• March 31, 2015

    Texas Jury Cut Valero Refinery Appraisal Badly, Court Says

    A Texas appeals court found Tuesday that a jury improperly reduced the $527 million appraised value assigned to Valero Energy Corp.'s Texas City refinery in determining its equal and uniform value, but stopped short of rendering judgment and sent the case back to the trial court.

  • March 31, 2015

    DOJ Urges Judge To Allow FMLA Same-Sex Rule Change

    The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday urged a Texas federal judge to reconsider his order temporarily blocking the U.S. Department of Labor from enacting a new rule under the Family and Medical Leave Act that would extend protections to same-sex couples.

  • March 31, 2015

    Acacia Unit’s Counsel DQ’d, Schlumberger IP Suit Tossed

    A Texas federal judge on Tuesday disqualified counsel of an Acacia Research Group subsidiary and tossed its patent suit against Schlumberger Ltd., ruling that the oilfield services company’s former in-house lawyer shared confidential information with her current employer Acacia and its legal team.

  • March 31, 2015

    Multistate Suit Accuses Orbital Of Subscription Service Scam

    The attorneys general for New York, Texas and three other states announced Tuesday that they were suing subscription service Orbital Publishing Group Inc. and other companies, claiming they overcharged consumers while cheating  magazine and newspaper publishers out of millions.

  • March 31, 2015

    Texas Committees Support Streamlining Enviro Permits

    Texas House and Senate committees on Tuesday signaled they’re in favor of changes that would make it harder for environmental groups and individuals to contest environmental permits granted to major chemical and manufacturing facilities.

  • March 31, 2015

    Littler Mendelson Says It Didn't Give Bad Overtime Advice

    Littler Mendelson PC on Tuesday told a Texas court that it isn't responsible for $135,000 in back pay owed by the daughter of a Houston billionaire after she stopped paying overtime to domestic workers at her Houston mansion, arguing that Littler partner Kerry Notestine never advised her to stop payment.

  • March 31, 2015

    SandRidge Stiffed Texas On Gas Royalties, State Justices Told

    The Texas General Land Office and two companies on Monday asked the state Supreme Court to take up a royalty fight alleging SandRidge Energy Inc. shorted the state on royalty payments by charging it post-production costs associated with 12 mineral leases.

  • March 31, 2015

    5th Circ. Won't Rehear Shell $19M FCA Suit

    The Fifth Circuit on Monday denied a petition for rehearing from Royal Dutch Shell PLC subsidiaries that wanted an en banc review of the ruling that revived two federal auditors’ False Claims Act suit alleging that the companies siphoned off $19 million in offshore drilling royalties.

  • March 31, 2015

    DOJ Asks 5th Circ. To Lift Hold On Obama Immigration Action

    The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday urged the Fifth Circuit to reverse an injunction on two key immigration policies created by the president’s executive actions, saying the states suing over the initiatives lacked standing and bashing the reasoning of the judge who granted the block.

  • March 31, 2015

    5th Circ. OKs Health Exec’s Conviction In $100M Bribes Case

    A former health insurance executive convicted for providing kickbacks to government officials to secure roughly $100 million in contracts lost an appeal on Monday before the Fifth Circuit, which ruled his lawyer's representation of a co-defendant in the scheme did not prove a conflict of interest. 

  • March 31, 2015

    Winstead's New CEO Says Texas Firm Will Continue Growing

    Winstead PC’s new CEO, who will take up the position Wednesday, is an Austin-based public finance partner whose goal is to steer the firm on a path of steady growth in its core areas, both in Texas and in markets outside its home state.

  • March 31, 2015

    Warburg Pincus Sinks $500M Into Texas Oil Startup

    Warburg Pincus LLC said Tuesday that it would invest up to $500 million in a Texas-based oil and gas explorer and producer startup, the latest sign that private equity firms remain eager to shovel cash into the upstream space in a time of depressed oil prices.

  • March 31, 2015

    Aetna Ignoring Key Claims In $120M Kickback Suit, Court Told

    A Houston-area hospital on Monday labeled as “lackluster” Aetna Life Insurance Co.’s response to claims that it is judge-shopping in a $120 million lawsuit over alleged kickbacks and exorbitant billing, telling a Texas federal court that Aetna essentially ignored the bulk of the hospital’s claims. 

  • March 31, 2015

    BakerHostetler Adds Privacy, Data Protection Pro In Houston

    BakerHostetler has bolstered its privacy and data protection practice by adding a data security expert from GameStop Corp. as counsel in its Houston office, the firm recently announced.

  • March 31, 2015

    McDermott Lures Tax Controversy Trio From Dentons

    McDermott Will & Emery LLP has expanded its tax controversy practice and Dallas office by snagging a group of partners from Dentons, a move that the firm says will strengthen its position as one of the few go-to tax groups for bet-the-company tax controversies.

  • March 31, 2015

    Signal Claims Trafficking Allegations Were Falsified

    Signal International LLC objected Monday to a magistrate judge's order denying its motion to re-depose plaintiffs in one of the trafficking cases unfolding against the company in Texas, arguing the trafficking allegations were falsified and that the decision was an abuse of discretion.

