Sell the Old Place
Move Into New Digs
UNITED STATES SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
QUESTIONNAIRE FOR JUDICIAL NOMINEES
Name: State full name (include any former names used).
Gregg Jeffrey Costa
- Position: State the position for which you have been
United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit
- Address: List current office address. If city and state ofresidence differs from your place of employment, please list the city and state where you currently
United States District Court Southern District of Texas 601 25th Street Galveston, Texas 77550
Residence: Bellaire, Texas
- Birthplace: State date and place of
1972; Baltimore, Maryland
- Education: List in reverse chronological order each college, law school, or any other institution of higher education attended and indicate for each the dates of attendance, whether a degree was received, and the date each degree was
1996 – 1999, University of Texas School of Law; J.D., 1999 1990 – 1994, Dartmouth College; B.A., 1994
- Employment Record: List in reverse chronological order all governmental agencies, business or professional corporations, companies, firms, or other enterprises, partnerships, institutions or organizations, non-profit or otherwise, with which you have been affiliated as an officer, director, partner, proprietor, or employee since graduation from college, whether or not you received payment for your services. Include the name and address of the employer and job title or
2012 – present
United States District Court, Southern District of Texas (Galveston and Victoria Divisions) 601 25th Street Galveston, Texas 77550
United States District Judge
United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas 919 Milam P.O. Box 61129 Houston, Texas 77208
Assistant United States Attorney
Weil, Gotshal & Manges 700 Louisiana, Suite 1600 Houston, Texas 77002
Spring Semester 2004 and 2005 University of Houston Law Center 100 Law Center Houston, Texas 77204
Hon. William H. Rehnquist Supreme Court of the United States 1 First Street, NE Washington, DC 20543
August 2000 -June 2001
United States Department of Justice Office of the Solicitor General 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530
Hon. A. Raymond Randolph United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 333 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001
United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division 600 E Street, NW Washington, DC 20530
Summer Law Intern
Susman Godfrey 1000 Louisiana, Suite 5100 Houston, Texas 77002
Baron& Budd 3102 Oak Lawn Avenue # 100 Dallas, Texas 75219
Summers 1997, 1998
Mayor, Day, Caldwell & Keeton (now defunct, merged with Andrews Kurth) 700 Louisiana, Suite 1900 Houston, Texas 77002
Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal 200 Crescent Court, Suite 1500, Dallas, Texas 75201
Sar-el Volunteers for Israel No physical address, Volunteer, Air Force base near Be’er Sheva, Israel
East Sunflower Elementary School (placement through Teach for America) 212 East Claiborne Street Sunflower, Mississippi 38778
Third and fourth grade teacher
Other affiliations (uncompensated):
1999 – present
Sunflower County Freedom Project 120 Delta Avenue, Sunflower, Mississippi 38778
Board Member, Secretary
2013 – present
Texas Law Review Association 727 East Dean Keeton St., Austin, Texas 78705
4525 Beechnut, Houston, Texas 77096
- Military Service and Draft Status: Identify any service in the S. Military, including dates of service, branch of service, rank or rate, serial number (if different from social security number) and type of discharge received, and whether you have registered for selective service.
I have not served in the military. I registered for selective service.
- Honors and Awards: List any scholarships, fellowships, honorary degrees, academic or professional honors, honorary society memberships, military awards, and any other special recognition for outstanding service or
As Assistant United States Attorney:
John Marshall Award for Performance in Prosecuting White Collar Crime (the Department of Justice’s highest award offered to attorneys for contributions in specialized areas of legal performance) (2013)
Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service for work on Allen Stanford prosecution (2012)
Recognition from United States Postal Inspection Service for work on various fraud cases, including multimillion dollar kickback case involving international oil traders (2012)
Award from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for work on cases involving importation of counterfeit technology products from China (2010)
Houston Bar Association Bob Susman Scholarship (awarded annually to two prosecutors to fund attendance at ABA Annual White Collar Crime Conference) (2010)
Certificate of Appreciation from Director of the Secret Service for work on mortgage fraud prosecution (2009)
Certificate of Appreciation from Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security for work on FEMA fraud cases (2008)
At University of Texas School of Law:
Graduated with highest honors (1999)
Vice Chancellor (ranked second in class after second year of law school) (1998) Editor in Chief, Texas Law Review
Ellen Waters Olson Scholarship (three years full tuition) (1996)
One of two students selected by Dean to Task Force on the Future of the Law School Elected Permanent Class Representative
First Place, Hutcheson First Year Moot Court Competition (Section 5, 1997) First Place and Best Brief, Gibbs & Bruns Moot Court Competition (Fall 1997)
Dean’s Achievement Award (top grade in class): Criminal Law; Constitutional Law II: Free Speech; Constitutional Law II: Race & The Constitution; Labor Law; Administrative Law; Professional Responsibility for Civil Litigators
At Dartmouth College:
Presidential citation for excellence in American government
Tucker Foundation Fellowship for semester spent working at parochial elementary school in Jersey City, New Jersey
- Bar Associations: List all bar associations or legal or judicial-related committees, selection panels or conferences of which you are or have been a member, and give the titles and dates of any offices which you have held in such
American Bar Association
Co-Chair, White Collar Crime Subcommittee, South Texas Chapter (2008 -2012)
Federal Bar Association
Southern District of Texas Chapter, Judicial Liaison (2012 – present) Galveston County Bar Association
State Bar of Texas
Editorial Board member, The Advocate Joumal of the Bar’s Section of Litigation (2012 – present)
Texas Law Review Association (2013 -present) Board of Directors
The American Law Institute (2014-present)
10. Bar and Court Admission:
- List the date(s) you were admitted to the bar of any state and any lapses in membership. Please explain the reason for any lapse in Texas, 2000.
There has been no lapse in membership.
- List all courts in which you have been admitted to practice, including dates of admission and any lapses in membership. Please explain the reason for any lapse in membership. Give the same information for administrative bodies that require special admission to
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, 2005 United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, 2001
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, 2002 There have been no lapses in membership.
- List all professional, business, fraternal, scholarly, civic, charitable, or other organizations, other than those listed in response to Questions 9 or 10 to which you belong, or to which you have belonged, since graduation from law school. Provide dates of membership or participation, and indicate any office you held. Include clubs, working groups, advisory or editorial boards, panels, committees, conferences, or
Bellaire Little League (assistant baseball coach, 2010 – 2011)
Bellaire Recreation Center (youth soccer coach, 2008 – 2009)
Congregation Beth Yeshurun (2002 – present)
100 Jewish Men (Board Member, 2004-2006)
Federal Judges Association (2012 – present)
Houston Express Soccer Club (team manager, 2012 -present)
Houston Urban Debate League (2008 – 2009)
Sunflower County Freedom Project (Board Member, 1999 – present)
Supreme Court Historical Society (2003 – present)
Teach for America (1994 – present)
University of Texas School of Law, Reunion Committee (2004, 2014)
YMCA (youth soccer coach, 2006 – 2007)
- The American Bar Association’s Commentary to its Code of Judicial Conduct states that it is inappropriate for a judge to hold membership in any organization that invidiously discriminates on the basis of race, sex, or religion, or national origin. Indicate whether any of these organizations listed in response to 11a above currently discriminate or formerly discriminated on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin either through formal membership requirements or the practical implementation of membership policies. If so, describe any action you have taken to change these policies and
To the best of my knowledge, none of the organizations listed above discriminates or previously discriminated on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin, either through formal membership requirements or the practical implementation of membership policies.
12. Published Writings and Public Statements:
- List the titles, publishers, and dates of books, articles, reports, letters to the editor, editorial pieces, or other published material you have written or edited, including material published only on the Internet. Supply four (4) copies of all published material to the
Honest Services at Skilling’s One Year Anniversary, Co-written with David Issak, Presented at State Bar of Texas 37th Annual Advanced Criminal Law Course: Federal Workshop, Houston, Texas, July 2011. Copy supplied.
Amazed and Inspired, Sunflower County Freedom Project Newsletter, Oct. 1, 2008. Copy supplied.
E-mail quoted in Peter King, Saints’ Slide Continues, cnnsi.com, Sept. 25, 2007. Copy supplied.
Current Antitrust Issues in Patent Law, Co-written with David J. Healey and Ed Chin, Presented at 2004 Advanced Patent Law Institute, Austin, Oct. 2004. I have been unable to obtain a complete copy, but I have provided the Table of Contents and first page that I found on the Internet.
Are the Standards Changing for Standard-Setting? Antitrust Issues in Standard Setting and High-Tech Cases, Presented at University of Texas School of Law Continuing Legal Education “Computer and Technology Law Institute,” May 2004. Copy supplied.
2004 Update on Antitrust in High Tech and IP Cases, 2004, Advanced Patent Law Institute, San Antonio. I have been unable to locate a copy of this paper, but its content is similar to the two antitrust articles listed above.
John Marshall, the Sedition Act, and Free Speech in the Early Republic, 99 Tex.
- Rev. 1099 (1999). Copy supplied.
I also recall writing two articles in The Dartmouth during college. One of the articles supported Senator Bob Kerrey’s campaign in the 1992 New Hampshire Presidential Primary. The other discussed the United States’ support of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq conflict. I have not been able to find copies of these articles.
In October 1990, I wrote a letter to the editor for the Dallas Morning News relating to an off-campus publication at Dartmouth that had published a quotation from Mein Kampf. I have been unable to obtain a copy of the letter.
- Supply four (4) copies of any reports, memoranda or policy statements you prepared or contributed in the preparation of on behalf of any bar association, committee, conference, or organization of which you were or are a member. If you do not have a copy of a report, memorandum or policy statement, give the name and address of the organization that issued it, the date of the document, and a summary of its subject
I served as coordinator for the United States Public Service Academy Task Force on Service Learning. The Academy released a report in February 2007 that summarized the work of my task force as well as that of seven others. A copy of the report is supplied.
- Supply four (4) copies of any testimony, official statements or other communications relating, in whole or in part, to matters of public policy or legal interpretation, that you have issued or provided or that others presented on your behalf to public bodies or public
On November 2, 2011, I testified before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee concerning my district court nomination. Testimony and responses to questions for the record supplied.
