Amy Harris and Bryan Rutherford Win in Texas Supreme Court for Architecture Client

Appellate lawyers for Macdonald Devin achieved a victory in the Texas Supreme Court for a Minneapolis-based commercial architectural firm sued after foundation defects were discovered in an Austin-area hotel.  The trial court had entered a take nothing judgment following a favorable jury verdict for alleged breach of contract for the architect’s coordination services and on breach of contract for the structural engineering design of the foundation after the general contractor and geotechnical engineer settled for $1.2 million, applying the settle credit afforded by the common-law one satisfaction of judgment rule.  But despite the take nothing judgment on liability, the trial court entered judgment awarding Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees under Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, reasoning that Plaintiff was the prevailing party based on the jury verdict.  Plaintiff appealed the take-nothing judgment to the Austin Court of Appeals, and the architect cross-appealed the award of attorney’s fees.  The Austin Court affirmed the take nothing judgment based on he one satisfaction of judgment rule and reversed the trial court’s attorney’s fees award.  The Plaintiff petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for review.  After ordering full briefing, the Texas Supreme Court denies the petition for review, upholding the Austin Court’s decision in favor of Macdonald Devin’s architect client, resulting in a complete victory.  Shareholders Amy Harris and Bryan Rutherford served as appellate counsel in the Texas Supreme Court.  Shareholder Greg Ziegler served as lead counsel at trial and in the Austin Court of Appeals.



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