With today’s order list, the Texas Supreme Court issued merits opinions in four pending cases.

Adequacy of class representative

  • Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. v. Marketing on Hold, Inc., No. 05-0748 (docket and briefs). This is the very same case in which the class representative filed suit against the Justices of the Texas Supreme Court last week. Today, the Court decided, by a 5-3 vote, that the class representative did not adequately represent the interests of the class. The majority opinion was written by Justice Wainwright, joined by Justice Hecht, Justice Green, Justice Johnson, and Justice Willett. The dissenting opinion was written by Justice O’Neill, joined by Chief Justice Jefferson and Justice Medina. (Justice Guzman was not sitting on this case.)

Power of hearing examiner appointed to review a civil-service appeal

  • City of Waco, Texas v. Larry Kelley, No. 07-0485 (docket and briefs). This appeal asked the Court to review a disciplinary case against a Waco police official that had already been appealed to a third-party hearing examiner. The Court ultimately concluded that parts of the hearing examiner’s decision exceeded its jurisdiction. Instead of rendering a partial judgment, the Court concluded that the proper remedy was to remand for a new hearing because it was not clear that severing just parts of the decision would accurately reflect the hearing examiner’s judgment. Justice Johnson wrote the opinion.

How long a city has to respond to a Public Information Act request

  • City of Dallas v. Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas, No. 07-0931 (docket and briefs). This was a case about when the clock begins for responding to a public information request. By a 6-2 vote, the Court decided that — if the government body asks for narrowing or clarification of the request — the 10-day clock begins when the party requesting public information responds, not the date of the original information request. The majority opinion was written by Justice O’Neill, joined by Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Hecht, Justice Medina, Justice Green, and Justice Guzman. The dissenting opinion was written by Justice Wainwright, joined by Justice Johnson.

Forum-selection clause

  • In re ADM Investor Services, Inc., No. 08-0570 (docket and briefs). The Court concluded that the trial court should have enforced a forum-selection clause that would require litigation to be conducted in Illinois. It rejected arguments that ADM had waived the clause by its own defensive conduct in the Texas court and also rejected arguments that ADM’s agent had waived the clause on ADM’s behalf through its own litigation conduct. Justice Green delivered the opinion. Justice Willett also wrote a concurring opinion, discussing in more detail the standards that should apply when a party asserts a “medical hardship” as a reason not to enforce a forum-selection clause.