Anne Johnson, Ben Mesches in The Texas Lawbook: ‘Well, That Was Unexpected…’ Panel Considers SCOTX Term


Haynes and Boone, LLP Partners Anne Johnson and Ben Mesches participated in a webcast hosted by The Texas Lawbook about the most important business cases from the Texas Supreme Court’s recent term.

Here is an excerpt on article summarizing the webcast:

Dallas appellate attorney Anne Johnson offers a succinct headline to sum up the Texas Supreme Court term that ended in June: “Well, that was unexpected.”

Johnson, a partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas, referenced the unprecedented nature of the term to kick off a discussion with three other appellate lawyers about trends in the high court during a Friday webcast hosted by The Texas Lawbook.

It was indeed a term like no other, dominated by pandemic-induced disruptions to the court system and pandemic-related disputes on issues ranging from pretrial bail to quarantine rules. Aside from COVID-19, there was also a Russian cyber attack that took down the Supreme Court and many courts of appeals’ websites. Still, the high court was able to complete its slate of arguments using Zoom and clear its opinion docket on time.

Highlights of the term included cases in which the court reaffirmed the importance of written contracts in forming binding partnerships and, in a pair of cases, rejected email exchanges as constituting enforceable contracts.

Ben Mesches, a Dallas partner at Haynes and Boone, said the court last term heard fewer procedural cases, although they remain a large part of its docket, and tort cases. He said there were more property and oil and gas cases. Other types of cases involving governmental immunity, health care, and commercial disputes remained fairly constant.

Similarly, said Mesches, two cases in which the court delved into emails to determine if they constituted a binding agreement show that lawyers need to establish a timeline for the context of the email exchanges to help the court determine if there was a definitive meeting of the minds.

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