- Supply four (4) copies, transcripts or recordings of all speeches or talks delivered by you, including commencement speeches, remarks, lectures, panel discussions, conferences, political speeches, and question-and-answer sessions. Include the date and place where they were delivered, and readily available press reports about the speech or talk. If you do not have a copy of the speech or a transcript or recording of your remarks, give the name and address of the group before whom the speech was given, the date of the speech, and a summary of its subject matter. If you did not speak from a prepared text, furnish a copy of any outline or notes from which you spoke.
December 18, 2013: Naturalization Ceremony, Houston, Texas. Draft remarks supplied.
October 24, 2013: Panel: Going to Trial, ABA National Institute on Securities Fraud, New Orleans, Louisiana. Notes supplied.
October 24, 2013: Welcome Address: The Fraud Stays The Same, The Law Changes (Comparing the Fraud Schemes of Allen Stanford and Charles Ponzi), ABA National Institute on Securities Fraud, New Orleans, Louisiana. Draft speech and PowerPoint supplied.
October 18, 2013: Judicial Panel: Perspectives on Admiralty Law and Jurisdiction, 21st Annual Conference on Admiralty and Maritime Law by the University of Texas School of Law, Houston, Texas. Audio supplied.
October 11, 2013: My First Year on the Bench, Federal Judicial Center’s Phase I Orientation for Newly Appointed District Judges, Fort Worth, Texas. Outline supplied.
September 19, 2013: The Galveston Federal Court: Then And Now, Galveston Bar Association, Galveston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
September 9, 2013: Early Thoughts From The Bench, Houston Bar Association Employment & Labor Law Section. Notes supplied.
July 31, 2013: Naturalization Ceremony, Houston, Texas. Draft remarks supplied.
June 26, 2013: Naturalization Ceremony, Houston, Texas. Draft remarks and press coverage supplied.
June 13, 2013: Comments on Closing Arguments, United States Attorney’s Office, Houston, Texas (with Fifth Circuit Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod). Judge Elrod and I discussed the categories of error that arise in closing arguments. I have no notes, transcript, or recording. The address of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is 1000 Louisiana, Suite 2300, Houston, Texas 77002.
June 10, 2013: Keynote Address, Houston Bar Association Communities in Schools Orientation, Houston, Texas. Draft speech supplied.
May 23, 2013: The Southern District of Texas: Then and Now (A History of the District), Federal Bar Association, Houston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
April 26, 2013: Federal Court Practice, Corpus Christi Bar Association 2013 Advanced Civil Trial Law Seminar, Corpus Christi, Texas (with United States District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos). Judge Ramos and I discussed the differences between federal and state court practice and trends in federal court filings, and answered questions during a 45-minute session. I have no notes, transcript or recording. The address of the Corpus Christi Bar Association is 555 North Carancahua Street, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401.
April 18, 2013: Early Thoughts From The Bench, Houston Bar Association Federal Practice Group, Houston, Texas. This was primarily a question-and answer session in which I discussed with the attendees the procedural differences between federal and state court, reasons for the paucity of civil jury trials, the makeup of the civil docket in my court, and lessons from criminal practice that I think may benefit civil lawyers. My notes would have been substantially similar to the ones on September 19, 2013, which have been supplied.
April 11, 2013: Early Thoughts From The Bench, Federal Bar Association, Southern District of Texas Chapter, Victoria, Texas. Other than focusing on the makeup of the Victoria Division docket as opposed to the Galveston Division docket, my notes would have been substantially similar to the ones on September 19, 2013, which have been supplied.
March 15, 2013: Keynote Speech: The Case of the Vietnamese Fishermen’s Association vs. The Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Vietnamese-American Lawyers and Legal Assistants Association, Houston, Texas. Draft speech supplied.
February 27, 2013. The Galveston Federal Court: Then and Now. Galveston Rotary Club Weekly Luncheon, Galveston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
February 14, 2013: Early Thoughts From The Bench, Houston Trial Lawyers Association, Houston, Texas. This was primarily a question-and-answer session in which I discussed with the attendees the procedural differences between federal and state court, reasons for the paucity of civil jury trials, the makeup of the civil docket in my court, and lessons from criminal practice that I think may benefit civil lawyers. My notes would have been substantially similar to the ones on September 19, 2013, which have been supplied.
November 15, 2012: Early Thoughts From The Bench, Galveston Bar Association Monthly Luncheon, Galveston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
November 12, 2012: The More Things Change …: A Comparison of the Fraud Schemes of Allen Stanford and Charles Ponzi, Houston Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Houston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
September 20, 2012: New Black Robes: Perspectives on Advocacy and Ethics From Three Recent Judicial Appointees, Texas Ass’n Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists, Houston Chapter (Texas Court of Appeals Justices Rebecca Huddle and Brett Busby were co-panelists). The moderator, then-Texas Court of Appeals Justice Jeff Brown, and guests asked the panelists questions concerning court procedures and advocacy tips. I have no notes, transcript or recording. The address for this association is 712 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002.
September 11, 2012: I administered the oath of office to Galveston Police Chief Henry Porretto, Galveston, Texas. Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jgnt4HFNbOO.
August 10, 2012: I delivered remarks at my investiture ceremony, Galveston, Texas. Transcript supplied.
June 18, 2012: International Issues In Fraud Cases, Lecture to University of Houston Criminal Procedure Class, Houston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
October 5, 2011: The Jewish Community Center in Houston organized a four part series on the history of the Supreme Court of the United States as part of its adult education program. I gave the first talk, discussing the early history of the Court through the Civil War and the mechanics of how a case ends up at the Supreme Court. Notes supplied.
July 19, 2011: Honest Services at Skilling’s One Year Anniversary, State Bar of Texas 37th Annual Advanced Criminal Law Course: Federal Workshop, Houston, Texas (with David Issak). PowerPoint supplied. A copy of the paper we presented is supplied in response to 12(a).
March 29, 2011: Panel on Trying Counterfeit Trademark Cases, Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Coordinators’ Conference, National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina. I have no notes, transcript or recording. The address of the NAC is 1620 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
February 24, 2011: Panel on Alumni Lawyers: Pursuing Justice Through a Career in Law, Teach for America’s “What Comes Next” Event for Houston Corps Members, Houston, Texas. I have no notes, transcript or recording. The address of Teach for America is 4669 Southwest Freeway, Suite 600, Houston, Texas 77027.
January 26, 2011: Alumni Speaker, Induction Ceremony for Chancellors Honor Society, University of Texas School of Law. I have no notes, transcript or recording, but law school coverage is supplied. The address of the law school is 727 East Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78705.
October 14, 2010: Issues in International Financial Fraud Investigations, Financial Fraud Enforcement Coordinators Conference, National Advocacy Center, Columbia, South Carolina (with Paul Pelletier). We used a PowerPoint for this presentation, but because the materials are law enforcement sensitive they are not provided. The address of the NAC is 1620 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
September 23, 2010: Panel on Honest Services Law after Supreme Court Skilling
Decision, Federal Bar Association Southern District of Texas Chapter/ABA
White Collar Crime Subcommittee, Houston, Texas. I have no notes, transcript or recording. The address of the FBA Southern District of Texas Chapter is 2726 Bissonnet #240-239, Houston, Texas 77005.
March 18, 2010: Investigating and Prosecuting Complex Immigration Fraud Schemes, Immigration Law Conference, National Advocacy Center (with ICE Agent Marcus Barton). We used a PowerPoint for this presentation, but because the materials are law enforcement sensitive they are not provided. The address of the NAC is 1620 Pendleton Street, Columbia, South Carolina 29201.
October 2009: I participated on a “Career in Law” panel for Rice University students, Houston, Texas. My remarks focused on opportunities for law graduates in the public sector. I have no notes, transcript or recording, but press coverage supplied. The address of Rice University is 6100 Main, Houston, Texas 77251.
February 26, 2008: Prosecuting Disaster Fraud Cases, California Wildfires Disaster Fraud Conference, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California (San Diego) (with Jonathan Rusch). We used a PowerPoint for this presentation, but because the materials are law enforcement sensitive they are not provided. The address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is 880 Front Street, Room 6293, San Diego, California 92101.
December 7, 2006: Major Theft Cases: The Prosecutor’s Perspective, FBI Major Theft Conference, Houston, Texas. PowerPoint supplied.
May 21, 2004: Are the Standards Changing for Standard-Setting? Antitrust Issues in Standard-Setting and High-Tech Cases, University of Texas School of Law Continuing Legal Education “Computer and Technology Law Institute,” Austin, Texas. A copy of the paper we presented is supplied in response to 12(a).
2004: Update on Antitrust in High Tech and IP Cases, Advanced Patent Law Institute, San Antonio. I presented the paper noted in response to question 12a, which I have been unable to locate. The Advanced Patent Law Institute is sponsored by the University of Texas School of Law Office of Continuing Education, which is located at 727 East Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78705.
In addition to these specific talks I recall, I have participated in other Teach for America career panels for members interested in legal careers and have given talks to a number of summer law interns about judicial clerkships. I do not have records showing the dates of these talks.
- List all interviews you have given to newspapers, magazines or other publications, or radio or television stations, providing the dates of these interviews and four (4) copies of the clips or transcripts of these interviews where they are available to
A number of articles have quoted statements I made in court while serving as an Assistant United States Attorney. The following are those articles I could find in which I spoke directly to a reporter.
Chris Paschenko, DOJ to Honor Judge Costa for Prosecution of $7B Ponzi Scheme, Galveston Daily News, November 29, 2013. Copy supplied.
Leah Fabel, One Day (Teach for America Alumni Magazine), Fall 2012. Copy supplied.
Chris Paschenko, Young Law: Costa Successfully Prosecuted R. Allen Stanford in
$7B Ponzi Scheme, Galveston Daily News, Oct. 29, 2012. Copy supplied.
Andy Soto, Interview With Judge Costa, Galveston County Bar and Texas Young Lawyers Association Newsletters, Aug. 10, 2012. Copy supplied.
John Council, Senate Confirms Gregg Costa, David Guaderrama for Federal Benches in Texas, Texas Lawyer Ex Parte Blog, Apr. 26, 2012. Copy supplied.
Laurel Brubaker Calkins, Stanford CFO Forged Boss’s Name, Fought Cost Control Measure, Witness Says, Bloomberg News, Feb. 17, 2012. Copy supplied.
