AUSTIN – The Texas Supreme Court will review a case to decide if an oil rig worker who received approximately $9.6 million in damages from injuries sustained on the job deserved the award after a video that had been rejected by a trial court as evidence allegedly showed the man doing physical labor free of pain.
HOUSTON – The Texas Supreme Court will not review the top aviation verdict for all of Texas in 2013. The Houston-based law firm Arnold & Itkin secured the judgment, totaling nearly $1.7 million, on behalf of Derek LeBlanc, who was injured in a helicopter crash while on route to work on an oil platform in the Gulf.
The Texas Supreme Court has a unique structure, reflecting the state’s stubbornly independent-minded culture. Most state supreme courts have jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases and have seven (or fewer) members, who are appointed by the governor and face the voters — if at all — only for periodic “retention” elections. The Texas Supreme Court, in contrast, hears only civil appeals (criminal cases are decided by the co-equal Texas Court of Criminal Appeals) and has nine members, all of whom are subject to statewide partisan elections. The last feature is quite unusual; only seven states select judges in this manner. Despite this distinctive design, the Texas Supreme Court succeeds at steering a steady jurisprudential course in a cautious, low-key style.