• August 27, 2015

    5th Circ. Urged To Consult Texas Court On Insurance Penalty

    The Texas Supreme Court should determine whether any violation of a state insurance law triggers penalty interest, a group of defense attorneys told the Fifth Circuit on Wednesday, backing an insurer fighting a policyholder’s $25.4 million win in a Hurricane Katrina coverage suit.

  • August 27, 2015

    10 Years After Katrina, Legal Fallout Continues

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, lawyers throughout the Gulf region have worked hard to recover and dig into the multitude of legal issues that washed up with the storm, and some of those questions — such as whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may be held liable for any damages and how to help adversely affected communities — have not yet been resolved.

  • August 27, 2015

    Nine More Join Immigrants' Suit Over Birth Certificates

    A Texas federal judge on Wednesday agreed to let eight families and a nonprofit join a suit accusing a Texas health agency of denying birth certificates to the U.S. citizen children of immigrant parents.

  • August 27, 2015

    Oil Well Monitors Score Cert. In OT Collective Action

    Flow testers responsible for monitoring oil and gas wells scored conditional certification in Texas federal court Thursday in a collective action accusing their employer of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by improperly classifying them as independent contractors in order to stiff them on overtime pay.

  • August 27, 2015

    USPTO To Open Dallas Office In November

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will open a permanent satellite office in Dallas on Nov. 9, the last of four permanent outposts planned by the agency.

  • August 27, 2015

    EEOC Wants In On Oral Arguments In Sage Trans Bias Case

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission wants to argue on behalf of a transgender truck driving instructor who is trying to revive a sex discrimination suit against Sage Corp., telling the Fifth Circuit Wednesday the case raises a critical question about workplace discrimination.

  • August 27, 2015

    5th Circ. Won’t Rehear Tax Suit Over $84M Oil Co. Stock

    The Fifth Circuit unanimously denied requests for an en banc hearing Wednesday from the family of deceased oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall, after ruling last week that the family can be held liable for unpaid gift taxes on $84 million generated by Marshall selling his stock back to Marshall Petroleum Inc. but striking millions in interest liability.

  • August 27, 2015

    'Fifty Shades' Publisher Must Set Aside $10M For Settlement

    A Texas state judge on Wednesday ordered an Australian woman who helped publish the popular “Fifty Shades of Grey” erotic novel to set aside $10 million on Wednesday for a Texas woman, after a jury determined earlier this year that the Texan was cheated out of her share of the book’s royalty rights.

  • August 27, 2015

    Texas Judge Exits Med Center FCA Suit Over Witness

    A Texas federal judge recused himself Wednesday from a False Claims Act suit against a medical center, days after the defendants revealed his cousin could be a key witness.

  • August 27, 2015

    Texas AG's Defense Lawyer Quits After Not Guilty Plea

    After Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday entered a not guilty plea in state court to three felony charges that he violated securities laws, his lead defense lawyer asked to withdraw from the case, saying it was no longer tenable for him to represent the state’s top lawyer.

  • August 26, 2015

    No Jurisdiction In Privacy Class Action, Texas Judge Says

    A federal Texas judge on Tuesday recommended dismissing a proposed class action accusing a former Florida-based marketing company of violating privacy laws by using personal information from motor vehicle records in Texas and Florida, saying the plaintiffs didn’t show how the Lone Star State had jurisdiction.

  • August 26, 2015

    Shell's Benzene Too Pure To Infringe Patent, Judge Rules

    A Texas federal judge on Wednesday threw out an inventor's lawsuit accusing Shell Oil Company of infringing his patent on a method of producing benzene after finding that Shell's process of making benzene, as well as the purity level of the final product, weren't covered by the patent.

  • August 26, 2015

    Trailer Co. Should Have Prevented Fatal Crash, Family Says

    The family of a Houston-area woman who died in a crash with a commercial trailer launched a suit Tuesday in Texas state court accusing the trailer company of failing to implement safety recommendations that could have saved her life.

  • August 26, 2015

    Energy Companies Brace For Ch. 11 As Oil Prices Stay Low

    After a year of speculation on how the energy industry would cope with plummeting oil prices, this fall could be the season for more bankruptcies, restructurings and asset divestiture for oil companies facing a tough lending environment and the looming roll-off of a number of hedges, lawyers say.

  • August 26, 2015

    Justice Says Atty's Ethics Report Wasn't Clearly Protected

    The chief justice of a Texas appellate court urged the Fifth Circuit Tuesday to revive his qualified immunity defense in a staff attorney’s retaliation suit, saying a lower court was wrong to conclude that the lawyer’s professional reporting obligations clearly constitute protected speech.

  • August 26, 2015

    5th Circ. Revival of MBS Suit Flouts High Court, Banks Say

    Deutsche Bank AG and Royal Bank of Scotland PLC have asked the Fifth Circuit to reconsider en banc its recent revival of the Federal Depositors Insurance Corp.’s securities fraud suit over the sale of $2.1 billion in residential mortgage-backed securities, saying the decision defies U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

  • August 26, 2015

    PE-Backed Wound Care Co. Acelity Readies IPO Plans

    Texas-based Acelity Holdings Inc., a regenerative medicine company, kicked off plans Wednesday for an initial public offering, making its way through the pipeline about four years after it was bought out by Apax Partners LP and two Canadian pension funds for $6.8 billion.