Miriam Rozen, A Zero-Tolerance Policy for Hurricane Disaster-Relief Fraud, Texas Lawyer, Aug. 23, 2010. Copy supplied.
Darren Barbee, Con Artist Given 10 Years in Prison, Ordered to Pay $3.1 Million, Fort Worth Star Telegram, May 13, 2010. Copy supplied.
Darren Barbee, Houston-Area Woman Pleads Guilty in Swindling Case, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Aug. 25, 2009. Copy supplied.
Darren Barbee, Woman’s Bail Revoked after Prosecutors Accuse Her of Continuing Fraud, Fort Worth Star Telegram, June 16, 2009. Copy supplied.
Chris Vogel, No Honest Players Among Human Smugglers, Houston Press, Aug. 7, 2008. Copy supplied.
Staff, Crime & Courts,· Murder-for-Hire Case Spurs Arrest, Houston Chronicle, Dec. 4, 2007. Copy supplied.
Rosanna Ruiz and Cindy George, Brothers Behind Bogus Web Site Guilty, Houston Chronicle, June 15, 2007. Copy supplied.
Cindy George, 3 Sentenced Over Storm Fraud, Houston Chronicle, Mar. 31, 2007. Copy supplied.
Harvey Rice, Life Term Possible on Gun Charge, Houston Chronicle, Sept. 27, 2006. Copy supplied.
Laura Elder, Flagship Operator Pleads Not Guilty, Galveston Daily News, Mar. 9, 2006. Copy supplied.
On September 4, 2005, I was interviewed by Houston local television station KPRC the day after Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away. I have been unable to obtain a copy of the video.
Alumni News: Two Graduates Will Clerk at US. Supreme Court, Townes Hall Notes (UT Law Alumni Magazine), Fall 2000. Copy supplied.
Scholarship Opens Doors for Recipients, Townes Hall Notes (UT Law Alumni Magazine), Fall 1999. Copy supplied.
- Judicial Office: State (chronologically) any judicial offices you have held, including positions as an administrative law judge, whether such position was elected or appointed, and a description of the jurisdiction of each such
I was nominated to serve as a United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas by President Obama on September 8, 2011, and I was confirmed by the Senate on April 26, 2012. As a United States District Judge, I have the authority to preside over civil and criminal matters filed in or removed to the Southern District of Texas.
- Approximately how many cases have you presided over that have gone to verdict or judgment?
I have presided over nine cases that have gone to verdict or judgment.
- Of these, approximately what percent were: jury trials: 78%
- Provide citations for all opinions you have written, including concurrences and dissents.
See attached list.
- For each of the 10 most significant cases over which you presided, provide: (1) a capsule summary of the nature the case; (2) the outcome of the case; (3) the name and contact information for counsel who had a significant role in the trial of the case; and (3) the citation of the case (ifreported) or the docket number and a copy of the opinion or judgment (if not reported).
- Gaal/a et al. v. Citizens Medical Ctr. et al., Cv. V-10-14. For opinion dismissing board members on legislative immunity grounds, see 2012 WL 2870701. For opinion denying plaintiffs motion to file amended complaint, see 2012 WL 3205634. For opinion granting in part and denying in part hospital administrator’s motion for summary judgment, see 2013 WL 66250.
Three cardiologists of Indian origin brought suit against a county-owned hospital alleging various actions of discrimination. The case was transferred to me after the Fifth Circuit remanded the case in an interlocutory appeal. Based on the Fifth Circuit opinion, I then granted summary judgment in favor of the hospital board members on legislative immunity grounds and granted in part and denied in part a summary judgment motion filed by the hospital administrator who had asserted a qualified immunity defense. A couple of weeks prior to the scheduled January 2013 trial, the case settled for the publicly disclosed amount of $8 million.
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Monte F. James Joshua Romero Jackson Walker LLP 100 Congress Avenue, Suite 1100, Austin, TX 78701 512-236-2066
Counsel for Citizens Medical, Brown, and Board Members:
Daniel M. McClure, Lance Bremer Fulbright & Jaworski 1301 McKinney Street, Suite 5100 Houston, TX 77010 713-651-5159
Kevin Dudley Cullen Cullen, Carsner, Seerden & Cullen LLP P.O. Box 2938 Victoria, TX 77902 361-573-6318
Counsel for Campbell:
Rex Lee Easley, Jr. Cole Cole & Easley 302 West Forrest Street Victoria, TX 77901 361-575-0551
- Coates v. Brazoria County et al., Civ. G-10-71. For order denying motion to disqualify counsel, see 2012 WL 2568129; for order dismissing Juvenile Board, see 894 F. Supp. 2d 966 (2012); for order granting in part and denying in part Brazoria County’s summary judgment motion, see 2012 WL 6160678; for Order denying motion to certify interlocutory appeal, see 919 F. Supp. 2d 863 (2013).
Two former employees of the Brazoria County Juvenile Board sued a former county court judge, the Juvenile Board, and the County asserting section 1983 and Title VII claims based on allegations that the judge sexually harassed them and that they were fired in retaliation for reporting the harassment. The case had been pending for more than two years when it was transferred to me. Plaintiffs had recently filed an amended complaint adding the Juvenile Board as a new defendant. I denied a motion seeking disqualification of the Juvenile Board’s counsel; granted the Juvenile Board’s motion to dismiss based on a finding that the entity did not have the capacity to sue or be sued under Texas law; and then granted in part and denied in part the County’s motion for summary judgment on the section 1983 claims. These rulings required a legal determination of whether the Juvenile Bound is a state or local entity and whether it is a final policymaker for the county over employment decisions and policies. The case settled pursuant to a Rule 68 offer of judgment for $750,000 the weekend before trial.
Iain Gordon Simpson Simpson, P.C. P.O. Box 924555 Houston, TX 77292 281-989-0742
Jacqueline A. Armstrong 11111 Katy Freeway, Suite 910 Houston, TX 77079 713-973-5711
Thomas H. Padgett, Jr, The Law Offices of Thomas H. Padgett, Jr. 4809 Pine Street, Houston, TX 77401 832-335-9134
Counsel for Defendant Brazoria County:
Barry Abrams Susan L. Bickley Blank Rome LLP 700 Louisiana, Suite 4000 Houston, TX 77002 713-228-6601
Counsel for Defendant Brazoria County Juvenile Board:
Rusty Hardin, Cristen David Feldman Rusty Hardin & Associates, 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 2250 Houston, TX 77010 713-652-9000
County for Defendant Blackstock:
Anthony P. Griffin A Griffin Lawyers 1115 21st Street, Galveston, TX 77550 409-763-0386
- United States v. Baker, Cr. G-11-8.
I presided over a bench trial in this child pornography case. This case arose when German police recorded the IP addresses of individuals making film clips available on a file-sharing network. German authorities referred the information to the ICE Cyber Crime Center. Summons served on the service provider identified the defendant as the user of three IP addresses used to make files available on the network. After execution of a search warrant, ICE authorities recovered computers containing more than 6,000 still images and 60 video clips containing child pornography. I found the defendant guilty on all three charged counts: receipt of child pornography; possession of pornography; and access with intent to view child pornography. In December 2012, I sentenced defendant Baker to a prison term of 132 months.
Counsel for United States:
Robert Stabe Sherri Zack, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas 1000 Louisiana, Suite 2300 Houston, TX 77002 713-567-9000
Counsel for Defendant Baker:
George D. Murphy Jr 808 Travis Street, 24th Floor Houston, TX 77002 713-658-1960
- United States v. Deleon, Cr. L-12-560-2.
I presided over a trial in the Laredo Division given the volume of criminal filings there. This case arose out of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force’s “Operation El Patron,” which investigated a drug trafficking conspiracy that transported drugs and money from Mexico to Atlanta, Georgia, with Laredo, Texas serving as the place where the contraband crossed the border. After a three day trial in which the primary evidence came from cooperating codefendants and transcripts from wire taps, the jury convicted DeLeon of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, conspiring to engage in money laundering, and two substantive drug offenses. The jury acquitted DeLeon on a substantive charge of international money laundering. Sentencing is set for March 7, 2014.
Counsel for United States:
Graciela Rodriguez Lindberg Sanjeev Bhasker, 1100 Matamoros Dr., Suite 200 Laredo, Texas 78040 956-721-4960
Counsel for DeLeon:
Scott McCrum 700 N. Saint Mary’s St., Suite 1900 San Antonio, Texas 78205 210-225-4851
- Luu v. International Inv. Trade & Group, No. Cv. G-11-182. For Order granting the defendant’s motion to withdraw admissions and denying summary judgment, see 2012 WL 2450773.
More than fifty Vietnamese laborers who travelled to the United States to work as welders, filed suit against Vietnamese companies they contend engaged in an international human trafficking conspiracy. Plaintiffs assert claims under the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, the 13th Amendment, and the Alien Tort Claims Act. The plaintiffs sought summary judgment on the ground that the Vietnamese defendant had failed to respond to requests for admissions. I denied that request and ruled that the deemed admissions should be withdrawn because, among other things, the defendant did not have American counsel at the time, uncertainty existed concerning whether service of the requests was proper, and summary judgment on that basis would prevent any presentation on the merits of the dispute. Trial is currently set for May 2014.
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Minh Tam Tran, The Tammy Tran Law Firm, 2915 Fannin Street Houston, TX 77002 713-655-0737
Anthony G. Buzbee The Buzbee Law Firm, JP Morgan Chase Tower 600 Travis, Suite 7300, Houston, TX 77002 713-223-5393
Counsel for Defendant:
Charles Stephen Kelley Mayer Brown LLP 700 Louisiana, Suite 3400 Houston, TX 77002 713-238-2634
- Anderson v. BNSF Railway, Cv. G-11-270.
I presided over a jury trial in this Federal Employers Liability Act case. Anderson alleged that he was injured while pulling pins on railcars because BNSF Railway did not maintain a safe rail yard. The central dispute between the experts who testified concerned whether the ballast in the rail yard was properly balanced. After a four-day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant finding no negligence.
Counsel for Anderson:
Michael P. Doyle Doyle Raizner LLP One Houston Center 1221 McKinney, Suite 4100 Houston, TX 77010 713-571-1146
Counsel for BNSF Railway:
Douglas W. Poole Bryan Lasswell P.O. Box 629 Galveston, TX 77553 409-763-2481
- Bear Ranch LLC v. HeartBrand Beef Inc. Cv. V-12-14. For opinion denying motion to intervene, see 286 F.R.D. 313 (2012); for opinion granting leave to amend, see 2013 WL 4520425; for opinion on motion to dismiss, see 2013 WL 6190253.
