Sentimental Value of Pets to be Heard by Texas Supreme Court

pet and pet owner

Errant euthanasia of pets will be reviewed by the Texas Supreme Court for "sentimental damages", i.e. valuation beyond the replacement price of the pet. Please read this interesting article from the Fort Worth Star Telegram's Elizabeth Campbell. Springer Lyle will post any updates to the court's decisions as this case progresses. By Elizabeth Campbell of the Fort Worth Star Telegram The Texas Supreme Court will weigh in on a case to determine whether pet owners can claim damages for the sentimental value rather than the market value of their animals. Last week, the state's highest … [Read more...]

OP-ED: Tort Reform Demonstrates a Failed Effort

frankTH

Alex Winslow writes in an OP-ED at Statesman.Com about how the record demonstrates Governor Perry's claims that legal restrictions on patients' right to sue would benefit patients at large, make for better practice of medicine and lower health care costs has resulted in just the opposite. Here's the story: Taking away right to sue when wrong has been done isn't helping Texans Alex Winslow, Local Contributor While the state is crumbling under a real health care crisis, Gov. Rick Perry and his friends in the special interest lobby continue defending a lobbyist-driven health care battle from … [Read more...]

Texas Supreme Court Ends Bad Faith Claims for Workers

Texas Workers Compensation claimants took a big hit Friday when the Texas Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision in Texas Mutual Insurance Co. v. Timothy J. Ruttiger.   The Court held that Workers Comp claimants cannot seek damages for bad faith denials of claims outside the administrative Workers Comp regulatory framework. Justice Willett's concurring opinion writes: "The continued existence of bad-faith claims will subvert the Legislature's meticulous soup-to-nuts system, one augmented by an immense regulatory and adjudicatory framework that, taken together, now regulates virtually … [Read more...]

Texas Appellate Courts are More Likely to Reverse Plaintiff’s Judgments

Gavel

The Dallas Morning News reports that a soon-to-be-released study shows Texas Appellate Courts reverse judgments for plaintiffs with alarming regularity, and at a dramatically higher rate than judgments for defendants: “The study, conducted by two appellate lawyers at Haynes and Boone, found the Texas appellate judges have an overall reversal rate of 49 percent when they review cases that the plaintiff won in the trial court and the defendant appealed. But those same judges reversed only 25 percent of the cases in which the defendant prevailed at trial and the plaintiff appealed. The Texas … [Read more...]

The New “Loser Pays”

jeffTH

A lot of my friends have asked me about the new “loser pays” law and how I expect it to affect litigation in Texas.  For years, Texas and most other states followed the so-called, “American Rule” whereby litigants pay their own attorneys’ fees.  There were exceptions, such as certain statutory provisions that allowed recovery of attorneys fees in breach of contract, declaratory judgments, and other types of lawsuits.  The new law is a departure from our historical approach, and represents a Texas version of the “English Rule,” allowing the prevailing party to recoup attorneys’ fees and … [Read more...]

Emotional Distress without Physical Damages – Supreme Court to Review

supremeCt

With a hat-tip to the blog, “How Appealing,” the ABA Journal is reporting that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has asked the Washington Supreme Court whether its product liability laws will allow a recovery emotional distress damages without evidence of any other injury. The case is based upon “glob of spit” found by a sheriff’s deputy on a Whopper. The deputy reportedly got an “uneasy feeling” about two of the Burger King’s employees, so he opened his burger before taking a bite. When he looked under the bun, Thomson Reuters News & Insight and SeattlePI.com report that he noticed a … [Read more...]

New Rules Require Lawyers to be Nice

jeffTH

by Jeff Springer, SpringerLyle ••• Texas adopted the “Texas Lawyers’ Creed” several years ago in response to the rising incivility among opposing trial lawyers. Now other states are apparently following suit. The Florida Supreme Court issued an order (PDF) on Monday adopting a civility pledge as part of the oath, the Legal Profession Blog reports. The new language reads: “To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications.” South Carolina adopted a similar pledge in 2003, the supreme court … [Read more...]

ginsburg

from the ABA Journal - Jul 26, 2011 By Debra Cassens Weiss U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a speech (PDF) to the Otsego County Bar Association in Cooperstown, N.Y., listed some of the Court’s recent questions during oral arguments. The Wall Street Journal’s Jess Bravin and How Appealing linked to the speech, and JoshBlackman.com has published the list online. Notable questions on the list include: • “What [did] James Madison th[ink] about video games?” (Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, which struck down a California law … [Read more...]

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John Grisham Wins First Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

courtesy of Random House

The American Bar Association announced today that John Grisham's The Confession, which chronicles the gut-wrenching politics of a Texas death penalty appeal, won the inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. The prize, created by the University of Alabama School of Law and the ABA Journal, honors Lee for the extraordinary and enduring influence her novel has had in the public perception of the legal profession. It will be awarded annually to the published, book-length work of fiction that best exemplifies the role of lawyers in society. Grisham's novel was selected by a panel that … [Read more...]

What’s Fair Is Fair: Rise in FDCPA Cases Offers Opportunities for Lawyers

kimTH

From The Texas Lawyer, July 18, 2011 With the economic downturn, the number of consumer credit-related suits filed in U.S. District Courts in Texas has steadily increased over the past five years. In 2005, 81 such cases were filed in Texas, according to PACER, the federal courts' online filing system. But in 2010, that number rose to 390. The trend is on track to continue this year. From Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011, the number of consumer credit-related cases filed in Texas' U.S. District Courts totaled 263, compared to 190 for the same period in 2010, PACER shows. The numbers include … [Read more...]