Sense of Irony Needed at Collin County Community College District?

April Fools Day is an appropriate time to note that, even as the Collin County Community College District vigorously resists being subject to the Texas Whistleblower statute, it maintains on its website a notice that it is subject to the act. Go figure.

Whistleblower Poster

 

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Whistleblower Poster

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Appeal Perfected

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Delinquent Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Due Date for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Motion for New Trial

Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Plea to Jurisdiction Granted

Venue Tranferred to Collin County

Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Transfer Venue

Hearing Date

College District’s Response to Lawsuit

College District President Resigns

Report of Corruption in Collin County Community College District

 

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Time Extended for Filing Collin County Community College District’s Brief

The time for filing the appellee’s brief in the Collin County Community College District whistleblower case has been extended to May 8.

Appellee's Extension of Time

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Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Transfer Venue

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Communists and Property Rights: An Anomalous Problem

Cuban cigars have, of course, been illegal in the United State since the inception of the Cuban embargo in the 1960s. Yet many cigars are available here with traditionally Cuban brand names. That is because tobacco growers in other parts of the Caribbean, many of them Cuban refugees with Cuban seed, use Cuban brand names when exporting to the United States. For example, the name “Cohiba” belongs to the Cuban government (because the Cuban government expropriated it) except in the United States. A private manufacturer owns the name here.

It seems likely that soon it will be legal for the Cuban government to export its cigars to the United States. When that happens, the Cuban government and the private owners will probably litigate entitlement to the duplicate brand names.

Now Communists abjure the concept of property. The trademark to the duplicate brand names is a form of intellectual property, which is to say property. It will be amusing to see the Cuban government profess in court the primacy of its property rights, especially since it stole those rights to begin with.

Pigs Get Fat, And Hogs Get Slaughtered

A lawyer’s job is to advantage his client where possible. I believe that and have done it to the best of my ability throughout my career. But I learned early on that you are limited in how far you can go. As a young lawyer, I once drafted a proposed purchase agreement that was so transparently and heavily weighted in favor of the buyer (my client) that the seller concluded we were in bad faith and walked away from the deal. I learned from that. You cannot take advocacy so far as to attempt to deny the other side the essential benefits of its bargain.

That lesson came to mind when I read about the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals case of Hayes v. Delbert Services Corp., which concerned the enforceability of arbitration and governing-law clauses. The contract disclaimed the applicability of any state or federal law, providing instead that disputes would be governed by the laws of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation. I infer, though the excerpt I’ve read does not say, that the Sioux Nation in question doesn’t have much law on the subject in dispute and that the parties have no connection to that Sioux Nation. Unsurprisingly, the court struck down the offending provisions.

If either of the parties had a meaningful connection to the Sioux Nation, I would expect the choice-of-law provision to be upheld. But it is offensive for a party with superior bargaining power to impose that choice on someone else when neither has such a connection. I have used arbitration clauses and choice-of-law provisions in my agreements, as have most transactional lawyers, but I’ve had better judgment than to try to push things as far as the lawyers did in this case–at least since that early experience I described.

Whistleblower Brief Filed in Suit Against Collin County Community College District

I’ve posted a series of pieces on the corruption at the Collin County Community College District. The police officers who discovered part of the scheme and began to investigate were told to shut down the investigation and were penalized for having gone as far as they did.

The officers filed a whistleblower suit, which was dismissed on the basis that the college district was immune to such a suit. The officers have appealed and the brief in support of their appeal is now filed. Here it is:

Appellants’ Brief–filestamped.

The College District will probably file its response in April or early May, depending on what extensions of time they seek.

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Hearing Date

College District’s Response to Lawsuit

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Chris Oldner Endorsed by San Antonio Express-News for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

The San Antonio Express-News has endorsed District Judge Chris Oldner for election to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. I do not know anything about Judge Oldner apart from his ruling in the Collin County Community  College District case. That ruling, however, makes me wonder. Anyone planning on following the Express-News’s recommendation should look further into Chris Oldner’s background.

Update (March 2, 2016):

Judge Oldner did not make it into a runoff for a slot on the Court of Criminal Appeals:

Oldner Election Results

I have to believe that is just as well.

