Martin (Marty) J. Lehman
We all started somewhere, and Marty started on an Iowa farm. While working with his parents and his 8 siblings raising corn, soybeans, hay, hogs and cattle (and while playing high school and college basketball), Marty had instilled in him a strong work ethic, perseverance, ambition and integrity.
In 1982, after graduation from law school at the University Iowa, Marty moved to Dallas with all his worldly possessions (which fit easily into his ‘74 Volkswagen bug), with no job, but with plenty of drive and ambition. After knocking on many, many doors (this was before the internet), Marty got his start at Hunter, Vineyard, Drake & Miller (which years later evolved into Miller & Lehman). Marty is grateful to his early legal mentors (the late Bill Hunter, Tim Vineyard, David Miller, Barbara Staubus Miller, and Harry Martin), and credits them with helping him develop into the lawyer he is today.
Since 2006, Marty has been with his present firm, Palmer Lehman Sandberg (formerly Palmer & Manuel).
Legal problems come in all shapes and sizes, and often overlap into multiple areas of law. Marty has been helping clients address those problems since 1982, and as a result has a very wide breadth of experience.
Throughout his career, Marty has guided individuals and companies in all areas of their business, from formation and expansion, to transactions, and to litigation and other forms of resolving disputes.
Since early in his career, Marty has represented individuals, businesses and lenders in connection with lending, finance, real estate, commercial litigation and all aspects of commercial transactions, including corporate debt restructuring. He has extensive experience in out-of-court workouts and non-judicial foreclosures of liens on real and personal property.
If out-of-court resolutions are not attainable, Marty serves as lead counsel in commercial litigation in state, federal and bankruptcy courts, including appeals, as well as in arbitrations.
Marty has also developed a unique niche - he uses his experience from lending, real estate, business transactions, and litigation, to assist family law attorneys in structuring and documenting property divisions in divorce proceedings, and to enforce property divisions and payment obligations post-divorce.
Marty is "AV" rated. Martindale-Hubbell, the largest and most comprehensive source of lawyer ratings in the world, has been providing peer review ratings of lawyers for more than 130 years. Martindale-Hubbell awarded Marty its prestigious "AV" rating. The "A" portion indicates the highest possible rating for legal ability, while the "V" portion indicates adherence to the highest standard of professional conduct.
Here are some of Marty's representative clients
CIT Bank/ CIT Finance
Commercial Credit Group
General Sports Surfaces/ Texas Sports Builders/ Texas General Sports
Lee Financial Company
Lucky 21 Group of Companies
Power Up for the Cause
Rojo Energy Holdings
States Resources Corp.
Summit Investment Management
Here is a sample of Marty's relevant experience
- Represented an entrepreneur in building a chain of automotive service centers, beginning with the acquisition of a handful of business locations, to generating over $60 million in annual revenue from more than 100 locations in multiple states within 5 years. Marty assisted in all areas of the business, from formation of various entities, the purchasing and leasing of real estate, and the acquisition of assets from other chains, to employment issues.
- Represented the owner in the sale of an industrial manufacturing and fabrication business.
- Represented the sellers in a multi-million dollar sale of a hospital and various clinics.
- Represented a buyer in negotiations for the purchase of office towers.
- Restructured multi-million dollar business holdings through various corporations, trusts, partnerships and annuities, to allow for the orderly transfer of assets to succeeding generations without any disruption of the businesses, resulting in estate and gift tax savings of several million dollars.
- Obtained a substantial judgment against a borrower and the guarantor for a deficiency following foreclosure on a commercial building, successfully enforcing a waiver of the "anti-deficiency" laws, and defeating the borrower's and the guarantor's claims for alleged violations of the foreclosure laws, breach of contract, breach of the common law tort of unreasonable collection efforts, unjust enrichment, negligence, negligent representation, and common law fraud.
