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There’s Billions of Reasons for this San Antonio Law Firm Fallout

T.J. Mayes, an attorney and former chief of staff to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and others have resigned from the San Antonio law firm led by Martin Phipps.

LIT COMMENTARY

Upon reviewing this law firm fallout, the T. J. Mayes lawyer has retained Ricardo G. Cedillo,  one of the founders of DC&M. However, when you look at Martin Phipps bio, that was the firm he started out working for. Apparently his friendship there has eroded, however, the optics say, setting aside the allegations by Mayes for a moment, that this is a conflict of interest and we assume Phipps should be able to recuse that firm, assuming it won’t be heard by Mayes old boss and Bexar Judge Wolff.

Extract from the bio of Phipps

Martin J. Phipps is a trial lawyer who bases his life on the small- town values he learned as a boy growing up in Breckenridge, Texas. Martin learned early that nothing of value ever comes easily. He grew up in small rural town in West Texas as part of a working-class family, the oldest of 6 children. He began working at the age of 12 to support his family. Martin attended Texas Tech University working full-time at Central Freight Lines to pay for his education.

After graduating from St. Mary’s University School of Law, Martin began his legal career with DAVIS ADAMI CEDILLO INC. (Now Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza, Inc.)

Bank repossesses San Antonio lawyer’s private jet

PNC repossessed plane, sold it at auction for $2.8 million

JAN 31, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: FEB 2, 2021

A subsidiary of PNC Bank has repossessed the private jet plane formerly belonging to San Antonio lawyer Martin Phipps for failure to make payments on the loan that financed it, according to federal court documents.

PNC Equipment Finance LLC sued Phipps and his former firm, Phipps Anderson Deacon LLP, in August 2020 alleging that the attorney had defaulted on $1.7 million of a loan for a Gulfstream GIV-SP.

In November, PNC repossessed the plane and sold it at auction for $2.8 million, according to federal court documents. Now the parties are arguing over how much of the excess sales proceeds PNC should be able to keep, with the bank arguing that it is owed money for having to pursue the litigation.

Attorney T.J. Mayes, others resign from Phipps law firm amid allegations against founder

T.J. Mayes, an attorney and former chief of staff to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and others have resigned from the San Antonio law firm led by Martin Phipps, with Mayes alleging on social media that the high-profile attorney is a “crook” and abuses women.

Mayes and five other employees at the firm gave Phipps a letter demanding “immediate measures to cure the hostile work environment,” and in the following days, resigned from the firm that bears his name. On Jan. 19, Mayes submitted the letter as evidence to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed a formal complaint against Phipps with the Texas Bar Association.

Phipps’ firm is representing Bexar County in a 2017 lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry’s opioid makers seeking $1 billion in damages. In December, major pharma firms proposed a $26 billion settlement for state and local governments, but the Phipps firm wants to take the matter to trial.

Mayes’ complaint to the Texas bar association asserts that Phipps asked Mayes and another of the firm’s employees, Robert Vargas III, to arrange for a marriage license from Phipps’ recent marriage to another staffer to be destroyed in exchange for political favors. They declined, Mayes said.

Phipps did not return a message left for him seeking comment on the resignations. However, Gabe Ortiz, an attorney with the firm for five years, told the San Antonio Report that Phipps is not returning calls from the media – “not that I’m aware of.”

Mayes’ resignation, first reported by the San Antonio Business Journal, comes just over four months to the day Phipps named Mayes a partner in the firm and changed its name from Phipps Deacon Purnell PLLC to Phipps Mayes PLLC.

In his two-page resignation letter dated Jan. 11, Mayes wrote: “When I joined the firm two years ago, I hoped we would do something great for Bexar County taxpayers. The prospect of helping thousands of our neighbors who are suffering kept me at the firm for a long time against my better judgment. I now believe that staying will only help facilitate your endless capacity for self-destruction. My association with you is a stain from my record that I wish I could erase.”