  • March 31, 2015

    5th Circ. Upholds Drug Trafficking Ruling In Re-Entry Case

    The Fifth Circuit said Monday a lower court was right to sharply increase an immigrant's sentence for illegally re-entering the U.S. because of a drug conviction, rejecting calls for a lesser sentence because of purported ambiguities surrounding an earlier guilty plea.

  • March 31, 2015

    New Evidence Is No Good Against Honda In Air Bag Death Suit

    A Texas federal judge on Monday refused to change his mind about freeing Honda Motor Co. from a wrongful death suit, saying attorneys for the family of a young woman killed when her Honda Civic’s Takata-manufactured air bag allegedly deployed too late failed to offer any new information to warrant reversal.

  • March 31, 2015

    V&E Hires Former Texas Energy Commissioner

    Vinson & Elkins LLP has bolstered its energy regulatory practice in Texas with the addition of Barry Smitherman, former chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas, the state's oil and gas regulator, as a partner, the firm announced Tuesday.

  • March 30, 2015

    Med Mal Arbitration Rule Waives Consumer Rights, Attys Say

    The Texas chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates on Friday told the state Supreme Court that allowing the Federal Arbitration Act to preempt state malpractice law secretly takes away a patient's right to a jury trial, urging the court to reconsider its decision that the state law isn’t an insurance law shielded from the act.

Expert Analysis

  • BMC Software May Be Good News For Taxpayers

    S. Eric Wang

    For companies that have agreed to adverse transfer pricing adjustments in the year of the one-time dividends-received deduction under Section 965, the pending status of BMC Software Inc. v. Commissioner has chilled the prospect of creating receivables like BMC's. But taxpayers can be cautiously optimistic that the Fifth Circuit’s decision in the case will eventually resolve this issue favorably, say attorneys with Sullivan & Cromwell LLP.

  • Patent Reform — Texas Style

    Richard Smith

    On the heels of initiatives by other states, Texas may soon have its own statute addressing demand letters that allege patent infringement. Of particular interest in the recently filed bill are the registration and disclosure requirements for certain patent infringement claims, says Richard Smith, an intellectual property attorney.

  • Can Employers Record Employee Phone Conversations?

    James M. McCabe

    Although no court has fully addressed the lawfulness of employers using voice over Internet protocol services to record all employee phone calls under federal and state laws, courts will likely apply the same framework used to examine the lawfulness of traditional telephone recordings, says James McCabe of Troutman Sanders LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: Just Say No (To MDLs)?

    Alan E. Rothman

    What will spring bring for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation? Will it continue to close the door on new MDL proceedings? Will it decide to throw the baby out with the bathwater and decline to create a baby wipe MDL? asks Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.

  • A Texas Court’s Broad Reading Of FCA Public Disclosure Bar

    Allyson Singel Aldous

    A Texas federal court's recent decision in U.S. v. Solvay SA curtails whistleblowers’ ability to bring successful False Claims Act claims by expanding the scope of the public disclosure bar and the parameters of voluntary disclosure, says Allyson Singel Aldous of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC.

  • This Week In Congress: Bicameral Coincidence, Vote-A-Rama

    Richard A. Hertling

    This week both chambers begin the annual congressional budget debate, a process that will set the budget rules and spending limits for the congressional appropriations committees in funding federal agencies for fiscal year 2016. And on Thursday, the Senate will begin its famed “Vote-a-rama,” say Richard Hertling and Kaitlyn McClure of Covington & Burling LLP.

  • Looking At Appraisal Rights Outside Delaware

    Daniel E. Wolf

    Even as the Delaware appraisal rights landscape continues to evolve, deal makers should avoid assuming that the issues and outcomes will be the same in transactions involving companies incorporated in other states. The relevant statutory regime, as well as the judicial fair-value exercise, may produce unexpected results, say attorneys with Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

  • We've Got Spirit — And It's Trademarked

    Briana Emerson

    School colors are more than a way to tell if a stranger deserves a high five or heckling on game day — they, along with traditional trademarks, are part of university licensing portfolios, which brought in total royalty revenues of $209 million in 2013, say Briana Emerson and Michael Spink of Brinks Gilson & Lione.

  • OPINION: Not All That Is Public Should Be Publicized

    Adam C. Sherman

    Although court decisions are public records, that doesn’t mean they should be publicized by the courts on search engines, such as Google. Access alone isn’t the problem. The issue is that these decisions appear prominently atop search results — even when browsing parties are not looking for them. Courts have opened their doors, but they need not remove them entirely, says Adam Sherman of Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP.

  • Up The Irish: St. Paddy’s Is For Celebrating Pro Bono, Too

    Kevin J. Curnin

    Just in time for St Patrick’s Day, Ireland has released the results of its first-ever survey on pro bono legal work. As befits a day that is mostly about celebrating, the results are encouraging. The results also mirror a lot of our experience in the United States regarding how and why — or why not — lawyers are contributing to the common good, says Kevin Curnin of the Association of Pro Bono Counsel.