The following case summaries are based on the specific factual and legal circumstances of each client's case, and are not representations or guarantees that the same results could be obtained for other clients or parties in similar matters.
L. R. J. M. vs. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services,
Case No. 03-20-00274-CV in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin, Texas
In this case involving the involuntary termination of parental rights, a partial but signicant victory was obtained by Mr. Baker. The young mother's rights were terminated on numous grounds by the trial court, including so-called "abuse" and "neglect' grounds, routinely referred to as (D) and (E) grounds. Either of these two particular grounds, if found and affirmed against a parent, virtually assure that CPS will attempt to remove all future-born children of that parent. After analyzing the trial transcript and evidence presented, Mr. Baker concluded and argued that insufficent evidence was presented at trial to affirm the (D) and (E) ground findings by the trial court, and that CPS had failed to request that particular relief properly at trial. The Third Court of Appeals agreed, and reformed that portion of the trial court judgment and deleted the (D) and (E) findings--thus allowing for the possibility of the young mother to retain custody of any future-born children.
Memorandum Opinion issued October 15, 2020, Affirmed as Reformed
Mandate Issued, January 14, 2021.
Bethany v. Bethany
Case No. 03-19-00532-CV, in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin. In this estate and administration probate case, Brother "B" was attempting to remove Brother "A" as their mother's estate independent executor. Brother "B"'s attempt was rejected by the trial court. Brother "B" then attempted to appeal that trial court ruling. Brother "A" retained Mr. Baker, for the sole purpose of appellate representation. After reviewing the trial transcript, the Clerk's Record, and the orders, judgments, and findings of the trial court, Mr. Baker determined that, on a technicality, the order that was being appealed was not really a final order, and thus, not appealable nor within the jurisdiction of the court of appeals. The Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas unanimously agreed with Mr. Baker, and dismissed the appeal for "want of jurisdiction", as well as awarding Mr. Baker's client all attorney's fees and costs.
Memorandum Opinion, Dismissed for Want of Jurisdiction, March 20, 2020
Mandate Issued, July 19, 2020.
N.M. vs. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services,
Case No. 03-19-00240-CV in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin, Texas
In this case involving the involuntary termination of parental rights, Mr. Baker secured a very rare reversal of the trial court's order terminating the parental rights of the children's mother (Mr. Baker's client) as well as a reversal of the trial court's order awarding CPS permanent conservatorship of the children. The case involved a question of federal law pertaining to evidence required under the federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).
Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.
Memorandum Opinion issued September 26, 2019.
In the Interest of Children, Cause No. 13-1531-CV, 25th Judicial District,
Guadalupe County, Texas
In this private suit for termination of a father's parental rights and adoption of his children, Mr. Baker represented the father, who in 2009 began serving a 7-year sentence in the Texas penitentiary system for assault with a deadly weapon. The mother had signed a relinquishment of parental rights, and maternal family members were seeking to adopt the father's 11-year old son and 9-year old daughter and change their first and last names. Upon demonstrating to the Court that none of the threshold statutory grounds for parental rights termination had been met, the Court denied the petition to terminate the father's rights, denied the adoption, and denied the change of names. The petitioners then engaged another attorney to move for a new trial. Mr. Baker successfully argued at the new trial hearing that there was no error whatsoever in the first trial, and the motion for new trial was also denied by the Court.
Denial of Petition to Terminate Parent-Child Relationship, July 14, 2014.
Denial of Motion for New Trial, September 2, 2014.
A.T., Petitioner, vs. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Docket No. 530-11-7302.E, before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings
The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services concluded, after its investigation, that A.T., while employed at a daycare center, had neglected a toddler in her care, resulting in a bone fracture to the child's arm. Less than thirty days before the hearing to contest the Department's finding, A.T. retained Mr. Baker to represent her in the proceeding. Instead of delaying the hearing and asking for more time to prepare, Mr. Baker thought it legally prudent to move forward immediately with the trial. Mr. Baker's legal inclination proved to be correct. Quoting the administrative law judge in his succinct, written opinion, "The evidence does not support a finding that Petitioner neglected Child...It is, therefore, ordered that the finding of neglect of a child against Petitioner made by the TDFPS be reversed, and Petitioner's name should be removed from the Central Registry."
