With today’s orders list, the Texas Supreme Court granted review in four new cases.

Request for more briefing the home-equity-lending case

Earlier this month, the Court heard oral arguments in Finance Commission Of Texas, et al. v. Valerie Norwood, et al., No. 10-0121, challenging the legality of Texas’s home-equity lending rules.

Today, the Court requested that both sides file briefs about whether or not the Court has jurisdiction to decide the case, specifically:

(1) Do the plaintiffs’ claims present a case or controversy that a declaratory judgment will resolve?

(2) Do the plaintiffs have standing?

The opening briefs are due October 20, 2011, with response briefs due October 31, 2011.

Four new petitions granted

To be argued January 10, 2012

  • Mission Consolidated Independent School District v. Gloria Garcia, No. 10-0802

    In a claim for age-discrimination under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA): (1) can a plaintiff state a claim when the replacement ultimately hired for the job is older, and (2) are the notice requirements of the statute jurisdictional?

  • In re M.P.A., No. 10-0859

    This is a juvenile-justice case about expert testimony. The State’s testifying psychologist was later sanctioned by professional board for making false claims that overstated the reliability and acceptance of the test administered to this defendant. The petition asks the Texas Supreme Court to bring the same scrutiny to expert testimony in this context that it brought to civil experts in cases such as Robinson.

To be argued January 11, 2012

  • PNS Stores, Inc., d/b/a MacFrugal’s Bargain Closeouts v. Anna E. Rivera as next friend for Rachel Rivera, No. 10-1028

    This is a jurisdictional challenge to a default judgment brought nine years after it was rendered. In the default judgment, the original district court stated certain procedural facts as findings. In this collateral attack, the court of appeals concluded that any defect in service made the original default judgment voidable rather than void, and thus that the challenge was too late. The petition argues that this defect is jurisdictional and can be raised at any time, as well as arguing that the reviewing court should be able to look beyond the recitations in a default judgment. (( The petition also suggests that a prior federal judgment between the parties makes this state judgment “void” and that an alleged ethics violation by counsel for the plaintiff is another basis for collateral attack. ))

  • Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC V. Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Fort Worth Transportation Authority, No. 11-0079

    This is a condemnation case with two twists. The first is that the condemning authority is a private electric company operating under the authorization of the Texas Public Utility Commission. The second is that the landowners here are governmental entities. So, here a private electric company is using state eminent-domain authority to take land owned by two other government entities. The key question is whether these governments, as landowners, can assert immunity against an eminent-domain suit.

Corrected Opinion

In Re Alice M. Puig, No. 10-0460

While denying a motion that it rehear the case, the Court issued a corrected opinion that made some non-substantive corrections.