Paula Fisetta Sweeney

Paula Sweeney

Slack Davis Sanger, L.L.P.



Paula Fisette Sweeney practiced in Dallas with her partner John Howie for 22 years, until his untimely death, at the firm Howie & Sweeney, which they founded. She is now happily Partner in the Dallas office of Slack Davis Sanger, L.L.P., continuing to practice in her traditional area of health care liability, but also working on other complex medical, products, and traumatic injury cases.

Paula Sweeney - Medical Malpractice Attorney (left facing)

She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and has been a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers. She is Past President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (1998), the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association (1991), and ABOTA-Dallas (2000) and previously served as a Governor of The Association of Trial Lawyers of America and on the Board of Directors of the State Bar of Texas. She served for 15 years on the Supreme Court Rules Advisory Committee and has also served on the Supreme Court Task Force on Medical Malpractice Discovery and the Supreme Court Task Force on The Jury Charge, and chaired the Chief Justice's Task Force on Judicial Selection. Honors include: “Champion of Justice Award” from Texas Watch, 2022, the Don Bowen Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from TTLA in 2022, recognition in 2013 by the Dallas Bar Association as its Trial Lawyer of the Year, being named a Legend of Trial Law by the DBA in 2012, receipt of the State Bar of Texas’ prestigious Gene Cavin Award for lifetime achievement in supporting Continuing Legal Education in Texas in 2019, Texas Nurses’ Association Health Care Professional of the Year award, Alumna of Distinction from the University of Dallas, D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas, every year since 2001, Texas Monthly’s Super Lawyers every year since 2003, and Texas Lawyers’ “Extraordinary Women in Texas Law” (2008) and Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas (2009) and Best Lawyers in America (since 1995).



  • Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization

Professional Associations

  • American Board of Trial Advocates — Dallas Chapter, President (2000)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1998)
  • State Bar of Texas, Director (1992–1995)
  • State Bar of Montana (2016-present)
  • Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1991)
  • American Association for Justice, Governor (1990–1992)
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers (2006-2021)
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • International Society of Barristers ( 2010-2021)

Honors & Awards

  • Texas Watch’s Champions of Justice Award
  • TTLA 2021 Don Bowen Distinguished Service Award
  • Trial Lawyer of the Year, Dallas Bar Association, 2013
  • Dallas Bar Association Legend of Trial Law, 2012
  • The State Bar of Texas Gene Calvin Award for Lifetime Achievement, 2009
  • Extraordinary Women in Texas Law, Texas Lawyer, 2008
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers, 2001-present
  • The Best Lawyers in America® BL Rankings, 1995-present
  • Best Lawyers in Dallas, D Magazine, 2001-present
  • University of Dallas Alumna of Distinction
  • Common Cause Texas Defender of Democracy Award, 2003
  • AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell, 1986-present

Recent Publications

  • "Case Law Update," State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Malpractice Seminar, Santa Fe, NM, March 2022
  • "Case Law Update," Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Annual Meeting, November 2021
  • "Healthcare Liability Update," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Personal Injury Law Course, Summer 2021
  • "Winning at Deposition, Overcoming the Problem Witness," University of Texas Law CLE, April 2021
  • "Case Law Update," Virtual Seminar, State Bar of Texas, Advanced Healthcare Liability Seminar, March 2021
  • "Preparing for Virtual Trials," Virtual Seminar, State Bar of Texas, Advanced Trial Strategies," February 2021
  • "Presenting Complex Evidence" (State Bar of Texas [SBOT] Advanced Trial Skills Course, 2020)
  • "What you Absolutely, Positively Gotta Know About Ch 74," Texas Trial Lawyers Annual Meeting, November 2020
  • "Simplifying Complex Evidence," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Trial Strategies Panel, February 2020
  • "7 Med Mal Mega Trends," Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Annual Meeting, November 2019
  • "Healthcare Liability Update," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Personal Injury Course, Summer 2019
  • "Case Law Update," State Bar of Texas Advanced Health Care Liability Seminar, March 2019
  • "The Intersection of Litigation and Gender," Dallas Women Lawyers Association, March 2019
  • "Cross Examination," State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies, Course Co-Director and Speaker, February 2019
  • "Trends in Health Care Liability Litigation" (Texas Trial Lawyers Association Annual Meeting, 2019)
  • "Cross Examination of Hostile Witnesses"(SBOT, 2014–present)
  • "Statute of Limitations Under Chapter 74," Texas Trial Lawyers Association Annual Meeting, Medical Malpractice Seminar, December 2018
  • "Saving the Jury Trial," Panel, Dallas Bar Association, November 2018
  • "Deposing the Difficult Witness," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Evidence & Discovery Seminar, Summer 2018
  • "Health Care Liability Case Law Update," State Bar of Texas, Advanced Medical Malpractice Seminar, March 2018
  • "Jurors by Generation," State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Skills Seminar Panelist, New Orleans, February 2018
  • "Personal Injury Damages," State Bar of Texas, Damages in Civil Litigation Seminar, February 2018
  • "Women and the Law," State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting (Dallas) Panelist, June 2017
  • "Cross Examination of the Technical, Difficult or Uncooperative Witness" (SBOT, 2016)
  • "The Perfect Storm: Strategies for Difficult Witnesses" (SBOT panel presentation, 2016)
  • "Preparation and Trial of Medical Malpractice and Pharmacy Products Cases" (Montana Trial Lawyers Association Annual Summer Convention, 2015)
  • "Making and Responding to Daubert Challenges — Perspectives from a Civil Lawyer" (SBOT, Advanced Criminal Law Course - 2015)
  • "Trial Lawyer Tips, Techniques and Observations By and For Women Litigators" (Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, 2015)
  • "Advanced Settlement — Why Your Case Won’t Settle" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Complex Evidence" (SBOT, 2015)
  • "Complex Litigation" (University of Montana School of Law, 2014)
  • "Women in the Courtroom" (Dallas Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section, 2014)
  • "Dealing with the Difficult Attorney" (Dallas Bar Association Judiciary Committee Panel Discussion, 2014)
  • "Cross Examination of the Difficult Witness" (SBOT Annual Meeting, 2014)
  • "Medical Malpractice Update: Themes and Mega-Trends" (SBOT, 2014)
  • "Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Witnesses" (SBOT, 2014)
  • "ABOTA Masters in Trial — Cutting Edge Cross Examination" (SBOT 30th Annual Litigation Update Institute, 2014)
  • "Cross Examination" (Texas Trial Lawyers Association [TTLA} Advanced PI Seminar, 2013)
  • "Tales From the Crypt" (TTLA Legends CLE, 2013)



