In January the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two matters that could significantly change how federal courts are to review decisions made by federal agencies. Chevron deference has often allowed federal agencies to “fill gaps” and implement policy decisions where the statute may not be express. However, the issues before the Supreme Court in Loper Bright Enterprises and Relentless, Inc. call the doctrine’s viability into question.
SCOTX: Newspaper Did Not Defame Prosecutor in Article That Linked Him to Wrongful Conviction of Michael Morton
A career prosecutor argued that he was 17 and not a lawyer when Morton was convicted of murder in 1987 in Williamson County. The Supreme Court, however, said it was uncontested that Tommy Lamar Coleman “assisted the prosecution” in 2011 when he was an assistant DA who mocked Morton’s post-conviction efforts to have a bloody bandana tested for DNA.
During oral arguments in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the configuration of Texas’ intermediate appellate court districts, the panel was asked to halt the March 5 primary election for the intermediate courts of appeals. The lawsuit brought by Keresa Richardson seeks to have the courts redraw the districts to address malapportionment. Richardson previously sought to have all members of the Dallas appellate court recuse themselves (two obliged) from hearing the case arguing they all have a conflict of interest “derived from the fact that this case will affect their elected status, their voting districts, and their future elected status, and thus they are all personally interested in the relief being requested and should not be the arbiters of the issues.”
Court Reporters Say Texas Judicial Branch Certification Commission ‘Turns a Blind Eye’ to A.I. Deposition Services
Senior U.S. District Judge David A. Ezra ruled an Austin transcription service violated Texas law governing the court reporting industry, even though the commission dismissed a complaint saying it lacked jurisdiction. Court reporters say Judge Ezra’s ruling is a profound decision that affirms their interpretation of the law.
Aspire Power Ventures filed a direct appeal with the Third Court of Appeals in Austin on Tuesday, challenging three orders issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas that created and modified a program to provide reserve power in emergency situations. While the stated goal of the ERCOT Contingency Reserve Service is to prevent grid issues like what the state experienced during Winter Storm Uri, Aspire alleges it instead “does nothing to increase actual electricity reserve capacity — in fact, it actually decreases capacity when it is most needed.”
Litigation Roundup: Pension Fund Sues Pioneer Over Exxon Deal, Union Pacific to Face Fatal Crash Suit
In this week’s edition of Litigation Roundup, Pioneer Natural Resources draws suit over its $60 billion Exxon deal, a fight between faculty at MD Anderson spills into court, a jury renders a take-nothing judgment in a personal injury suit that had sought damages in excess of $10 million, and the Fifth Circuit revives a fatal crash suit against Union Pacific.
The State Bar of Texas recently released the results of a straw poll it conducts every election cycle that asks its members to cast a ballot for the judge or justice of their choice for the various contested races across the state. Here, The Lawbook takes a look at the 2024 results for Texas Supreme Court races, but also compares the results of the 2022 and 2020 straw polls with the results of the general election in an attempt to offer insight into how often the voting members of the bar aligned with the Texas voting public at large.
Christopher Novinger, of Mansfield, was before the Fifth Circuit for the second time on Thursday morning seeking relief from a “no admit, no deny” provision in a 2016 settlement agreement he entered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In July 2022 a different panel of that court rejected his attempt to free himself from the gag order provision via a Rule 60(b) motion that argued the “no deny” portion of the policy violated his First Amendment and due process rights.
The veteran appellate lawyer shared with The Lawbook how he handles aggressive lawyer tactics and discussed the highly controversial legal battle he was proud to have a role in. The move to Langley & Banack positions Drummond to work with other appellate lawyers he says he’s long admired.
The court heard oral arguments in October in Rodriguez v. Safeco Insurance Company, a case that that asked the court to interpret a state insurance law as it related to recovery of attorney fees. “Rather than speculate about whether the Legislature intended recovery of attorney’s fees to be likely, unlikely, or impossible, we should instead stick with the bedrock principle that the Legislature intends the courts to follow its instructions as written,” Justice Jimmy Blacklock wrote for the unanimous court. “In this instance, the Legislature has required the use of a mathematical formula that yields zero attorney’s fees in cases like Rodriguez’s.”