This list of representative litigation includes both pending and resolved lawsuits. Unless otherwise indicated, the following lawsuits Mr. Dreiling has been responsible for handling encompass the last twelve years of his practice. No attempt has been made to include all of the lawsuits Mr. Dreiling has been responsible for handling - for plaintiffs, or for defendants - during the last 35 years.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a condominium association that administers a 120 unit Padre Island condominium in its first party suit against its property insurance company for water damage and resulting mold contamination. This fairly complex piece of litigation involved: (1) an insurance company initiated federal court declaratory action in Houston federal court; (2) a Nueces County, Texas state court action we filed for our client against its insurance company alleging contractual and extra-contractual claims; (3) the insurance carrier’s attempted removal of our client’s state court action to federal court in Corpus Christi; (4) the insurance company’s appeal to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans seeking a reversal of the Corpus Christi federal trial judge’s remand decision; (5) the insurance company’s mandamus action in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals; and (6) the insurer's mandamus action in the Texas Supreme Court. After we briefed, argued and won the Fifth Circuit appeal, fended off the state appellate court mandamus actions, and succeeded in abating the insurer's Houston federal court declaratory action the litigation was resolved by the insurer's 2.5 million dollar payment to our client (in addition to the insurer's $250,000 "undisputed sum" payment).
Co-counsel for a Cameron County, Texas family in their first party insurance lawsuit against their homeowners’ insurance company involving breach of contract and extra contractual causes of action in connection with our clients’ claims for damage to their 7,500 square foot home caused by Hurricane Dolly. The insurer initially paid our clients a frankly inadequate sum of $102,000 for the damages to their home; however, after our extensive and aggressive trial preparation the case was recently resolved by the payment of a 7 figure settlement, plus the complete restoration of our clients' home.
Lead plaintiffs’ counsel for the homeowners/borrowers and their general contractor in their lawsuit against what at the time was the 16th largest bank in the world over the bank’s mismanagement of a half million dollar loan for the construction of a Port Aransas, Texas home. The case resolved when our aggressive pretrial efforts resulted in the trial court ordering in excess of $500,000 in discovery sanctions against the bank, followed by the bank's agreement to forgive 100% of the construction loan and more than $150,000 in accrued interest, and pay our clients $950,000.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for Corpus Christi homeowners in more than 30 separate first party lawsuits against our clients' homeowner’s insurance companies alleging breach of insurance contract and extra contractual insurance causes of action in connection with our clients’ claims for water damage with resulting toxic mold contamination to their homes. Recovered more than 8 million dollars in settlements, including one client who received an initial $65,000 settlement offer - an offer that increased to 1.8 million dollars shortly before trial due to our thorough and aggressive case development, thereby resulting in a settlement that was satisfactory to our clients.
Lead defense counsel for one of two "target" defendants in a multi-million dollar lawsuit involving 115 plaintiffs who claimed that for many years our client had illegally dumped toxic oil field and refinery waste into a pit near the plaintiffs' subsequently built homes. The first “test” trial involved 15 plaintiffs; lasted 2-1/2 weeks; and resulted in jury findings that our client had done nothing wrong, and had not caused any damages. Following the "test" trial the remaining 100 plaintiffs’ claims were resolved for frankly nominal amounts. As a result of our prevailing at the "test" trial we saved our client''s insurer - at the minimum - 3 million dollars in additional defense fees, expert fees and litigation costs.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a physician in his whistleblower lawsuit against a nationwide provider of healthcare services. When the case was referred to us the defendant had refused to offer our client any money; however, after persistent, skilled and aggressive case development, including deposing some 20 witnesses, and handling and winning numerous pretrial matters, we secured a 7 figure settlement for our client.