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Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Transfer Venue

Hearing Date

College District’s Response to Lawsuit

College District President Resigns

Report of Corruption in Collin County Community College District

 

 

The Dallas Observer Picks Up on the College District Scandal

The Dallas Observer has a long article on the scandal at the Collin County Community College District. I am told it may be part of a series. Given the going on at the district, a series is appropriate.

Here’s a taste, but you should read the whole thing:

Dead textbooks are textbooks left over from previous orders when a new edition hits the shelves. Officers claim the bookstore is supposed to destroy the dead textbooks or sell them back to the manufacturer. But it only receives “pennies on the dollar” for the textbooks and, in turn, loses money.

The scheme the officers say they uncovered allegedly involved bookstore bosses selling new books under the table to the vendor, replacing the new books with the dead books and pocketing the cash. The vendor would then sell the new books elsewhere and keep the proceeds.

“Let’s assume estimates by the bookstore are that 10 pallets of the seventh edition of The Prince will be needed for classes the next semester,” Bennight says. “Since there are five pallets of the sixth edition in the basement that can be substituted, 15 pallets of the seventh edition are purchased. If each text costs $100, and there are 250 books per pallet, the cost of the excess inventory ordered is $25,000 for each pallet, a total of $125,000 for all five extra pallets ordered.

“Upon arrival, the sales rep keeps the excess pallets and pays the bookstore official $62,500 in cash,” he continues. “The sales rep personally profits when he sells the same texts to another institution at full price.”

Bennight pointed out that this $125,000 theft is just for one textbook pallet during one semester. The more than $2 million in dead books he says the college later wrote off is merely “a snapshot of a single point in time,” so there is no telling how much thievery has occurred over the years. “Sworn statements from accounting staff indicated ‘dead books’ were re-entered into inventory multiple times,” he says. “This means the $2 million is a low estimate of the theft.”

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Initial Appellate Court Docket Sheet

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Due Date for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Motion for New Trial

Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

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Venue Tranferred to Collin County

Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Transfer Venue

Hearing Date

College District’s Response to Lawsuit

College District President Resigns

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Clerk’s Record is Filed, Collin County Community College District Whistleblower Appeal

Yesterday was the deadline for filing of the trial court record in the whistleblower suit appeal. The appellate clerk’s records show that an electronic copy of the trial court record was filed:

Record Filing Verification

If there is a way to download the electronic trial court record, I did not see it.

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Initial Appellate Court Docket Sheet

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Andrew Cuomo Orders Takedown of Posters for Amazon’s Man in the High Castle

Man in the High Castle

Man in the High Castle is a new series from Amazon exploring what might have happened had the U.S, lost World War II. In the series, Germany controls everything east of the Rockies. Japan controls everything west of the Rockies, and there is a neutral zone in the Rockies themselves.

Andrew Cuomo ordered advertising for the series be removed from the NYC subway system. I am not a First Amendment lawyer, but the order seems questionable to me. It’s certainly unfortunate. I’ve seen the first three episodes of the series, and I’m hooked. You shouldn’t miss it regardless what Andrew Cuomo thinks.

Follow-up:

The linked article says that Andrew Cuomo, governor of the State of New York, ordered the NYC subway system to take down the advertising. Assuming that to be true, the government structure of New York must be quite different from that of Texas. Greg Abbott, governor of Texas, could not order VIA Metropolitan Transit (the entity for San Antonio, Texas, corresponding to the New York City subway system) to do anything. The governor might, in limited circumstances, use political influence to get something done, but he lacks the authority to give VIA orders.

 

 

Appellate Court Docket Sheet for Whistleblower Suit Against Collin County Community College District

Here’s case-identifying information:

0 COA 5 Case Info

Here’s a list of case events so far:

0 COA 5 Case Events

Note that the next scheduled event should be the filing of the record on December 8.

Related Posts:

Initial Appellate Court Docket Sheet

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Appeal Perfected

Management Attitude

Notice of Late Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Filed

Notice of Past-Due Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Delinquent Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Due Date for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Motion for New Trial

Request for Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

Plea to Jurisdiction Granted

Venue Tranferred to Collin County

Plaintiff’s Response to Motion to Transfer Venue

Hearing Date

College District’s Response to Lawsuit

College District President Resigns

Report of Corruption in Collin County Community College District