- Discovered that, while he was suing to collect a debt, the debtor had taken steps to hinder the collection. During the lawsuit, the debtor converted one of his companies from a corporation into a limited liability company, agreed to poison pills terms requiring him to sell his interests in several companies to his co-owners at a steep discount if Marty's client obtained a judgment and charging order or lien, and transferred half of his companies' ownership to his wife. Marty then obtained a judgment setting aside as fraudulent the conversion, the poison pills terms, and the transfers to the debtor's wife, and awarding Marty's client attorneys' fees from the debtor, and from the debtor's business partner, companies, and wife.
- Successfully defended a publicly-traded pharmacy from an $11 million fraudulent transfer claim brought by a bankruptcy trustee. After a 5-day trial, the Bankruptcy Judge ordered that the trustee recover nothing from Marty's client.
- Assisted non-bankruptcy counsel in defending a bank from a $29 million claim filed by reorganized chapter 11 bankruptcy debtors. After their bankruptcy cases were completed, the reorganized bankruptcy debtors filed suit against the bank, asserting that the former principals of the debtor companies squandered company funds through an alleged Ponzi scheme, and that the bank should be liable for not discovering and stopping the alleged scheme. Marty used bankruptcy law principles to forge a nuisance value settlement.
- Represented a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) in actions against a flood control district alleging the district's operations, use of funds and tax scheme violated various provisions of the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, as well as other state and federal laws. Marty's actions resulted in the restructuring of the flood control district's bonds, and a cap on the tax rate the district can charge the property owners (including Marty's client) within the district.
- Represented a lender in the financing of a marina leased from the U.S. Corp of Engineers.
- Defended to successful conclusion a class action suit alleging that Marty's lender client's foreclosure practices violated the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the Texas foreclosure laws.
- Prosecuted his equipment manufacturer/vendor client's claims in a Chapter 11 business bankruptcy reorganization in an Alabama bankruptcy court, resulting in the return to Marty's client of $1 million worth of oil and gas field equipment.
- Successfully defended in a state court and the bankruptcy court, an injunction sought to prevent Marty's lender client from foreclosing its lien based upon the lender's purported violation of the borrower's confirmed Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan.
- In U.S. District Court in New Mexico, obtained a summary judgment in favor of his lender client in defense of alleged violations of various consumer protection laws, including the Federal Truth in Lending Act, RESPA/the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and fraud.
- Enforcement of mechanic's and materialmen's lien claims against commercial properties and payment bonds.
- Represented commercial property owners against tenants for breaches of leases.
- Defended actions for alleged violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act arising from a developer's attempted post-sale re-plat of real property.
- Successfully defended several stock brokerage firms and numerous individual stockbrokers against "raid" actions (alleging among other things, violations of covenants not to compete and improper use of confidential information) filed by other brokerage firms in both state and federal courts. In one particular action, Marty defeated a request for a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, even though prior to that time temporary restraining orders in similar actions had uniformly been granted in U.S. District Courts throughout Texas and across most of the United States.
- Defended an action for receivership and partition of commercial real estate brought by the previously undisclosed heir of a deceased predecessor in title.
- Obtained a $900,000 judgment for a client against ex-spouse for failure to comply with the terms of their divorce property settlement.
Here is a sample of opinions/court rulings from Marty's representations
In Re Pan American General Hospital, LLC, Debtor, 385 B.R. 855; 2008 Bankr. LEXIS 1295 (Bankr. W.D. Tex. 2008). In the Pan American General Hospital Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, Marty obtained for his client U.S. Bank over $1,000,000 from Pan American's sale of assets. In addition, despite Pan American's objection, Marty recovered from Pan American another $109,000 to reimburse his client for the attorneys' fees it incurred, which Bankruptcy Judge Leif M. Clark found to be reasonable. Further, Judge Clark wrote that Marty's firm's invoices:
"reflect that Palmer & Manuel did this work without overstaffing the case and without the excessive billing that one would expect to be present were this case problematic... After the first month of this case, Palmer & Manuel billed 35.1 hours in September, 42.0 hours in October, 26.75 hours in November, and 56.95 hours in December (the month of the auction and sale closing). With the fight U.S. Bank had on its hands, a bigger firm may have billed these hours in a single week."
