There are 31 different appellate judgeships on primary ballots across Texas. But the Fifth Court of Appeals should get more attention than the rest. Eight of the 13 seats on the Dallas appeals court are up for election. There are two vacancies, the chief judge’s chair is open and Democrats have narrowed the vote margins in recent years. With an unprecedented number of judicial spots up this election cycle, the Fifth Court has the potential to undergo dramatic and transformational change.
Proponents of binding mandatory arbitration scored two huge victories this week in the Texas appellate courts. In two separate and unrelated rulings, the Texas Supreme Court and the Dallas Court of Appeals ordered plaintiffs in two cases – a group of customers alleging they were illegally victimized by a payday lender and an exotic dancer suing a strip club for gross negligence – to litigate their claims through private arbitration instead of the public court system.
Patent agents who provide authorized legal services may invoke attorney-client privilege to withhold client communications, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday. The ruling supports Andrew Silver, the inventor of tablet technology for ordering and paying the tab at a restaurant. Silver claims Tabletop Media failed to pay him for his patent and is fighting a Dallas trial court’s order compelling the production of emails between Silver and his non-attorney patent agent. The Texas Lawbook has complete details.
Mental anguish damages might be available in a case alleging negligent mishandling of a corpse, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday, sending a recently argued case back to a Brown County court for trial. The justices upheld a ruling by the 11th Court of Appeals in Eastland that Nelson, Lobban’s only adult child, had common law and statutory rights as next of kin to determine the disposition of his mother’s remains.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is famously reluctant to grant a mandamus petition. The court recently invoked authority from 1881 as the reason for denial. But last week, a Fifth Circuit panel in a case that received little attention granted mandamus relief as to a finding of an extensive waiver of attorney-client privilege. This Texas Lawbook article explains the case and why it matters.
The Dallas Court of Appeals Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling for Dallas investment firm Highland Capital Management to recover nearly $288 million from Swiss bank Credit Suisse for a real estate deal gone wrong in the run up to the 2008 financial crisis. This Dallas Business Journal report has the details.
A take-nothing arbitration ordered by the Texas Supreme Court effectively ends 10 years of litigation over a storm-damaged condominium project on South Padre Island. The dispute, over insurance coverage after Hurricane Dolly, saw an endorsement of oft-cited arbitration waiver rules. The Texas Lawbook fully explains.
Advances in fracking technology and increased oil prices have helped gain significant production from oil fields once thought to be dry losers. But confusion between regulatory filings and existing oil and gas lease agreements are fueling industry conflicts that need to be resolved by SCOTX. Janet Elliott has the details in The Texas Lawbook.
The State Bar of Texas’ poll of lawyers shows that there are a handful of appellate judges across the state that garner great respect from a large percentage of members of the Texas bar, but the state’s highest court continues to be divisive.
When it comes to relocating utility wires and poles when roadways are widened, the Texas Supreme Court says the old rules are still the rules. Read Janet Elliott’s account of Friday’s decision in The Texas Lawbook.