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Appointments of Mediators, Guradians ad Litem and Attorneys ad Litem

INFORMATION REGARDING APPOINTMENTS OF MEDIATORS,
GUARDIANS AD LITEM AND ATTORNEYS AD LITEM  

MEDIATORS 

Texas Government Code § 37.004(b) states that "[I]n each case in which the appointment of a mediator is necessary because the parties to the case  are unable to agree on a mediator, a court using a rotation system shall appoint the person whose name appears first on the mediator list maintained by the court as required under § 37.003."

The statute does not change the previous rule that a court may appoint those mediators on whom the parties agree.  Tex. Gov’t Code § 37.004(c).  Moreover, on a finding of good cause, a court may appoint a qualified person included on the applicable list who is not next on the list and may appoint someone whose name does not appear on the list on a complex matter.  Tex. Gov’t Code § 37.004(d).   

The Court generally does not select mediators because In the vast majority of cases, the lawyers are able to work out the details of mediation without involving the court.   In those rare cases where the parties are not able to agree, the Court will appoint a mediator.  In deciding who may be a suitable mediator, counsel may refer to those who have registered with the Court or choose to employ the services of the Dispute Resolution Center. 

The list below consists of all persons who have indicated a desire to be included on this Court’s list of mediators.  There is no criteria for inclusion on this list.  Neither the Court nor anyone on behalf of the Court has reviewed the qualifications or experience of those included on the list and inclusion on the list is neither an endorsement nor a recommendation.  Further, mediators’ fees vary and are not set by the Court, so, you should contact the particular mediator to discuss his/her mediation fees prior to selecting the mediator.  If you would like to be included on this list, please let the Court know. 

Inclusion on the list below does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Court and no attorney on this list may state or imply that they have been approved, recommended or endorsed by the 152nd District Court for any reason or purpose.  Any such representation would violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. 

[The list will be published at a later date.] 

GUARDIANS AD LITEM 

TEX. GOVT CODE § 37.004 provides that the Court must appoint guardians ad litem from the Court’s list in order, except when: (a) the parties agree (subject to court approval) to the appointment of an ad litem whose name is not next on the list or is not on the list; (b) the court finds good cause to appoint a person whose name is not next on the list or is not on the list because the person appointed: (i) has specialized training, skills, experience or other qualities relevant to the subject matter of the case; (ii) has “relevant prior involvement with the parties or case”; or (iii) “is in a relevant geographic location”.           

Tex. R. Civ. P. 173 provides for the appointment of a guardian ad litem when a minor or non compos mentis is a party to a suit and is represented by a next friend or a guardian who appears to the court to have an interest adverse to the minor. The trial court can only appoint a guardian ad litem where there is a conflict of interest between the minor and the next friend. The determination of the existence of a conflict of interest requires the exercise of judicial discretion. 

A guardian ad litem is not expected to do work that is typically done by the attorney for the next friend.  Rather, the guardian ad litem is charged with acting as the advocate for the “client”, which may require the ad litem to assume an adversary stance as it relates to the next friend.  It is therefore crucial that a guardian ad litem be suited by training and experience that is appropriate to each case.  The Court takes into account the special circumstances present in each case when making appointments; it is, therefore, expected that serial appointments from the list required by TEX. GOVT CODE § 37.004 may not be routine. 

A guardian ad litem bears the same fiduciary responsibility to the minor or non compos mentis client as to any other client and may face liability in the event of professional negligence.   

Those wishing to be included in the Court’s list must submit a written request with a complete resume that details the nature of the applicant’s experience as a civil trial practitioner.   Special capabilities, such as fluency in languages other than English, financial background, and the like, should also be listed.   Applicants must also affirm that professional liability coverage is in effect and will remain current.  

The Court reserves the right to assign a guardian ad litem who either is not on this list or not next on the general list when the case being assigned warrants special consideration.  The special guardian ad litem list may be updated at any time by the court as special circumstances arise which were not considered in compiling this list. 

Inclusion on the list below does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Court and no attorney on the listed may state or imply that they have been approved, recommended or endorsed by the 152nd District Court for any reason or purpose.  Any such representation would violate the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct. 

At the present time the list includes the following lawyers: 

General List:
Sarah Duckers
S. Tanner Garth
James B. “Jimmy” Griffin Jr.
Seth Kretzer
Scott Link
Dwaine Morris Massey
Dion Ramos 

Medical Malpractice List:
Scott Link
Erin Lunceford
Dion Ramos
Jeffrey H.  'Jeff' Uzick 

Spanish Speaking List:
Leslie Garcia Ashby
Mario Davila, Jr.
Thelma Elizalde
Ana Hernandez
J. L. “Larry” Hinojosa
Jose R. Lopez, II
Armando Walle 

ATTORNEYS AD LITEM 

The 152nd District Court follows the Protocol for Appointment of Attorneys Ad Litem adopted by the Board of Civil Judges in August 2015.   

Protocol for Appointment of Attorneys Ad Litem

 

 

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