• September 19, 2014

    Sanctions, $1M Fee Award Nixed In Texas State Farm Dispute

    A Texas appeals court on Friday reversed a $1 million award of attorneys' fees and “death penalty” sanctions assessed against a couple who allegedly doctored photos of flooding damage to collect insurance money from State Farm Lloyds, finding the penalties excessive.

  • September 19, 2014

    Mexico Energy Reform To Inject Billions Into Texas, Panel Told

    The denationalization of the Mexican energy market after 75 years of government control will give Texas industry enormous opportunities for growth, with Mexico expected to spend more than $10 billion to import Texas goods and services in early stages of the overhaul, experts told a Texas Senate panel Friday.

  • September 19, 2014

    $10M Suit Against Johnson DeLuca Over Hospital Ch. 11 Pared

    A Texas bankruptcy judge on Thursday cut claims from a $10 million malpractice suit that alleges Johnson DeLuca Kennedy & Kurisky PC should not have advised a former hospital owner to file for Chapter 11, but he stopped short of dismissing the case.

  • September 19, 2014

    Texas Investment Adviser Gets 20 Years For Ponzi Scheme

    A former investment adviser was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in Texas state prison after being convicted of securities fraud and theft stemming from a Ponzi scheme, in which he solicited clients' investment in gold, silver and commodities and used the funds for personal expenses, according to a state regulator.

  • September 19, 2014

    Gazprom Wants $1.3B Trade Secrets Suit In Federal Court

    Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom said Friday that a $1.3 billion trade secrets suit being pursued by Moncrief Oil International Inc. belongs in Texas federal court because the dispute is subject to a foreign arbitration agreement governing a failed Siberian gas field deal.

  • September 19, 2014

    Texas Rep.'s Racetrack Betting Machine Suit Gets Nixed

    Texas Rep. Matt Krause, R-Fort Worth, said Thursday that a complaint he filed against members of the Texas Racing Commission seeking to block the introduction of historical racing machines at state racetracks had been tossed by a state judge because the lawmaker lacked standing.

  • September 19, 2014

    McCourt Global GC Tells Law360 New JVs Are An 'Art Form'

    Ryan Kirkpatrick, general counsel at McCourt Global, a real estate developer that's active across the country, says he's seeing more complex joint ventures, and more capital players at the table means additional investment opportunities but also added legal challenges. Here, Law360 sits down with the man responsible for structuring the joint ventures for the former Dodgers owner's real estate firm.

  • September 19, 2014

    Fish & Richardson Litigator Moves To Polsinelli In Dallas

    Polsinelli LLP hired a longtime Fish & Richardson PC litigator who specializes in trade secret theft cases and wage-and-hour disputes to join its labor and employment and commercial litigation practices in Dallas, the firm announced Friday.

  • September 19, 2014

    Fracking Studies Put Energy Cos. On Firmer Ground

    A pair of studies released this week concluding that hydraulic fracturing isn’t linked to groundwater contamination could further shift the emphasis of federal and state regulators to the fracked wells themselves, which can foul water supplies if they’re faulty, and put a major dent in lawsuits that claim groundwater contamination was caused by fracking, experts say.

  • September 19, 2014

    Toyota Cleared In Trade Secrets Suit Over Market Research

    A Texas federal jury on Thursday cleared Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. of allegations it ripped off a Dallas market research firm’s proprietary methodology for conducting a multicultural study of minority car buyers and rejected Toyota’s bid to recover an overpayment made to the firm.

  • September 19, 2014

    Exxon Gains Permian Acreage In Swap With Linn Energy

    Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday beefed up its presence in the oil-rich Permian Basin of west Texas, acquiring nearly 18,000 acres from Linn Energy LLC in exchange for an interest in about 500 acres in the South Belridge oil field in central California.

  • September 18, 2014

    Texas Firm Branscomb Snags Ex-Bracewell Employment Pro

    Branscomb PC has lured an attorney from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP with expertise defending employers in discrimination disputes and drafting employee handbooks to boost its labor and employment team in San Antonio, the firm announced this month.

  • September 18, 2014

    Transocean Stuck With Deepwater Subpoenas, 5th Circ. Rules

    The Fifth Circuit ruled on Thursday that the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has the authority to investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and to subpoena Transocean Ltd. for documents related to the accident, affirming a district court’s judgment in the case.

  • September 18, 2014

    Perry Prosecutor Faces Reopened Witness Tampering Case

    Texas’s highest criminal court on Wednesday allowed a trial court to move forward with a contempt proceeding against defense attorney Mike McCrum, who’s currently serving as the special prosecutor in the abuse-of-office case against Gov. Rick Perry, for alleged witness tampering in another case.

  • September 18, 2014

    RSUI Should Pay $8M Post-Hurricane Award, Texas Court Told

    Apartment manager The Lynd Co. on Thursday defended in Texas Supreme Court an appellate win that awarded it $7.5 million in coverage from insurer RSUI Indemnity Co. for damage caused during Hurricane Rita in 2005, saying that under the four corners of its policy, the insurers couldn’t avoid paying up.