Lead plaintiffs' counsel for the homeowners' in their claims against the general contractor who built their new $200,000 home, and the contractor's bank concerning the contractor's and the bank's failure to apply some $196,000 in cash payments paid by our clients to eliminate the construction loan the contractor secured from the bank. At closing the contractor was unable pay off the bank loan, and could not convey good title to our clients. Eventually, the bank foreclosed on our clients' home and attempted to evict our clients - an elderly couple who had been married for more than 50 years. The case was eventually referred to our office recently, and within a few months we convinced the bank that it would be in the bank's best interests to revoke the foreclosure; release our clients from any liability; deed the home to our clients without restriction or reservation; and forgive 100% of the construction loan, the accrued interest, associated foreclosure fees, costs and the bank's attorney's fees - all resulting in our clients' finally having the security of knowing that they owned their new home, and had not lost almost $200,000 they had saved during some 40+ years of migrant farm labor work.
Lead defense counsel for a Corpus Christi veterinarian in a lawsuit filed against him by his property insurance company to recover $250,000 the insurance company claimed to have mistakenly paid our client in connection with his insurance claim for damage to his clinic. After mounting an aggressive defense and prosecution of our client's first party insurance counterclaims we achieved a settlement where our client was not required to reimburse the insurer any money, and affording our client the recovery of all of his attorneys fees and litigation expenses.
Retained four weeks before trial as lead defense counsel for a real estate broker in a lawsuit brought by a home buyer arising from a lease/option to purchase a Rockport, Texas Country Club home. After a three week trial, the jury returned a “zero” verdict in our client’s favor, and awarded our client $75,000 in attorney’s fees against the plaintiffs.
While at Spann and Smith/Spann and Dreiling - was charged with the sole responsibility for representing the family of a good man who was killed in a scaffolding accident at a Corpus Christi refinery, and diligently developing their lawsuit against 4 defendants. Achieved a 7 figure settlment and structured the settlement to provide for the widow and the surviving children for the rest of their lives. The litigation also served as a catalyst for the refinery to instiute new scaffolding erection procedures in order to prevent similar accidents and improve worker safety.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a condominium association that administers a 9 story, 80 unit Corpus Christi condominium in its construction lawsuit against an architectural firm and a general contractor concerning a one million dollar plus repair project. After handling some 22 fact and expert witness depositions; conducting numerous on-site inspections with our engineering, architectural and construction experts; handling a multitude of pretrial motions, and an interlocutory appeal, we achieved a 6 figure settlement for our client.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for the buyer of a Corpus Christi South Shores home in a lawsuit involving claims against a general contractor and an engineering firm for an improperly performed plumbing re-route that caused substantial foundation and cosmetic damage to our client’s home. The lawsuit also involved claims against our client’s insurance broker for negligently failing to procure homeowner’s insurance that covered this loss. Due to our aggressive trial preparation efforts the case resolved when the defendants agreed to pay our client settlements exceeding $500,000.
Co-plaintiff's counsel for a Rockport, Texas homeowner in his suit against his homeowner's insurer, and others for damages caused to our client's new $500,000 water front home when water repeatedly intruded into our client's home as a result of wind driven rain. The case was resolved when the contractor agreed to remove and properly replace the entire exterior stucco system thereby eliminating all water intrusion sources, and by the insurer's payment of a cash settlement that included replacing the roof of our client's home, and the attorney fees our client had incurred.
Lead defense counsel for a general contractor in a lawsuit filed by an owner claiming poor and unworkmanlike performance in connection with a commercial construction project. The plaintiff sought a refund of the first $40,000 construction draw, several hundred thousand dollars in lost profits because the construction project was never completed, punitive damages and attorney’s fees. The trial resulted in a “zero” jury verdict in our client’s favor; a $40,000 damage finding against the plaintiff on our counterclaim; and a $25,000 attorney’s fee award in our client's favor against the plaintiff.
Lead counsel for a client whose divorce was finalized in 2005. However, counsel involved in the 2005 divorce did not properly account for the division of our client's former husband's approximately $190,000 retirement account with the Corpus Christi Firefighters' Retirement System (CCFFRS). When, in late 2011, the former husband secured a court approved Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) without proper notice to our client, and had the court award the majority of the $190,000 in retirement funds to himself we convinced the CCFFRS to interplead the disputed funds into the court's registry; filed suit to set aside the improperly approved QDRO; and entered into a resolution awarding our client her proper share of her former husband's retirement account.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a Texas physician in his lawsuit alleging breach of a physician group provider agreement and other claims against a Texas based health maintenance organization.
