For Third Consecutive Year, RPJ Recognized in U.S. News & World Report “Best Law Firms®” List

Each year, U.S. News & World Report publishes its “Best Law Firms®” list. RPJ’s inclusion in the 2017 list makes three years in a row that RPJ is recognized for the Dallas Metropolitan Area, in the Construction Law Practice Area, Tier 2.

Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. According to U.S. News & World Report, “Firms included in the 2017 Best Law Firms list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers.”

“Best Law Firms®” is published by U.S. News and World Report and Woodward/White, Inc.

GENERAL LAW MUNICIPALITIES ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ENFORCE BUILDING CODES IN ETJ

The Texas Supreme Court determined the Texas Local Government Code does not grant general law municipalities the authority to enforce building codes within their extraterritorial jurisdictions. Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios, No. 15-0106, slip op. (Tex. May 27, 2016), available at http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1378446/150106.pdf. The Court’s narrowly drawn opinion rejected the Town’s statutory, implication and public policy arguments, finding the State has not expressly conferred such authority to general law municipalities. The decision rejects the contrary holding in City of Lucas v. North Texas Municipal Water District, 724 S.W.2d 811 (Tex. App. – Dallas 1986, writ ref’d n.r.e.) and decades of building code enforcement in ETJs by general law municipalities.

RPJ Recognized in U.S. News & World Report – 2016 “Best Law Firms®”

For the second consecutive year, RPJ is recognized in the U.S. News & World Report – 2016 “Best Law Firms®,” Dallas Metropolitan Area, in the Construction Law Practice Area, Tier 2. Rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

“Best Law Firms®” is published by U.S. News and World Report and Woodward/White, Inc.

PAUL UNDERKOFLER RECOGNIZED IN THE BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA® 2016 AND 2015 SUPER LAWYERS BUSINESS EDITION®

RPJ congratulates Paul Underkofler for his recognition in The Best Lawyers in America 2016 and 2015 Super Lawyers Business Edition.

Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America is based on a peer-review process designed to capture the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues. Paul is recognized in the area of Construction Law for the eleventh consecutive year.

The 2015 Super Lawyers Business Edition selection process combines peer nominations and evaluations with independent research. This is Paul’s twelfth consecutive year of recognition by Super Lawyers in the area of Construction Litigation.

The Best Lawyers in America is published by Woodward/White, Inc. Super Lawyers Business Edition is published by Thompson Reuters.

Requestors Under PIA Need Not Await AG Ruling Before Filing Suit

The Texas Supreme Court has determined a Requestor under the Public Information Act may file suit prior to issuance of an Attorney General opinion when a governmental entity withholds responsive documents.  Kallinen v. City of Houston, No. 14-0015, slip op. (Tex. March 20, 2015) (per curiam), available at http://www.txcourts.gov/media/907934/140015.pdf.  The Court reasoned obtaining an AG ruling is not a remedy the Requestor must exhaust before suing because a Requestor has “no right to request or demand a ruling or disclosure from the Attorney General and no right to an administrative appeal.”  The Court also agreed the AG’s jurisdiction over open records issues in primary and not exclusive.  For this reason, the Court concluded that trial courts retain discretion to abate suits pending the AG’s ruling and advised:  “Efficiency may counsel patience.”

RPJ Recognized in U.S. News & World Report – 2015 “Best Law Firms®”

RPJ is recognized in the U.S. News & World Report – 2015 “Best Law Firms®,” Dallas Metropolitan Area, in the Construction Law Practice Area, Tier 2. Rankings are based on a rigourous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

“Best Law Firms®” is published by U.S. News and World Report and Woodward/White, Inc.

No-Damages-For-Delay Clauses

Today the Texas Supreme Court issued its decision in Zachry Construction Corp. v. Port Authority of Harris County, Texas, No. 12-0772, holding that the parties’ no-damages-for-delay clause was unenforceable on the grounds that it violated Texas law and public policy.  Zachry had agreed to construct a wharf for the Port.  Claiming that it had been delayed by the Port’s intentional misconduct, Zachry sued and obtained a jury verdict for over $ 18 million in delay damages.  The trial court entered judgment in Zachry’s favor notwithstanding that a broad no-damages-for-delay clause which was to apply notwithstanding the Port’s “negligence, breach of contract or other fault.”  The court of appeals reversed and rendered in favor of the Port, upholding the no-damages-for-delay provision on the ground that the parties must be bound by the terms of their agreement. The Texas Supreme Court reversed in Zachry’s favor.  In concluding that the clause violated the law, the Court relied on decisions by Texas courts of appeals that recognized exceptions to the enforceability of no-damages-for-delay provisions.  In holding that the clause violated public policy, the Court noted that “[t]o conclude otherwise would incentivize wrongful conduct and damage contractual relations.”