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Posts under ‘Legal matters’

Buc-ee’s wins logo legal challenge

Don’t mess with the beaver. A lawsuit between two beaver-loving Texas-based businesses was dismissed before it even reached the courtroom, with the bigger company coming out victorious and the other left logo-less. Back in early July the lawyers for popular Texas roadside chain Buc-ee’s filed a lawsuit against Frio River Grocery. Lawyers for Buc-ee’s argued […]

Same sex marriage will have to wait for the Fifth Circuit

Bummer. A federal judge has refused to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas, saying he expects they will be allowed some day but he doesn’t want to act precipitously. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Friday rebuffed a request by same-sex couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole […]

Lawsuit filed against Comcast over residential WiFi hotspots

This ought to be interesting. Two San Francisco-area residents are suing Comcast for plugging their home’s wireless router into what they call a power-wasting, Internet-clogging, privacy threatening network of public WiFi hot spots. The class-action lawsuit, filed last week in U.S. District Court on behalf of Toyer Grear and her daughter Joycelyn Harris, claims Comcast […]

Microbreweries file lawsuit over distribution rights

Interesting. Three Texas breweries filed a lawsuit against the state on Wednesday seeking to to overturn a 2013 law they say violates the Texas Constitution by forcing them to give away their territorial distribution rights for free. In their complaint, filed in state district court in Austin, the heads of Live Oak Brewing in Austin, […]

Hempstead landfill trial update

It’s complicated. For many in the courtroom, a judge’s promise Friday that the Waller County landfill trial would conclude “before Santa Claus comes” was welcome news. Earlier in the week, they had lamented the possibility that the trial – one over an issue that has divided the rural county for the past two years – […]

Everyone wants to get in on the fracking fight

Come on in. National environmental groups joined forces with grassroots activists in Denton on Thursday, seeking to defend in court the first municipal fracking ban adopted in Texas. The Denton Drilling Awareness Group, a citizens group that fought to put the ban on the November ballot, and Earthworks, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, […]

Abbott files his suit

As expected. Leading a 17-state charge up a steep legal hill, Attorney General and soon-to-be-Gov. Greg Abbott Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Obama administration’s moves to expand legal protections for undocumented immigrants. The lawsuit, the 31st Abbott has filed against the Obama administration during his 12-year tenure, fulfills his gubernatorial campaign pledge to […]

What will the clerks do?

Some of Texas’ county clerks are making plans to accommodate same-sex marriage license applicants in the event that federal judge Orlando Garcia lifts the stay on his ruling that tossed out the state’s ban on same-sex nuptials. Some other clerks are planning to be jerks about it. Jeff Nicholson, chief deputy for Tarrant County Clerk […]

Denton responds to fracking ban lawsuit

Game on. One day before its first-in-Texas ban on hydraulic fracturing is set to take effect, Denton called the oil and gas extraction technique a “public nuisance” that the North Texas town has the right to regulate. “Those activities have caused conditions that are subversive of public order and constitute an obstruction of public rights […]

Voter ID plaintiffs want Fith Circuit to get on with it

Some more unfinished business for the courts. Some plaintiffs challenging Texas’ voter ID law want a federal appeals court to speed up its consideration of the case, looking to sort it out before the next wave of elections in the state. In a court document filed Wednesday, the plaintiffs note that 5th U.S. Circuit Court […]

Hempstead landfill fight goes to court

An update on a story I’ve been following for a few years. For the last two years, Waller County and the city of Hempstead have been pitted against each other in a high-profile legal battle over a proposed landfill in the city’s outskirts, a project many in the area see as both an economic and […]

Abbott responds to motion to lift same-sex marriage ruling

He’s against it. Try not to be surprised. Texas officials want a federal judge to uphold the state’s same-sex marriage ban, calling a request by gay couples to be allowed to immediately marry “untimely” and “out of order.” “The plaintiffs offer no explanation for why they waited so long to file their motion,”Attorney General Greg […]

Bell fundraising lawsuit to be heard in January

A busy legal calendar just got a little fuller. A judge in January will hear likely mayoral candidate Chris Bell’s request to block Sylvester Turner’s plan to transfer money from his officeholder account to his mayoral account when the fundraising period opens on Feb. 1. Judge Elizabeth Ray of Harris County’s 165th Civil Court will […]

Fifth Circuit sets their schedule

Mark your calendars. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion restrictions on Jan. 7. The law passed in 2013, known as House Bill 2, banned abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, placed heavy new restrictions on clinics and doctors who perform the procedure and […]

Texas same-sex marriage plaintiffs ask for stay to be lifted

I wish them luck. Two same-sex couples have asked U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia of San Antonio to allow gay marriages to begin taking place immediately in Texas. On Monday, couples Mark Phariss and Victor Holmes of Plano and Nicole Dimetman and Cleopatra De Leon asked Garcia to lift a stay he imposed this winter […]

Supreme Court re-upholds strip club tax

Technically, they declined to re-review it, but practically speaking I figure it’ll amount to the same thing. The Texas Supreme Court on Friday declined to review whether a $5-per-patron fee at live nude entertainment clubs is an occupation tax in disguise, letting stand a lower appeals court ruling that found alcohol-serving Texas strip clubs must […]

Yet another lawsuit against Texas’ ban on same sex marriage

And then there were ten. Texas now has at least 10 pending lawsuits challenging the state’s bans on same-sex marriage — believed to be the most of any state. An Austin lesbian widow is the latest to challenge the marriage bans after her late partner’s family sought to exclude her from the estate — an […]

