The Texas Supreme Court issued a Request for Briefs on the Merits in the Dawn Nettles lawsuit against GTECH this evening. Ms. Nettles sued GTECH in Dallas. The Dallas trial judge ruled that GTECH was immune from suit for fraud. The Dallas Court of Appeals agreed with the Dallas trial court and ruled that GTECH cannot be sued for fraud in the Fun 5’s case. Ms. Nettles asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the opinion of the Court of Appeals. Tonight, the Supreme Court indicated it was interested in reading detailed briefs from the parties. The odds are that the Court will also ask the attorneys to argue the case after briefs are filed.
What does this mean for the Steele mass-action case in Austin that is also pending in the Supreme Court? It just might be good news. If the members of the Court had already decided to extend judicial derivative immunity to GTECH, they would not have asked for briefs in the Nettles case. That doesn’t mean they have made up their minds. They may still rule in favor of GTECH after getting briefs on the merits. It just means that they are not willing to say, without seeing more, that the Dallas Court of Appeals was correct.
There has been no word from the Court yet on whether it will also request more detailed briefs in the Steele case. The members of the Court may already have enough information in Steele to decide that the lengthy and scholarly opinion by the Austin Court of Appeals need not be reviewed. That’s our hope of course. However, we will not know until the Court makes its decision. As soon as we hear from the Court, we’ll post the information here.