Appeals Blog

Handling Electronic Protected Health Information in the COVID Era

With the advent of electronic hearings, client consultations, and virtual mediations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts, lawyers, and mediators will undoubtedly be handling protected health information.  This post will focus on some privacy considerations under Chapter 181 of the Texas Health & Safety Code. Overview of Applicable Statutes.  Both Texas law and federal law regulate the use and […]

Missing Passport Isn’t Enough to Prohibit Travel

Gerges v. Gerges, No. 08-19-00006-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 1614, (Tex. App.—El Paso Feb. 26, 2020, no pet. filed) Link to Opinion Facts Mother alleged that there was a potential risk of international abduction and requested that Father be enjoined from removing the children from the U.S.  The evidence showed that the parties had jointly applied for the older child’s passport […]

Remote Testimony and Unsworn Declarations

As we all contend with remote hearings and hearings by written submission, here are a few statutes and cases to consider: Administration of Oath.  An oath made in Texas may be administered by a judge, an associate judge, a notary public, and fifteen other types of government officials.  Tex. Gov’t Code § 602.002 Definition of “Affidavit.”  An affidavit is “a […]

A Primer on Enforcing a Standing Order

Standing Order — Generally Enforceable by Contempt   A standing order is, by definition, a “forward-looking order that applies to all cases pending before a court.”  In re Inquiry Concerning Honorable (Ginsberg), 2018 Tex. LEXIS 525, *26-27, 2018 WL 2994940 (Sp. Ct. of Review Appt. By the Supreme Court of Texas 2018) (defining Order, standing order, Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009) (“Some individual […]

Limitations on the enforcement of “voluntary” spousal support obligations

Dalton v. Dalton, 551 S.W.3d 126 (Tex. 2018) Link to Court’s Opinion Facts  Husband and wife entered an agreement in Oklahoma for spousal support, which an Oklahoma court approved.  Husband later filed for divorce in Texas.  The Texas court gave the Oklahoma order full faith and credit.  The court then granted the divorce, incorporating the parties’ agreements as approved in […]

What is the effect of incurring a debt on a separate property house during the marriage?

In re Marriage of Collinsworth, No. 06-19-00083-CV, 2020 Tex. App. LEXIS 965, at *6-7 (Tex. App.—Texarkana Feb. 5, 2020) Link to Court Opinion Facts:  Wife acquired a house several years before marriage and testified that she made the down payment on the house from funds gifted to her before marriage.  Wife produced copies of the checks in support of her […]

Can you ask the Court to “deny” a modification without a trial?

Nellis v. Haynie (Hous. [1st. Dist] 2020)( 01-18-00736-CV) Link to Court Opinion Facts:  Father filed a suit to modify the parent-child relationship, and the non-parent managing conservators filed a “motion to deny relief in suit to modify parent-child relationship.”  Father filed this suit just six months after the prior order, and managing conservators said Father had not identified a material […]

Can the trial court allow jurors to ask the witnesses questions?

In the Interest of J.T. (Waco 2019) (10-19-00298-CV) Link to Court’s Opinion Facts:  The trial court permitted the jurors to submit questions to the witnesses over Mother’s objection in this suit to terminate her rights.  The trial court submitted over 165 juror questions to witnesses.  The jury terminated her rights, and mother appealed. Result:  It was error to allow jurors […]