May 20, 2024

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Equality opinion

Embattled San Antonio law firm Phipps needs Bexar DA off his case, citing conflict of desire

Martin Phipps, an embattled San Antonio lawyer who is helping signify Bexar County in its ongoing lawsuit from opioid manufacturers and distributors, desires the District Attorney’s Business office to recuse alone from his misdemeanor harassment scenario, citing conflicts of interest for the reason that of its individual involvement in the litigation.

The motion states that due to the fact the DA’s Office environment “has not voluntarily recused alone, Phipps is still left with no choice” but to seek a judge’s orders disqualifying the office from prosecuting him and appointing an legal professional professional tem rather.

“Here, there exists a predicament in which Phipps represents Bexar County in a massively important and intricate pending civil litigation,” though the DA’s Business advises Bexar County commissioners on the lawsuit and aids outline Phipps’ purpose in it and how it will be fixed, the motion states.

The doc also argued that the D.A.’s business is entangled with recent and previous workers of Phipps, together with his former regulation partner, T.J. Mayes. In a request for exculpatory proof, Phipps asked for copies of any communications the D.A.’s business had with the workforce, and any communications about the lawsuit and Phipps’ job in it, including the office’s dealings with the information media.

Phipps and Mayes experienced a bitter slipping out in January, when Mayes stop after performing on the lawsuit for the duration of the prior yr.

Phipps was arrested Feb. 8 on a Course B misdemeanor charge, accused of harassing a previous worker, Brenda Vega, a lawful assistant he had wed in December. The marriage was annulled a month afterwards.

An arrest affidavit states that Vega, times soon after marrying Phipps in mid-December, called police to report he confronted her in “an aggressive and agitated state,” potentially under the affect of medication. Authorities gave no specifics about the confrontation. The document states that Vega feared for her lifetime, still left her own belongings and caught a flight to Mexico as Phipps attempted to get hold of her at minimum 40 moments, mostly by way of textual content messages.

“Mayes clearly was integrally concerned with authorities relative to the investigation” that led to the arrest, Phipps’s law firm, Michael McCrum, argued in the movement, which was submitted Tuesday.

“Presently, there is no circumstance filed by the Bexar County District Attorney’s Place of work in opposition to Mr. Phipps,” District Legal professional Joe D. Gonzales stated Wednesday in an email. “We can make no more remark on this issue.”

McCrum said the DA’s Place of work “is currently being prudent in holding off” on filing the circumstance and claimed he hopes prosecutors dismiss it.

“I certainly believe T.J. Mayes is powering this harassment charge,” McCrum stated. “There’s no telephone harassment in this article. … This was a partner venting on texts for two days with his spouse, and (he) did not at any time get in touch with her yet again.”

In 2017 Bexar County hired Phipps’ then-organization, Phipps Anderson Deacon LLP, as one of two law firms to sue opioid drug makers and distributors that the county alleged were being liable for “causing and contributing” to regional dependancy troubles. They filed the lawsuit in 2018.

The working day following the arrest, just after currently being informed that McCrum would stand for Phipps in the felony situation, the DA’s office environment notified McCrum that he was “not approved to appear on behalf of Bexar County in any capability in pending litigation,” McCrum’s motion states. The DA’s place of work knew that McCrum experienced been an advisor to Phipps on the lawsuit for months and experienced not objected to it, the motion states.

Mikal Watts, a substantial profile plaintiffs’ attorney, was appointed by the Commissioners Court docket on Feb. 23 to supersede Phipps as guide counsel for Bexar County in the lawsuit. Watts had suggested that Bexar County settle for a state-brokered settlement in 2020 that Phipps considered far too tiny — an believed $7 million payout for damages to the county that Phipps believed could be proved to be in the hundreds of thousands and thousands of dollars, his movement in the felony case states.

Bexar County Decide Nelson Wolff declined comment Wednesday.

Phipps’ arrest followed the resignations of quite a few personnel at his law company, most notably Mayes, a former chief of employees to Wolff and to Mayor Ron Nirenberg when he was a City Council member.

In Tuesday’s movement, McCrum presented a lengthy chronology that tried to show Mayes worked with a San Antonio Law enforcement Division detective and Vega herself in making the legal circumstance against Phipps. Mayes tweeted about the arrest minutes after it occurred, the doc states.

McCrum wrote that Mayes labored on the lawsuit and on 6 events in 2020 described to county commissioners “in good terms the Phipps’ regulation firm’s function and approach on behalf of Bexar County.” He did so once again on Jan. 4, but days later on commenced approaching workers at the agency to signal a letter urging improvements in doing the job conditions, then made the letter public right after promising signers that it would only be despatched to Phipps, according to the motion.