HOUSTON, February 14, 2007 -- The San Antonio Court of Appeals issued today an opinion that rendered a “take nothing” judgment in favor of Baker Botts in the Cailloux Estate case.
In the unanimous opinion of the three-judge panel, written by Justice Catherine Stone, the Court found there was “insufficient evidence to support the jury’s findings” that the law firm’s estate planning advice caused any damage to Kathleen Cailloux. The Court also determined that the trial court “had no power to create an equitable trust” of $65.5 million under the circumstances presented at trial. As a result of each of these rulings, the Court rendered a “take nothing” judgment in favor Baker Botts. The justices also affirmed the trial court’s judgment award of nothing for Ken Cailloux, the person who brought the case against the law firm and Wells Fargo Bank.
“This ruling by the Court is a complete vindication for Baker Botts,” said Baker Botts senior counsel Joe Cheavens, who handled the case for the firm. “Contrary to assertions made in a public relations campaign by the plaintiffs’ lawyers, Baker Botts did nothing wrong with respect to our representation of Kathleen Cailloux.”
Businessman Floyd Cailloux amassed over $100 million running the Keystone Valve Company. After his retirement, he and his wife Kathleen engaged Baker Botts to help them in their estate planning. Baker Botts helped the couple set up wills and trusts that would minimize federal taxes and donate large sums to charity. After Floyd’s untimely death in 1997, the estate plan required some modifications. Baker Botts helped Kathleen modify the plan and thereby kept federal taxes to nearly zero.
Ken Cailloux’s lawsuit was not approved or endorsed by his mother. She did not authorize the bringing of the suit. After reviewing all of the evidence, presented by Ken Cailloux, the appeals court concluded that there was no evidence that Baker Botts representation caused any damage to Mrs. Cailloux.
About Baker Botts L.L.P.
Baker Botts L.L.P., founded in 1840, is a leading international law firm with offices in Austin, Dallas, Dubai, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Moscow, New York, Riyadh and Washington. With approximately 750 lawyers, Baker Botts provides a full range of legal services to regional, national and international clients. For more information, please visit www.bakerbotts.com.
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Michael A. Cinelli
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