This is an interlocutory appeal from the denial of a temporary injunction to prevent Harris County from prosecuting an environmental action against International Paper Co., Waste Management Inc., Waste Management of Texas Inc., and McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. using private attorneys retained on a contingent-fee basis. Because defendants' separation-of-powers complaints were premised on specific terms of the original contingent-fee agreement and the manner of its enactment, and those terms are not part of the new agreement, no actual controversy regarding the county's alleged violation of the separation-of-powers doctrine is presented for resolution. The defendants' due process claims, however, are not moot. Because it wasn't shown that due process prohibits a governmental entity from retaining contingent-fee counsel in civil-penalties-only cases, the defendants have not established a probable right to relief. The trial court's order is affirmed, the county's motion to dismiss is granted, all other outstanding motions are dismissed as moot. Houston's 1st Court of Appeals, No. 01-12-00538-CV, 07-25-2013.
International Paper Company v. Harris County
Tex. App. Dist. 1
August 9, 2013