Texas General Land Office v. Porretto

Opinion Reversing and Rendering Judgment for Texas GLO

After the State of Texas lost an important trial concerning state versus private ownership of beachfront property, the State retained MDJW lawyers, Levon Hovnatanian and Dale Jefferson, to represent it in further proceedings and appeal. On August 4, 2011, the First Court of Appeals in Houston reversed both the judgment and discovery sanctions award that the trial court had entered against State. The Court of Appeals not only reversed the verdict, it also rendered judgment in favor of the State on all issues.

The issues before the court included whether there was an unconstituational taking of land when property that was formerly dry land became submerged (i.e. below the mean higher high tide line). As a corollary, the trial court had found that the application of the Texas Open Beaches Act constituted an unconstitutional taking of the property.

The court also reversed a sanctions award that the trial court had entered against the State with respect to the State's document production. The court determined that the trial court could not sanction a party for producing documents in compliance with the rules merely because the documents were not organized as requested.

Since the State rarely retains outside counsel to represent it, MDJW congratulates the team - Levon, Dale, and Bruce Ramage - for this significant decision.

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