Child Custody and Support – Affirmed

  • In the Interest of LJF
    • 09-17-00151-CV, 2018 WL 3384501
    • 279th District Court of Jefferson County
    • Justice McKeithen, July 12, 2018
  • F. argued trial court abused discretion in its award of retroactive child support. F. also complained that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering that X could determine the child’s primary residence without any geographic restriction.
  • Ninth Court held that there was some evidence to support the trial court’s award and application of the child support guidelines. Further, the Ninth Court held that the best interest of the child was considered and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by waiving geographical restrictions.

Mailbox Rule – Reversed and Remanded

  • Martin v. Jasper Independent School District
    • 09–17–00195–CV, 2018 WL 2974490
    • 1st District Court of Jasper County
    • Justice McKeithen, June 14, 2018
  • Martin filed a suit against Jasper Independent School District for employment discrimination. JISD responded with a plea to the jurisdiction and argued that the petition was not timely filed.
  • On July 28, 2016, the Texas Workforce Commission sent a letter to Martin advising her of the right to sue JISD within sixty days. Martin received the letter on August 2, 2016 and filed her suit on October 3, 2016. JISD argued that the mailbox rule provides an additional three days after a notice has been deposited in the mail, making the receipt July 31; thus, the deadline for filing suit was September 29th.
  • The Ninth Court held that Texas Labor Code Section 21.254 time limits are triggered by actual receipt and not constructive receipt, and under Rule 4 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Martin’s petition was timely filed by October 3rd. The trial court erred by impliedly applying the mailbox rule.

Expert Designation – Affirmed

  • Guardianship of Hoffpauir
    • 09-16-00152-CV, 2018 WL 1321509
    • County Court at Law of Orange County
    • Justice McKeithen, Mar. 15, 2018
  • Hoffpauir complained that the trial court abused its discretion by excluding  her expert witness’s offered testimony regarding audio recordings. The Respondents contended that the audio recordings and the offered opinions were not disclosed by Hoffpauir in her designation of experts; Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 193.6 is mandatory absent a showing of good cause or lack of unfair prejudice.
  • The Ninth Court held that Hoffpauir never amended or supplemented her designation of experts to disclose that her expert had relied upon the audio recordings or that the expert would be called upon to give an opinion concerning the audio recordings. Given that the testimony was offered for the first time at trial, there was no good cause or lack of prejudice shown. The Ninth Court found that under Rule 193.6, the trial court did not abuse his discretion.

University Immunity – Reversed and Rendered

  • Lamar University v. Jenkins
    • No. 09–17–00213–CV, 2018 WL 358960
    • 172nd District Court of Jefferson County
    • Chief Justice McKeithen, Jan. 11 2018
  • Dr. Steve Jenkins sued Lamar alleging that it had retaliated against him under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) by denying his application for Full Professor with tenure status due to his opposition against using the GRE as a criteria for admission, which he contended was an inherently racist test.
  • In response, Lamar University filed a plea to the jurisdiction on the basis of sovereign immunity.
  • The Ninth Court held that under the TCHRA, Dr. Jenkins had to demonstrate a good faith, reasonable belief that the University engaged in an unlawful employment practice. Based upon the pleadings, Dr. Jenkins could not show that Lamar’s use of the GRE as admission criteria gave him a good faith, reasonable belief of an unlawful employment practice. The Ninth Court reversed the trial court’s denial of Lamar’s plea to the jurisdiction and rendered judgment dismissing the claims against it.