Prior to joining the firm as a junior partner in January 2019, Mayes was chair of Bexar County’s Joint Opioid Task Force. Formed in 2017, the task force was charged with decreasing opioid overdose deaths in the county. Mayes told the San Antonio Report that he was hired by Phipps “to clean up campaign contribution practices for that law firm, and I did.”

In the letter Mayes and other employees gave to Phipps on Jan. 11, they outline grievances “out of concern about our financial situation and our physical safety.” Further, the letter complains about what it called Phipps’ “personality traits,” including “a disregard for ethical canons and moral conventions, … hostile aggression, sadism, misogyny, … and an insatiable desire for revenge.”

“We all share concerns about your mental health,” the six employees wrote. “Many of us are concerned you may be in immediate danger to yourself or others. We hope you will seek the help you need.”

Mayes, who also hosts the KLRN public affairs program “On the Record,” has gone public with his complaints against his former employer because, he said, “I need him exposed for my safety.”

County Judge Nelson Wolff has announced Bexar County is seeking $1 billion in damages from opioid manufacturers and distributors for the impact the opioid epidemic has had locally.

On Wednesday, Mayes tweeted that he had resigned from the firm after becoming convinced that “Phipps is a crook and a serial abuser of women,” adding that he submitted documents to regulatory agencies.  “When you have information that proves someone’s a serial abuser, you have an obligation to blow the whistle as loud as you can,” Mayes said.

Mayes said Phipps is suing him for violating a confidentiality clause, and Mayes has hired trial attorney Ricardo Cedillo, of the firm Davis, Cedillo & Mendoza, to represent him.

A 1994 graduate of St. Mary’s University School of Law, Phipps also taught trial advocacy at the school, according to the firm’s website, and has represented Fortune 500 companies in hundreds of trials throughout Texas.

Well known in legal circles, Phipps is a colorful character, often dressed in tailored suits and a bowtie and known for hosting lavish events at the strikingly designed office building on the Museum Reach of the River Walk that bears his name. Phipps enjoys giving visitors tours of his extensive contemporary art collection, which takes up most available wall space on three floors of the building. Paramour, a high-end cocktail bar, is located on the building’s fourth floor, with outdoor patios on three sides offering dramatic views of downtown and the Pearl.

Phipps represented farmers in a class action suit against Bayer CropScience alleging the agribusiness giant contaminated the American rice supply and created a substantial decline in crop futures. A settlement of $750 million was reached, according to the firm’s website.

The law firm’s Ortiz said he’s read the employees’ complaints but he does not know why they chose to resign.

“I haven’t been exposed to anything that anyone has mentioned in that letter,” he said, referring to the employees’ letter to Phipps. “I can tell you … I have never been exposed to or been mistreated or anything of that nature.”

Ortiz said the employees who resigned were not involved in helping litigate the opioid case and thus progress on the case would not be affected. “We’re still pushing full force to take this thing to trial,” he said.

This article has been updated to correctly reflect Robert Vargas III’s position at Phipps Mayes.

Reuters Flushed Alison Frankel’s Blog. However, We’re Keeping Her Article On Lawyer Mikal Watts.

Alison Frankel, Reuters journalist writes a lot of great articles and normally she’s pretty calm. Mikal Watts apparently got under her skin.

DOJ Rounding Up on Virginia Lawyer. Why He Should Have Class Action Texas Lawyer Mikal Watts Number on Speed Dial

As the Department of Justice charge a Virginia lawyer with Extortion, we look at the State Texas is currently in, where Extortion and Political bribes are standard practice. San Antonio class action lawyer Mikal Watts is a prime case study.

From the Bench; Why Texas Democratic Loving Attorney Mikal Watts Favorite Number is 13

Mikal Watts and his law firm in 1999 donated $5,000 to Valdez and $2,500 to Rodriguez; in 2000, $15,000 to Hinojosa; and in January 2001, $10,000 to Castillo. The firm donated $50,000 to Yanez in 2002. In 2018, donations are still flooding into the justices at the 13th COA, Texas.

There’s Billions of Reasons for this San Antonio Law Firm Fallout
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