Happy New Year!
The champagne is all gone and we have brushed the confetti out of our hair. As we look forward to a prosperous 2019, we look back on the year that’s now past. 2018 was another great year at Hanna & Plaut. We celebrated our 20th anniversary as a firm and David and I continue to celebrate the great team we have assembled! We did have some changes. Though we were sorry to lose Anne-Marie Abarado, who left us to continue her practice in Houston, and Todd Key, who has moved on to the greener pastures of Oregon, we were happy to welcome Lauren Burgess to the Hanna & Plaut family. Lauren began her practice at Lindow Stephens Treat in San Antonio and most recently practiced insurance litigation at Segal McCambridge in Austin. Lauren’s experience in insurance litigation has enabled her to hit the ground running. You can expect to see her on many of our insurance cases. Our only “beef” with Lauren is her contention that Tennessee barbecue is superior to our Texas product, but she is from Tennessee so we will forgive her misconception on the grounds of home state bias.
We also welcomed Harrison Jackson, Esq. to the firm in 2018. What he lacks in billable hours, he makes up for in sheer cuteness!
The insurance landscape in Texas was relatively quiet in 2018. We did see a clarification of the Menchaca decision. David Plaut’s discussion of that decision is here. So far, Texas appellate courts seem to agree with us that the standards governing insurance cases were not changed by this decision. We had a quiet hurricane season as well. While it’s too early for 2019 forecasts, our hopes are that the citizens of Texas – and their insurance carriers – have another calm year. The Texas judicial landscape was anything but calm in 2018, with a veritable blue tsunami upsetting many of our trial and appellate courts. Courts of appeal in Dallas, Houston, and Austin just became a bit more unpredictable as less-experienced judges now take the bench. 2019 may be anything but quiet on that front!
The Texas Legislature is back in town this year. (The Texas Legislature only meets in odd-numbered years.) We expect the upcoming legislative session to have a great deal of focus on economic issues, including the perpetually thorny issue of school finance. An upcoming webinar put on by the Insurance Council of Texas will preview potential legislation of interest to the insurance industry.
One of my favorite movies of 2018 was a documentary about the late great Mr. Rogers and my hope for 2019 can be found in one of his famous quotes.
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
Let’s all go out into 2019 and be kind to one another!