A Texas judge has initiated a “court of inquiry” to handle allegations of criminal misconduct made by the children of deceased Dallas banker Arthur Ruff against Texas lawyers and bankers involved in their family’s multimillion-dollar trust. The judicial led probe comes as Ruff’s widow seeks to enforce a $66 million judgment against her own son. The web of lawsuits shows just how nasty family disputes over cash and control can get.
Carl Stewart’s term as chief judge of the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals expires at the end of September. In an exclusive interview with The Texas Lawbook, Judge Stewart looks back at seven tumultuous years, his plans for the future, the need to integrate five new appellate judges and what others say his legacy as the Fifth Circuit’s only African-American chief judge will be.
Former Houston judge and appellate law expert Jane Bland will soon have her third job in nine months: Justice on the Texas Supreme Court. Gov. Abbott announced Monday that he intends to appoint Bland, who is now a partner at V&E in Houston, to the state’s highest court.
Bell Nunnally has had the same managing partner for two decades. That changes Sept. 1 when trial partner Christopher Trowbridge takes the reins of the 63 lawyer corporate firm. But he knows there will be many challenges ahead.
Eighteen federal appellate judges. An 11-6-1 split. A majority decision by Judge Patrick Higginbotham. Five separate blistering dissenting opinions. Some dissenters even poke at each other. In all, 75 pages of wisdom from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit about qualified immunity. The result: two Sachse police officers will stand trial for allegations that they used excessive force and fabricated evidence in the 2010 shooting of Ryan Cole of Garland.
The SEC is investigating Houston-based SAExploration Holdings for allegedly providing “material misstatements” and misleading financial information to investors and the federal agency over the past four years. In response, the oilfield services company says it will cooperate with the SEC, is restating past financial reports, has fired its general counsel and has removed its chairman and chief executive officer.
Nine corporate law firms in Texas have added lawyers to their bankruptcy practices and 20 other firms are aggressively recruiting experienced restructuring partners. Legal and financial advisors believe a surge of business bankruptcies is heading toward Texas and there is big money to be made representing clients in deep economic distress.
Business bankruptcy filings in Texas plummeted during the first six months of 2019, but experts predict a financial storm is brewing that could force hundreds and hundreds of Texas businesses into insolvency. “We are beginning to see some bad signs,” says Sidley’s Duston McFaul. “Another wave is on the way,” says Jackson Walker’s Elizabeth Freeman. Adds Lou Strubeck: “We are on the cusp of something big happening.” The Texas Lawbook has new data and complete details in Part One of a series.
Last month, The Texas Lawbook officially reached and surpassed more than 13,000 paid subscribers, including more than 2,500 corporate in-house counsel. Our partnerships with the Dallas Business Journal and the Houston Chronicle means The Lawbook reach expands to tens-of-thousands of business leaders in Texas and beyond. But we couldn’t do any of it without one person: Sally Selio.
The Texas GC Forum chose in-house lawyers at AT&T, Boeing Global Services, ExxonMobil, Platinum Dermatology, Southwestern Energy and the Teacher Retirement System of Texas to receive the Magna Stella Award. The biggest winner is Houston-based Mattress Firm. The Texas Lawbook has the names.