Defendant HeartBrand claims to be the sole source for Akaushi beef in the United States. When it sells the cattle to the ranches, it includes a number of provisions requiring the registration of any offspring and restricting the sale of Akaushi semen. Bear Ranch, one of the ranches that had purchased Akaushi cattle from HeartBrand, filed suit alleging that the restrictions violate federal antitrust and Texas contract law. I denied a motion by another ranch to intervene and then granted plaintiffs motion to file an amended complaint. After the filing of the amended complaint, I then granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss claims in the amended complaint. I dismissed the claim seeking a declaratory judgment that the contractual restrictions on breeding and sales were void as a result of fraudulent inducement, concluding that such relief would amount to an impermissible partial rescission under Texas law. I denied the motion to dismiss the claim for damages resulting from any fraudulent inducement, finding that the plaintiff had sufficiently pleaded that it overpaid for the cattle as a result of the alleged misrepresentations. Trial is currently set for April 2014.
Counsel for Bear Ranch:
Paul Yetter, Yetter Coleman LLP 909 Fannin Street, Suite 3600 Houston, TX 77010 713-632-8000
John Campbell Barker Yetter Coleman LLP 221 West Sixth Street, Suite 750 Austin, TX 78701 512-533-0150
Andrew R. Seger McWhorter Cobb Johnson LLP 1722 Broadway Lubbock, TX 79401 806-762-0214
Counsel for HeartBrand:
James A. Reeder, Jr., Stacy Neal, Vinson & Elkins 1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2500 Houston, TX 77002 713-758-2202
Counsel for Proposed Intervener Twinwood Cattle:
William D. Wood, David Hanns,
Fulbright & Jaworski LLP 1301 McKinney Street, Suite 5100 Houston, TX 77010 713-651-5151
- Blythe v. Bumba International Trust, Cv. V-12-36. For opinion granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment, see 2013 WL 6190284.
This is a products liability case involving the Bumbo Baby Seat, which has been subject to separate recalls by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Parents of an infant allegedly injured while sitting in the seat on a counter brought suit against Bumbo, the manufacturer, and Target, which sold the seat. I granted the defendant’s motion on summary judgment on the marketing defect claim, finding that the warning used after the 2007 recall were sufficient as a matter of law. I denied summary judgment on the design defect claim, the gross negligence claims, and on the question whether Target had actual knowledge of the defect which would support an exclusion from the Texas statute immunizing nonmanufacturing sellers in products liability cases. I then presided over a six day trial in Victoria. The jury returned a verdict finding no liability on the part of the defendants.
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Martin Rose, Michael Ross Cunningham Rose Walker LLP 3500 Maple Ave, Suite 900 Dallas, TX 75219 214-752-8600
Counsel for Defendants:
Tarush R. Anand John Davis Brown Sims, P.C. 1177 West Loop South, Tenth Floor Houston, TX 77027 713-629-1580
- Voting for America v. Andrade, Cv. G-12-44. For order granting in part and denying in part motion for preliminary injunction, see 2012 WL 3155566, stay granted, 2012 WL 6160678.
Nonprofit organizations that engage in voter registration activities sued the Texas Secretary of State and Galveston County Registrar challenging eight Texas statutes governing voter registration activities. I issued a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of five of the eight challenged provisions on either preemption or First Amendment grounds. The opinion also addressed the defendants’ arguments that plaintiffs lacked standing to sue them. In a 2-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit stayed my order pending appeal. In a 2-1 decision by a different panel, the Fifth Circuit vacated the injunction.
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Chad W. Dunn Brazil & Dunn 4201 Cypress Creek Parkway, Suite 530 Houston, TX 77068 281-580-6310
Brian Mellor, Michelle Kanter Cohen Michelle Rupp
Project Vote, 1350 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1250 Washington, DC 20005 202-546-4173
David C. Peet, Julia Lewis, Ryan Morland Malone Ropes & Gray, LLP 700 12th Street NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20005 202-508-4826
Counsel for Secretary of State:
Kathlyn Claire Wilson Office of the Attorney General General Litigation Division P.O. Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711 512-463-2120
Counsel for Galveston County:
Donald S. Glywasky Galveston County Legal Department 722 Moody Avenue, Fifth Floor Galveston, TX 77550 409-770-5562
- Washington v. La Marque Independent School District, G-12-154. For opining denying motion to remand and consolidating cases, see 2012 WL 5289682. For opinion granting former District Attorney Sistrunk’s motion to dismiss and granting in part and denying in part La Marque ISD’s motion for summary judgment, see 930 F. Supp. 2d 790. For opinion denying La Marque ISD’s motion for reconsideration on the one claim that survived its summary judgment motion, see 2013 WL 2323122.
The former chief of police for the La Marque School District sued the district, members of the school board, and the former Galveston County District Attorney in two separate lawsuits. The suits raised various constitutional, statutory and tort claims arising out of the termination of Washington based on criminal charges brought against him that were later dismissed. I denied Washington’s motion to remand one of the lawsuits to state court and consolidated the cases. I then granted former District Attorney Sistrunk’s motion to dismiss on immunity grounds and granted in part and denied in part the school district’s motion for summary judgment on due process claims.
Counsel for Washington:
Chad C. Pinkerton, The Pinkerton Law Firm, PLLC 5020 Montrose Blvd., Suite 550, Houston, TX 77006 281-332-2002
Counsel for La Marque ISD and individual district employees:
Richard A Morris Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P. 5718 Westheimer, Suite 1200 Houston, TX 77057 713-960-6019
Counsel for former District Attorney Sistrunk:
Donald S Glywasky Galveston County Legal Department 722 Moody, Fifth Floor Galveston, TX 77550 409-770-5562
- For each of the 10 most significant opinions you have written, provide: (1) citations for those decisions that were published; (2) a copy of those decisions that were not published; and (3) the names and contact information for the attorneys who played a significant role in the
- Voting for America v. Andrade, Opining granting in part and denying in part motion for preliminary injunction. 888 F. Supp. 2d 816 (S.D. Tex. 2012), stay granted by 488 Fed. Appx. 890 (5th Cir. Sept. 26, 2012), rev’d 732 F.3d 382 (5th Cir. 2013).
Counsel for Plaintiffs:
Chad W. Dunn Brazil & Dunn, 4201 Cypress Creek Parkway, Suite 530, Houston, TX 77068 281-580-6310
Brian Mellor Michelle Kanter Cohen Michelle Rupp, Project Vote 1350 Eye Street, NW, Suite 1250 Washington, DC 20005 202-546-4173
David C. Peet Julia Lewis Ryan Morland Malone Ropes & Gray, LLP 700 12th Street NW, Suite 900 Washington, DC 20005 202-508-4826
Counsel for Secretary of State:
Kathlyn Claire Wilson, Office of the Attorney General General Litigation Division P.O. Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711 512-463-2120
Counsel for Galveston County:
Donald S. Glywasky, Galveston County Legal Department, 722 Moody Avenue, Fifth Floor Galveston, TX 77550 409-770-5562
- Maples v. University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Opinion granting summary judgment. 901 F. Supp. 2d 874 (S.D. Tex. 2012), ajf’d, 2013 WL 1777501 (5th Cir. Apr. 26, 2013).
Counsel for Maples:
Anthony Griffin 1115 21st Street, Galveston, TX 77550 409-763-0386
Counsel for University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston:
Erika M. Laremont, Office of the Attorney General General Litigation Division, P.O. Box 12548 Capitol Station – 019 Austin, TX 78711 512-475-4102
- Coates v. Brazoria County, Opinion granting in part and denying in part County’s Motion for Summary Judgment. 2012 WL 6160678 (S.D. Tex. Dec. 11, 2012).
Iain Gordon Simpson Simpson, P.C., P.O. Box 924555 Houston, TX 77292 281-989-0742
Jacqueline A. Armstrong 11111 Katy Freeway, Suite 910, Houston, TX 77079 713-973-5711
Thomas H. Padgett , Jr, The Law Offices of Thomas H. Padgett, Jr. 4809 Pine Street, Houston, TX 77401 832-335-9134
Counsel for Brazoria County:
Barry Abrams Susan L. Bickley Blank Rome LLP,700 Louisiana, Suite 4000, Houston, TX 77002 713-228-6601
Counsel for Brazoria County Juvenile Board:
Rusty Hardin, Cristen David Feldman Rusty Hardin & Associates, 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 2250 Houston, TX 77010 713-652-9000
Counsel for Blackstock:
Anthony P. Griffin A Griffin Lawyers 1115 21st Street Galveston, TX 77550 409-763-0386
- De La Garza v. Brumby. Opinion granting in part and denying in part summary judgment. 2013 WL 754260 (S.D. Tex. Feb. 27, 2013).
Counsel for De La Garza:
Robert E. McKnight, Jr. 203 North Liberty Street Victoria, TX 77901 361-573-5500
Margaret Ann Harris Butler & Harris 1007 Heights Boulevard Houston, TX 77008 713-526-5677
Counsel for Defendants:
Kevin Dudley Cullen Casey Cullen, Cullen, Carsner, Seerden & Cullen LLP P.O. Box 2938 Victoria, TX 77902 361-573-6318
- Pittman-Bey v. Clay. Opinion granting summary judgment. 2013 WL 797415 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 4, 2013).
Counsel for Pittman-Bey:
Leo Pittman-Bey (prose)
Counsel for Defendants:
Gerald O’Ryan McMillan Office of the Attorney General P.O. Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548 512-463-2080
- Washington v. Burley. Opinion granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment. 930 F. Supp. 2d 790 (S.D. Tex. 2013).
Counsel for Washington:
Chad C. Pinkerton, The Pinkerton Law Firm, PLLC 5020 Montrose Blvd., Suite 550 Houston, TX 77006 281-332-2002
Counsel for school district and individual district employees:
Richard A Morris, Rogers, Morris & Grover, L.L.P. 5718 Westheimer, Suite 1200 Houston, TX 77057 713-960-6019
Counsel for former District Attorney Sistrunk:
Donald S Glywasky Galveston County Legal Department 722 Moody, Fifth Floor Galveston, TX 77550 409-770-5562
- Welding Technologies v. James Machine Works LLC. Opinion denying motion to stay or transfer venue. 2013 WL 1123852 (S.D. Tex. Mar. 18, 2013).