Lawsuit filed over Pasadena Council districts

Good. For 41 years, Alberto Patiño has lived in Pasadena and seen a lot of changes there. Now Hispanics like him make up more than 60 percent of residents and about 40 percent of eligible voters. Patiño wants that reflected on city council. “I feel that we should have more representation on City Council that […]

Lawsuit filed over Houston campaign blackout rules

From the inbox: Late Tuesday afternoon, Houston City Council candidate Trebor Gordon filed a First Amendment lawsuit challenging a discriminatory Houston ordinance that prevents city candidates from fundraising until February. Gordon is a conservative candidate for Houston City Council at large. “Houston is a great city because of the entrepreneurial culture of its citizens, among […]

Fifth Circuit to hear HB2 appeal in January

Gird your loins. A federal appeals court has scheduled oral arguments about the constitutionality of Texas’ tough new abortion law for the first week of January, setting up a rapid timeline that may accelerate the case’s expected trip to the U.S. Supreme Court. Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell and lawyers representing abortion providers are planning to […]

Sixth Circuit stands up for inequality

It was bound to happen eventually. Remember the big no-decision decision the Supreme Court issued on same-sex marriage just a month ago? The justices were asked — in five separate cases no less — to weigh in on whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage. The Supreme Court demurred on the question, which […]

Woodfill gets another injunction

WTF? A state district judge on Wednesday ordered the city of Houston to stop offering health and life insurance benefits to the same-sex spouses of married employees, but city attorneys say they plan an immediate appeal that, once filed, could leave the benefits in place. Days after being elected to her third and final term […]

Jared Woodfill sues again

Dude is obsessed. Former Harris County GOP Chair Jared Woodfill isn’t giving up on his fight to block the city of Houston from providing benefits to the same-sex spouses of employees. After Mayor Annise Parker extended benefits to same-sex spouses last year, Woodfill sued on behalf of two Republican taxpayers seeking to halt them. But […]

Another HCC lawsuit

Hard to keep track of them all. The former top attorney and acting chancellor of Houston Community College filed a lawsuit Monday alleging she was fired because she told the FBI of her suspicions that board members sought to use bond funds to award kickbacks. Renee Byas, ousted in August, said in the lawsuit that […]

The Fifth Circuit is in no hurry to rule on same sex marriage

Such a show of courage on their part. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals tentatively has scheduled oral arguments in the Texas and Louisiana gay marriage cases for early January, disappointing local advocates and possibly delaying until 2016 a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court. Texas gay marriage advocates were disappointed with the Monday announcement. […]

The larger issue on voter ID

The Trib reminds us that there are bigger questions that remain to be answered in the voter ID litigation. The litigation on the state’s voting district maps for legislative and congressional elections is still underway, and the treatment of minority voters and their ability to elect the candidates they choose is at the center of […]

What they didn’t tell us about voter ID

Republicans knew fully well that their voter ID bill would disenfranchise a lot of people. They just didn’t care. Republican state officials working to pass a voter photo ID law in 2011 knew that more than 500,000 of the state’s registered voters did not have the credentials needed to cast ballots under the new requirement. […]

It shouldn’t be this hard to get a driver’s license

And for most people it isn’t that hard. But for some people, it is. Daniela Parker has two mothers, a circumstance that turned a typically routine matter – scheduling a road test for a Texas driver’s license – into a lengthy hassle. Parker, Mayor Annise Parker’s daughter, was turned away from taking the road test […]

Suing for same-sex death benefits

Married people receive death benefits when their spouses die. Unless your marriage isn’t recognized as legal by the state you live in. That’s the basis of this lawsuit. An Austin woman filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday seeking to halt the Social Security Administration’s practice of withholding spousal benefits from gay couples who reside in states, […]

Abbott’s actions in the Hecht ethics case belie his “just doing my job” evasion

More accurately, it’s his lack of action that speaks clearly about his priorities and discretion. Attorney General Greg Abbott, accused of favoritism in his handling of an ethics case involving a Texas Supreme Court justice, says it’s not his duty to press the case that has sat idle for two years. That reasoning, however, doesn’t […]

On Greg Abbott and who gets to get married

As you may have heard, Peggy Fikac got to ask Greg Abbott the obvious question about how exactly the state’s law against same-sex marriage, which Abbott is diligently defending in court, differs from the old laws that once banned interracial marriage, and would he have defended those as well since he claims he’s just doing […]

SCOTUS declines to intervene on voter ID

Unfortunate. The Supreme Court said Saturday that Texas can use its controversial new voter identification law for the November election. A majority of the justices rejected an emergency request from the Justice Department and civil rights groups to prohibit the state from requiring voters to produce certain forms of photo identification in order to cast […]

City files amended petitions

From the inbox: As follow up to a promise made earlier in the week, the City of Houston has revised its subpoenas in the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) repeal petition case. The disputed request has been narrowed to focus solely on communications related to HERO and the petition gathering process. There is no mention […]

TPJ files suit against Abbott over Hecht ethics case

Here we go again. An Austin legal watchdog group filed suit Wednesday to force action on a $29,000 ethics fine, levied against Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht in 2008, that has languished on appeal for 5½ years. The motion from Texans for Public Justice seeks to remove Attorney General Greg Abbott from the […]