Philip Dale Mockford
Dale Mockford litigates disputes involving real property. He advocates for his clients’ in all judicial, quasi-judicial, administrative and alternative dispute resolution forums. He tries jury and bench trials in the Texas state courts and in the federal courts. He also represents clients in eminent domain special commissioners’ hearings, presentations to administrative agencies, arbitrations, mediations, temporary injunction hearings, and appellate briefing and oral argument in the appellate courts.
By virtue of his educational background and career experience, Dale has developed an aptitude for presenting real property valuation and damage evidence. He routinely works with real estate professionals such as appraisers, land planners, wildlife biologists, ranchers, brokers, developers, engineers, geotechnical engineers, and builders. But most of all his priority is to determine and then pursue the best possible solution for his client’s complex problem.
B.A., University of Texas at Austin
J.D., magna cum laude, Texas Tech University School of Law
United States Supreme Court
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
Dale prosecutes and defends construction disputes both through arbitration and trial. Cases concern a wide range of construction issues, including quality of construction; defects in installation of water and wastewater systems; design and construction of structures of varied uses; express and implied warranties; delay and defect claims in home, subdivision, golf course, apartment, condominium, and commercial structures; perfection, enforcement, priority and extinguishment of constitutional and mechanic’s liens; questions concerning distinctions between real and personal property, fixtures and removables; disputes concerning post-construction repair, upkeep and maintenance; interpretation, scope and enforcement of contract arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution provisions; and insurance coverage of real property claims.
Conveyance Instruments Interpretation, Enforcement and Remedies
Dale represents clients in injunctions and jury trials concerning earnest money contracts, sales agreements, options, rights of first refusal, sale and leaseback arrangements, deeds, reverters, reversions, executory interests and ground leases. Claims concern interpretation of drafter intent, financing contingencies, title defects and objections, legal descriptions and surveys, conditions to closing, specific performance, reformation, mutual mistake of fact, contract remedies, intended scope of conveyance, amount of consideration and tender of performance, broker and real estate agent commissions and disputes, warranties of title, assertions of misrepresentation, fraud and concealment, and special and fiduciary relationships.
Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions
Dale handles disputes and controversies about proper interpretation, resolving ambiguity and resolution of questions of intent. He tries cases about, for example, whether agreements meet the requirements of the statute of frauds or exceptions to the statute of frauds. He routinely advocates the meaning, intended scope, enforceability and remedies, including equitable relief and temporary and permanent injunctions.
Dale brings to successful resolution disputes about the meaning, scope, rights, duties, liabilities and enforcement of access, inundation, utility, pipeline, transmission line, recreational use, and other types of easements and dedications. Controversies include the construction and interpretation of express easements, easements by necessity, easements by implication, easements by prescription, the extent of burden on the servient estate, abandonment, termination, and rights to alter, relocate or upgrade. See L.T. Adams v. Norsworthy Ranch, 975 S.W.2d 429 (Tex. App.—Austin 1998, no pet.).
Eminent Domain Litigation
Represents clients in all phases of eminent domain, including title examination, questions concerning public use and necessity, compensability, good faith offers, pre- and post-condemnation discovery, commissioners’ hearings and trials, both on the side of the condemnor and the condemnee. Cases involve public improvements including pipelines, transmission lines, water projects, reservoirs, streets, highways, schools and public buildings. Frequently the objective in the proceeding is the determination of just or adequate compensation and damages based on fair market value. Dale’s experience, creativity, associations with experts, and advocacy achieves his clients’ goals and objectives. See Utley v. LCRA Transmission Services Corp., 2006 W.L. 3017127 (Tex. App.—Austin 2006, no pet.).
Financing and Foreclosure
Conducts foreclosures of residential, development, raw land, commercial, industrial and mixed use properties. He litigates lien enforceability, deficiency, guarantor, assumption, successor liability, recourse, partial recourse, and non-recourse claims and transactions. He presents and defends temporary restraining orders and injunctions, and claims for post-foreclosure deficiencies. He prosecutes and defends usury actions, pre-payment penalty claims, assignment of rents and leases, disputes over lien priorities, and enforcement of deed of trust liens and associated security agreements. See J.P. Morgan Chase Bank v. Texas Contract Carpet, Inc., 302 S.W.3d 515 (Tex. App.—Austin 2009, no pet.).
Inverse Condemnation and Exactions
Presents claims and conducts hearings and trials concerning just and adequate compensation for loss of property and property rights arising from exactions, refusal to honor liens, land use regulations, refusal to grant and conditions on granting development approvals and permits, and other governmental actions giving rise to the taking, damaging or destroying of private property rights and ownership. See Texas Workforce Commission v. MidFirst Bank, 40 S.W.3d 690 (Tex. App.—Austin 2001, pet. denied).
Represents clients concerning the rights, powers and duties between interest owners in partnerships, limited liability companies, corporations and other entities owning, developing or selling real estate. Claims include enforcement of entity formation agreements, fraud and misrepresentation, fiduciary duties, proper measures of damage and relief – equitable, legal and statutory.
Presents and defends claims concerning the meaning and enforceability of lease covenants and conditions; breach of express or implied warranties; acceleration of rents and mitigation; remedies in the event of breach; interpretation and enforcement of renewal options and provisions to establish future rents. He represents clients in lease controversies involving residential, retail, commercial, office and mixed use properties. Dale litigates forcible entry and detainer suits in judge and jury trials both at the justice court level and on appeal as well as trials about leases in all forums.
Dale advocates contested partition actions for his clients involving surface, mineral and combined ownership of land in widely varied settings throughout Texas. He engages and presents evidence on all types of land valuation issues such as wildlife biology, agronomy, range management, land planning and, of course, appraisal.
Political Subdivisions Conflicts and Controversies
Pursues clients objectives in disputes regarding annexations, historical preservation, flood plain, competing jurisdictions, Chapter 13 proceedings pursuant to the Texas Water Code, and the rights, powers and duties of special utility districts, municipal utility districts and the like. Dale’s representation involves administrative proceedings, jurisdictional pleas, federal versus state court jurisdiction, statutory interpretation, and infrastructure valuation and compensation. See City of College Station v. Wellborn Special Utility District, 2006 W.L. 2067887 (Tex. App.—Waco 2006, pet denied).
Property Owners Association Disputes
Represents clients in actions concerning the limits of authority, internal governance and procedures; rights, duties and liabilities of associations and member-owned clubs, their boards of directors, officers and participants; validity and enforceability of assessments, charges, dues, fees and liens; allegations of misrepresentation and fraud; and legal and equitable relief concerning compliance with creation and enabling documents, bylaws and other rules and procedures.
Water Rights and Duties
Advocates in legal and equitable proceedings concerning the character of water flows, and common law and statutory claims for injunctive relief and/or damages for diversion or impoundment of the natural flow of surface water.
Represents clients in disputes to declare rights, quiet title, and resolve title questions through trespass to try title in matters concerning the location of boundaries, superior title, adverse possession, interpretation of metes and bounds descriptions, reconciling surveys with legal descriptions, abandonment and termination of real property rights, patents, and title insurance claims and coverage.
“A Primer on Partition and the Crucial Role of Value in Both Surface and Mineral Cases,” 32nd Annual Advanced Oil, Gas & Energy Resources Law Course, 2014