Counsel for Welding Technologies:
James Stanley Teater Jones Day, 717 Texas Ave, Suite 3300, Houston, TX 77002 832-239-3777
Counsel for James Machine Works:
Richard John Tyler Jones Walker 201 St Charles Ave New Orleans LA 70170 504-582-8266
- Choice Hotels International v. Patel. Opinion granting in part and denying in part plaintiffs motion for summary judgment and granting injunction. 940 F. Supp. 2d (S.D. Tex. 2013).
Counsel for Choice Hotels International:
Mark Wesley Thayer, Gordon & Rees, LLP 1900 West Loop South Suite 1000 Houston, TX 77027 713-961-3366
Counsel for Defendants:
Edward J Hennessy 2900 Weslayan Suite 500 Houston, TX 77027 713-224-5066
- Mazurkiewicz v. Clayton Homes, Inc., Opinion granting in part and denying in part motion for summary judgment. 2013 WL 3992248 (S.D. Aug. 2, 2013).
Adriaan Tieleman Jansse The Jansse Law Firm 8438 Fountain Circle San Antonio, TX 78229 210-595-8665
Gay Ellen Gilson 418 Peoples St., Suite 402 Corpus Christi, TX 78401 361-887-0552
Counsel for Defendant:
Michael D. Mitchell Ogletree Deakins 500 Dallas Street, Suite 3000, Houston, TX 77002-4709 713-655-5756
- United States ex rel. Parikh v. Citizens Medical Center, Opinion granting in part and denying in part defendants’ motion to dismiss. 2013 WL 5304057 (S.D. Tex. Sept. 20, 2013).
Monte F. James Joshua Romero Jackson Walker LLP 100 Congress Avenue, Suite 1100 Austin, TX 78701 512-236-2066
Kevin Michael Clark King & Spaulding LLP 1100 Louisiana Street, Suite 4000 Houston, TX 77002 713-276-7334
- Provide a list of all cases in which certiorari was requested or
I am not aware of any case of mine in which certiorari was requested or granted. In Votingfor America v. Andrade, No. G-12-44, the plaintiffs filed an application with the Supreme Court seeking to lift the Fifth Circuit’s stay. The Supreme Court denied the application, with Justice Sotomayor dissenting. 133 S. Ct. 99 (Sept. 25, 2012).
- Provide a brief summary of and citations for all of your opinions where your decisions were reversed by a reviewing court or where your judgment was affirmed with significant criticism of your substantive or procedural rulings. If any of the opinions listed were not officially reported, provide copies of the opm1ons.
Voting for America v. Andrade, 888 F. Supp. 2d 816 (S.D. Tex. 2012), stay granted by 488 Fed. Appx. 890 (5th Cir. Sept. 26, 2012), rev’d 732 F.3d 382 (5th Cir. 2013). In a 2-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit stayed the preliminary injunction I issued in the Voting for America case and then later vacated that injunction. The court of appeals disagreed that voter registration activity was governed by the Supreme Court decisions on petition activity for ballot initiatives, held that the Texas law governing compensation for participants in voter registration drives could be given a narrowing construction, and concluded that the National Voter Registration Act did not preempt two Texas statutes.
Baker v. Cage, 2012 WL 4486273, rev ‘d, In re Whitley, 2013 WL 6596790 (5th Cir. Dec. 16, 2013). The Fifth Circuit reversed my decision affirming an order of the bankruptcy court that had required a debtor’s counsel to return real estate he had received from the debtor but failed to disclose to the bankruptcy court. The court of appeals held that the bankruptcy court improperly relied on a provision of the bankruptcy code regulating excessive attorney compensation as opposed to the provision allowing sanctions against an attorney who violates disclosure requirements and remanded the case to the bankruptcy court where findings could be made concerning the latter.
- Provide a description of the number and percentage of your decisions in which you issued an unpublished opinion and the manner in which those unpublished opinions are filed and/or
I file all my decisions with the federal judiciary’s CM/ECF system, which makes all written decisions available to the public online. Westlaw and Lexis have published most of my substantive (i.e., non-scheduling) rulings on their websites.
- Provide citations for significant opinions on federal or state constitutional issues, together with the citation to appellate court rulings on such opinions. If any of the opinions listed were not officially reported, provide copies of the
Voting/or America v. Andrade, 888 F. Supp. 2d 816, stay granted, 488 Fed. Appx. 890 (5th Cir. Sept. 26, 2012), rev’d732 F.3d 382 (5th Cir. 2013).
Washington v. Burley, 930 F. Supp. 2d 790 (2013).
De La Garza v. Brumby, 2013 WL 754260 (2013)
- Provide citations to all cases in which you sat by designation on a federal court of appeals, including a brief summary of any opinions you authored, whether majority, dissenting, or concurring, and any dissenting opinions you joined.
I have not sat by designation on a federal court of appeals.
- Recusal: If you are or have been a judge, identify the basis by which you have assessed the necessity or propriety ofrecusal (If your court employs an “automatic” recusal system by which you may be recused without your knowledge, please include a general description of that system.) Provide a list of any cases, motions or matters that have come before you in which a litigant or party has requested that you recuse yourself due to an asserted conflict of interest or in which you have recused yourself sua sponte. Identify each such case, and for each provide the following information:
- whether your recusal was requested by a motion or other suggestion by a litigant or a party to the proceeding or by any other person or interested party; or if you recused yourself sua sponte;
- a brief description of the asserted conflict of interest or other ground for recusal;
- the procedure you followed in determining whether or not to recuse yourself;
- your reason for recusing or declining to recuse yourself, including any action taken to remove the real, apparent or asserted conflict of interest or to cure any other ground for
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas has an automated conflict check system. I list in that system the names of companies in which I hold stock and the names of any family members and close friends whom I have concluded should not appear before me. I recused myself sua sponte in the following cases, all of which were flagged by the automated conflict check system:
Sims v. Legal Eagles et al., G-CV-07-206
Backe et al. v. LeBlanc et al., G-CV-10-388
Williams-Smith et al. v. Designers Edge, Inc. et al., G-CV-10-590 Matagorda County Teen Program v. City of Bay City, G-CV-11-032 Yates v. City of Kemah, G-CV-11-123
Cruz v. City of Galveston, G-CV-11-205 Aldous v. City of Galveston, G-CV-11-228 Allen v. Stroud et al., G-CV-11-263
Nguyen v. Bank of America, No. G-CV-11-290.
Forbes v. Citimortgage, No. G-CV-11-409.
Hall v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, No. G-CV-11-417 Rowlands et al. v. Bank of America, No. G-CV-11-555 Phillion v. Home Depot US.A., No. G-CV-12-21 Walker v. Home Depot US.A., G-CV-12-65
Davis v. Bank of America Corp., G-CV-12-100 Wulfv. BAC Home Servicing LP, G-CV-12-124 Cortines et al. v. Bank of America, G-CV-12-174 Black Sigma LLC v. Bank of America, G-CV-12-181 Bastien v. Bank of America, G-CV-12-192
Belknap v. Bank of America, G-CV-12-198
Mallette v. Deutsche Bank Berkshire Mortgage, G-CV-12-231
GE Commercial Distrib. Finance Corp. v. Chardee, Inc., G-CV-12-303
Rowlands v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-12-366
United States v. Blevins, G-CR-13-03
Mendoza v. McDonald, G-CV-13-60
Cornett v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-94
Arnold v. Federal Nat’! Mortgage Ass’n et al, G-CV-13-101
Bastian v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-110 Gribble v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-154 In re Young, G-CV-13-205
Knapik v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-206 Young et al v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-257 Brown v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-263
Williams v. Federal Nat’l Mortgage Ass’n et al, G-CV-13-318
Luna v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-343
Sharp v. Mortgage Electronic Registration Sys., Inc. et al, G-CV-13-360
Simon, III v. Bank of America, NA., G-CV-13-379
Adkins et al v. Apple, Inc., G-CV-13-402
Lyerly v. BAC Home Loans Servicing, L.P., G-CV-13-461
Speedy Stop Food Stores LLC v. Visa, Inc. et al, V-CV-13-73 No party has filed a motion seeking my recusal.
15. Public Office, Political Activities and Affiliations:
- List chronologically any public offices you have held, other than judicial offices, including the terms of service and whether such positions were elected or appointed. If appointed, please include the name of the individual who appointed you. Also, state chronologically any unsuccessful candidacies you have had for elective office or unsuccessful nominations for appointed
I have not held any public offices. I have not had any unsuccessful candidacies for elective office or unsuccessful nominations for appointed office.
- List all memberships and offices held in and services rendered, whether compensated or not, to any political party or election committee. If you have ever held a position or played a role in a political campaign, identify the particulars of the campaign, including the candidate, dates of the campaign, your title and responsibilities.
Dartmouth College Democrats (Acting President, Vice President, 1991 -1992)
Volunteer, campus coordinator, Bob Kerrey for President campaign (New Hampshire Primary, 1991 -1992)
Volunteer, Clinton for President and Dallas County Democratic Party Coordinated Campaign (Fall 1992)
Intern, Democratic National Committee (Summer 1991)
- Legal Career: Answer each part
- Describe chronologically your law practice and legal experience after graduation from law school including:
- whether you served as clerk to a judge, and if so, the name of the judge, the court and the dates of the period you were a clerk;
From August 1999 through July 2000, I served as a law clerk to Judge A. Raymond Randolph, United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
From July 2001 through July 2002, I served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Supreme Court of the United States.
- whether you practiced alone, and if so, the addresses and dates; I have not practiced alone.
- the dates, names and addresses of law firms or offices, companies or governmental agencies with which you have been affiliated, and the nature of your affiliation with each.
United States Department of Justice, Office of the Solicitor General 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530
Weil, Gotshal & Manges 700 Louisiana, Suite 1600 Houston, Texas 77002
United States Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas 919 Milam P.O. Box 61129 Houston, Texas 77208
Assistant United States Attorney
1v. whether you served as a mediator or arbitrator in alternative dispute resolution proceedings and, if so, a description of the 10 most significant matters with which you were involved in that capacity.