First Officer’s Improper Rudder Use Results in Commercial Airplane Crash Lawsuit

Case Title: American Airlines Flight 587 On November 12, 2001, American Airlines Flight 587, flying from JFK International Airport, New York to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, crashed into the Belle Harbor neighborhood in Queens, New York. All 260 people on board died (251 passengers, nine crew members), along with five people on the ground. It…

Case Details

Defective Cotton Gin Results in Catastrophic Personal Injury Case

Case title: Damon Wilson v. Lummus Corporation, et al. Mitch McCrea represented Damon Wilson who lost his leg in a Lummus cotton gin (located in Delta County, Texas) when his employer asked him to climb onto a cotton module conveyor component that did not have adequate guarding or warnings.

Case Details

Inadequate 18-Wheeler Brakes Lead to Wrongful Death Case

Case Title: Duckworth v. Clayton Homes Mitch McCrea represented the surviving family of Dickie Duckworth who was killed when another 18-wheeler hauling a Clayton manufactured home crossed the center line and crashed into him head-on on U.S. 79 in Anderson County, Texas.  During the course of discovery, we learned that only one of the axles…

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Discriminatory Auto Insurance Rates Result in Significant Settlement

Case title: Grigson, et al. v. Farmers Group, Inc. (W.D. Tex.) In 2017, Charles Grigson filed a class action lawsuit against Farmers Insurance Group, Inc. alleging discriminatory rates. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of all Farmers auto insurance customers in the state of Texas who were policyholders in the Farmers Auto 2.0 (FA2) book.…

Case Details

Malfunctioning Power Swivel Unit Results in Catastrophic Personal Injury Lawsuit

Case Title: Murphy v. Excel Site Rentals, LLC On November 11, 2017, an employee of Consolidated Well Services LLC was working as a floor hand on the Yoder 2-H well site in Bradford Country, Pennsylvania. A power swivel unit owned and operated by Excel Site Rentals, LLC rotated unintentionally as the worker reached to release…

Case Details

Defective Product Results in Dallas Workplace Injury Lawsuit

Case Title: Meyer v. Cooper Industries, et al Workplace injuries suffered due to negligence or faulty tools can tragically and permanently change the lives of an employee and their family, as happened to elevator technician Michael Meyer just days before Christmas 2018. A Debilitating On-the-Job Injury Meyer lost the use of his right arm, suffered…

Case Details

Improper Maneuver at Altitude Leads to General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Estate of Vincent Losada v. Pea Hochso, LLC On November 17, 2018, a North American P51, N4132A, crashed into an apartment building parking lot near Fredericksburg, Texas. The pilot and passenger suffered fatal injuries, and the plane was destroyed. The purpose of the flight was a fly-over of a World War II educational…

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Defective Fuel Tank Results in Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Nemec v. Robinson Helicopter On April 13, 2006, a Robinson R44 helicopter with registration number N123CK, carrying a pilot and four passengers crashed from just a few feet above the ground and burst into flames. The impact was survivable, and there were no traumatic injuries to the occupants caused by the crash itself.…

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Helicopter Crash Results in Active General Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Stockbridge v. Heliservices On August 8, 2020, a helicopter conducting a survey of bighorn sheep in the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area crashed and killed three passengers. The passengers were doing work for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). The firm filed suit against the helicopter operator contracted by the TPWD. The…

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Parts Manufacturer Negligence Results in Military Aviation Lawsuit

Case Title: Kohl, et al. v. Triumph On March 16, 2013, an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed during a test-fire exercise north of Kandahar, Afghanistan. At the time of the incident, the helicopter had performed a shallow dive, leveled off, and then entered a climbing right turn to repeat the maneuver. At that point, the…

Case Details