January 27, 2022, opinions

Designated for publication

  • Danziger & De Llano, L.L.P. v. Morgan Verkamp, L.L.C., 21-20186, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • Higginson, J. (Davis, Higginson, Engelhardt), personal jurisdiction
    • Affirming district court’s dismissal of suit against non-Texas LLC and two of its non-Texas-resident members on grounds of lack of personal jurisdiction.
    • In a case arising from a fee-splitting arrangement between a Texas law firm and an Ohio-based law firm and two of its Ohio-resident members, the Texas firm brought sui alleging fraud, unnjust enrichment, and tortious interference with a prospective contractual relation in Texas federal court against the Ohio firm and the two members for payment of fees it alleged it was entitled to based on the firms’ fee-splitting agreement.
    • The Court held that the dispositive facts as to personal jurisdiction in Texas were that, “although Morgan Verkamp’s allegedly tortious conduct may have affected Danziger in Texas, none of this conduct occurred in Texas. The only act or omission of Morgan Verkamp that is even plausibly connected to Texas is Morgan Verkamp’s allegedly fraudulent reply to Danziger’s unsolicited email about Epp, which one could characterize as having been sent to Texas. However, we have held that a state does not have personal jurisdiction over a non-resident who merely answers one uninitiated and unsolicited phone call. Danziger offers no reason why the same should not hold true for a defendant who merely answers one unsolicited email. Accordingly, this email does not meaningfully connect Morgan Verkamp to Texas. And because none of Morgan Verkamp’s allegedly tortious conduct meaningfully connects it to Texas, Texas courts do not have jurisdiction over Danziger’s intentional tort claims against Morgan Verkamp.” (Internal quotation marks and citations omitted; emphasis in original).
    • As to personal jurisdiction with regard to the plaintiff’s breach of contract claim, the Court held, “Danziger was the only connection between the alleged contract and Texas. Morgan Verkamp did not perform in Texas and was not required to perform in Texas. Moreover, this alleged contract to split the fees arising from a non-Texas law firm’s legal representation of a non-Texas client in a non-Texas case was centered outside of Texas.”


  • U.S. v. Bastar, 21-20320, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Southwick, Oldham, Wilson), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Castro, 21-40545, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Southwick, Oldham, Wilson), criminal
    • Granting Anders motion to withdraw, and dismissing appeal.
  • U.S. v. Mata-Valerio, 21-50735, c/w 21-50756, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Higginson, Duncan), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming conviction and 46-month sentence for illegal reentry.