Editor’s note: What follows are summaries of state and federal appellate court opinions issued from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3. The list is organized by court and practice area. Names of the cases below are linked to full-text opinions.

Courts of Appeals — Civil

Appeals

In Re: Camp
Amarillo Court of Appeals
Jan. 3, 2013; No. 07-12-00519-CV

The relator petitions for writ of mandamus ordering a court clerk to provide him with documents from court records related to his post-conviction writ of habeas corpus. Unless necessary to enforce jurisdiction, the appellate court lacks jurisdiction to issue a writ of mandamus against a trial court clerk. The petition is denied.

In Re: Cox
Amarillo Court of Appeals
Jan. 3, 2013; No. 07-12-00525-CV

The relator, an inmate, petitions for writ of mandamus ordering an unnamed respondent, as judge of the 47th District Court of Randall County, to transmit certain documents to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The relator is required to name a respondent and serve the respondent a copy of the petition. The petition is denied.

Arbitration

Frontera Generation LP v. Mission Pipeline Co.
Corpus Christi Court of Appeals
Dec. 28, 2012; No. 13-12-00265-CV

Frontera Generation LP seeks to set aside a temporary injunction that was entered pending arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act that Frontera contends “effectively” compels it to arbitrate. The Mission system has been inoperable for an extended period of time, and all of the damages that Frontera asserts that it might incur if this issue is reviewed by appeal rather than mandamus are speculative and conclusory. The injunction is affirmed, and the petition for writ of mandamus is denied.

Government

Ysleta Independent School District v. Franco
El Paso Court of Appeals
Dec. 27, 2012; No. 08-12-00061-CV

In this whistle-blower case, Franco, the suspended district employee, produced sufficient evidence of his good faith belief that the district’s superintendent and trustees were authorized to regulate under or enforce the Asbestos Act and that his belief was reasonable in light of his training and experience. The trial court did not err in denying the district’s plea to the jurisdiction.

Real Property

Singer v. State of Texas
El Paso Court of Appeals
Dec. 28, 2012; No. 08-11-00021-CV

Nothing in the record supports the Singers’ assertion that they owned the property at issue because there is no evidence showing that the state failed to use the property for public highway purposes by Jan. 1, 2000, which by the express language of the deed conditions included construction contract letting.

Torts

Rivera v. Compton, et al.
El Paso Court of Appeals
Dec. 28, 2012; No. 08-11-00279-CV

Because §74.251(b) of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code effectively cuts off a minor’s cause of action before the minor is legally able to assert it, thereby requiring the minor to satisfy an impossible condition, and fails to provide an adequate substitute remedy, that section violates the open court provision of the Texas Constitution as applied to minors injured before their eighth birthday. The trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the medical providers is reversed and remanded.

Workers’ Compensation

Dallas National Insurance v. Morales
El Paso Court of Appeals
Dec. 27, 2012; No. 08-11-00197-CV

Morales, who suffered a work-related injury in 2003, won a judgment that his injury fell into the narrow class of injuries/conditions that entitle injured workers to receive lifetime income benefits. The jury verdict is not so against the great weight of the evidence as to be clearly wrong and unjust. The trial court’s judgment is affirmed.

Courts of Appeals — Criminal

Criminal

Infante v. State
Houston’s 1st Court of Appeals

Dec. 28, 2012; No. 01-11-00905-CR

The evidence was sufficient to prove the “value” element of Infante’s felony theft by a public servant, the trial court did not commit reversible error in admitting the recovered radio’s serial number into evidence, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in declining to submit an accomplice witness instruction. The trial court’s judgment is affirmed.

5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Criminal Law

United States v. Andres
Jan. 3, 2013; No. 11-40783

The appellant appeals his conviction and sentence for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Despite any possible technological differences between a 1981 “beeper” and the GPS device used in this case, the functionality is sufficiently similar that the agents’ reliance on Michael to install a GPS device on the truck, in light of the reasonable suspicion of drug trafficking, was objectively reasonable. The district court’s judgment is affirmed.

United States v. Wampler
Jan. 3, 2013; No. 11-51028

The defendant was found guilty of failing to comply with a sex-offender registration requirement. The district court did not err by defining “resides” in its instructions. The district court’s judgment is affirmed.