HOUSTON (CN) – A lawyer accused of drunkenly sucker-punching a man, snatching the glasses off his face and breaking them could be arrested if he shows up for a court hearing Wednesday.
An attorney for the Houston family-law lawyer, Marshall Brown Jr., spoke to this concern at a meeting Monday in Harris County Court.
Judge Caroline Baker convened the parties after granting Houston real estate developer Phillip Walsh III a restraining order against Brown.
Walsh’s May 4 complaint describes a terrifying confrontation that allegedly occurred on the evening of Dec. 19, 2014, at a deer lease on the Paysinger Ranch in Zavala County, a sparsely populated county near the Mexico border in southwest Texas.
Walsh said he was returning from a hunt to his cabin on the lease, when he stopped to chat with a group of men sitting on the front porch of another cabin. Brown and Brown’s son were allegedly among this group.
“As soon as Walsh greeted everyone, Brown – who appeared to be intoxicated and who had a pistol with him – immediately started yelling obscenities at Walsh,” the lawsuit states.
Though Brown’s “tirade” included some nasty comments about Walsh and his divorce, Walsh says he turned the other cheek and “instead offered his sincere condolences to Brown related to the death of one of Brown’s sons.”
“Brown then abruptly stood up and punched Walsh in the face,” the complaint states. “Brown’s son, Bobby, intervened and pulled Brown off of the porch.”
Shocked and afraid, Walsh says, he immediately went to his cabin and called the ranch owner to tell him about the assault.
An hour later, Brown allegedly stopped his Jeep by Walsh’s cabin, and Walsh went out to speak to him, expecting an apology.
But Brown was not there to apologize, Walsh says.
“Instead, he reached out the window and forcefully grabbed Walsh’s eye glasses off his face, hitting and cutting Walsh’s nose,” the complaint states. “Brown then broke Walsh’s eye glasses and threw them on the floor of his Jeep.”
Walsh says, in “fear of his life,” he quickly packed up, left the ranch and returned home to Houston.
Walsh filed a report about Brown with the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office, which charged Brown with assault and issued a warrant for his arrest.
The May 6 restraining order against Brown bars him from going within 200 feet of Walsh’s house and from communicating with Walsh, but Judge Baker said Brown can continue accessing the deer lease.
At Monday’s brief hearing between the parties, Baker reset the temporary injunction hearing for Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
In her courtroom on the 14th floor of the Harris County Civil Courthouse with windows looking out on Houston’s crane-dotted skyline, Baker told Walsh’s attorney, Richard Howell with Jackson Walker, that she couldn’t go forward with the hearing Monday because he still needed to serve either Brown or his attorney, Matthew Waldrop, with a signed copy of the restraining order.
Howell said Harris County deputy constables had tried to serve Brown himself with a copy of the lawsuit four times without success.
Since Brown has an arrest warrant, Baker’s bailiff would be charged with arresting him when he shows up for court, Howell explained.
Baker, her red hair in stark contrast to her black robes, huddled with the attorneys before her bench in front of an alcove of whitewashed brick, an only-in-Texas flourish that evokes The Alamo.
Baker decided to extend the temporary restraining order as is, without expanding it to ban Brown from the lease, acknowledging the lease is at the heart of the case.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Waldrop agreed.
Baker said she didn’t include the lease in the TRO because she’s unsure if she has the authority to restrain somebody from a property in another county, and whether she can tell Brown he can’t go there if he has a stake in the deer lease.
She urged Waldrop to bring Brown to the temporary injunction hearing on Wednesday morning.
Walsh’s lawsuit also accuses Brown of using his position as a lawyer to harass him.
Brown allegedly contacted Walsh’s ex-wife in January and unsuccessfully sought to represent her in proceedings against Walsh.
“Walsh continues to fear that Brown will assault or shoot him,” the lawsuit states.
Walsh seeks punitive damages for assault and conversion, owing to Brown’s alleged destruction of his glasses.
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