In this edition of Litigation Roundup, mootness ends Surfside Beach property owners’ dispute with the Texas General Land Office in a 2-1 ruling from the Fifth Circuit, a challenge to the Inflation Recovery Act’s medication pricing controls keeps rolling and a conservative activist sues Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick over an impeachment-related gag order.
Over the last three years the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has sent more certified questions annually to the Texas Supreme Court than it has in decades. The recent increase — five in 2021, six in 2022 and four so far this year — is notable when compared to the average of 1.8 a year the Fifth Circuit had sent for the 24 years prior. Does accepting the questions — a discretionary decision by SCOTX — strain the court’s ability to decide disputes percolating through Texas’ 14 intermediate appellate courts?
The Fifth Court of Appeals has granted an unopposed request from Ken Paxton to postpone oral arguments in the lawsuit brought against him by the state bar’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline, days after he requested they be delayed until after the conclusion of his impeachment trial.
“The case will be reset for submission in due course,” the court’s order reads.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern has the potential to bring forth the most fundamental shift in jurisdictional case law in decades. The decision opens the doors for new state laws expanding their courts’ jurisdictional reach. Businesses operating in Texas must grapple with this uncertainty and the accompanying risks it presents.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court issued several high-profile opinions as they cleared the dockets from last year’s terms. With so many rulings issued at once, it could be easy to miss an opinion from the Texas Supreme Court with important practical implications for the attorney-client privilege under Texas law.
The Texas Supreme Court said the wrongful death case was improperly cast as a premises liability claim. The plaintiff will lose her day in court by failing to meet a deadline for submitting an expert report required for health care liability claims. The assisted living industry was watching closely.
In a 7-2 ruling issued Friday morning, the last day of the court’s term, the justices denied a request from the former owner of the Houston Astros, Drayton McLane, to bring an early end to a lawsuit brought by the team’s current owner, Jim Crane, alleging lies and deceptions caused him to overpay for the team in 2011. The ruling means Crane will have a chance to proceed with a trial in Harris County where he is seeking to recoup the entire $332 million he paid for a stake in the Houston Regional Sports Network that was part of his $615 million purchase of the Major League Baseball team.
Cindy V. Tisdale, a partner at Goranson Bain Ausley in Granbury, was sworn in June 22 as the new president of the State Bar of Texas. Tisdale, who practices family law, answered questions from The Lawbook about why she sought to lead the organization and what her goals are.
Bracewell partner W. Stephen Benesh was sworn in as president-elect of the State Bar of Texas June 22 during the annual meeting in Austin. He answered questions from The Lawbook about why he wanted to take a leadership role and what his goals are.
A sharply divided Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas is a government agency and is entitled to sovereign immunity from civil lawsuits. In a highly anticipated decision, the state’s highest court for civil litigation ruled that “because ERCOT performs a ‘uniquely governmental’ function as part of a ‘larger governmental system’, it is an organ of government.”
The decision to declare ERCOT a state agency and grant it immunity directly impacts thousands of wrongful death, personal injury and property damage lawsuits brought by victims of Winter Storm Uri and currently pending in a multidistrict litigation in Harris County District Court. ERCOT is a defendant in nearly all of those cases.