Decision and Order issued on October 6, 2011.
A.M. v. Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
Case No. 03-10-00767-CV, in the Third Court of Appeals, Austin, Texas
In perhaps one of the most ethically and intellectually challenging appellate assignments an attorney may be called upon to handle, Mr. Baker was appointed by the trial court to represent on appeal an indigent parent in this parental rights termination case. However, upon review of the entire appellate record, it was apparent to Mr. Baker that any appellate argument would be legally frivolous. And ethically, legally frivolous arguments before a judicial tribunal are prohibited. As is required, then, Mr. Baker filed what is known in the legal profession as an "Anders" brief, which painstakingly analyzes any and all conceivable appellate arguments on behalf of the client, but which ultimately determines that all such arguments are legally frivolous. Upon receipt of an Anders brief, the appellate court itself then has an obligation to review the appellate record, to determine whether there are any arguable points to appeal. The Third Court of Appeals agreed with Mr. Baker's analysis, stating in its opinion, "[w]e have carefully reviewed the record and counsel's brief, and we have found nothing that would arguably support an appeal."
Memorandum Opinion issued, affirmed, June 16, 2011.
Mandate issued, September 20, 2011.
Pomerantz et al. v. Kirk
Case No. 13-09-00176-CV, in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals, Corpus Christi-
In this lawsuit, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's award of attorney's fees to Kirk, represented by Mr. Baker. Kirk had been sued in this Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act (DTPA) case for allegedly installing a defective roof. The Thirteenth Court of Appeals held that the underlying case was groundless, and that attorney's fees were appropriately awarded to Kirk. Mr. Baker represented Kirk throughout all of the stages of the trial and the appeal of this matter.
Memorandum Opinion issued, affirmed, August 12, 2010.
Mandate issued, October 28, 2010.
Martinez-Partido v. Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital et al.
Cause No. 00-09-00463-CV, in the Fourth Court of Appeals, San Antonio, Texas
In the latest round of this long-running appellate slug-fest, the Plaintiff, Mr. Martinez-Partido, represented by Mr. Baker, prevailed once again in this medical malpractice case, this time before the Fourth Court of Appeals, the court which four years before had dismissed the Plaintiff's case with prejudice. Mr. Baker personally presented oral argument to the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio prior to its decision to reverse an adverse ruling for the Plaintiff in the trial court.
Opinion issued, reversed and remanded, July 21, 2010.
Mandate issued, September 21, 2010.
Martinez v. Peters
Cause No. 2007-CV-0526, County Court at Law, Guadalupe County
In this somewhat run-of-the-mill rear-end auto collision case, the Plaintiff, represented by Mr. Baker, was awarded all claimed medical damages, all claimed property damages, pain and suffering damages, all costs of court, and reasonable attorney's fees.What makes this case not so run-of-the-mill is that in addition to the above judgment, Mr. Baker also sought for the Plaintiff, and the court indeed awarded, exemplary, sometimes referred to as punitive, damages against the Defendant.
Final Judgment entered December 16, 2009.
Collins v. Ford Motor Company and Wells Fargo Auto Finance
Docket No. 601-08-2467.CAF, before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings
In this relatively rare proceeding under the Texas motor vehicle "lemon law," Collins, the Complainant, had leased a brand-new diesel pick-up, which subsequently and repeatedly required significant engine repairs. Upon completion of the last repair, the dealership informed the Complainant that the manufacturer's warranty would not cover the repair costs, and that the Complainant would have to pay several thousand dollars in repair costs himself in order to retrieve the vehicle. The Complainant retained Mr. Baker, and after a formal hearing before an administrative law judge, the Complainant was awarded a full reimbursement for his expenditure in the repair costs, including reimbursement for the cost of a rental vehicle while the diesel pick-up was being repaired.
Final Decision entered on December 4, 2008.
Martinez-Partido v. Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital et al.
Cause No. 06-0611, in the Supreme Court of Texas
In this medical malpractice/healthcare liability case, Mr. Baker, representing the plaintiff, Martinez-Partido, successfully secured a rare grant of a motion for rehearing before the State's highest court of civil jurisdiction. To put in perspective, in 2007, only 3 such grants were issued by the high court, and in 2006, only one. The Supreme Court has recently requested full briefing on the merits in this matter.