I have never served as a mediator or arbitrator.
- the general character of your law practice and indicate by date when its character has changed over the years.
As a Bristow Fellow, I authored numerous briefs in opposition to petitions for certiorari, recommended to the Solicitor General whether the United States should appeal adverse district court decisions, assisted permanent office attorneys with drafting Supreme Court merit briefs and preparing for oral arguments, and argued an appeal in the Seventh Circuit.
During summer 2002, I returned to Texas and joined the Houston office of Weil Gotshal as an associate. I had primary day-to-day responsibility for civil litigation matters including intellectual property litigation, class actions, international arbitration, bankruptcy litigation and general commercial disputes. I also worked on appellate matters and a number of pro bono cases.
In early 2005 I joined the Houston United States Attorney’s Office as an Assistant United States Attorney and worked there until I was appointed to be a United States District Judge in 2012. I worked in the Major Offenders and Major Fraud sections of the office, investigating and prosecuting criminal matters in the following areas: mortgage fraud, investment fraud, securities fraud, government benefit fraud, public corruption, importation of counterfeit products, internet fraud, child pornography, human smuggling, hostage taking, postal crimes, and narcotics and firearms violations. I also handled numerous appellate matters and argued six cases in the Fifth Circuit.
- your typical clients and the areas at each period of your legal career, if any, in which you have specialized.
When working in private practice at Weil Gotshal, the typical clients I represented were corporations involved in complex civil litigation. In pro bono matters I handled during that time, I represented a defendant in a criminal case and a nonprofit organization in constitutional litigation.
As an Assistant United States Attorney, I represented the United States in criminal prosecutions.
- Describe the percentage of your practice that has been in litigation and whether you appeared in court frequently, occasionally, or not at all. If the frequency of your appearances in court varied, describe such variance, providing
- Indicate the percentage of your practice in:
- federal courts 90%
- state courts of record: 10%
- other courts:
- administrative agencies:
Indicate the percentage of your practice in:
- civil proceedings: 25%
- criminal proceedings: 75%
State the number of cases in courts of record, including cases before administrative law judges, you tried to verdict, judgment or final decision (rather than settled), indicating whether you were sole counsel, chief counsel, or associate counsel.
Seventeen (this includes two cases that were tried twice because the jury hung on some counts). I tried all of these cases as an Assistant United States Attorney.
Two prosecutors typically handle a trial and evenly split the witnesses and jury addresses. (I may have tried one or two cases to magistrate judges in cases from the misdemeanor civil violations bureau docket, but I do not recall the specific cases and did not include those cases in the number of trials listed here.)
- What percentage of these trials were:
- jury: 100%
- nonjury: 0%
Describe your practice, if any, before the Supreme Court of the United States. Supply four (4) copies of any briefs, amicus or otherwise, and, if applicable, any oral argument transcripts before the Supreme Court in connection with your practice.
As a Bristow Fellow in the Solicitor General’s office, I drafted numerous responses to petitions for certiorari. The only one I recall by name is United States v. Dusenberry, 534 U.S. 161 (2002), because the Supreme Court granted the petition in that case. Copy supplied.
I also recall providing research and other assistance to permanent office attorneys for the merits briefs filed in the following cases: Indianapolis v. Edmond, 53 U.S. 32 (2000); TrafFix Devices, Inc. v. Marketing Displays, Inc., 532 U.S. 23 (2001); Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Adams, 532 U.S. 105 (2001); and Zadvydas v. Davis, 533 U.S. 678 (2001).
- Litigation: Describe the ten (10) most significant litigated matters which you personally handled, whether or not you were the attorney of record. Give the citations, if the cases were reported, and the docket number and date if unreported. Give a capsule summary of the substance of each case. Identify the party or parties whom you represented; describe in detail the nature of your participation in the litigation and the final disposition of the case. Also state as to each case:
- the date of representation;
- the name of the court and the name of the judge or judges before whom the case was litigated; and
- the individual name, addresses, and telephone numbers of co-counsel and of principal counsel for each of the other
- United States v. Stanford, et al., No. H-09-242 (S.D. Tex.); Judge David Hittner. Court of Appeals decisions relating to Stanford’s pretrial detention are reported at 2011 WL 867057, 395 Fed. App’x 72, 367 Fed. App’x 507, and 341 Fed App’x 979.
I was co-lead counsel for the United States in the prosecution of Stanford, other Stanford Financial Group executives, and the former head of the Antiguan Financial Services Regulatory Commission. The indictment alleged that the defendants engaged in a $7 billion investment fraud relating to the sale of certificate of deposits by Antiguan-based Stanford International Bank. I was involved in all aspects of the case including trying the case; working with foreign governments to extradite a defendant, obtain evidence and freeze over $300 million in foreign bank accounts; and briefing four Fifth Circuit appeals and arguing the one in which oral argument was held. The CFO of Stanford Financial Group pled guilty. A jury found Stanford guilty on thirteen of fourteen counts after a seven-week trial. After I was appointed to the bench, Stanford was sentenced to a 110- year term of imprisonment, and the three remaining defendants, who had been awaiting trial, were convicted and sentenced to prison terms.
Co-counsel (at various stages of the prosecution):
Williams Stellmach Andrew Warren Jack Patrick Department of Justice Senior Litigation Counsel, Fraud Section 1400 New York Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20005 (202) 514-9842
Paul Pelletier (formerly Deputy Chief, Fraud Section, Department of Justice) Mintz Levin 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20004 (202) 434-7490
Opposing Counsel (at various stage of the prosecution):
Counsel for defendant Stanford:
Ali Fazel Robert Scardino, Scardino & Fazel, 1004 Congress, Third Floor Houston, TX 77002 (713) 229-9292
Robert Stephen Bennett 515 Louisiana, Suite 200 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 225-6000
Michael M. Essmyer 5111 Center Street Houston, TX 77007 (713) 869-1155
Kent A. Schaffer, 712 Main Street, 31st Floor Houston, TX 77002 (713) 228-8500
Michael Sokolow, Office of the Federal Public Defender 440 Louisiana, Suite 1350 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 718-4600
Dick DeGuerin 1018 Preston Avenue, Seventh Floor Houston, TX 77002 (713) 223-5959
Counsel for defendant Davis:
David Finn 2828 North Harwood, Suite 1950 Dallas, TX 75201 (214) 651-1121
Counsel for defendant Pendergest:
Dan Lamar Cogdell Cogdell & Ardoin, LLC 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 1625 Houston, TX 77010 (713) 426-2244
Counsel for defendant Lopez:
Jack B. Zimmermann Jim Lavine 770 South Post Oak Lane, Suite 620 Houston, TX 77056 (713) 552-0300
Counsel for defendant Kuhrt:
Richard B. Kuniansky 440 Louisiana, Suite 200, Houston, TX 77002 (713) 622-8333
- United States v. Barnes, et al., H-10-787 (S.D. Tex.); Judge Sim Lake.
This case involved an alleged $80 million dollar kickback and international money laundering scheme relating to the shipment of oil from Venezuela to a Houston area refinery. Barnes, who was the Marine Chartering Manager for LyondellBassell’s Houston refinery, pled guilty to receiving more than $20 million in kickbacks from oil traders in exchange for agreeing to pay inflated prices for the shipping that the traders were arranging through companies they controlled. Barnes subsequently cooperated with the government and was sentenced to a seven-year prison term. Two of the oil traders plead guilty and were sentenced to terms of 54 and 66 months. The investigation in this case involved obtaining evidence from authorities in Switzerland, France and the British Virgin Islands. We also obtained forfeiture of approximately $25 million of the fraud proceeds.
Counsel for defendant Barnes:
Rusty Hardin, Derek Hollingsworth 1401 McKinney, Suite 2250 Houston, TX 77010 (713) 652-9000
Counsel for defendant Langley:
Wendell Odom 440 Louisiana, Suite 200 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 223-5575
Counsel for defendant Meltzer:
Bill McMurrey Bracewell & Giuliani 1445 Ross Avenue Dallas, TX 75202 (214) 758-1032
David Gerger Gerger & Clarke 1001 Fannin, Suite# 1950 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 224-4400
- United States v. Curtis, et al., H-08-323 (S.D. Tex.); Judge Nancy Atlas. The Court of Appeals decision affirming the convictions and sentences is available at 2011 WL” 846703 (5th Cir. 2011).
This case involved nine defendants charged with conspiring to commit mortgage fraud in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston. The organizer of the scheme, Curtis, used his supposed investment company CLC Holdings to receive large profits from the sale of homes in which straw buyers were used to pay inflated amounts for the home. Some of the loan applicants used children’s’ social security numbers, which were purchased from a Houston “credit repair” business. Eight of the defendants, including two mortgage brokers and the owner of the credit repair business, pled guilty and were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.
Curtis went to trial and a jury convicted him of conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
Judge Atlas sentenced Curtis to twelve years in prison.
I worked with the Secret Service in investigating the case, presented the case to the grand jury, negotiated the plea agreements of the eight defendants who pled guilty, and, along with a colleague, tried the case against Curtis.
Ryan McConnell Haynes & Boone 1221 McKinney, Suite 2100 Houston, Texas 77010 (713) 547-2622
For defendant Curtis:
John Riley Friesell 4265 San Felipe, Suite 1100 Houston, TX 77027 (713) 249-4986
For defendant Joubert:
Dwight E. Jefferson 405 Main Street, Suite 950 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 222-1222
For defendant Narcisse:
Robert James Pickman 440 Louisiana, Suite 800 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 655-7400
For defendant Lyons:
Christopher Goldsmith 440 Louisiana, Suite 900 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 223-1001
For defendant Cherry: Robert Alton Jones 2211 Norfolk, Suite 600, Houston, TX 77098 (713) 526-1171
For defendant Johnson: John Garrison Jordan 111 North Oak Street, Hammond, LA 70404 (985) 345-5291
For defendant Ly:
Dan Cogdell 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 1625
Houston, TX 77010 (713) 426-2244
For defendant Nunnerly:
John Patrick Smith, 2726 Bissonnet, Suite 240-210 Houston, TX 77005 (713) 498-9903
For defendant Nguyen:
Robert Bao Pham 9999 Bellaire Boulevard, Suite 1122, Houston, TX 77036 (713) 776-3333
- United States Ashoor, No. H-09-307 (S.D. Tex.); Judge David Hittner. The Court of Appeals decision affirming the conviction is reported at 2011 WL 1659780 (5th Cir.2011).
