Texas Gov. Greg Abbott had until June 21 to approve (or allow to become law) a variety of bills passed by the Legislature in the 2015 session. It remains to be seen how he decides on all of the bills on his desk. What follows is a summary of the bills that particularly affect lawyers and individuals who hope to obtain relief through the civil justice system. It is based on a June 1, 2015, article in the Texas Lawyer.
A New York Appellate court recently reinstated a class action lawsuit against the New York Police Department. The lawsuit claims that hundreds of thousands of people were stopped and frisked by New York police. Though those individuals were never convicted of a crime, the New York Police Department still maintained personal information about those persons in their databases.
The all-Republican Texas Supreme Court issued rulings during the first decade of this century which overwhelmingly favored insurance, business interests, and government, at the expense of individual citizens. This is the finding of a report recently issued by Texas Watch, an organization which monitors governmental activities, including the Supreme Court.
On Friday, August 17, Benny Agosto, Jr., Partner of Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, and National President of the Hispanic National Bar Association, hosted a reception and fundraiser for United States Senator Robert Menendez. Senator Menendez has been legislating on behalf of the State of New Jersey since 2005, and is running for reelection this year. As the sixth Latino to serve in the U.S. Senate, Senator Menendez represents the interests of the Latino community nationwide. Additionally, he serves on the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Finance and Foreign Relations committees.
Texans living along the Gulf Coast greeted with displeasure a recent ruling by a sharply divided Texas Supreme Court which compromises their right to open beaches. The case is named Severance v. Patterson, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2012).
Although the national Hispanic population is soaring, experts have found that the number of registered voters is declining. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey, Hispanic voter registration dropped from 11.6 million in 2008 to 10.9 million in 2010. This decrease of more than half a million voters is noteworthy because it is a significant drop from that which is usually expected in non-election years.
On Thursday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a patient's suit against the maker of a defective medical device, a hip replacement product, to proceed with part of his case, despite an objection by the product maker that the claim was preempted by federal regulations. The case was Bass v. Stryker Corporation (No. 11-10076).
On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court overturned a jury verdict in favor of the family of a worker who was killed on the job. The case was Port Elevator-Brownsville, L.L.C. v. Casados, et al, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex. 2012)(1/27/12).
In a case last month, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that an oil company which substantially underpaid royalty owners would not be liable to them for the difference. The Court criticized the royalty owners for not looking in various public records to discover the oil company's wrongdoing.
On January 10, 2012, President Barack Obama announced that longtime immigration reform advocate Cecilia Munoz would be joining the White House as director of the Domestic Policy Council.