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Two cases set for Texas Supreme Court hearings in Longview

By Special to the News-Journal
Jan. 10, 2017 at 11:16 p.m.


When the Texas Supreme Court convenes next month in Longview, it will hear oral arguments in a case related to how Texans protect their interests in estates and trusts, and whether public employees are entitled to immunity for acts caused by their own negligence.

LeTourneau University on Tuesday announced the two cases in which the court will hear arguments Feb. 16 at the college in Longview.

The first case is an inheritance rights case out of the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo. Virginia O. Kinsel is suing Jane O. Lindsey and Keith Branyon and Jackson Walker law firm from Tarrant County.

"The Kinsel case is important because the Texas Supreme Court's decision will likely determine whether Texas legally recognizes a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance rights, a claim that enables people to protect their beneficial interests in estates and trusts," said Scott Stevens, a lawyer with Stevens Henry law firm in Longview.

"This cause of action is currently recognized by a majority of the states in this country."

The second case is about medical malpractice and government immunity from the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston: Dr. Leah Anne Gonski Marino v. Shirley Lenoir from Haskell County.

"The Marino case is important because the Texas Supreme Court's decision could impact circumstances under which governmental employees, including medical residents assigned to work at different clinics, are entitled to governmental employee immunity for acts caused by their own negligence, which could further have an impact on graduate medical education and patient care in Texas," Stevens said.

Jessica LaRue, president of the Gregg County Bar Association, said the association is looking forward to the historic visit.

"The issues being decided in these cases are significant and will be of great interest not only to the legal community but also the public at large," she said.

LeTourneau University is hosting the court for oral arguments from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the Belcher Center at LeTourneau's main campus, 2100 S. Mobberly Ave. in Longview. The public can attend the oral arguments, which will include a question-and-answer session, and see how the highest court in the state for civil appeals operates.

People are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes before arguments begin to pass security screening and should not bring backpacks and purses. All cellphones will be required to be turned off. No flash photography will be permitted.

Justices will have breakout sessions from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on campus for students and at the Gregg County Courthouse for lawyers and other legal professionals.

Justice Jeffrey S. Boyd, an ordained minister, also will conduct a public afternoon session on "God, the Courts and the Law" in the Belcher Center.

Simultaneously, LeTourneau is hosting "Law as a Career Day" on campus to enable high school and college-age students to learn more about legal careers. Law schools, paralegal schools and court-reporter schools will have recruiting booths to provide information and answer questions about their programs.

Justice Don Willett will lead a session for college students, and Justice John Devine will lead a session for high school students. High school students who attend also will be offered tours of the university and visits with faculty. Students who register will be provided a free lunch.

Lawyers will be eligible for 2.5 hours of continuing legal-education credit for attending the oral arguments and the question-and-answer session with the court. Each of seven afternoon breakout sessions at the Gregg County Courthouse will offer 1.5 hours of CLE credit.

A schedule of events and descriptions of breakout sessions is available on the Gregg County Bar Association web page, greggcountybar.com.

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