Practitioners Beware: Under Amended Trap 47, 'Unpublished' Memorandum Opinions in Civil Case are Binding and Research on Westlaw and Lexis is a Necessity
Andrew T. Solomon
South Texas College of Law
June 16, 2009
St. Mary's Law Journal, Vol. 40, p. 693, 2009
This Article examines the history and current status of unpublished and memorandum intermediate appellate court opinions in Texas civil cases. Specifically, it critiques the 2003 and 2008 amendments to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure (TRAP) 47, the rule that governs the issuance, citation, and precedential value of unpublished and memorandum opinions. The 2008 amendment made memorandum opinions issued in civil cases since 2003 fully precedential. As a result, to competently research binding law in civil cases, Texas attorneys must now have access to Westlaw or Lexis because the court websites lack sophisticated search engines necessary to conduct competent legal research. This monumental shift in Texas law occurred without proper study into its effects upon Texas lawyers and in era where only 60% of attorneys use fee-based online research services (i.e., Westlaw or Lexis) for state case law research.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 59
Keywords: Legal Research, Westlaw, Lexis, Unpublished Opinions
Date posted: June 17, 2009
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