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Maritime Proctor Blog

Admiralty and Maritime Law Blawg

Maritime Proctor Blog

As a practicing attorney at Chamberlain Hrdlicka in Houston, the focus of my practice is two-fold: I represent companies and individuals in civil litigation. I also do extensive work (of both a litigation and transactional nature) in the Admiralty, Maritime, and Energy fields.

I have been licensed to practice law since 2003. During that time, I've first and second chaired several trials to verdicts, as well as handled hundreds of other cases to amicable resolutions.

I'm a product of public schools, specifically Friendswood High School in Friendswood, Texas (Class of 1996), The University of Texas at Austin (BA-2000), and The University of Texas School of Law (JD - 2003).

Texas Super Lawyers magazine named me as a “Texas Super Lawyer” in the field of Transportation/Maritime Law in 2019 and 2020. Prior to turning 40, I was recognized by Super Lawyers as a Transportation/Maritime Law “Rising Star” from 2011-2018. In the past, both H-Texas Magazine and Houstonia Magazine named me as a “Top Lawyer in Houston” in the field of Admiralty and Maritime Law.

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In Part I of "A Fifth of Silence," we covered the wording and history behind the Fifth Amendment, as well as how a jury must evaluate a witness taking the Fifth in a criminal trial.  To recap … the jury cannot consider it at all in reaching their verdict.

In Part II, we turn to taking the Fifth in a civil lawsuit.  The results are vastly different.  We will also address a hypothetical and provide some practical tips when faced with this type of situation.

What Happens When a Witness Takes the Fifth in a Civil Matter?

If a witness takes the Fifth in a civil matter, the jury, under SCOTUS precedent from ...

Author’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on the Fifth Amendment’s protection of individuals from government action forcing the individual to testify or incriminate themselves.  Part I provides an overview of the Fifth Amendment and its application in the criminal context.  Part II details the implications of taking the Fifth in civil litigation, and provides a maritime hypothetical where a key witness likely would take the Fifth.

What do “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli, “Bash Bro” Mark McGwire, and “Raptor Bro” Kenneth Lay have in common?  Aside from the ...

About two months ago, I took my family on a Spring Break vacation to Estes Park, Colorado.  Up a hill and behind the Safeway in Estes Park was a large hotel, which I learned is the Stanley Hotel.  Built by the family that started Stanley Steamer, this hotel served as Stephen King’s inspiration for the Overlook Hotel, which is the setting of his 1977 novel The Shining.  Here is a photo I took of the Stanley Hotel on our trip.

Cinephiles know the late Stanley Kubrick was as an absolute perfectionist director.  For example, during the filming of the 1980 movie adaptation of The Shining, Kubrick ...

Categories: Admiralty, Maritime Law

Any child of the 80s (or really, anyone with taste) recalls such cinematic masterpieces as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, or Breakin’, which constitutes the movie debut of not only Jean Claude Van Damme (albeit in an uncredited role) as a bystander at an outdoor “dance-off,” but also Ice-T.

This was some of JCVD’s finest acting.

Each of those movies followed a basic plot: main protagonist unites with friends, learns of problem, experiences adversity, overcomes adversity, and ultimately prevails.  Realizing the financial success of the original ...

Unless you are wholly checked out from watching the news (and, frankly, with what’s gone on in the past 18 months, we do not blame you if such is the case), you likely know that a large container vessel, the Ever Given, was, until Monday 29 March 2021,[1] stuck (for lack of a better lay term) in the Suez Canal.  While the Ever Given is now out of the Canal and on to her next port, the impacts of this incident on world trade will resonate, we predict, for several years.

This image shows the position of the Ever Given in the canal, as well as the angle of the vessel during the past week.[2]

Background

To ...

Today, Governor Greg Abbott lifted all capacity restrictions on business operations in Texas, as well as the mandate to wear masks.[1]

What follows is my opinion, and not legal advice of any kind.

What we know:

-1-   COVID 19 is transmitted by respiratory droplets from people's mouths and noses when people are in close contact (i.e., within 6 feet of each other).  According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (“CDC”), COVID-19 spreads very easily.[2]

-2-   Wearing a mask & maintaining social distance of 6 feet from people who are not in your household is the most effective way ...

Most casual sports fans in the United States are familiar with the concept of professional teams trading players.  With respect to the American Pastime of baseball, one of the most consequential trades in Houston sports history involved a good to great relief pitcher named Larry Anderson.  The Boston Red Sox needed pitching help, and the Astros wanted young talent. 

So, in 1990, the Red Sox sent a skinny third baseman playing at the AA level to the Astros in exchange for a rental of Anderson (who was a free agent at the end of the season) to help in their playoff run.  The Red Sox made the playoffs ...

Discussions of generations – or more particularly how members of one generation can relate to members of another generation – dominate discussions of how businesses operate,[1] jury selection,[2] and even familial relations.[3]  Famed German sociologist Karl Mannheim published Das Problem Der Generationen (translated as “The Problem of Generations”) in 1928.  Mannheim’s central thesis is that generations have similar formative experiences in their youth that unite people across gender, class, race, or other classifications to have a shared, common ...

Lewis Black, the famous comedian, hypothesized in his 2002 comedy album “The End of the Universe” that the end of the universe was not far out in space.  Rather, it was in Houston, at the corner of West Gray and Shepherd. 

At that intersection, on the south side of West Gray was a Starbucks in a strip mall.  On the north side of West Gray is a stand-alone Starbucks.  Black even put a photo of both Starbucks on the cover of the album.

Later on, a Barnes & Noble was built on the north side of West Gray at the same intersection.  And inside the Barnes & Noble, with a view of both Starbucks was … another ...

Categories: Admiralty, Maritime Law

If you have ever sat for a deposition, it can be an extremely stressful experience, especially to someone  who has never given sworn testimony before. You are unfamiliar with the process. There is a (sometimes angry) attorney trying to get information from you.