UPDATE: On September 26, 2008, the Supreme Court of Texas delivered its opinion in this cause, granting the plaintiff's petition for review, vacating the adverse judgment in the San Antonio appellate court, and remanding the case to the trial court for further proceedings The decision represents a very favorable outcome for the plaintiff, as the case had previously been dismissed with prejudice by the San Antonio appellate court in June of 2006.
Motion for Rehearing granted, April 27, 2007.
Briefing on the Merits requested, June 13, 2008.
Per Curiam opinion issued, vacated and remanded, September 26, 2008.
Mandate issued, December 12, 2008.
Hearing No. 100,012, before the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings
In this administrative proceeding involving the determination of limited sales, excise, and use tax liability, the Taxpayer, Brueggemann, was audited by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and assessed a deficiency of $132,017.52, along with interest and penalties. Mr. Baker was subsequently retained to represent the Taxpayer in the proceeding and to contest the Comptroller's audit findings. The deficiency liability was ultimately settled for $17,000.00, with no interest or penalties, and the proceeding was jointly dismissed by both the Taxpayer and the Comptroller.
Joint Motion to Dismiss, filed May 15, 2008.
Kirk v. Pomerantz et al.
Case No. 04-07-00504-CV, in the Fourth Court of Appeals, San Antonio, Texas
In this deceptive trade practices, breach of warranty, and breach of contract case, Mr. Baker, representing the appellant, Kirk, successfully secured a reversal of the trial court's adverse ruling, with the San Antonio Fourth Court of Appeals finding that the opposing individual parties lacked standing to sue, and that the trial court erred in allowing the joinder of two corporate parties late into the litigation. Additionally, the Fourth Court remanded the case back to the trial court for a determination of appropriate attorney's fees for Kirk. The opposing parties' subsequent motion for rehearing was summarily denied less than two weeks after it was filed. Previously, Kirk had lost as the defendant in the justice court, then lost again on appeal to the county court at law, before ultimately prevailing in the San Antonio appellate court. Mr. Baker represented Kirk throughout all of the proceedings.
UPDATE: On January 6, 2009, the very same county court at law, which had previously ruled against Kirk, on remand awarded Kirk one hundred percent of his claimed attorney's fees in this matter.
Memorandum Opinion, reversed and remanded, April 2, 2008.
Appellees' motion for rehearing denied, April 29, 2008.
Mandate issued, July 2, 2008.
Final Judgment as to Attorney's Fees, entered January 6, 2009.
Ariza v. Long
Case No. 04-07-00254-CV, in the Fourth Court of Appeals, San Antonio, Texas
In this conversion of personal property and collateral pledge case, Mr. Baker, representing the appellant, Ariza, successfully secured a reversal of the trial court's adverse ruling, with the Fourth Court of Appeals rendering judgment that the opposing party take nothing, and that Ariza prevail on his counterclaim. An interesting note is that, much like the preceding case of Kirk v. Pomerantz et al., Ariza also experienced two adverse, and erroneous, rulings before achieving vindication on appeal. Ariza first lost in the justice of the peace court, and then lost again in the county court at law, prior to ultimately succeeding before the court of appeals in San Antonio. Mr. Baker represented Ariza throughout all of the proceedings.
Memorandum Opinion, reversed and rendered, March 5, 2008
Mandate issued, May 8, 2008.
Arteaga v. The State of Texas
Case No. 04-05-00011-CR, in the Fourth Court of Appeals, San Antonio, Texas
Case No. PD-1748-05, in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
In this appeal of a criminal jury trial case, Mr. Baker, serving exclusively as appellate counsel for the defendant, Arteaga, successfully secured a reversal from the Fourth Court of Appeals in San Antonio of the trial court jury's guilty verdict, resulting in a complete acquittal for the defendant. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest appellate court in Texas with regard to criminal matters, refused to hear the State's petition for discretionary review.
Jury verdict reversed and acquittal ordered, September 28, 2005
State's petition for discretionary review refused, January 25, 2006