Lead counsel for the plaintiff in a lawsuit asserting third party liability and underinsured motorist claims arising from a motor vehicle accident. Our client sustained serious injury, including pelvic, sternum and vertebral fractures, while a passenger in a vehicle that was struck by a vehicle driven by an underage, intoxicated driver. The case was resolved by policy limits payments from the liability and underinsured motorist insurers.
Lead defense counsel for the owner of a Texas real estate corporation in a lawsuit alleging shareholder derivative, shareholder oppression, breach of fiduciary duty, and a number of other claims against our client.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a real estate development company in its suit against an engineering firm, a general contractor and a project developer involving the non-completion of a residential subdivision.
Co-plaintiff’s counsel for a Padre Island, Texas homeowner in his suit against his windstorm insurance company for damages caused by repeated water intrusion into the wall cavities of our client’s home.
Co-plaintiffs’ counsel for the owners of a South Shores Corpus Christi home in their lawsuit against an air conditioning and plumbing contractor for damages resulting from poor work performance during an expensive home rebuilding project.
Co-plaintiffs’ counsel for a construction worker who suffered burns and orthopedic injury as a result of an explosion at a Corpus Christi refinery.
Co-plaintiffs’ counsel for homeowners in their lawsuit against the seller of a Corpus Christi home, the seller’s real estate broker and an engineering firm over an improperly performed plumbing re-route and non disclosed foundation defects that essentially rendered our clients’ home worthless. The case settled during the second week of trial when one defendant agreed to pay our clients $225,000, and another defendant agreed to repurchase our clients' home for its fair market value (without any deduction for the damage caused by the foundation defects).
Lead defense counsel for the sellers of a Port Aransas, Texas home in a lawsuit brought by the buyer who claimed there were defects throughout the home that had caused substantial water intrusion damages that our clients allegedly failed to disclose. The lawsuit was resolved with a nuisance value payment.
Co-counsel for the petitioner in family law action against a former spouse, a physician, to enforce the contractual alimony payment provisions contained in the parties’ divorce decree. The case resolved when the former husband paid all sums due, plus accrued interest and attorney fees.
Lead defense counsel for an individual sued for assault in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff claimed injuries that included the onset of “Peyronie’s Disease”. The case settled with a nuisance payment the morning of trial.
Lead defense counsel for a Corpus Christi based vacuum truck service company in a lawsuit involving allegations that our client had, over a period of many years, illegally dumped toxic refinery and oil field waste onto property on which the plaintiffs’ businesses were eventually located. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated the location a “Superfund Site”, and named the site after our client. The lawsuit was resolved without our client having to pay any money.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a homeowner in her lawsuit against an adjacent business for violation of the Texas Water Code. The construction of the defendant’s fast food business establishment altered the natural drainage flow from our client’s property, and caused repeated flooding of our client’s modest home. Achieved a 6 figure settlement for our client.
Lead counsel for a Beeville, Texas homeowner whose home was destroyed by a fire caused by power outage/electrical surge during a hurricane. Instead of paying our client’s claim, our client’s homeowner's insurer wrongfully claimed arson, and delayed payment. After extensive work the insurance company paid the policy’s dwelling, contents and ALE limits, and, after we filed suit, paid a mutually agreeable sum in resolution of our client’s extra contractual claims.
Lead defense counsel for a Corpus Christi attorney and various Texas corporations in which the plaintiff and our client claimed an interest. This complicated lawsuit involved breach of contract, usury, interference with contract, corporate mismanagement, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duty, legal malpractice, non-disclosure of defects in connection with the sale of an expensive Padre Island, Texas home, the right to insurance claim proceeds concerning the Padre Island home and just about every other cause of action the opposing – but imaginative - lawyer could think of.