Alpha Invesco Corp. v. IRM Invs., 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 3128 (Tex. App. - Dallas 2000). Marty represented an owner of commercial real property in a lawsuit against a successor-in-interest to the FDIC (as receiver for the failed Willowbend National Bank) who was seeking to foreclose on his client's property. At trial, Marty obtained a judgment that the FDIC successor-in-interest did not have a valid lien against his client's property. This judgment was affirmed by the Texas Court of Appeals, resulting in Marty's client owning the real property free and clear.
Gill Savings Assoc. v. International Supply Co., 759 S.W.2d 697 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1988). Marty represented a pipe and fixture supplier to an apartment complex builder. At trial, Marty obtained a judgment that his client's materialman's lien was superior to the interest of a lender who had acquired the apartment complex by foreclosure, and directing a judicial foreclosure of the materialman's lien. When the lender appealed, the judgment Marty had obtained for his client was affirmed. Further, "in a case of first impression, [the Court of Appeals] set out a rule for proving legal assistant's fees so that they are recoverable under a statute authorizing the award of attorney's fees." The result was Marty's client being paid for the materials it supplied, and reimbursed for the attorneys' fees it incurred.
Highway 82/Fannin J.V. v. Capital One Bank, N.A. (In re Highway 82/Fannin J.V.), 2012 Bankr. LEXIS 4225, (Bankr. E.D. Tex. 2012); Affirmed by U.S. District E.D. TX, Case No. 4:12-cv-707, Doc. 9; Affirmed by U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 17415 (5th Cir. Tex.). When Marty's bank client sought to foreclose its lien on real property, the borrower filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sued the bank challenging the enforceability of the cross-collateralization provision in the bank's deed of trust. On Marty's motion, Bankruptcy Judge Brenda T. Rhoades dismissed the suit against the bank. When the borrower appealed, the dismissal in favor of Marty's client was upheld by both the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals. This preserved the lien of Marty's client on valuable real property, leading to Marty's client being paid.
G.H. Bass & Co. v. Dalsan Properties-Abilene, 885 S.W.2d 572 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1994, no writ). After the tenant filed for bankruptcy protection, Marty filed a lawsuit for his landlord client against the surety/guarantor on the commercial lease for unpaid holdover rent and other charges. Marty obtained a judgment against the surety/guarantor in the trial court. When the surety/guarantor appealed, the Court of Appeals held that the surety/guarantor can be held liable for the holdover rent and other charges, but remanded the case to the trial court to consider whether the surety/guarantor could prove a waiver defense.
Family and interestsMarty and his wife Laurie have been married over 25 years. Laurie (formerly a practicing attorney) has dedicated her time to homeschooling their five children. Marty (a former college basketball player) served as the basketball commissioner of Dallas HSAA - Home School Athletic Association (one of the largest home school sports organizations in the United States), and has coached youth basketball and soccer, including coaching his son's team which in 2014 won the U16 D-II Texas State Homeschool Basketball Championship and the U16 D-II National Homeschool Basketball Championship.
- Texas, 1982
- Iowa, 1982
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Western District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas
- U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas
- U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit
- University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, Iowa
- J.D., Doctor of Jurisprudence - 1982
- Honors: With Distinction
- Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa
- B.A., Bachelor of Arts - 1979
- Major: Natural Science (Chemistry) – Business Interdisciplinary
Professional Associations and Memberships
- State Bar of Texas
- Dallas Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas, Business Law Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Business Litigation Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Real Property Section
- Iowa State Bar Association
- State Bar of Texas, Bankruptcy Law Section
- State Bar of Texas, Collaborative Law Section
- State Bar of Texas, Entertainment and Sports Law Section
- State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section
- State Bar of Texas, Litigation Section
- State Bar of Texas, Real Estate, Probate, and Trust Law Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Bankruptcy & Commercial Law Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Entertainment, Art & Sports Law Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Family Law Section
- Dallas Bar Association, Probate, Trusts & Estates Section
- Alpha Tau Omega