Plaintiff Dawn Nettles has asked the Court of Appeals for the 5th District in Dallas for an en banc reconsideration of its decision to grant immunity to GTECH (n/k/a IGT) the private contractor that operates the Texas Lottery. In Nettles’ Motion for En Banc Reconsideration, Nettles’ appellate attorney, Peter Kelly, asked the entire Dallas Court of Appeals to reconsider the earlier decision by a three-judge panel of that court.
The phrase “en banc” is French. It means “on the bench” which is where judges sit. There are thirteen judges on the Court of Appeals for the 5th District in Dallas. Appeals are randomly assigned to three-judge panels to hear the arguments of counsel and to draft legal opinions. If a party is disappointed with the opinion issued by the three-judge panel, a motion for reconsideration en banc can be filed to ask all thirteen judges on the Court to reconsider the opinion of the three-judge panel. Motions for en banc reconsideration are rarely successful. One appellate specialist ressearched the topic and opined that fewer than 10 to 20% of en banc mations are granted. However, he was still of the opinion that it is important to file en banc motions in appropriate cases.
The original opinion that granted GTECH immunity from fraud lawsuits was written by Justice Martin Richter who is not currently an active member of the 5th District Court. He was originally appointed to the court in September of 2000 by Governor George W. Bush. He remained a Justice of the court until 2012 when he was defeated in the Republican primary. Justice Richter’s opinion was joined by the other two members of the panel, Justice Elizabeth Lang-Miers, and Justice Lana Myers.