Newly-elected judges on the Texas courts of appeals may soon revisit a firmly rooted – albeit faded – distinction between factual and legal sufficiency as they grapples with their differences with pro-business justices on the Texas Supreme Court. Specifically, courts of appeals may be able to limit state Supreme Court review by deciding cases based on factual sufficiency of the evidence. The Texas Lawbook has details.
SCOTX heard oral arguments last week over efforts by the Dallas Morning News to dismiss a libel suit against them. Owners of a now-defunct compounding pharmacy claim a 2016 article in The News falsely suggested they were under federal investigation. That claim of falsehood is complicated by a federal raid on their offices the very day they argued in court.
This week, the Texas Supreme Court is handling a business v. business case that could either reinstate one of the largest punitive damage verdicts in the court’s history or be the death of exemplary damages in many types of civil disputes in Texas. It features some of the best lawyers in Texas, including two former chief justices. The Texas Lawbook has details.
When Houston Astros owner Jim Crane and another investor bought a new aircraft for $19.85 million in 2010, they apparently expected it to be…well, new. When they discovered two years later it had been equipped with a used left engine with a troubled history, they sued. Now the SCOTX is weighing whether the evidence supports their $8M verdict.
Could the swing of Texas’s big courts of appeals to Democratic majorities lead to more removals from state to federal court? Despite the hurdles federal courts have raised to removal jurisdiction over the years, the addition of five new judges to the Fifth Circuit certainly creates an opening.
An appellate court ruled Thursday that the arbitrability of a $15 million legal dispute between Houston-based Apache Corp. and Fort Worth-based Wagner Oil Company will have to be debated in front of an arbitrator in Houston, not a trial court in Fort Worth as WOC had hoped.
The unprecedented election last week of 20 Democratic candidates to the state courts of appeals in Austin, Dallas and Houston will have an almost immediate and substantive impact on civil litigation and issues such as enforcement of arbitration clauses, excessive use of Anti-SLAPP laws and deference to juries in large-dollar plaintiff’s verdicts.
Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Curtis said “questions of jurisdiction are questions of power.” That observation provides a useful lens to examine how three sentences from recent opinions by the Dallas Court of Appeals involve questions of power, and how they may illustrate areas where the newly-constituted Texas appellate courts may take new approaches.
Updated – Democrats Seize Control of Dallas Court of Appeals, Win Houston Appellate Judgeships; TX Lawyers Score Big Congressional Upsets
Democratic candidates for appellate judgeships in Texas scored historic victories in Tuesday’s election. Every Democrat running for the judgeships on the First, Third, Fifth and Fourteenth courts of appeals won. The Texas Lawbook has the details.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Phil Johnson, a conservative voice on the court for the past 13 years, has announced that he is retiring at the end of the year. Mark Curriden has the details.