  • August 26, 2015

    Texas Jury Acquits Cancer Agency Exec In $11M Grant Row

    A Texas jury on Tuesday acquitted a former Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas executive of a felony charge that he deceived the agency’s executive director and general counsel to get an $11.04 million grant approved for a pharmaceutical company.

  • August 26, 2015

    Luminant Smokes Most Of EPA’s Clean Air Act Suit

    A Texas federal judge has ruled that the federal government waited too long to bring a Clean Air Act suit against Energy Future Holdings Corp. subsidiary Luminant Generation Co., tossing the majority of the suit over the operation of two coal-fired power plants.

  • August 26, 2015

    Frontier, Verizon Nearing States' Approval For Deal

    Frontier Communications told the Federal Communications Commission in a filing Tuesday that it is nearing state approval for its $10.5 billion purchase of Verizon wireline operations in California, Florida and Texas.

Expert Analysis

  • Taking On LGBT Issues In The Texas Workplace

    Stephen J. Roppolo

    Same-sex marriage. Sexual orientation anti-discrimination ordinances. Transgender accommodations. Texas employers, already buffeted by changes in union organizing and wage-and-hour rules, should come to grips with the legislative and enforcement landscape over LGBT rights since the only constant in employment law is more change, says Stephen Roppolo of Fisher & Phillips LLP.

  • The Rationale Behind BP Texas Manipulation Ruling

    Paul J. Pantano Jr.

    Administrative Law Judge Carmen Cintron relied heavily on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Barclays Bank PLC as support for her holding that BP PLC engaged in the manipulation of Texas' natural gas market in 2008, dismissing BP's contention that relying on the Barclays case is inappropriate because a federal court is reviewing the case de novo, say attorneys at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP.

  • Price Impact Analysis — Where The Halliburton Court Erred

    Bjorn I. Steinholt

    The Northern District of Texas’ July 2015 decision in Halliburton has already been touted as a “bellwether” opinion on how to prove the absence of price impact to defeat class certification. Unfortunately, the opinion is based partly on a common fallacy — that the absence of statistical significance proves the absence of price impact, says Bjorn Steinholt, managing director at economics consulting firm Caliber Advisors Inc.

  • Texas 'Revenge Porn' Ban Brings Enforcement Challenges

    Pierre Grosdidier, Ph.D.

    The Texas Relationship Privacy Act — effective Sept. 1 — provides new relief for revenge porn victims and may help dissuade revenge pornographers’ mischief. Despite its strong language, however, this new law is not a panacea. The challenge in these cases, as in many Internet defamation cases, is to identify the wrongdoer, says Pierre Grosdidier of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Confusion Over FCA’s Seal Requirements Continues

    Robert J. Sherry

    The Fifth Circuit's decision in Rigsby v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. and the Fourth Circuit's decision in Smith v. Clark/Smoot/Russell reaffirm that federal courts are highly reluctant to dismiss cases brought under the False Claims Act for breaches of its seal provisions. They also reinforce divisions among the circuits concerning the applicable standards for such dismissals, says Robert Sherry of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

  • A Rose By Any Other Name: EPA Demand Is A Suit In Texas

    Thomas B. Alleman

    The Texas Supreme Court may have had Juliet’s famous thought in mind when it decided McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Co., holding that a demand letter from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency constitutes a “suit” that triggers a commercial general liability policy. But Thomas Alleman at Dykema Cox Smith wonders if McGinnes really changes anything.

  • 5 Reasons State Compliance With Clean Power Plan Is Easy

    John Bernetich

    The dire forecast from the group of 15 states that filed an emergency petition seeking a stay of the Clean Power Plan is greatly exaggerated. The final rule allows significant flexibility to utilities and states, and much of the legal infrastructure necessary for states to comply with the final rule is already in place throughout the country, say Ayres Law Group LLP's John Bernetich and Richard Ayres, co-founder of the Natural Reso... (continued)

  • An Important Copyright Preemption Decision From 5th Circ.

    David Harper

    The Fifth Circuit’s recent decision in Spear Marketing Inc. v. BancorpSouth Bank verified the broad scope of copyright preemption in the circuit and joined other circuits in holding that materials do not have to be copyrightable for preemption to apply, say David Harper and Jason Bloom of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • The Wild West Of Improper Joinder In North Texas

    Jennifer Gibbs

    Until the law regarding the standard of review for improper joinder is resolved in the Northern District of Texas, practitioners must be aware that whether the matter remains in federal court will be, in large part if not entirely, dependent on the judge that is assigned to the matter upon removal, says Jennifer Gibbs at Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason LLP.

  • A Challenge To CFPB's Constitutionality Continues

    Stephen H. Meyer

    If Congress' delegation of authority to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is deemed unconstitutional in State National Bank of Big Spring v. Lew, every CFPB action would be subject to challenge. Although that seems unlikely, courts could adopt limits on the CFPB’s authority to avoid or remedy the constitutional difficulties, say attorneys at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.