May 22, 2013
Wellogix Inc. v. Accenture L.L.P.
A jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages in this trade secrets case. The Gore guideposts at issue in this case -- reprehensibility and the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages -- do not require a finding that the punitive damages award was grossly excessive. The district court's judgment is affirmed. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11-20816, 05-15-2013.
Comer v. Murphy Oil USA Inc.
Gulf coast residents' claims, alleging a link between emissions by energy companies and global warming caused hurricane damages, were dismissed by the district court. A federal court may not abrogate principles of res judicata out of equitable concerns. The district court's judgment is affirmed. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-60291, 05-14-2013.
United States v. Flores-Alejo
The appellant raises due process and cruel-and-unusual punishment arguments challenging a criminal history adjustment to his sentence for alleged illegal reentry. The increase in punishment for remaining in this country while in custody did not violate the appellant's rights. The district court's judgment is affirmed. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-10669, 05-08-2013.
Ramirez v. Martinez
The appellant, a police officer, challenges the district court's denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity on the plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. §1983 claims and state-law official immunity on the plaintiff's state-law claims. Regarding the false arrest claim, if an officer reasonably but mistakenly believes that probable cause exists, he is entitled to qualified immunity. The plaintiff's version of the facts as supported by the summary judgment record is sufficient to establish under the Graham factors that the officer used excessive force. The district court's judgment is reversed in part and the case is dismissed in part. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 11--41109, 05-15-2013.
Caldera v. The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania
The plaintiff/appellant sought a declaratory judgment preventing a state law defense advanced by the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania. The Medicare Secondary Payer Statute does not preempt a state law that requires a workers' compensation claimant to obtain preauthorization from the relevant carrier before incurring certain medical expenses. The district court's judgment of dismissal is affirmed. 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 12-40192, 05-14-2013.
Bruington Engineering Ltd. v. Pedernal Energy L.L.C.
This is an appeal of the trial court's denial of a motion to dismiss based on the claim that the plaintiff failed to timely file a certificate of merit. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §150.002(a) does not allow the plaintiff to circumvent the first-filed pleading requirement by nonsuiting a professional defendant, bringing the same defendant back into the suit with an amended petition that alleges the same complaints as in the original petition, and then attaching the certificate to the amended pleading. The trial court's judgment is reversed and remanded for a determination of whether the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims should be with or without prejudice. San Antonio Court of Appeals, No. 04-12-00351-CV, 05-08-2013.
Advising Clients on Weather and the Workplace
A business is not a charity. But if someone wants to leave early, let him, and pay him for the day, even if he does not work the full day. He always will remember.
Texas Sues BP, Transocean, Halliburton, Anadarko Entities
"This is a case in which the Defendants engaged in willful and wanton misconduct and caused the worst environmental disaster in the history of the United States," the state alleges in the complaint.
Michael Morton-Inspired Criminal-Discovery Bill Signed
When signing Senate Bill 1611, Gov. Rick Perry said, "We are known as a law-and-order state, and as such, we have never been easy on those convicted of crime in our state. . . . With that tradition comes a very powerful responsibility: to make sure our judicial process is transparent."
10 Devices You Should Never Take Along on a Business Trip
Travel-savvy attorneys hit the road with only the minimum number of devices necessary to complete their work quickly and effectively. Writer John Edwards recommends ten things that can stay home.
Water Warriors: Contingent-Fee Contracts Challenged for Environmental-Enforcement Actions
Contingent-fee contracts for environmental-enforcement actions, which Texas counties are filing against alleged polluters, face challenges at the Texas Legislature and in courthouses.
Law for Laymen
There are nearly 30 law schools that have or soon will offer a master's degree for nonlawyers, up from just a handful two years ago.