New office space, new associates, several awards, and recent statute changes!
November 2012
Allensworth & Porter Quarterly Newsletter

In This Issue

Legal Updates Important to our Clients

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We are pleased to announce the debut of our quarterly newsletter. Our goal is to keep you informed about recent developments, both in the construction industry and at our firm.  We promise to keep it short, and we welcome your input.

Warm regards,

William R. Allensworth
Founding Partner

Legal Updates

Updated Responsible Third Party Statute
For all lawsuits filed on or after September 1, 2011, the legislature amended the responsible third-party statute, located at Chapter 33 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code.  The amendment removed a controversial provision that permitted plaintiffs to join defendants to lawsuits even after the applicable statute of limitations had expired. More>>

Changes to Indemnity Law
Effective January 1, 2012, the Texas legislature passed a new construction anti-indemnity statute (H.B. 2093) that prohibits broad-form indemnity agreements on construction contracts entered into on or after January 1, 2012.  Under the old statute, construction project participants could agree to indemnify each other even for those damages arising solely out of the negligence of the indemnified party.  The new law dramatically changes the landscape. More>>

What is the “Accepted Work Doctrine”?
The “accepted work doctrine,” at least in jurisdictions that have adopted it, generally insulates a contractor from liability for injuries resulting from the negligent construction of a condition that has been accepted by a premises owner.  Put simply, once the owner of a construction project accepts the contractor’s work, the contractor is generally absolved of liability to third parties injured by a condition of the construction. More>>

Differing or Unexpected Site Conditions Clauses
In January, the Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments in MasTec N. Am., Inc. v. El Paso Field Servs., L.P., 317 S.W.3d 431 (Tex. App.Houston [1st Dist.] July 6, 2010, pet. granted), and the Court may soon resolve an important risk-allocation issue applicable to construction projects throughout Texas. More>>

Texas Supreme Court Briefing
The Texas Supreme Court recently refused to hear a further appeal in the case of Black + Vernooy Architects v. Smith, 346 S.W.3d 877 (Tex. App.—Austin 2011, pet. filed). The case concerned whether and to what extent architects performing contract or construction-phase services are responsible to third-party guests injured by construction defects. The plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing on October 12, 2012.  More>>

Recent Awards & Accomplishments

A&P Receives Best Law Firm Rankings
We are proud to have been named to the “Best Law Firms 2011-2012” rankings by U.S. News & World Report, as one of the top construction law firms in Austin.  More>>

We are also pleased to have been named to the list of top Texas law firms in the current Business 2012 Edition of Super Lawyers, in the Construction, Real Estate and Environmental category. More>>

Allensworth and Porter was named, along with several other prestigious firms, as a Band 1 leading Texas firm in the area of Texas construction law in the 2012 edition of Chambers USA.  Both William Allensworth and Matthew C. Ryan received mention as leading individual Texas construction lawyers.

William Allensworth Named to Texas Super Lawyers List For Tenth Consecutive Year
William R. Allensworth was named to the Texas Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Texas for 2012. This is the tenth consecutive year that Mr. Allensworth has been named to the list. Mr. Allensworth was also named to the Top 100 Texas Super Lawyers 2012, a group consisting of lawyers who received the highest point totals in the Texas nomination, research, and blue-ribbon review process  More>>

Matthew B. Cano Presented the Construction Law Update at the 2012 University of Texas School of Law Construction Law Conference
On September 13, 2012, Matthew B. Cano presented the Construction Law Update at the University of Texas School of Law Construction Law Conference, held at the Belo mansion in Dallas, Texas.  The presentation addressed significant court decisions relating to construction law and construction litigation over the past year.  Please contact us for a copy of the presentation slides.

Matthew C. Ryan Named to Texas Super Lawyers List and Voted Chair-Elect for State Bar Construction Law Section
Matthew C. Ryan has been named to the Texas Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in Texas for 2012. This is the fifth consecutive year Mr. Ryan has been named to the list. More>>
Mr. Ryan has also been voted Chair-Elect for the Construction Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. More>>

Joe R. Basham Appointed to Rollingwood City Council and Named Super Lawyers Rising Star
Joe R. Basham has been appointed to the City Council of Rollingwood, Texas, and was sworn in as Alderman on June 20 at the Council’s monthly meeting. Mr. Basham served as Treasurer and Director of the Rollingwood Community Development Corporation from 2007–2011. More>>

Mr. Basham has also been named as a Texas Super Lawyers Rising Star 2012. This is the eighth consecutive year that Mr. Basham has been named to the list. More>>

Travis W. Brown Elected Chairman of Austin Bar Association Construction Law Section and Appointed Chair of the Austin Bar Association’s Breakfast with Judiciary Committee
Travis W. Brown was elected Chairman of the Austin Bar Association Construction Law Section (2012-13) on May 17, 2012.  Mr. Brown has also been appointed Chair of the Austin Bar Association’s Breakfast with Judiciary Committee. More>>

Matthew B. Cano and Matthew C. Ryan Delivered Legal Boot Camp Speech to the Texas Society of Architects
Matthew B. Cano and Matthew C. Ryan recently delivered a speech to the annual conference of the Texas Society of Architects.  The speech, entitled The Legal Bootcamp for Texas Architects, addressed key risk management and practice management issues that design professionals need to consider.  Please contact us for a copy of the presentation slides.

William Allensworth Presented Paper on Procurement & Construction Contract for the Texas Rural Water Association
On August 29, 2012, William Allensworth presented a paper, entitled Procurement & Construction Contracts, to the Texas Rural Water Association Attorneys Conference.  The paper concerned recent legislative changes to procurement procedures authorized for certain governmental entities (HB 628).  Please contact us for a copy of the paper.

Office Updates

New Office Location
We recently celebrated our first anniversary in our new location. If you have not yet visited us in our new space, please come by!

100 Congress Avenue, Suite 700
Austin, Texas 78701
Tel: 512.708.1250

New Associates
We would also like you to meet the two attorneys who have most recently joined our firm, Senior Associate Chad Simon and Associate Sara Whittington "Whitney" May.

Chad was previously with New Jersey-based Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer, where he gained a great deal of experience in complex commercial  and security litigation.

Before joining us, Whitney served as the staff attorney for the Texas Civil Justice League. She now practices primarily in the areas of construction litigation, professional liability, and complex multi-party claims.

To see more about our firm's lawyers, click here.
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100 Congress Avenue, Suite 100
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 708-1250

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