• December 18, 2014

    5th Circ. Affirms $2.1M Verdict In Rap Song Rights Fight

    The Fifth Circuit on Thursday rejected a music publisher’s contention that it deserves a new trial or judgment in a long-running $2.1 million post-bankruptcy sale dispute over the rights to the song “Whoomp! (There It Is),” ruling the district court correctly nixed a new argument introduced after the trial.

  • December 18, 2014

    LCRA Settles Power Supply Suits With Texas Cities

    The Lower Colorado River Authority and GenTex Power Corporation have reached an agreement to settle their dispute with two Texas cities, ending controversial litigation that promised to have a significant impact on governmental immunity throughout the state.

  • December 18, 2014

    Texas Lawmaker Aims To Block City Fracking Bans

    Texas Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, introduced two bills Thursday aimed at blocking cities from limiting oil and gas drilling, including a measure that would require the state attorney general's approval before cities could allow local votes on fracking bans.

  • December 18, 2014

    Texas Court Won't Nix Jurisdiction In Pepsi Asbestos Suit

    A Texas appeals court on Thursday affirmed a lower court's jurisdiction in a lawsuit brought by a PepsiCo Inc. subsidiary over an allegedly secret $308 million asbestos settlement with Cooper Industries LLC, finding the facts of the case were sufficiently connected to Texas despite the companies' nonresident status.

  • December 18, 2014

    Sprint Exchange Fee Suits Combined Into Texas MDL

    The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation has ordered the centralization in Texas federal court of 28 lawsuits alleging local exchange carriers overbilled Sprint Communications Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. for access charges.

  • December 18, 2014

    Natural Gas MLP Regency Energy Eyes $1B Public Offering

    Texas-based Regency Energy Partners LP launched plans on Thursday for a $1 billion follow-on offering, as a busy year in new projects and acquisitions by the natural gas master limited partnership comes to a close, according to a regulatory filing.

  • December 18, 2014

    NLRB Judge Finds Against Hillshire In Organizing Beef

    An administrative law judge for the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday ruled that Hillshire Brands Co. broke federal labor law when management at a Texas plant called the police over handbilling on a public easement and threatened workers with termination if they joined a union.

  • December 18, 2014

    ‘Crown Club’ Whisky Infringes 'Crown Royal,' Jury Says

    A Texas federal jury has found that a company selling “Crown Club” whisky in drawstring bags had violated the trademark rights to Diageo plc's Crown Royal — a brand of Canadian whisky sold in purple drawstring bags.

  • December 18, 2014

    Exxon Triumphs In $641M Suit Over Texas Refinery Emissions

    A Texas federal judge on Wednesday awarded judgment to Exxon Mobil Corp. in a $641 million suit filed by environmental groups over emissions at its Baytown, Texas, refinery, finding that even though its emissions went above the permitted limit at times, it wasn’t sufficient to warrant a penalty.

  • December 18, 2014

    Cancer Biotech Bellicum Soars After $140M IPO Trumps Range

    Cancer-focused drug company Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc. raised $140 million Thursday through an initial public offering that issued more shares at a higher price than planned — and subsequently soared in its debut — adding momentum near the close of a strong year for biotech IPOs.

  • December 17, 2014

    Nissan Gets Defective Infiniti Class Action Tentatively Trimmed

    A California judge on Wednesday tentatively pared a putative class action alleging Nissan North America Inc. deceived California and Texas consumers by selling Infiniti models with defective plastic dashboards that “bubbled” in heat or humidity, saying the Texas class representatives’ claims are barred by that state’s statute of limitations.

  • December 17, 2014

    Ponzi Investors' Claims Trimmed Against Greenberg, Hunton

    A Texas federal judge Wednesday tossed a class of investors' claims that Greenberg Traurig LLP and Hunton & Williams LLP breached fiduciary duty helping convicted Ponzi schemer Robert Allen Stanford, saying the firms' continuing legal fees weren't enough of a pecuniary interest to raise the claims.

  • December 17, 2014

    Jurors Give Ex-JP Death Sentence In Texas DA Murders

    A Texas jury on Wednesday sentenced a former justice of the peace to death after finding him guilty in the 2013 murder of the former Kaufman County District Attorney’s wife in a crime spree that allegedly included the killings of the DA and assistant DA.

  • December 17, 2014

    Westlake Sues Contractors Over Allegedly Deadly Botched Job

    A Houston construction company breached a $400 million contract by botching a Louisiana chlor-alkali plant construction job that injured dozens and killed one worker, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by Westlake Chemical Corp.

  • December 17, 2014

    5th Circ. Upholds Asset Seizure In $24M Laundering Case

    Remittances company U.S. Tours and Remittance and its law firm Nowak & Stauch LLP can't recover funds that were forfeited as part of a $24 million money laundering prosecution against the company’s owner, the Fifth Circuit said on Tuesday.

  • December 17, 2014

    Highland Seeks $172M From Credit Suisse In Refi Fight

    A Highland Capital Management-managed entity on Wednesday asked Texas jurors to award it $172 million in damages for what it says was fraudulent inducement by Credit Suisse AG brokers to invest in a $540 million loan refinance for a Las Vegas real estate property.

  • December 17, 2014

    Texas Asks DC Circ. To Nix $1M Award In Election Maps Suit

    Texas asked the D.C. Circuit on Monday to overturn a $1 million attorneys' fee award granted to the federal government in Voting Rights Act litigation, arguing that the U.S. Department of Justice did not actually win the case.

  • December 17, 2014

    Sheridan Rakes In $1.5B For US Oil, Gas Acquisitions

    Touting an expanded war chest, private equity-backed energy investor Sheridan Production Partners said Wednesday that it raised $1.5 billion through its third fund to acquire onshore U.S. oil and gas properties, hoping to seize opportunities presented by declining oil prices. 

  • December 16, 2014

    Ponzi Schemer Caught After Skipping Prison

    Texas authorities early Tuesday morning reportedly apprehended a former oilman who had run away from prison on Sunday night while serving a nine-year sentence for a $7 million Ponzi scheme.

  • December 16, 2014

    Order Impeded Arbitration Appeal In Avandia Fee Fight: Court

    A Texas appeals court on Tuesday reversed a lower court's decision to set aside an order denying Branch Law Firm LLP’s motion to compel arbitration in a dispute over fees from a 2010 Avandia settlement, finding that it interfered with the firm's appeal of the order.

Expert Analysis

  • A Busy Year For Anti-SLAPP Litigation And Legislation

    Alicia Calzada

    Over the past year, both legislatures and courts have made significant strides in the arena of anti-strategic lawsuits against public participation laws and decisions. Anti-SLAPP laws are now the rule in 30 U.S. jurisdictions, with the addition this year of Oklahoma, say Laura Lee Prather and Alicia Calzada of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Top 10 Trade Secrets Developments Of 2014: Part 1

    Kerry Bundy

    Trends we saw in trade secret law this year — including the growing importance of specifically identifying trade secrets early in litigation and the continuing trend toward large damages awards and settlements in trade secrets cases — promise to shape developments in the years ahead, say attorneys with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • Year In Review: 2014 State And Local Employment Laws

    Susan Gross Sholinsky

    In 2014, states, cities, counties and other localities have been busy picking up Congress' slack on employment law by introducing bills and enacting laws on issues such as ban the box, sick leave and pregnancy accommodation, say Susan Gross Sholinsky and Nancy Gunzenhauser of Epstein Becker & Green PC.

  • Do Fracking Bans Trigger Civil Authority Coverage?

    Micah Skidmore

    Civil authority coverage may be available in the context of municipal hydraulic fracturing bans, such as those recently passed in Texas and California, as the issue is judicially untested — depending on the specific terms of the policy and given the stated purpose of the ballot measure a fracking ban may trigger coverage in the commercial property policies of affected lessees, says Micah Skidmore of Haynes and Boone LLP.

  • Risks And Opportunities Amid Falling Oil Prices

    Thomas Howley

    Oil producers and oilfield services companies will be most directly affected by the current slump in oil prices — as the viability of new drilling programs decreases and oil producers are forced to trim capital expenditure budgets, both oil producers and oilfield service providers will become ripe targets for consolidation, say attorneys at Jones Day.

  • A Tale Of 2 Circ. Court Whistleblower Cases

    Alexis H. Ronickher

    While Halliburton Co. v. Administrative Review Board continues the clear trend of compensatory damages being available in Sarbanes-Oxley Act and False Claims Act cases, Vander Boegh v. EnergySolutions Inc. stands in sharp contrast and limits the legal protections to whistleblowers who suffer retaliation when applying for jobs, say Alexis Ronickher and Debra Katz of Katz Marshall & Banks LLP.

  • Tips For Managing E-Discovery In State Courts

    Ethan Hastert

    The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were amended in 2006 to provide a uniform set of rules across the federal courts to govern the preservation, collection and production of electronically stored information, and most companies that regularly litigate complex disputes are familiar with them. At the state level, however, counsel must navigate an often unfamiliar and disparate legal landscape, say Ethan Hastert and Corwin Carr of Mayer Brown LLP.

  • May State And Local Gov'ts Control Low-Flying Drones?

    William O’Connor

    While most of the attention paid to drones has focused on issues of Federal Aviation Administration authority, state and local governments are increasingly asserting regulatory authority over drones and citing the need to protect the health and safety, including privacy, of residents. Do they have this authority? This question will only become more critical, say attorneys with Morrison & Foerster LLP.

  • Post-Nautilus, Post-Interval: Indefiniteness In November

    Melissa Nott Davis

    Last month, two federal courts in California and one in Texas evaluated subjective terms of degree for indefiniteness under the Federal Circuit's recent Interval decision. These courts looked at the intrinsic and extrinsic evidence in an effort to determine if the claims pass Nautilus’ “reasonable certainty” test and provide the “objective boundaries” described in Interval, says Melissa Nott Davis of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

  • And Now A Word From The Panel: End Of An Era

    Alan E. Rothman

    As the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heads to Charleston, South Carolina, for its Dec. 4 hearing, let's take a moment to acknowledge a changing of the guard as Judge John Heyburn II, panel chairman for the past seven years, passes the torch. The panel also welcomes its newest member, from the Eastern District of Missouri, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.