The defendant, who had a company that serviced government contracts, imported counterfeit Cisco products from China which he intended to supply to the Marine Corps in Iraq. After a hung jury resulted in a mistrial of the first trial, a jury convicted the defendant of trafficking in goods with counterfeit trademarks, and he was sentenced to a fifty-one month prison term. I worked with ICE in the initial stages of this investigation, another AUSA completed the investigation and obtained an indictment in the case, and I then tried the case with the other AUSA.
Jason Vamado, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas 919 Milam, Suite 1500 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 567-9000
Counsel for Ashoor:
Erich C. Ferrari McNabb Associates PC, 1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 400 Washington, DC 20004 (202) 280-6370
- United States v. Stephens and Stephens, H-06-242 (S.D. Tex.); Judge David Hittner. The Court of Appeals decision affirming the convictions and sentences is reported at 571 F.3d 401 (5th Cir. 2009).
I managed the investigation and prosecution of these two defendants charged with creating a fraudulent Salvation Army website shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, which falsely purported to collect donations for hurricane victims. Hundreds of individuals across the country donated to the website before it was shut down. To disguise their involvement with the website, the brothers used stolen identities, including Social Security numbers, to register the various PayPal accounts they used to collect money donated through the website. A jury convicted both defendants of conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. One defendant received a sentence of 111 months and the other received a sentence of 105 months.
Bret Davis, Federal Bureau of lnvestigation (then a Special Assistant United States Attorney) 1 Justice Park Drive Houston, TX 77092 (713) 693-5000
Counsel for defendant S. Stephens:
Samy Khalil Gerger & Clarke (then Office of the Federal Public Defender) 1001 Fannin, Suite# 1950 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 224-4400
Counsel for defendant B. Stephens:
Jimmy Ardoin 1401 McKinney Street, Suite 1625 Houston, TX 77010 (713) 426-2244
- United States v. Trevino, et al., H-07-664 (S.D. Tex.); Judge Randy
This public corruption case involved tens of thousands of dollars paid in bribes to the City Manager and Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Mission, Texas. The contractors paid the bribes in exchange for favorable treatment in the awarding of contracts for debris and sludge removal, the construction of a skateboard park, expansion of a city pool and the painting of a downtown parking lot. The case arose from a longstanding FBI undercover investigation in the Rio Grande Valley which another AUSA oversaw. I handled the prosecution of the two public officials and two contractors charged in this case.
All four defendants pled guilty. The two public officials and one of the contractors were sentenced to various prison terms; the other contractor received a sentence of probation based on his cooperation.
Counsel for defendant I. Trevino: Jack Wolfe (deceased)
Counsel for defendant Villegas:
CJ Quintanilla, III 5526 North Tenth Street McAllen, TX 78504 (956) 682-0223
Counsel for defendant Cavazos:
Francisco J. Rodriguez, 1111 West Nolana, McAllen, TX 78504 (956) 687-6415
Counsel for defendant D. Trevino:
Michael McCrum 700 North St. Mary’s Street, Suite 1900 San Antonio, TX 78205 (210) 225-7045
- United States v. Speezia, H-07-31 (S.D. Tex.); Judge Ewing Werlein,
The defendant was associated with a human smuggling organization in Houston. A meeting was arranged at a gas station at which the smugglers planned to seek payment from the brother of one of the Mexican nationals who had been brought from the border to Houston.Upon learning that the brother did not have the smuggling fee, the defendant and others kidnapped him at gun point and took him to a motel room in the Houston area. Over the next few days, the defendant and his associates called relatives of the hostage and demanded payment of the smuggling fee, which they kept increasing. During the calls, the defendant tortured the hostage by, among other things, burning his forearms with an iron and hammering his toenails. The jury convicted the defendant of conspiracy, alien smuggling, and hostage taking. The defendant was sentenced to a 25-year prison term. Another AUSA investigated and charged the case.
I joined him to prepare and try the case and then I handled the sentencing hearing.
Jimmy Kitchen U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania 700 Grant Street, Suite 4000 Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412) 644-3500
Cornel A. Williams 1405 Palm Street Houston, TX 77004 (713) 520-5153
- United States v. Huang and Liu, H-05-392 (S.D. Tex.); Judge David Hittner. The Court of Appeals decision affirming Liu’s conviction and sentence is reported at 288 Fed. App’x 193 (5th Cir. 2008).
A Houston lawyer and her legal assistant were charged with engaging in a complex visa fraud scheme. The fraud involved, among other things, intracompany transfer visas, which allow a foreign citizen to work in the United States as an executive at a foreign company’s American subsidiary and can serve as a basis for permanent residence status. Chinese nationals paid large sums, up to $60,000 each, to obtain such visas under fraudulent pretenses. The defendants created legal documents, such as stock certificates and Board of Director minutes, falsely showing that Chinese companies had purchased American subsidiaries, which they submitted to support the fraudulent visa applications. Defendant Huang, the attorney, was convicted of conspiracy and four counts of visa fraud and sentenced to fifty-one months in prison. Defendant Liu was convicted of one count of visa fraud, acquitted on the other counts, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. This case was reassigned to me after it was charged. I then prepared and tried the case with another AUSA, handled the sentencing hearings, and argued Liu’s appeal.
Jason Varnado U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas 919 Milam, Suite 1500 Houston, TX 77002 (713) 567-9000
Counsel for defendant Huang:
Neal Andrew Davis 917 Franklin, Suite 600 Houston, TX 77007 (713) 227-444
Counsel for defendant Liu:
Donald Edward Ervin 1018 Preston, 7th Floor Houston, TX 77002 (713) 223-1622
- Canatxx Energy Ventures, Inc. v. General Electric Capital Corp., Case No. H-09- 4425 (S.D. Tex.); Judge Kenneth Hoyt. The Fifth Circuit decision reversing the judgment and rendering judgment in favor of GE Capital is at 2008 WL 4601691 (5th Cir. 2008).
My firm represented GE Capital in this lawsuit concerning the termination of a power plant project. Canatxx was the project developer and signed a Dissolution Agreement with GE Power Systems in which the parties agreed to terminate the joint venture to build power plants. Canatxx then filed suit against GE Capital, which was a financial advisor on the project, raising state-law claims of breach of fiduciary duty, unfair competition, fraud, and civil conspiracy. During the time I was involved in the case, I drafted the motions, argued at a court hearing, and managed discovery, including attending depositions in London.
After I left my firm, another firm was hired to try the case. A jury returned a verdict of favor of Canatxx, but the Fifth Circuit reversed and rendered judgment in favor of GE Capital based on its holding that the Dissolution Agreement also applied to affiliates of GE Power Systems, which included GE Capital.
Scott Lassetter (deceased) Weil, Gotshal & Manges Houston, TX
Guy Matthews, 2000 Bering Drive, Suite 700, Houston, TX 77057 (713) 355-4200
- Pataki v. Assembly and Silver v. Pataki, 824 N.E.2d 898 (N.Y. Ct. App. 2005).
My firm represented the speaker of the New York assembly in litigation against Governor Pataki related to disputes over the budget process in New York. The case involved questions concerning whether the New York Constitution allowed the legislature to amend certain legislation proposed by the Governor and whether the Governor could exercise the line-item veto with respect to those bills. The two related cases reached the New York Court of Appeals, which ruled 5-2 in favor of the Governor. I had significant involvement in crafting the arguments and drafting the briefs in both the intermediate appellate courts and in the New York Court of Appeals.
Steve Reiss Weil, Gotshal & Manges 767 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10153 (212) 310-8000
Max Shulman Cravath, Swain & Moore 825 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10019 (212) 474-1000
- Legal Activities: Describe the most significant legal activities you have pursued, including significant litigation which did not progress to trial or legal matters that did not involve litigation. Describe fully the nature of your participation in these activities. List any client(s) or organization(s) for whom you performed lobbying activities and describe the lobbying activities you performed on behalf of such client(s) or organizations(s). (Note: As to any facts requested in this question, please omit any information protected by the attorney-client )
While an associate at Weil Gotshal, in addition to the litigation I handled, I was involved in one antitrust counseling matter. As an Assistant United States Attorney, in addition to prosecuting cases, I served as the Deputy International Affairs Coordinator for the United States Attorney’s Office. In that capacity, I helped coordinate incoming and outgoing requests for foreign evidence gathering under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties with numerous countries. In addition to this oversight role, I personally handled such requests on behalf of the governments of Malaysia, Turkey, Colombia, Lithuania, Greece, France, the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, Ireland, Norway, and Brazil. I also handled and provided guidance to other AUSAs on extradition matters.
I also served as the Hurricane Fraud Coordinator for the Southern District of Texas, a position created in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I coordinated a multi-agency task force that investigated fraud cases relating to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Ike. The United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted more than 100 individuals for fraud relating to the hurricanes, including government-benefit fraud, identity theft offenses, charitable fraud, and investment fraud. In addition, the Deputy Attorney General appointed the First Assistant United States Attorney and me to serve as special prosecutors in a public corruption matter arising out of another district in which the local U.S. Attorney’s Office had a conflict.
I have not performed any lobbying activities.
- Teaching: What courses have you taught? For each course, state the title, the institution at which you taught the course, the years in which you taught the course, and describe briefly the subject matter of the course and the major topics taught. If you have a syllabus of each course, provide four (4) copies to the committee.
During the spring semesters of 2004 and 2005, I taught Federal Jurisdiction as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center. A copy of my 2005 syllabus is supplied.
- Deferred Income/ Future Benefits: List the sources, amounts and dates of all anticipated receipts from deferred income arrangements, stock, options, uncompleted contracts and other future benefits which you expect to derive from previous business relationships, professional services, firm memberships, former employers, clients or customers. Describe the arrangements you have made to be compensated in the future for any financial or business
- Outside Commitments During Court Service: Do you have any plans, commitments, or agreements to pursue outside employment, with or without compensation, during your service with the court? If so,
I have no such plans.
