The Texas Supreme Court tossed out a $416,000 jury verdict against Oncor Electric citing the failure of the plaintiff, Chaparral Energy, to take its initial complaint to the Public Utility Commission. The court ruled that PUC’s “pervasive regulatory scheme” gives it the exclusive jurisdiction to resolve disputes over such regulated services. Janet Elliott has the details.
Ten years ago, Carmen Dusek found herself square in the middle of the largest child custody case ever litigated. The case involved charges of child abuse and rape in a remote compound run fundamentalist religious sect run by Warren Jeffs whose Biblical beliefs included a particularly strident form of polygamy. The case came to include scores of lawyers who volunteered from afar to assure adequate legal representation for some 400 children. She recalls the pride and disappointment to Janet Elliott in The Texas Lawyer.
Citing substantial errors by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade and inappropriate and unequivocally deceptive conduct by Texas plaintiff’s attorney Mark Lanier, the federal appeals court has reversed a Dallas jury’s $502 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson in the hip implant litigation.
A Dallas appeals court said Dallas trial judge acted within the bounds of his discretion when he dismissed a lawsuit filed against the National Football league by former NFL star Tony Romo. The court said that the league stayed within the boundaries of both its own rules and its collective bargaining agreement when it warned players about potential discipline for participating in a fantasy football show at a Las Vegas casino.
SCOTX reversed two lower courts and remanded for trial a lawsuit brought by the survivors of two men killed in a 2007 West Texas car crash, as well as a man injured in the accident. The case involved fees paid to their employer to assure transportation between their job site and company housing and a 1981 case both sides relied on to make their case.
The Texas Supreme Court last week remanded a controversial jury award on legal fees back to a Dallas court for retrial. The court decided that expert testimony instrumental in the $7.25 million ruling for Dallas lawyer Gregory Shamoun was insufficient to justify the claim. The case is the latest in what the court itself called a “spiderweb of litigation” involving Albert Hill Jr. Natalie Posgate has the details.
In two closely-watched cases decided Friday, SCOTX defended its seemingly conflicting views on state regulation of retained acreage. Chief Justice Nathan Hecht says it’s actually pretty simple: contracts mean what they say. Janet Elliott explains in The Texas Lawbook.
The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday invalid a complaint of same-sex sexual harassment. The behavior, which involved two female middle school teachers, was not shown the be motivated by sexual desire. Critics say the decision undermines the rights of workers at an important moment of social awareness. Janet Elliott has the details in The Texas Lawbook.
In hot pursuit of mineral leases in the frenzied 2010 Eagle Ford Shale play, Orca Assets paid $3.2 million for six leases in DeWitt County that they later discovered belonged to another company. Rather than simply accept a return of their cash, Orca sued the owner’s agent, accusing them of fraud, demanding $400 million in unrealized revenues. On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court suggested that Orca should have known better. Janet Elliott reports on the court’s reasoning in The Texas Lawbook.
In a decision that could significantly impact school funding in the oil patch, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that statutory formulas setting valuations for business and personal property are not unconstitutional. Janet Elliott explains the ruling in The Texas Lawbook.