Lead defense counsel for a general contractor in a lawsuit brought by the owners of a new $500,000 King’s Crossing Country Club home alleging numerous construction defects causing significant water intrusion damage throughout the home.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a closely held corporation in a suit against another closely held corporation for the partition of a 1,350 acre South Texas ranch, and reimbursement for maintenance expense, property tax and mortgage payments. We were also lead state court defense counsel in a separate lawsuit filed by the principal of the defendant corporation against our client (and others) claiming mismanagement of other closely held corporations, and mismanagement of an estate and a marital trust.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for the purchaser of a Hewit Drive Corpus Christi home in his lawsuit against the seller, the seller’s real estate broker and the seller’s homeowner’s insurance company over the collection of insurance proceeds payable as a result of substantial water damage to the home.
Lead defense counsel for an individual sued for malicious prosecution. We located an out of state witness, and brought him to Corpus Christi for his “trial” deposition. After the witnesses’ deposition testimony revealed that the plaintiff probably did commit the criminal act (even though the plaintiff had been acquitted in the prior criminal trial), the plaintiff agreed to a permanent dismissal of the lawsuit.
Lead defense counsel for an estate administrator in a suit brought by an individual who claimed an interest in a sizeable estate based on a claim of common law marriage, and who had – based upon strong circumstantial evidence we developed – murdered the deceased.
Lead plaintiff’s counsel for a Corpus Christi construction company in its suit against a recreational vehicle retailer involving claims for breach of a $250,000 commercial construction contract. The lawsuit also involved the defense of our client against allegations of poor, unworkmanlike performance in connection with the construction project.
Lead defense counsel for a national overhead crane manufacturer in a personal injury lawsuit alleging a closed head injury and seeking millions of dollars in claimed permanent, disabling personal injury damages caused when a metal component of our client’s crane broke, fell some 20 feet, and struck the plaintiff on the head. After extensive discovery - including a number of oral depositions, and written depositions to secure the plaintiff’s pre-accident medical records - the case settled for a nuisance payment.
Lead defense counsel for a Corpus Christi physician in a lawsuit initiated by a medical clinic our client had been affiliated with involving claims for breach of physician recruitment and medical services agreements.
Lead defense counsel for one of four defendants in a suit brought by the owner of a 10,000 square foot Port Aransas, Texas home that was built adjacent to our client’s home. The plaintiff alleged claims against our client that included violations of the Texas Dune Protection Act, and sought money damages; an injunction requiring our client to remove his new $350,000 home; and attorney’s fees. The lawsuit ended when the trial judge granted our pretrial motion, and dismissed all of the claims the plaintiff asserted against our client.
From 1989 to 1999 - initially while at Spann and Smith (1989 - 1994), and subsequently in solo practice (1994 - 1999) - retained as outside trial counsel by GEICO - a national automobile insurer - providing representation for GEICO insureds in nearly 300 personal injury lawsuits brought by third party claimants alleging personal injury claims; additionally defended GEICO in numerous direct action first party lawsuits brought by GEICO insureds seeking uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) damages.
While at Spann and Smith/Spann and Dreiling - served as either lead/co-defense counsel with Mr. Spann for Zurich Insurance Company in more than 50 lawsuits filed against business entities insured under Zurich commercial general liability and workers' compensation policies.
While at Burkett and Associates was solely responsible as lead counsel for the handling, resolution or trial of hundreds of personal injury lawsuits on behalf of injured plaintiffs; and including "old law" workers' compensation claims and lawsuits on behalf of injured workers.
While still a fairly new 3/4 year attorney at Morris and Dreiling, served as lead counsel in the defense of a 102 year old Houston based company that is a leading designer and manufacturer of specialized equipment for the oil and gas industry in a ususry lawsuit brought by one of our client's distributors alleging excessive interest charges (at that time more than twice the amount allowed by Texas law) on a $250,000 loan. Located, and persuaded the trial court that, a federal statute preempted the distributor's state law usury claim thereby securing an $80,000 settlment, and saving our client more than $500,000 in loan forgiveness, usury penalties and attorney fees.