Rule Already! Plaintiffs Sue Texas Supreme Court For Four Year Delay

Wallace Jefferson Texas Supreme CourtTexas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson

Photo: AP

Suing nine Supreme Court justices when you have a case pending before them is a little risky.But plaintiffs from Texas are fed up with waiting for an answer, and they have done just that. They’ve named the Texas Supreme Court justices in a suit that claims the justices have violated their constitutional right to due process by taking more than four years to issue a decision on an interlocutory appeal.

Mary Alice Robinson for Texas Lawyer: “We want a decision,” says Houston solo Thomas R. Bray, who represents Marketing on Hold Inc., doing business as Southwestern Tariff Analyst (STA).

Joined by the Harris County Hospital District, STA filed Marketing on Hold Inc., et al. v. Jefferson, et al. on Feb. 11. The plaintiffs allege that the appeal in their underlying suit — Marketing on Hold Inc. v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. — is the oldest awaiting a decision by the Texas Supreme Court.

State Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson declines comment on the allegations in the federal complaint, because the underlying suit is a pending matter before his court. The plaintiffs sued the Supreme Court justices in their official capacities.

The issue pending before the Texas Supreme Court is class certification. The suit against the justices is filed in federal court in Austin.

All litigators, and their clients, know the pain of waiting for a decision. Though they are theoretically to be issued timely, very few actual (and enforced) requirements exist. The fact that most courts are extremely overburdened does not help. When you have a summary judgment motion pending in a lower court, for example, you often expect it could be six months or longer. It’s one of the many reasons cases go on forever and ever.

But the reason nothing ever happens about it is a) lots of lawsuits are not actually that pressing (i.e. the damage is done, it’s between two huge companies and no one is in that big of a hurry to work it out and b) no one wants to anger the judges.

So we cannot wait to see how this one turns out. It’s going to raise a lot of questions and garner a lot of attention about swift justice, or lack thereof.

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