Texas Supreme Court rules that lawyers may stay in Billy Bob’s dispute

Billy Bob's Texas

Some attorneys may be popping a top on a Lone Star beer to celebrate and others may be drowning their sorrows after the Texas Supreme Court ruled all the lawyers for Billy Bob’s Texas can continue their court battle.

The state’s highest court ruled on Dec. 20 that lawyers representing one faction in the Billy Bob’s dispute should not be disqualified. The Billy Bob’s suit stems from an ownership struggle between a majority group of owners led by Brad Hickman and his family, which controls about 65 percent of the company, against the minority owners led by Murrin family, Dallas Mavericks executive Donnie Nelson and Concho Minick, ousted president of Billy Bob’s.

The ownership group is made up of long-time friends and family members, who reached a breaking point over control of the company and the role of two seemingly contradictory company documents that dictate ownership rights and decision-making rules for the iconic Fort Worth nightclub known as the World’s Largest Honky-Tonk.

The case was appealed to the Supreme Court from rulings by State District Judge Michael Wallach and Second Court of Appeals, which upheld the lower court ruling.

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The narrow matter argued before the high court focused on whether Wallach and the Second Court of Appeals erred in denying a motion from the Murrin-led minority owners to bar the Kelly Hart & Hallman law firm from representing the Hickman-led group of owners and serve as Billy Bob’s company attorneys at the same time.

Writing for the court, Justice Jimmy Blaylock wrote: “… the Murrin Group relators have not established a clear entitlement to the harsh remedy of attorney disqualification. Nor have they established their lack of an adequate remedy at law if the case proceeds with its current alignment of parties and counsel. For the reasons explained below, the Court denies mandamus relief.”

– Attorneys for the embattled owners of Billy Bob’s Texas squared off before the Texas Supreme Court on Oct. 10, arguing over whether a law firm should be disqualified from further involvement in the case.

The nine justices of Texas’ highest court made its second known appearance in Fort Worth to hear oral arguments in the Billy Bob’s case as well as a case from Lubbock County on an appeals court ruling in a product-liability and wrongful death lawsuit.

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The hearing at Texas A&M University School of Law attracted throngs of attorneys, judges, law students and interested observers. Some were able to watch the proceedings live while others had to watch via from other TV monitors in other classrooms.