Justice System Accountable
Susan J. Clouthier and her firm have handled dozens of appeals and writs of habeas corpus in courts throughout the State of Texas, the United States Supreme Court, Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts. Ms. Clouthier has also handled a number of appellate motions seeking leave to amend or to dismiss appeals in various courts.
While each case must be evaluated on its own merit, a few of Ms. Clouthier's recent notable successes are as follows:
In the Matter of Gene Turk, an incapacitated person, No. 07-20-00222-CV (Tex. App.—Amarillo Apr. 7, 2021, no pet.)
- Filed an appeal of an order appointing guardianship of the person and estate of Gene Turk.
The court of appeals vacated the order and remanded the proceedings to the district court.
United States v. Ojin Kim, 988 F.3d 803 (5th Cir. 2021)
- Filed appeal of federal conviction where defendant signed a plea agreement and appeal waiver.
Court found that Kim was not precluded from appealing the restitution amount, despite waiver of appeal, because it was in excess of the statutory maximum in the way it was calculated. Court vacated restitution amount of $606,250.
In re Gyanendra Patra, No. 01-20-00651-CV, 2020 WL 7502495 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 22, 2020, orig. proceeding)
- Filed Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging contempt order, court of appeals vacated the order of contempt.
The trial court held Mr. Patra in contempt of an agreed final judgment and injunction and ordered him committed to county jail. The court of appeals agreed that Mr. Patra’s right to due process was violated because the trial court’s order of commitment was insufficient and found that Mr. Patra was not validly confined. The court of appeals granted the writ, discharged Mr. Patra’s commitment and it deleted the award of attorney’s fees from the order.
In re James W. Turner Construction, Ltd., No. 01-20-00356-CV, 2020 WL 6788077 (Nov. 19, 2020)
- Filed a response to a Petition for Writ of Mandamus, the Court of Appeals denied the Petition.
A Petition for Writ of Mandamus was filed challenging a denial of a motion to dismiss based on an alleged contractual forum selection clause. Counsel was hired to file a response and represent the party that prevailed on the motion to dismiss. After the Court of Appeals held oral argument, it denied the Petition for Writ of Mandamus in favor of our client.
Converse v. City of Kemah, 961 F.3d 771 (5th Cir. 2020).
- Appeal from an order granting a motion to dismiss. Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded.
After the district court granted a motion to dismiss in favor of the police department on the grounds of qualified immunity, Appellant appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit who, after Ms. Clouthier's oral argument, reversed the district court's order and remanded the case for trial.
Goel v. Tucker, No. 19-03005 (S.D. Tex. Bankr. Oct. 27, 2020).
- Appeal from an order denying Appellant’s motion to set aside the default judgment, JUDGMENT VACATED
In an adversary proceeding in the Southern District of Texas Bankruptcy Court, the court entered a default money judgment against Appellant, and Appellant moved to have the judgment set aside. The court denied the motion. Appellant retained Clouthier Law to appeal the order. Ultimately, the court vacated the judgment against Appellant and ordered a new trial.
In the Marriage of Jones v. Jones, No. 2019-85209 (309th Dist. Court, Harris County, Texas).
- Motion for New Trial and to Set Aside the Default Judgment, JUDGMENT VACATED, GRANTED NEW TRIAL
Petitioner obtained a default judgment in a divorce proceeding which contained provisions that negatively impacted Respondent. Respondent then retained Clouthier Law to file a Motion for New Trial. Clouthier Law successfully had the judgment vacated, and the court ordered a new trial.
United States v. Dinh, No. H-20-2245 (S.D. Tex. Sep. 28, 2020).
- Successive § 2255 Motion to Vacate Sentence, CONVICTION VACATED
After the Supreme Court decided U.S. v. Davis, Petitioner retained Clouthier Law to file a successive § 2255 asking the court to vacate his conviction for § 924(c). Counsel first obtained permission to file the successive § 2255 from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Then after filing the motion in the district court, the district court vacated Petitioner’s conviction and sentence for § 924(c) which reduced his sentence by 60 months.
In the Marriage of Wadleigh v. Wadleigh, No. 19-3247-F425 (425th Dist. Court, Williamson Cty, Texas).
- Motion to Modify, Correct or Reform the Judgment, JUDGMENT MODIFIED
The trial court entered an Agreed Final Decree of Divorce pursuant to a mediated settlement agreement (MSA). Petitioner’s counsel drafted the Final Decree, but the terms did not match the MSA agreed to by the parties. Respondent retained Clouthier Law to file a Motion to Modify, Correct or Reform the judgment. The trial court ultimately modified one of the terms of the Final Decree and entered an updated Final Decree of Divorce.
Sweet Water Well Service, LLC v. West Houston Airport Corp., No. 14-18-00596 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist. Aug. 27, 2020, no pet.).
- Appeal from Motion for Summary Judgment, REVERSED AND REMAND
The trial court entered a judgment against Appellant resulting from a Motion for Summary Judgment. Counsel filed an appeal to the 14th Court of Appeals, arguing the trial court erred in entering a judgment against Appellant and that the judgment should be reversed, and the Court of Appeals should grant a new trial. The Court of Appeals reversed the money judgment as well as the judgment for attorneys fees and remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.
No. 09-20-00004-CV, 2020 WL 1173702 (Tex.App.-Beaumont Mar 12, 2020).
- Writ of Habeas Corpus challenging a contempt order, court set aside the trial court's order of contempt, discharged Ms. Nikki H. from custody
The County Court of Law #3 in Montgomery County, Texas found Nikki H. in contempt of court for violating the geographical restriction in her SAPCR order after she moved her teen-aged son to Texas A&M University and ordered she be confined in jail for 130 days. Counsel filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus alleging the SAPCR's terms were too ambiguous to be enforceable by contempt. Within hours of filing the writ, the court of appeals issued bond for Ms. Nikki H. to be released from jail. Then, the court agreed with counsel's argument and granted the petition for writ of habeas corpus.
United States of America v. Franklin Joseph Ryle, 778 Fed.Appx. 598 (10th Cir. 2019).
- Federal 2255 motion, conviction vacated, defendant released from prison
Defendant pleaded guilty of one count of deprivation of rights and one count of using or carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence in 2009. In 2017, counsel filed a § 2255 motion to vacate arguing that his 60-month sentence for the gun crime was unconstitutional. After the district court denied the motion, counsel fought to amend the motion based on the Supreme Court's new decision in Sessions v. Dimaya, which found a similar statute unconstituonally vague. The district court similarly denied defendant's motion and refused to issue a certificate of appealability. Counsel filed a request for certificate of appealability with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. While it was pending, the U.S. Supreme Court issued U.S. v. Davis, holding § 924(c) unconstitutionally vague. On the same day, counsel notified the 10th Circuit of the new rule of law, subsequently the court issued its opinion vacating Mr. Ryle's 60-month sentence for the gun crime. Since he had served his sentence for the underlying conviction, Mr. Ryle was immediately released and reunited with his parents and children.
In the Matter of the Marriage of Nathanson, No. 07-19-00386-CV, 2019 WL 6205519 (Tex.App.-Amarillo Nov. 20, 2019).
- Filed Motion to Dismiss Appeal, court of appeals dismissed appeal for want of jurisdiction
Appellant David Nathanson attempted to appeal a final decree of divorce dissolving his marriage to Carrie Nathanson. Counsel for Ms. Nathonson was approached to defend the appeal, and she immediately filed a motion to dismiss the appeal for want of jurisdiction because Appellant filed his notice of appeal untimely. The court of appeals agreed and dismissed the appeal.