Hurricane Ike Updates

GH&A reviewed its disaster recovery plan and took further steps to minimize the business impact of a disaster based on the knowledge gained from surviving Hurricane Ike which struck Galveston Island in September 2008.  Network servers were relocated to a remote, secure site which has redundant power and state of the art safety and security measures.  All employees were issued laptop computers which will ensure quick connectivity.  Web and interoffice connections were upgraded to enterprise class for faster connection speed and enhanced dependability.  Software changes include a web-based time and accounting system, an updated document management software, upgraded Microsoft office pro suite, and a new email archiving software searchable from Outlook web access.  More recent upgrades include a new cost recovery software and state of the art black and white and color Ricoh multi-function devices for printing, copying and scanning.

GH&A Congratulates J. D. Epstein

Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has named Jon David Epstein as the “Houston Area Best Lawyers Health Care Lawyer of the Year” for 2011. 

After more than a quarter of a century in publication, Best Lawyers is designating “Lawyers of the Year” in high-profile legal specialties in large legal communities. Only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is being honored as the “Lawyer of the Year.” 

Best Lawyers compiles its lists of outstanding attorneys by conducting exhaustive peer-review surveys in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. The current, 17th edition of The Best Lawyers in America(2011) is based on more than 3.1 million detailed evaluations of lawyers by other lawyers. 

The lawyers being honored as “Lawyers of the Year” have received particularly high ratings in our surveys by earning a high level of respect among their peers for their abilities, professionalism, and integrity. 

Steven Naifeh, President of Best Lawyers, says, “We continue to believe – as we have believed for more than 25 years – that recognition by one’s peers is the most meaningful form of praise in the legal profession. We would like to congratulate Jon David Epstein on being selected as the ‘Houston Area Best Lawyers Health Care Lawyer of the Year’ for 2011.”

Schulz obtains specific-use permit

Partner Stephen G. Schulz obtained a specific-use permit for development excavation from the City of Galveston Planning Commission and City Council to dig a canal at Anchor Bay subdivision on the West End of Galveston Island.  In 2007, a coalition of West End residents and environmentalists filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the agency violated federal laws by allowing the island’s last areas of vacant land to be developed. The suit focused on the permit the Corps issued to Frank Jones and Anchor Bay, Ltd., the Houston developer and development company building a new canal subdivision called Anchor Bay on 142 acres next to the Spanish Grant bayside subdivision.  The developers of Anchor Bay intervened in the lawsuit in March of 2008.  The Court issued its Final Judgment in March, 2009, which remanded the matter to the Corps for further proceedings and the Court’s injunction was later lifted allowing the specific-use permit to finally be applied for and issued.

The GH&A litigation team included partners, Stephen G. Schulz and Andrew J. Mytelka, and senior counsel, Steven C. Windsor, all of the Firm’s Galveston office.

Adams Obtains Dismissal

On August 12th, 2010, partner Michael Adams obtained a dismissal with prejudice in the 215th Judicial District Court of Harris County on behalf of SRC Construction, Inc., Salvatore Carabetta and Carabetta Enterprises, Inc. based upon a lack of personal jurisdiction. After a lengthy evidentiary hearing, Judge Sylvia Mathews found that the defendants did not have sufficient contacts with Texas for the court to exercise personal jurisdiction over them.

Assisting Mr. Adams on the case was associate Laura Englert of Greer, Herz & Adams’ Bay Area-Houston office.

Summary Judgment obtained applying Chapter 245, Texas Local Government Code

Greer, Herz & Adams, LLP obtained summary judgment from Judge Wayne Mallia, 405th District Court of Galveston County, on behalf of the firm’s client, MB Harbour, Ltd. MB Harbour, a local real estate developer, intervened in a lawsuit brought by several League City residents against the City of League City to protect its property interests relating to a portion of the former HL&P cooling canal. The plaintiffs sought to have a plat for the Cypress Bay development voided. The firm successfully argued that Chapter 245 of the Texas Local Government Code applies to bar application of League City Code of Ordinances Section 102-10 to the development. In particular, Chapter 245 of the Texas Local Government Code freezes the ordinances applicable to a project from the time that the first application for issuance of a “permit” in a series of permits is filed.

The GH&A team working on this matter included partners, Joe A.C. Fulcher and M. David Le Blanc, and associate, Angela Olalde.

GH&A Congratulates Rushing on Award

Janet L. Rushing was presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation in recognition of her work with the Assistance League of the Bay Area, a chapter of the national Assistance League organization.  Assistance League of Bay Area is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for at-risk-populations through community-based philanthropic programs.  Ms. Rushing is a partner of the Firm in the Bay Area Houston office.

Melton becomes Certified Paralegal

Amy Melton became certified as a Paralegal in Civil Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specializations.  Qualifying with the required number of years practicing as a paralegal and letters of recommendation, Ms. Melton took a test given by the State and became one of the 79 paralegals certified in Civil Trial in the State.  Ms. Melton has been employed by the Firm since 2003 and works in the Firm’s Bay Area Houston office.

GH&A advises in formation of New York insurance company

GH&A advised American National Insurance Company in the formation and licensing of a new, wholly-owned New York insurance company, American National Life Insurance Company of New York.

The GH&A team consisted of corporate partner Greg Garrison and associates Chris Lamm, Louis Ducote, and Janelle Canada.  GH&A was assisted in this representation by New York counsel.

GH&A advises client in SEC registration

Corporate partner Sean Monticello advised client American National Insurance Company in its registration under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Such registration was effective July 21, 2009.  In addition to providing assistance in drafting the registration statement, Mr. Monticello assisted the company in planning for its new SEC reporting obligations, in preparing or revising corporate policies and committee charters, and in preparing initial beneficial ownership statements.