  • September 18, 2014

    Virtual Bank Founder Must Pay $40M For Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme

    A Texas federal judge on Thursday ordered Bitcoin Savings & Trust and its founder to pay more than $40 million in disgorgement and penalties, ruling that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission showed they defrauded investors by running a Ponzi scheme involving the bitcoin virtual currency.

  • September 18, 2014

    Hyatt Sells Off $590M Portfolio To Lone Star Funds

    In the second major portfolio transaction to make waves in the hotel market Thursday, Hyatt Hotels Corp. announced it has struck a deal to sell off 38 properties for $590 million to a company organized by Texas-headquartered private equity firm Lone Star Funds.

  • September 18, 2014

    Texas High Court Told Banks Can Recoup Foreclosure Costs

    PlainsCapital Bank on Thursday asked the Texas Supreme Court to reverse a ruling it says unfairly prevents banks from recovering the costs of marketing and reselling foreclosed properties under a statutory definition of fair market value.

  • September 17, 2014

    Hunton Mostly Escapes Gas Co.'s $50M Malpractice Suit

    A Texas federal judge on Tuesday left Hallwood Energy LP’s estate trustee a single “narrow” claim in its $50 million malpractice suit against Hunton & Williams LLP, agreeing with a bankruptcy judge who ruled the trustee could only seek a recovery of fees.

  • September 17, 2014

    DePuy Exec Defends Hip Implant Success Rate In Texas Trial

    Johnson & Johnson unit DePuy Orthopedics Inc. on Wednesday attacked claims it promoted Pinnacle metal-on-metal hip implants in spite of knowing the product had high failure rates, with a DePuy executive telling a Texas federal jury outlier doctors had skewed the statistics.

Expert Analysis

  • Unmasking And Suing The Anonymous Social Media Speaker

    Steven Richard

    Parties contemplating a lawsuit over anonymous online postings may seek court-ordered, presuit discovery to investigate who owns and operates the social media account. Recent New York and Texas decisions evidence the necessity to research and understand fully the extent to which a jurisdiction allows presuit discovery, says Steven Richard of Nixon Peabody LLP.

  • Takeaways For Texas Contractors Post-Barzoukas

    Pierre Grosdidier

    Taken together, Barzoukas v. Foundation Design Ltd. and two prior Texas cases on the economic loss rule suggest that establishing an owner as subcontract third-party beneficiary might be a possible line of defense for a subcontractor that invokes the rule when trying to shield itself from owner negligence claims, say Pierre Grosdidier and Mike Stewart of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Insurers, Be Ready To Pay Twice In Texas

    David B. Winter

    Recent decisions from the Texas Supreme Court and the Dallas Court of Appeals show that under Texas law, an insurer bears the risk of improper conduct by its insured in depositing a claim payment without obtaining the proper endorsement of all payees, says David Winter of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

  • Texas High Court Stays Course On Restrictive Covenants

    David M. Gregory

    The Supreme Court of Texas' decision in Drennen v. Exxon Mobil Corp. approved an alternative approach for employers to garner periods of noncompetition from prior employees and continues the court’s recent trend toward broader enforcement of restrictive covenants, says David Gregory of Locke Lord LLP.

  • BP Damages Will Be Punishing, Though Not Punitive

    B.D. Daniel

    After the Phase One rulings in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, any oil spill plaintiff still seeking punitive damages from BP PLC will face a gauntlet of legal obstacles, which is good reason to doubt BP will ever pay punitive damages in personal injury cases — a small consolation given BP's potential liability for civil penalties, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.

  • TMT Ruling Not A Death Knell For DIP Financing

    Judith Elkin

    Concern has been expressed that a Fifth Circuit opinion in the bankruptcy case of TMT Procurement Corp. will put a chill on the willingness of lenders to enter into debtor-in-possession financing facilities. However, these concerns are unfounded in the context of usual and customary DIP financing, says Judith Elkin of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • More State Courts Upholding Forum Selection Bylaws

    Melissa L. Nunez

    The recent case of Groen v. Safeway represents a clear move by California to join the growing list of states going on record to endorse the enforceability of forum selection provisions in corporate bylaws, say Robert Friedel and Melissa Nunez of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

  • Liquor Licensees May Have To Bite The Bullet

    Alex Fuller

    In an effort to avoid controversy — and confrontations with armed patrons — many restaurants and retailers take a “live-and-let-live” approach to Second Amendment activists openly carrying firearms in their businesses. However, they may be doing so at the risk of losing their liquor licenses, especially in Texas, says Alex Fuller of Gray Reed & McGraw PC.

  • Texas High Court May Have Remade Utility Ratemaking

    Dane McKaughan

    Two takeaways from the Texas Supreme Court's unanimous opinion in Texas Coast Utilities Coalition v. Railroad Commission of Texas are the commission's broad new authority to adopt formula rates and the potential for the court's analysis to apply to the Public Utility Commission's adoption of formula rates for electric utilities, says Dane McKaughan of Greenberg Traurig LLP.

  • Initial Impressions From Deepwater Horizon Ruling

    B.D. Daniel

    At first blush, Halliburton Co.'s recent $1.1 billion settlement looks like a complete victory for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee as the ruling shifts any remaining actual damage liability from Halliburton to BP Exploration and Production Inc., thus relieving Halliburton of any liability for punitive damages — it is hard to see where it now has any further exposure, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.