Smith Law Group, P.C.

1250 Capital of Texas Highway South Three Cielo Center, Suite 601
Austin, Texas 78746, United States

Contact: D. Todd Smith

  • 512-439-3230
  • 512-439-3232

What Notice Is Required When a Summary-Judgment Hearing Is Re-set?

Texas litigators are generally familiar with the TRCP 166a requirement that a motion for summary judgment be served at least 21 days before the date specified for a hearing. But what notice is required when the hearing does not…more
| Civil Procedure

Appellate Court Reverses Retroactive Amicus Attorney Appointment

In a suit to modify the parent-child relationship, the Eleventh Court of Appeals has reversed a final order that significantly restricted a mother’s access to her children, thereby allowing the mother to pursue a new trial…more
| Civil Procedure, Civil Remedies, Family Law

Federal Court Turns Away School District’s Attorney-Fee Claim

The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas has rejected a claim for attorney fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b), which authorizes courts to award reasonable fees in actions to enforce civil rights statutes…more
| Civil Procedure, Civil Remedies, Civil Rights, Education

Third Court of Appeals Invalidates City’s Civil-Service Appeal Deadline

The Third Court of Appeals has reversed a summary judgment granted to the City of Killeen on the sole ground that a police officer’s administrative appeal to the City’s Civil Service Commission was untimely…more
| Civil Procedure

I, Juror No. 3

Since I became a practicing lawyer, I’ve been called for jury duty four times: twice in Dallas County (where I lived from 1997 to 2003), and twice in Travis County (where I live now). This past week, I served my second stint as…more
| Law Practice Products & Services

Fifth Circuit Rejects Qualified Immunity Defense

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has affirmed a district court’s summary judgment rejecting a police chief’s attempt to escape First Amendment retaliation liability based on a qualified immunity defense…more
| Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law

Judgment Against Commercial Landlord Reversed

The Third Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded a lower court’s judgment that a landlord take nothing on his claims for damages under a commercial lease and pay the tenant’s attorney fees…more
| Civil Procedure, Commercial Law & Contracts, Real Estate - Commercial

How to Handle Cross-Appeals

Table Of Contents - - Introduction - The Decision to Cross-Appeal ..Does Appellee Seek to Alter the Judgment? ..Pursuing a Cross-Appeal Conditionally ..Timing - Complications in Handling…more
| Civil Procedure

Chief Justice Jefferson to Leave SCOTX

Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson (pictured) has announced that he will be departing the Texas Supreme Court effective October 1, 2013. The Texas Lawbook, a Dallas Morning News affiliate, first reported the announcement. It…more
| Civil Procedure

It’s That Time of (the Fiscal) Year

Clients frequently ask appellate lawyers, “How long until the court makes a decision?” It’s a question we all struggle with because the number of variables is too great to allow anything but a semi-educated guess. The period is…more
| Civil Procedure

What Do “The Last Days of Big Law” Mean for Boutique Firms?

Noam Scheiber’s recent New Republic article, “The Last Days of Big Law,” has been buzzing over my social media stream for the past week or so. It’s a pretty sobering read, although it hasn’t gone uncriticized…more
| Law Practice Products & Services

SCOTX: Attorney Fees Need Not Be Superseded on Appeal

In November 2011, I posted about whether attorney fees must be superseded to stay execution of a judgment pending appeal. Today, in In re Nalle Plastics Family Limited Partnership (No. 11-0903), the Texas Supreme Court resolved…more
| Civil Procedure, Civil Remedies

Principled Appellate Decisions

In This Presentation: - Overview: • The "right" result on appeal depends on your perspective, but several factors go into reaching a principled appellate decision. • Our discussion will examine some…more
| Civil Procedure

SCOTX Fixes Word-Count Glitches

The Texas Supreme Court has issued an order correcting some of its recent amendments to the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure. The most notable correction involves the certificate-of-compliance requirement regarding the new…more
| Civil Procedure

To Cite or Not to Cite: Do Unpublished Opinions Have Precedential Value?

I recall discovering my first unpublished case as a law student when interning for an intermediate appellate court justice. Strangely, a legend accompanied the opinion disclaiming precedential value, which seemed odd considering…more
| Civil Procedure
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