Paula Sweeney

Of Counsel

Paula Sweeney focuses on cases involving complex medical and scientific issues. She has been a leader in the field of healthcare liability litigation (medical malpractice) for decades, and still takes a few cases in that field, along with work on pharmaceutical and prescription liability cases. Paula is well known for her powerful cross-examination skills and her expertise in handling complex cases involving catastrophic injury and complicated medical issues.

Practice Areas

Catastrophic Personal Injury & Death

Paula Sweeney

Of Counsel

Paula Sweeney focuses on cases involving complex medical and scientific issues. She has been a leader in the field of healthcare liability litigation (medical malpractice) for decades, and still takes a few cases in that field, along with work on pharmaceutical and prescription liability cases. Paula is well known for her powerful cross-examination skills and her expertise in handling complex cases involving catastrophic injury and complicated medical issues.

Practice Areas

Catastrophic Personal Injury & Death

Professional Background

Education

Publications

Community

Notable Cases

Paula came to Slack Davis Sanger from the Dallas law firm Howie & Sweeney, which she founded with John Howie in 1995. Paula and John practiced together until his death in December 2002. A frequent teacher and invited lecturer for legal, medical, and other professional groups across Texas and much of the United States, Paula was named a Legend of Trial Law by the Dallas Bar Association as well as its 2012 Trial Lawyer of the Year.

In the courtroom, Paula's skills as a cross-examiner have been described as “relentless” and “driven”; as one defense lawyer put it, “Paula is like a heat-seeking missile.” Paula has been a Martindale-Hubbell AV®-rated attorney for more than 25 years and has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1986. She has also received the Gene Cavin Award from the State Bar of Texas for lifetime commitment to continuing legal education. Paula is licensed to practice law in Texas and Montana.

  • J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law
  • B.A., The University of Dallas
  • "Health Care Liability Update" (State Bar of Texas [SBOT] Personal Injury Law Course, 2000–present)
  • "Cross Examination of Hostile Witnesses" (SBOT, 2014–present)
  • "Cross Examination of the Technical, Difficult or Uncooperative Witness" (SBOT, 2016)
  • "Case Law Update" (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, 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)
  • "Case Law Update Mega Trends" (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)
  • "Medical Malpractice Update" (SBOT, 2013)
  • "Cross Examination" (SBOT, 2013)
  • "Tort Reform Update" (Baylor School of Law General Practice Institute, 2013)
  • "Case Law Update" (SBOT Advanced Medical Torts, 2013)
  • "The Seventh Amendment — What’s Left of it in Texas" (TTLA Best Kept Trial Secrets, 2013)
  • "The Art and Practice of Cross Examination" (SBOT Webinar, 2013)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Trial Advocacy College of Texas, Faculty Member (2014)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates — Dallas Chapter, President (2000)
  • Texas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1998)
  • State Bar of Texas, Director (1992–1995)
  • Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, President (1991)
  • American Association for Justice, Governor (1990–1992)
  • Innocence Project (Montana), Founding Director
  • University of Dallas, Board of Trustees
  • SMU Dedman School of Law, Board of Law School Governors

Leduc v. Oriental Building Services, Inc.

Rene Leduc, a baggage handler for American Airlines, severely injured his leg when he swerved to miss a pickup truck under the D-FW airport terminal. Slack Davis Sanger represented the plaintiff in the winning jury verdict. This case was the #7 Motor Vehicle Verdict in Texas Lawyer’s 2012 Top Texas Verdicts list in terms of settlement amount.

Sherry Yvette Robinett, et al. v. Latisha Wooten, et al.

James Robinett was in an airplane piloted by Harvey Kinikin, Jr. Both men were killed when Mr. Kinikin attempted an unsafe, visual approach under weather conditions requiring a more sophisticated instrument approach. Slack Davis Sanger attorneys Ladd Sanger and Paula Sweeney represented the plaintiffs in the winning (unanimous) jury verdict.

Leon Alfano, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America and Autumn Miller, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America

These two cases were filed against Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) for violating inmates’ constitutional rights at Dawson State Jail. CCA was required to provide prisoners with reasonable access to medical care. In Alfano, a severely diabetic prisoner was denied access to medical care in the middle of the night. CCA failed to call for medical help and instead left her to die on a mattress on the floor outside the medical unit. In Miller, CCA ignored a pregnant inmate’s cries for help and locked her in a holding cell alone where she gave birth to her premature baby into a toilet. The baby, Gracie, died four days later. The facility is now being closed.

Armstrong v. Brooks

A young, married attorney suffering from curable lymphoma was nauseated from his chemo treatments and became dehydrated. He was admitted to the hospital, where he was not sufficiently re-hydrated and subsequently coded and died. The defense asserted he had committed suicide by secretly taking cardiac medications. The jury awarded a verdict to Paula’s clients, the deceased's wife and young daughters.

  • "I know I speak for my whole family in expressing appreciation for the genuine care and support provided by Slack Davis Sanger during the lengthy process of working through our legal system. They provided frequent personal contact, without prompting, and someone was always available to answer any question or just listen to our comments and concerns. I feel that we were always treated with respect — individually and as a family."

    Larry McLerran

    Client
  • "Thank you again for all of your good help. Since losing Nick, the love of my life, it has been an emotional roller coaster, but I am making progress and standing strong as he would want me to do. Aside from all of the other estate things I have had to attend to, through this law case, your efficient and thoughtful communications have been very kind and helpful. You have performed your job perfectly."

    Sandra T.

    Client
  • "The whole staff at Slack Davis Sanger went above and beyond to make sure that we not only got the best settlement and verdict, but that we were aware, knowledgeable, and comfortable with all that went on before, during, and after the trial. They have the best staff — “the A team” — that anyone could ask for. They all worked hard together and still had compassion for us. They are the team you want in your foxhole."

    Leon Hagerman

    Client

Honors & Awards

  • The Best Lawyers in America by BL Rankings (since 1995)
  • Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers (since 2003)
  • Dallas Bar Association Trial Lawyer of the Year (2013)
  • D CEO Magazine Dallas 500 (2016)
  • D Magazine Best Lawyers in Dallas (2018, 2014-2016, 2008-2012 )
  • Dallas Bar Association Legend of Trial Law (2012)
  • Texas Lawyer Extraordinary Women in Texas Law (2008)
  • University of Dallas Alumna of Distinction
  • The State Bar of Texas Gene Cavin Award for Lifetime Achievement (2009)
  • Common Cause Texas Defender of Democracy Award (2003)

Contact Paula