Briefcase

Briefcase: A Texas Oddity – One City, Two Appellate Districts

Guest: Professor Hilary Reed

Texas is the only state in the nation in which trial judges answer to more than one intermediate appellate court. Houston, specifically, has two appellate court districts, which have overlapping jurisdiction. Hilary Reed, with The University of Houston Law Center, is an expert on these issues and explains why this is a concern.

“This has led to contrary and conflicting rules and outcomes in the same jurisdiction,” Professor Reed said. “For example, when four passengers were in the same car in an accident. One court granted the right to sue to three passengers, but the other court rejected the fourth passenger’s suit.”

“These appellate districts could be combined or the area could be split up geographically,” Reed continued. “Any solution lies with the Texas legislature and has political implications. But the current system creates uncertainty for litigants.”

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