- Sources of Income: List sources and amounts of all income received during the calendar year preceding your nomination and for the current calendar year, including all salaries, fees, dividends, interest, gifts, rents, royalties, licensing fees, honoraria, and other items exceeding $500 or more (if you prefer to do so, copies of the financial disclosure report, required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, may be substituted here).
See attached Financial Disclosure Report.
- Statement of Net Worth: Please complete the attached financial net worth statement in detail (add schedules as called for).
See attached Net Worth Statement.
24. Potential Conflicts of Interest:
- Identify the family members or other persons, parties, categories of litigation, and financial arrangements that are likely to present potential conflicts-of-interest when you first assume the position to which you have been nominated. Explain how you would address any such conflict if it were to
I do not hear cases brought by the United States Attorney’s Office in which I had any participation as an AUSA. I do not preside over any cases involving the company that employs my wife. I also do not preside over cases involving the few companies in which my wife and I own stock.
- Explain how you will resolve any potential conflict of interest, including the procedure you will follow in determining these areas of
I would follow the recusal statutes and the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, as well as other legal authority, in resolving any potential conflicts of interest. I would also consult with colleagues and with ethics officials from the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.
- Pro Bono Work: An ethical consideration under Canon 2 of the American Bar Association’s Code of Professional Responsibility calls for “every lawyer, regardless of professional prominence or professional workload, to find some time to participate in serving the disadvantaged.” Describe what you have done to fulfill these responsibilities, listing specific instances and the amount of time devoted to
In 2003, I assisted the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in representing Timothy Towery, who was serving an 18-year sentence as one of the 38 individuals convicted as part of the Tulia drug sting. We prepared a motion for habeas corpus relief arguing that Towery’s conviction should be overturned based on the ineffective assistance of his counsel who persuaded him to plead guilty. This involved investigating the case against Towery, researching the relevant legal issues and drafting the motion. On August 23, 2003, Governor Rick Perry pardoned our client and the other Tulia defendants.
In 2004, I assisted the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in litigation involving two events that infringed on the voting rights of Prairie View A&M students in Waller County, Texas. One case was filed against the District Attorney who had warned college students that they were not allowed to vote in Waller County despite longstanding law (reflected in both case law and opinions from the state attorney general) that college students in Texas may choose to vote either where they attend school or where their parents reside.
The second case challenged Waller County’s failure to seek approval under the preclearance provisions of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act for attempts to reduce the number of hours that were available for early voting at the polling place closest to the Prairie View campus (the 2004 primary election took place during the school’s spring break, making early voting the primary vehicle for student voting). After filing complaints seeking temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions against both practices, the defendants quickly settled and agreed to alter the challenged practices.
In Fall 2004, I assisted the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in their nonpartisan voter protection project during the 2004 general election. We attended training on possible voting rights issues and manned a Houston phone bank on Election Day with a ready-response legal team.
While an associate at Weil Gotshal, I occasionally participated in the Houston Bar Association’s Legal Lines program in which citizens could call a phone bank and receive assistance with general legal problems.
In addition to working on these legal matters, I am a co-founder and current board member of the Sunflower County Freedom Project, a nonprofit educational enrichment program created by Teach for America alumni in the Mississippi Delta county where I taught from 1994 to 1996. The program, which has been in existence for more than ten years, provides rigorous after-school and summer programs that prepare students from one of the nation’s poorest regions for college. Graduates of the program have attended college at prominent institutions including the University of North Carolina, LSU, Berea College, and Mississippi State.
26. Selection Process:
- Please describe your experience in the entire judicial selection process, from beginning to end (including the circumstances which led to your nomination and the interviews in which you participated). Is there a selection commission in your jurisdiction to recommend candidates for nomination to the federal courts? If so, please include that process in your description, as well as whether the commission recommended your nomination. List the dates of all interviews or communications you had with the White House staff or the Justice Department regarding this nomination. Do not include any contacts with Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel concerning your
In October 2012, an official from the White House Counsel’s Office contacted me to inquire whether I was interested in being considered for one of the pending Fifth Circuit vacancies in Texas.
In late November 2012, I informed the White House that I was interested. Since that time, I have been in contact with officials from the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice and the White House Counsel’s Office. On December 20, 2012, I met with officials from the White House Counsel’s Office and the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. On June 21, 2013, I met with Senator Cornyn’s and Senator Cruz’s Federal Judiciary Evaluation Committee. On December 16, 2013, I met with Senator Cornyn and Senator Cruz and members of their staff in Washington, D.C. On December 19, 2013, the President submitted my nomination to the Senate. On January 6, 2014, the President submitted my renomination to the Senate.
- Has anyone involved in the process of selecting you as a judicial nominee discussed with you any currently pending or specific case, legal issue or question in a manner that could reasonably be interpreted as seeking any express or implied assurances concerning your position on such case, issue, or question? If so, explain
Gregg Costa Rises Through Ranks
From Assistant U.S. Attorney to U.S. District Court Judge, Alumnus Gregg Costa takes Fifth Circuit Bench
In a unanimous vote (97-0), the U.S. Senate confirmed in May loyal Longhorn Gregg Costa, ’99, to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The second youngest judge currently serving on a federal court of appeals bench, Costa brings unique perspective to his new role. His formative learning experiences have spanned from serving as a teacher with Teach for America in the Mississippi Delta, to prosecuting Allen Stanford in a massive $7 billion Ponzi scheme that resulted in a 110-year prison sentence.
When did you know you wanted to go to law school and why Texas Law?
I wanted to be a lawyer since I was at least 10 years old. Not quite sure why; there weren’t any lawyers in my family. I think I just thought it would be fun to battle it out in the courtroom. I was right.
In terms of attending Texas, it was the only law school to which I applied. That was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. Texas Law afforded me opportunities beyond what I could have imagined. And the comparatively low cost of attending allowed me to spend a good part of my career in public service.
What was one of your biggest takeaways from being a teacher with Teach for America in Sunflower, Miss.?
That teaching is a heckuva lot harder than practicing law, and also more important, especially in under-resourced areas such as the Mississippi Delta. As doubts grow about the vitality of the American Dream, there are few, if any, challenges more important than providing all of our children with the opportunity to obtain an excellent education.
Share one of your biggest challenges while clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. What was one of the biggest rewards?
The biggest challenge had nothing to do with the cases the Court heard. Rather, it involved my driving ability. The Chief played doubles tennis with his three clerks every Thursday. Although he could have used the court limousine, consistent with his remarkable lack of pretentiousness, he instead had one of the clerks drive. That task typically fell to me. One day, after stopping at an intersection, I looked away from the traffic light because I was engrossed in the conversation we were having with the Chief. In what was probably the sharpest criticism I received during the clerkship, the Chief looked at me and said, “Gregg, the last time I checked, green meant go.”
In terms of the biggest rewards, it was the relationships I formed on two levels. First, getting to know the Justices, especially the Chief. In many ways, I model the way I run my chambers and use clerks after his practices, including an annual charades game with my clerks and their spouses. Second, the friendships I made with the other clerks — the 34 of us remain close. Just 12 years after clerking, five of us have already become federal judges, including the one federal court of appeals judge who is younger than me (Judge Michelle Friedland on the Ninth Circuit, who was born about two weeks after me).
What was it like to be an Assistant U.S. Attorney?
Being a federal prosecutor was the best job I have ever had. I tried more than 15 cases and argued a number of appeals in the Fifth Circuit. But probably even more valuable than that courtroom experience was the daily challenge of making difficult judgment calls in important matters. There are a lot of smart lawyers out there. The rarer qualities are to have sound judgment and the ability to tell clients things they might not want to hear, and it takes experience making tough decisions to develop those qualities.
Before becoming an AUSA (Assistant U.S. Attorney), I thought a lot about prosecuting cases in court once charges are brought. I did not give a lot of thought to the prosecutor’s role in deciding if charges should be brought. A challenging part of that is declining to bring certain cases investigated by federal agents, either because the evidence is not there or because the federal interest in prosecution is not strong enough. The prosecutors I tried to emulate struck the right balance: they were not afraid to bring a righteous case, even if the ultimate outcome was uncertain, but they also had the courage to decline a case when prosecution was not justified.
The 2012 prosecution of Ponzi schemer Allen Stanford was career defining for you. Was there ever a point in that case when you were ready to give up?
The two-month trial was the easy part of that saga. The challenge was the three years leading up to it. Part of that challenge was organizational. We gathered millions of documents and interviewed well-over 100 witnesses. Through diplomatic channels with at least five foreign countries, we obtained documents, interviewed witnesses and froze hundreds of millions of dollars.
The other challenge was that so many people had some involvement in the matter and were scrutinizing everything the prosecution did. As usual, we had to deal with the court and defense lawyers (and Stanford had more than a dozen during the case), but we also had to deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission; the receiver appointed in the United States; the Antiguan receiver; an insurance lawsuit involving Stanford’s D&O policy; forfeiture litigation in the UK, Canada and Switzerland; victim groups; plaintiff lawyers; and higher ups at DOJ in Washington, D.C. There were times when it seemed the case was never going to get to trial, but I never thought of leaving. It was too important to try to bring some sense of justice to the victims in what I described in my closing argument as one of the greatest thefts in history. I’ll never be more proud of any professional accomplishment than I am of what our team — which included Texas Law grad Vanessa Walther, ’92, as a lead FBI agent — accomplished.
What advice can you offer young attorneys?
Make career decisions based on what you are going to enjoy and excel at, not what is going to impress other people.
You have offered clerkships to many Texas Law students. What is one general observation you have made over the years about your clerks?
As one of my colleagues says, the two best things about being a federal judge are 1) not having to bill time, and 2) the relationships you develop with your law clerks. The young lawyers who make the best clerks and get the most out of the experience have a good bit of legal nerd in them. Federal judges are among the last generalists in the law, so you want clerks who will relish the challenge of figuring out legal issues they may have never imagined, let alone studied, before the case comes in the door.
Do people comment on your Longhorn-spirited judges chambers? Is there a piece of memorabilia of which you are most proud?
Yes. In terms of my Longhorn memorabilia, the most cherished is my autographed Earl Campbell UT helmet. Campbell is one of the first athletes I remember watching as a kid. I’ve still never seen a more powerful running back.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Work and time with my three kids fills up just about my entire week. The thing I look forward to most each week is my kids’ sporting events; I help coach some of the teams.