Paula Sweeney

Paula Fisette Sweeney, Of Counsel, is based in the Dallas office of Slack Davis Sanger. Her practice is focused on cases arising from defective medical devices and prescription drugs, pharmacy liability (misfilled prescriptions) and products liability. She has been an AV®-rated attorney (Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings) for more than 25 years and has been Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law since 1986.

Practice Areas


  • B.A., The University of Dallas
  • J.D., Southern Methodist University School of Law

Professional Background

Paula came to Slack Davis Sanger from the Dallas law firm Howie & Sweeney, a firm she founded with John Howie in 1995.  Paula and John practiced together until his death in December 2002.

Paula has a stellar reputation for successfully representing clients in complex cases and litigation. In the courtroom, her skills as a cross-examiner have been described as “relentless,” “driven,” and as one defense lawyer put it, “Paula is like a heat-seeking missile.”

She is a frequent teacher and invited lecturer for legal, medical and other professional groups across Texas and much of the United States. Recently named a “Legend of Trial Law” by the Dallas Bar Association, she is known for her powerful cross-examination skills and her expertise in handling complex cases involving catastrophic injury and complicated medical issues.

Representative Work (cases)

Personal Injury

Rene 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. It was the #7 Motor Vehicle verdict in Texas in 2012, according to the 2012 Top Texas Verdicts list, sponsored by Verdict Search and Texas Lawyer magazine.


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.

Constitutional Rights

Leon Alfano, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America
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.

Medical Malpractice

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, coded and died. The defense accused him of committing suicide by secretly taking cardiac medications. The jury awarded a verdict to Paula’s clients, his wife and young daughters. (Paula initially handled claim while at a different law firm.)

Recent Publications and Speaking Engagements

Recent Publications

  • “Health Care and Medical Products Liability Update” (Recognized as “Best Continuing Legal Education Paper” from the State Bar of Texas and “Best Non-Judicial Article” from the Texas Judicial Council)
  • “Cross Examination” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course)

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

  • “Health Care Liability Update” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Law, in Dallas, TX on July 6, 2016; in San Antonio, TX on July 27, 2016; and in Houston, TX on September 14, 2016)

Past Speaking Engagements

  • “The Perfect Storm: Strategies for Difficult Witnesses” panel presentation (State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies Seminar, 2016)
  • “Cross Examination of the Technical, Difficult or Uncooperative Witness” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Evidence and Discovery Seminar 2016)
  • “Healthcare Liability Update” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Seminar 2015)
  • “Making and Responding to Daubert Challenges – Perspectives from a Civil Lawyer” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Criminal Law Course; July 2015)
  • “Preparation and Trial of Medical Malpractice and Pharmacy Products Cases” (Montana Trial Lawyers Association Annual Summer Convention; August 2015)
  • “Trial Lawyer Tips, Techniques and Observations By and For Women Litigators” (Dallas Trial Lawyers Association luncheon panel; April 2015)
  • “Advanced Settlement – Why Your Case Won’t Settle” and “Case Law Update Mega Trends” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Torts Conference; March 2015)
  • “Complex Evidence” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies; February 2015)
  • “Complex Litigation” (University of Montana School of Law; September 2014)
  • “Women in the Courtroom” (Dallas Bar Association Tort & Insurance Practice Section; September 2014)
  • “Cross Examination of the Difficult Witness” (State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting; June 2014)
  • “Dealing with the Difficult Attorney” (Dallas Bar Association Judiciary Committee Panel Discussion; June 2014)
  • “Health Care Liability Update” (Texas College of Judicial Studies; May 2014)
  • Trial Advocacy College of Texas, Faculty Member (Texas Trial Lawyers Association; May 2014)
  • “Medical Malpractice Update: Themes and Mega-Trends” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Torts; March 2014)
  • “Strategies for Dealing with Difficult Witnesses” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Trial Strategies; February 2014)
  • “Screening Medical Negligence Cases in the Era of Ch. 74” (Dallas Trial Lawyers Association; January 2014)
  • “ABOTA Masters in Trial – Cutting Edge Cross Examination” (State Bar of Texas 30th Annual Litigation Update Institute; January 2014)
  • “Cross Examination” (Texas Trial Lawyers Association Advanced PI Seminar; December 2013)
  • “Tales from the Crypt” (Texas Trial Lawyers Association Legends CLE; October 2013)
  • “Medical Malpractice Update” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Personal Injury Seminar 2013)
  • “Cross Examination” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course, May 2013)
  • “Tort Reform Update” (Baylor School of Law General Practice Institute, April 2013)
  • “Cross Examination” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Evidence and Discovery Course, April 2013)
  • “Case Law Update” (State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Torts, March 2013)
  • “The Seventh Amendment – What’s Left of it in Texas” (Texas Trial Lawyers Association Best Kept Trial Secrets, February 2013)
  • “The Art and Practice of Cross Examination” (State Bar of Texas webinar, January 2013; co-presented with Mike Davis)

Professional and Community Activities

  • President of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) – Dallas (2000)
  • President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (1998)
  • Director of the State Bar of Texas (1992-1995)
  • President of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association (1991)
  • Governor of the American Association for Justice (1990-1992)
  • Innocence Project (Montana), Founding Director
  • University of Dallas, Board of Trustees
  • SMU Dedman School of Law, Board of Law School Governors


  • D-CEO Magazine, Dallas 500 (most powerful business leaders in Dallas – Fort Worth) (2016)
  • D Magazine, Best Lawyers in Dallas (Tort Product and Medical Liability Litigation: Plaintiff) (2015-18)
  • Dallas Bar Association, “Trial Lawyer of the Year” (2013)
  • Dallas Bar Association, “Legend of Trial Law” (2012)
  • Texas Lawyer, “Extraordinary Women in Texas Law” (2008)
  • Texas Nurses’ Association, Health Care Professional of the Year award
  • University of Dallas, Alumna of Distinction
  • State Bar of Texas’ prestigious Gene Cavin Award for lifetime achievement in supporting Continuing Legal Education in Texas (2009)
  • Texas Monthly, “The Crusader” (Recognizing work on behalf of malpractice victims)
  • Common Cause Texas, Defender of Democracy Award (In recognition of work to protect the citizens of Texas from the lobby-driven onslaught against their right to access the courts; 2003.)
  • Super Lawyers (a 15-plus year honoree)
  • Featured in the publications Best Lawyers in America, Who’s Who in American Law, The Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers and in the Million Dollar Arguments series
  • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow
  • International Society of Barristers, Fellow
  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers, Fellow

In The News

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