Compromise Reached After Deer-Lease Brawl

     HOUSTON (CN) – A Texas attorney agreed Wednesday to stagger his visits to a deer lease so he doesn’t cross paths with a hunter who filed criminal and civil assault charges against him.
     Marshall Brown Jr., a Houston family-law attorney, owns a 30 percent stake in the lease of hunting rights on the 5,600-acre Paysinger Ranch in rural Zavala County, Texas, court records state. Phillip Walsh III holds a 10 percent interest in the lease.
     Walsh claims Brown sucker-punched him and broke his glasses at the lease on Dec. 19, 2014. He filed a criminal complaint against Brown with the Zavala County Sheriff’s Office, which issued a warrant for Brown’s arrest, and also sued Brown in Harris County Court early this month seeking punitive damages and a restraining order to keep Brown off the lease.
     Walsh’s attorney testified at a Wednesday temporary-injunction hearing that Walsh, a Houston real estate developer, likes to visit the lease throughout the summer in preparation for the whitetail deer hunting season that runs from fall into winter in Zavala County.
     The lease is five hours southwest of Houston.
     Brown, who goes by David, did not appear at the hearing Wednesday and Judge Caroline Baker asked his attorney why not.
     “Because he’s dealing with a warrant in Zavala County. If he appears he will not be able to testify or even stay very long. He did tell me he could talk to the court about his problems with the warrant that was issued in Zavala County some four months after the alleged assault,” attorney Matthew Waldrop said.
     Baker got to the heart of the matter: “It sounds like what we’re really talking about in this hearing is the deer lease.”
     She advised the parties to work out a mutual temporary injunction whereby Brown and Walsh agree on a schedule allowing them both to visit the lease this summer without encountering each other.
     Waldrop was initially skeptical. “So it’s not a joint mutual agreement it’s that Brown is enjoined and Walsh is not?” he asked.
     Baker eased his doubts by telling him that Walsh would agree not to visit the lease when Brown is there.
     “The biggest problem is Brown’s poor son is going to have to fill all the deer feeders now because he can’t go out there,” Waldrop said as he turned and flashed a grin at Brown’s son in the gallery.
     Baker boiled it down: “This is, as I’m hearing it, a mutual agreed temporary injunction to get you all from this point to trial.”
     She paused the proceedings to let the parties to step out to the hallway to hash out the lease visiting terms, and to give Waldrop time to call Brown and get his approval for a deal.
     The break gave onlookers a chance to admire Baker’s sumptuous courtroom, paneled in gleaming hardwood that wouldn’t be out of place in a baron’s study.
     With the sound of sirens welling up from the street 14 stories below, the air conditioning hummed faintly beneath the steady hiss of whispers in the courtroom.
     Walsh – bald, bespectacled, with a wiry gray mustache – attended the hearing in a dark suit and red tie. His confident strides from the plaintiff’s table to his supporters in the gallery and back again spoke of a man who has shot down plenty of big game, not someone “in fear of his life” from a bully attorney as he alleges in his lawsuit.
     A half hour later Walsh’s attorney, the 6-foot-8-inch Richard Howell, returned to the courtroom and knocked on the judge’s chamber door.
     Baker seemingly sprinted onto the bench to hear the terms.
     “Between now and June 30 of this year Mr. Walsh will have access to the Paysinger Ranch Deer Lease,” Howell said. “Between July 1 and July 31, Mr. Brown will have access to the lease.”
     He continued: “Between Aug. 1 and the time of trial either party can use the deer lease with the following provisions: The party can be on site for up to seven days at a time, the party will give three business days notice if they intend to go to the lease, the notice will be given through counsel via email and neither party will be on site for more than half of the month of August.”
     “When either party is on site they will not interfere with the other party’s residence on the lease, their vehicles or deer stands,” he added.
     Baker set the trial for Sept. 21 and said she expects it will last one day.

%d bloggers like this: