Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part III: What’s Old May Be New in the Statutory Renovation

  As discussed in my previous two posts (here and here), the Texas Legislature has made significant changes to statutes demarcating the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. In what appears to be an effort to renovate, the legislature has done more than change the wallpaper. It has tried to simplify jurisdiction by applying the same jurisprudential-importance … Continue Reading

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Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part II: The Times They Are a-Changin’ (Or Are They?)

My previous blog post briefly outlined the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction and the soon-to-be-effective legislative changes. As the title of these posts suggests, the next step is to examine the potential effects, if any, that these changes will have on courts, practitioners, and clients. Admittedly, by doing so, I tread into uncharted territory armed solely … Continue Reading

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Texas Supreme Court Jurisdiction, Part I: The Times They Are a-Changin’ (Or Are They?)

Likely obscured by the legislative din emanating from the capitol these days, the Texas Legislature has somewhat quietly altered the Texas Supreme Court’s jurisdiction by passing HB 1761. The Governor signed it, without much fanfare, on May 26, 2017, and the bill is now effective on September 1, 2017. For the uninitiated, at its most … Continue Reading

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It’s Alive! Revive Your Dead Motions and Defend a Favorable Judgment With a Proper Appeal

While relatively short, a recent Third Court of Appeals memorandum decision is rife with lessons for attorneys defending favorable summary judgments made on superseded motions. The dispute in Larivee v. Louis meant to center on tenant-landlord issues concerning a carpet’s condition. Unfortunately, especially for the appellant, the case’s procedural posture forced the Third Court to focus … Continue Reading

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An Evening with the Third Court of Appeals, 2017 Edition

Yesterday, the Austin Bar Association’s Civil Appellate Law Section hosted a program entitled “An Evening with the Third Court of Appeals” at Austin’s InterContinental Stephen F. Austin Hotel. My firm, Smith Law Group, was among the event’s sponsors. This event was a natural sequel to the well-received peek behind the proverbial curtain when the Court, months … Continue Reading

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Formal Bills of Exception

Appellate lawyers are the legal equivalent of a parent that you call to help navigate life’s uncertainties. In action, this means that appellate lawyers receive phone calls regarding obscure areas of law or rarely utilized procedures. The parent comparison suffers in that, unlike answering many parental questions, even well-seasoned appellate lawyers may have to research … Continue Reading

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Demanding a Recount: Appealing Election Challenges

The recent election reminded me of a brush that I had with election-related appeals. A few years ago, I fervently drafted a brief in a primary-contest appeal under a looming deadline. As I neared completion, my pregnant wife called to inform me that she was in labor. No problem, right? I’ll get the deadline extended. … Continue Reading

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Getting the Scoop on Calculating Texas Appellate Deadlines

Appellate lawyers share some job-related realities with journalists, namely running up against deadlines. Although attorneys don’t rush to finish stories before a midnight printing, we do have to meet filing deadlines to seek relief from erroneous trial-court or intermediate-appellate court decisions. Knowing those deadlines (and how they are calculated) is paramount to correctly perfecting appeals. … Continue Reading

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What’s the Expiration Date on That Mandamus?

It doesn’t come up very often. In fact, as I type this, a number of soon-to-be filers are frantically drafting their petitions, compiling their records, and perfecting their emergency motions in reaction to a recent ruling. Whether to salve the recent wound of an adverse ruling or to preserve a fleeting right, parties typically file … Continue Reading

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Dream the Impossible Dream: Avoid Delay Caused by an Insurer’s Rehabilitation/Liquidation

I recently helped trial counsel avoid what has been a routinely granted stay in litigation when a defendant’s insurer is in rehabilitation/liquidation. In other words, even though the defending insurer was not a party in the litigation, trial courts would typically stay the litigation for six-months at a time (and longer) to accommodate resolution of … Continue Reading

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Certificates of Merit: Don’t Let Your Lawsuit End Before It Begins

Clients have called upon me with increasing frequency regarding certificate of merit issues. While somewhat innocuous, I have found that real danger lurks behind the certificate of merit requirements contained in Chapter 150 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Noncompliance, for example, may lead to dismissal with prejudice. Because of the potential harm … Continue Reading

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