The Court had a two-day private conference before this weekly orders list, leading to orders in more than four dozen petitions. Four cases were ultimately chosen for oral argument in January. The remaining petitioners and relators were not so lucky. The Court has posted the list at a new location.

New Grants

These are the cases chosen for oral argument with this orders list:

Compounding pharmacies under the health-care-liability act

This is a claim against a compounding pharmacy based on an antioxidant supplement. The supplement was provided to a doctor's office, which then provided it to patients. The pharmacy argued that this was a health-care-liability claim and, accordingly, should be dismissed because no expert report was timely filed. The plaintiff argues that filling what the response calls a "bulk" order for these supplements is not filling a prescription and does not fit the statute.

Proof needed to raise a fact question on immunity

This is a suit against a government unit by the family of two girls who were killed by riptides near the Texas City Dike. There were signs posted elsewhere, but not where the accident took place. The City won a plea to the jurisdiction. The petition argues that there was a fact question on immunity, in part because the presence of warning signs at other nearby locations signaled awareness of the problem — or at least would permit a fact-finder to draw such an inference.

Disqualification of counsel for speaking to a former employee of the opposing party

IN RE RSR CORPORATION AND QUEMETCO METALS LIMITED, INC., No. 13-0499

legal ethics
Set to be argued on September 2, 2015

This mandamus petition concerns a trial court's order disqualifying counsel for gathering information from a high-ranking former employee of the opposing party who was involved both in the facts of the case and, as a financial manager, of overseeing paying the lawyers involved in the case.

The dispute involves whether the sort of disqualification that attaches when a law firm hires a legal-services professional like a paralegal from the other side should also attach when the firm gets information from an employee who was involved in a larger "litigation team." The petition urges that this would chill the informal fact-finding that trial counsel are permitted to do of former employees.

The Court granted rehearing of its previous denial of this mandamus petition and has set this case for oral argument.

Local government immunity from contract claims

LOWER COLORADO RIVER AUTHORITY v. CITY OF BOERNE, TEXAS, No. 14-0079

Set to be argued on January 15, 2015

The question is whether suit can be brought against the City for a contract alleged to have been entered in its proprietary (rather than governmental) capacity. The LCRA argues that this category of contract is not covered by immunity and that, if there were any doubt, it has also been waived by statute. The City argues that this proprietary-governmental distinction is inapplicable to contract claims and has also become unworkable in practice.