In this edition of Litigation Roundup, the Texas Supreme Court upholds Texas A&M’s governmental immunity in a crash suit, and Cinemark loses a Covid business interruption claim against an insurer while Baylor University beats back a Covid-related breach of contract claim brought by two students.
At a Texas Lawbook-SMU Forum, white-collar defense lawyers David Gerger and Tom Melsheimer reveal how they overcame big problems to win big cases.
On the heels of its recent Corporate Enforcement Policy updates, the U.S. Department of Justice announced several new policies around executive compensation clawbacks, ephemeral messaging, and the intersection of corporate crime and national security. The eagerly expected announcements provide tangible guideposts for all companies on key hot-button issues. Questions persist, however, about consistent enforceability of such policies as well as material differences between DOJ’s guidance and other rules under federal securities laws for public companies and regulated entities.
As a Houston arbitrator and former appellate justice, Michael Massengale was the perfect lawyer for the Texas House investigatory committee to choose to help investigate and write the official report about that tragic day last May when so much went wrong and 19 children and two teachers were murdered. For the first time since the report was released, Massengale has given an in-depth interview to Texas Lawbook reporter Janet Elliott about his role in the investigation, the challenges he and the committee faced and his hopes for legislative improvements to police training and school safety.
Paul Kruse agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a $100,000 fine rather than face another felony fraud trial. Kruse’s attorney, Chris Flood, said the settlement confirms what he’s been saying all along: No one at Blue Bell ever intended to defraud its customers.
The whistleblowers who sued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton say they’re headed back to court unless he agrees to include in a formal agreement that the Legislature must approve their proposed $3.3 million settlement before the current legislative session ends in May.
Alamdar Hamdani, who was recently sworn in as the chief federal law enforcement officer for the Southern District of Texas, provided free legal representation to members of the South Asian and Muslim community who were interviewed by the FBI after the Sept. 11 attacks. In an exclusive interview with the Houston Chronicle, Hamdani said he “realized people who looked like me or shared my parents’ faith would be looked at differently” and he will use that “valuable experience” as an immigrant and person of color to analyze cases during his tenure as a U.S. attorney. “I am thankful and I am humbled that I am the U.S. attorney and all I can do is make my mama proud,” Hamdani said.
Christopher Kirchner, 35, was named in a criminal complaint filed Tuesday for allegedly misappropriating $20 million from the supply-chain management software startup he founded. Additionally, Kirchner has been accused by the SEC in a $67 million offering fraud scheme.
Exxon Mobil assistant general counsel David Woodcock has departed the energy giant to join the Dallas office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher as the firm’s SEC enforcement practice co-head. The move surprised many within the legal department at Exxon Mobil because Woodcock, who was a past regional director of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fort Worth office, was viewed as a likely candidate to be the company’s next chief legal officer.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as expected, Damien Diggs would be the first Black U.S. attorney in the 166-year-old Eastern District.