Friday, February 19, 2010

UPDATED: Texas Supreme Court Justices Sued in Federal Court for Failing to Rule on Class Certification Appeal

Plaintiffs in a Texas state court class action against Southwestern Bell have been waiting years for the Texas Supreme Court to decide whether the trial court's order certifying the class was proper. Southwestern Bell appealed to the Texas Supreme Court in November 2005, and oral argument occurred in March 2007.

As reported here, the plaintiffs have now sued the nine Justices of the Texas Supreme Court in federal court, seeking declaratory relief. Plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that the Texas Supreme Court's delay is depriving them of their rights to due process and judicial access, and that "the Texas Supreme Court is constitutionally bound to make a decision at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner." The case is Marketing On Hold, Inc. v. Jefferson, No. 10-cv-00104-SS (W.D. Tex.). Docket information is available via Justia and Pacer.

(Hat Tip: Roger Baron)

Update from the "be careful what you wish for" department: The Texas Supreme Court issued its 27-page decision today, reversing the lower court and decertifying the plaintiff class. It concluded that "the putative class representative failed to establish that it adequately represents the class."

(Hat Tip: Alexandra Albright)


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Colorado's lower courts have an obscure procedure by which a litigant can apply to have the pay of a judge who doesn't make timely ruling suspended. The thought is that you would use it only if the judge is going to rule against you anyway to get to the appellate level.

The approach makes less sense at the state supreme court level on an issue that is not itself a federal question, and the empircal data for the federal courts has numerous cases as bad as this one.

Is there even a right to have the Texas Supreme Court rule at all? Normally, that kind of review is discretionary, and I'm not aware of any constitutional right to interlocatory appeals on any procedural issue in the first place.

The federal suit certainly doesn't look like a winner on the merits, although its press release value may call attention to a larger problem.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Feb 19, 2010 10:22:43 AM

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