• 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.

  • September 17, 2014

    $21M Oil Royalty Fight Not Time-Barred, Landowner Says

    Landowners trying to reinstate a $21 million oil and gas royalty judgment on Wednesday urged the Texas Supreme Court not to let a Samson Resources Corp. subsidiary get away with filing fraudulent public records by deeming their claims time-barred.

  • September 17, 2014

    IRS’ Lerner Argues Freedom Path's Suit Should Go Nowhere

    Former IRS director Lois Lerner on Tuesday asked a Texas federal court to drop claims she violated conservative organization Freedom Path Inc.’s First and Fifth Amendment rights in her treatment of its tax-exemption application, saying that the court lacked jurisdiction over her and that she's immune from the charges as a federal employee.

  • September 17, 2014

    Newfound Report Validates $266B BP FCA Suit: Plaintiff

    A former BP PLC contractor asked a Texas federal judge on Wednesday to revisit her decision tossing his $266 billion False Claims Act suit over the energy giant’s Atlantis facility in the Gulf of Mexico, saying a previously undisclosed government report proves the oil platform is unsafe.

  • September 17, 2014

    Bankrupt Refinery Owner Floats $100M EnCap Deal

    The bankrupt owner of a Texas asphalt refinery caught up in a bitter family feud unveiled plans Wednesday to sell it for $100 million to a portfolio company of private equity firm EnCap Flatrock Midstream, enough to pay off creditors in full and leave equity holders in the money.

  • September 17, 2014

    OneBeacon Denied Again In Dish Malpractice Coverage Suit

    A Texas federal judge refused on Wednesday to reconsider his decision not to hand an early win to OneBeacon Insurance Group Ltd. in its suit claiming it doesn’t have to defend law firm T. Wade Welch & Associates in an antitrust-related legal malpractice suit brought by Dish Network Corp.

  • September 17, 2014

    Thompson & Knight To Rep EFH On Tax Issues In Ch. 11

    Energy Future Holdings Corp. has tapped Thompson & Knight LLP to represent it on tax issues as it undergoes Chapter 11 restructuring and a bidding war for its assets, the law firm said Wednesday. 

  • September 17, 2014

    Shell, Motiva Agree To Pay $4.5M To Settle OT Claims

    Shell Oil Co. and affiliate Motiva Enterprises LLC have agreed to pay about $4.5 million in back overtime wages to nearly 2,700 chemical refinery employees who weren’t paid for attending mandatory pre-shift meetings, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday.

  • September 16, 2014

    Texas Justices Weigh BP's $750M Deepwater Coverage Claim

    BP PLC on Tuesday asked the Texas Supreme Court to find that it's entitled to claim $750 million under a Transocean Ltd. insurance policy for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, saying the policy doesn't incorporate a separate indemnity agreement that limits Transocean's liability for underwater pollution.

  • September 16, 2014

    Judge Nixes 'Patent Troll' MPHJ's Suit To Block FTC Inquiry

    A Texas federal judge on Tuesday tossed so-called patent troll MPHJ Technology Investments LLC's suit alleging the Federal Trade Commission's investigation into its allegedly deceptive demand letters is unconstitutional, ruling that the company can't sue over an incomplete investigation.

  • September 16, 2014

    King & Spalding Nabs Ex-Cox Smith Health Care Ace In Texas

    King & Spalding LLP has scored a former Cox Smith Matthews Inc. partner with more than 25 years' experience in administrative law and in health care litigation and regulatory law, for its health care practice in Austin, Texas, the firm said Monday.

  • September 16, 2014

    Gray Reed Scoops Up Baker Botts Tax Partner

    Gray Reed & McGraw has lured a 20-year Baker Botts veteran over to its Houston office to work on joint venture structuring and tax planning, the firm said Monday.

Expert Analysis

  • 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.

  • Texas High Court Sets High Bar For Evidentiary Standards

    B.D. Daniel

    The Supreme Court of Texas' ruling in Houston Unlimited Inc. Metal Processing v. Mel Acres Ranch appears to erect heightened standards for establishing the reliability of evidentiary bases and evidentiary assumptions underlying damage opinions in environmental contamination cases, says B.D. Daniel of Beck Redden LLP.