Archives: Texas Supreme Court

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Arbitration in Attorney Fee Agreements After Royston v. Lopez

Brandy Wingate Voss
I had the pleasure of briefing and presenting argument to the Texas Supreme Court in Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams, LLP v. Lopez (Nos. 13–1026 and 14–0109, opinion available here), a case dealing with the enforceability of arbitration clauses between attorneys and clients. Earlier this week, I participated in a webcast about the case titled “Engagement Letters/Arbitration … Continue Reading

2014 Election Results, Texas Appellate Edition

D. Todd Smith
Republicans continued their dominance of statewide judicial races in yesterday’s election, with Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Justices Jeff Brown, Jeff Boyd, and Phil Johnson winning new six-year terms on the Texas Supreme Court. In the Court of Criminal Appeals, Judge Bert Richardson, Kevin Patrick Yeary, and David Newell all prevailed by wide margins. Two sitting … Continue Reading

Texas Appellate Courts Get a Major Website Upgrade

D. Todd Smith
If you’ve received CaseMail updates this week, you’ve likely noticed something new when clicking on the link embedded in your notification emails. Last Friday, the Texas appellate courts got a major online upgrade with the launch of the new and improved site. The new site is very user-friendly and much more pleasing to the eye than the … Continue Reading

Appellate Sections Once Again Co-Sponsoring SCOTX Event

D. Todd Smith
The Appellate Sections of the State Bar of Texas and the Austin Bar Association are co-sponsoring a program entitled “An Evening with the Texas Supreme Court.” This event—previously held in 2008, 2010, and 2012—will take place on Thursday, April 17, 2014, from 4:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel here in … Continue Reading

SCOTX: Postjudgment Interest—All Accrual Dates Are Not Created Equal

Maitreya Tomlinson
Statutes that appear clear are oft fraught with unanswered questions. This is unsurprising, as drafters cannot anticipate every scenario when crafting legislation. Falling into that vein, last week, the Texas Supreme Court decided a previously unaddressed question regarding the accrual date of postjudgment interest under the Texas Finance Code. In Long v. Castle Texas Production … Continue Reading

Brown Appointed to Fill Hecht’s SCOTX Seat

D. Todd Smith
Governor Perry has appointed Fourteenth Court of Appeals Justice Jeff Brown (pictured) to fill the seat being vacated by Justice Nathan Hecht, who in turn is replacing departing Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson. All of these moves officially become effective on October 1, 2013. Brown began his career clerking for Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower, then … Continue Reading

How to Handle Cross-Appeals

D. Todd Smith
Yesterday afternoon, I spoke at the Advanced Civil Appellate Practice Course, an annual program sponsored by TexasBarCLE and the State Bar Appellate Section. My topic was “How to Handle Cross-Appeals.” I promised the attendees that I would make my paper and slides available over the web. Clicking the links should open each one in a … Continue Reading

Chief Justice Jefferson to Leave SCOTX

D. Todd Smith
Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson (pictured) has announced that he will be departing the Texas Supreme Court effective October 1, 2013. The Texas Lawbook, a Dallas Morning News affiliate, first reported the announcement. It appears that Chief Justice Jefferson, like others who have left the Court in recent years, will return to private practice. As noted at the … Continue Reading

Justice Jack Hightower, 1926-2013

D. Todd Smith
Texas lost another legal giant today with the death of retired Texas Supreme Court Justice Jack Hightower. The Court’s official announcement, courtesy of Osler McCarthy, appears here. I was a brand-new law clerk—a position then known as “briefing attorney”—during Justice Hightower’s last few months on the bench. SCOTX is one of the few high courts … Continue Reading

SCOTX: Attorney Fees Need Not Be Superseded on Appeal

D. Todd Smith
In November 2011, I posted about whether attorney fees must be superseded to stay execution of a judgment pending appeal. Today, in In re Nalle Plastics Family Limited Partnership (No. 11-0903), the Texas Supreme Court resolved a split among the intermediate courts of appeals and answered the question, “No.” Let me set the stage a … Continue Reading

SCOTX Fixes Word-Count Glitches

D. Todd Smith
The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order correcting some of its recent amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The most notable correction involves the certificate-of-compliance requirement regarding the new word count limits previously discussed here, here, and here. By adding the language underlined below, the Court has made clear that no certificate … Continue Reading

Some Appellate Judicial Wisdom in 140-Character Bites

D. Todd Smith
Over the past week, I have attended two CLE events featuring a panel of appellate judges. At the 29th Annual Litigation Update Institute, Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Justice Paul Green, and Justice Debra Lehrmann enlightened attendees on current events at the Texas Supreme Court.  Today, Fifth Circuit Judges Pete Benavides and Pricilla Owen and U.S. … Continue Reading

Crafting a TRAP 9.4(i)(3) Certificate of Compliance

D. Todd Smith
As promised yesterday, this post will cover what a certificate of compliance under the new word-count rules might look like, now that every computer-generated document filed in a Texas appellate court on or after December 1, 2012—yes, every one, except for the record—must include such a certificate. The new rules provide the logical starting place. … Continue Reading

Word-Count Rules Going Into Effect December 1

D. Todd Smith
A trial lawyer poses the following question: Do you know for sure whether the new appellate rules are going into effect December 1? Any thoughts on whether an appeal filed on November 29 (but not actually due until December 3) should maintain the old format or use the new rule? Per this Texas Supreme Court … Continue Reading

Governor Perry Appoints Boyd to Supreme Court

D. Todd Smith
Governor Perry has announced the appointment of Jeffrey S. Boyd (pictured) to fill the Texas Supreme Court seat vacated by former Justice Dale Wainwright. The official press release is available here. Boyd currently serves as the Governor’s chief of staff and is the Governor’s former general counsel. He was a partner in the Austin office … Continue Reading

Changes Coming to 3rd and 4th Courts of Appeals

D. Todd Smith
With some notable exceptions, yesterday was a good day for incumbents running for re-election to the Texas appellate courts. Texas Supreme Court Justices Nathan Hecht and Don Willett retained their seats. Though not an incumbent, former district judge John Devine did not have a major-party opponent and won election easily. On the Court of Criminal … Continue Reading

What Happens in the Event of a Evenly Split SCOTX Vote?

D. Todd Smith
Justice Wainwright’s recent departure from the Texas Supreme Court has raised an interesting question.  As presented to me by a colleague, it goes like this: Without Justice Wainwright, what happens if the Court is split 4-4? Do they just have to fight over it until someone gives in to reach a majority? My initial thought … Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Web Site Updated

D. Todd Smith
The Texas Supreme Court’s web site has been updated to mirror the new court of appeals sites, which received facelifts last fall.  The Court’s new home page includes a tasteful photograph of the justices in the courtroom and too many helpful links to mention.  Give it a look!… Continue Reading