A Travis County district court on May 23 vacated a $29,000 default judgment that an Austin firm won from a company that organizes lawyer-client networking events. The judge also dismissed the firm’s suit.
The suit involves a contract that laid out terms for patent-litigation firm F&B to attend two Marcus Evans Inc. networking events. The firm claimed in the petition that a refund clause required Marcus Evans to refund $7,000 to the firm, but Marcus Evans refused.
Plaintiff’s lawyer Michael Smith (pictured), an associate with F&B in Austin, and defendant’s lawyer Morgan Matson, of counsel at Barnett & Garcia in San Antonio, each didn’t return a telephone call seeking comment.
On March 9, Travis County 353rd District Judge Tim Sulak had ordered Marcus Evans to pay F&B $7,000 in actual damages, $14,000 in exemplary damages, $7,875 in attorney's fees, and interest. That order noted Marcus Evans had failed to file an answer or enter any appearance.
In an order on May 23, 201st District Court Visiting Judge Paul Davis vacated the judgment and ordered a new trial, according to an Order Granting Defendant’s Motion for New Trial. That same day, he dismissed F&B’s suit with prejudice to refiling in Texas and ordered F&B to take nothing by way of its suit, according to an Order Granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss on Forum Selection by Contract.
“Plaintiff signed a contract with Defendant that provides for exclusive jurisdiction in Cook County, Illinois,” says an April 5 Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Based on Forum Selection by Contract Filed Subject to Its Special Appearance.
Austin solo Sara Foskitt, a former Travis County District Court staff attorney, explains that granting the new trial was a procedural necessity to vacate the default judgment and reopen the case to give the court jurisdiction to consider the defendant’s motion to dismiss.
-- Angela Morris