Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued two significant grants in which the Court will consider (1) whether attorney-client privilege applies to documents provided to or created by an investigator and (2) whether a hotel qualifies as a “residence” for purposes of determining venue.
In Franklin Ctr. for Gov’t & Pub. Integrity v. Univ. of Tex. Sys., the Texas Supreme Court will determine whether documents sought between investigators and attorneys are protected from disclosure under attorney-client privilege. In this case, The University of Texas System (“UT System”) hired an investigator to investigate allegations of improper admissions practices at UT Austin. After the conclusion of the investigation, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity requested all documents provided to and created by the investigator throughout his inquiry. UT System argues that the investigator in this case was acting as a “lawyer’s representative” under Texas Rules of Evidence 503 and therefore, all documents provided to or created by the investigator in his investigation for UT System are protected. The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for this case on January 11, 2023.
In Great Divide Ins. Co. v. Fortenberry, the court will determine whether a hotel may be a residence for purposes of determining venue. In this case, professional football player, Reshod Fortenberry, filed a lawsuit against Great Divide Insurance Co. for workers’ compensation in Dallas County. Fortenberry had signed a three-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys and had been provided a room at a Residence Inn hotel in Dallas County for the duration of the team’s activities. After his injury, his contract was terminated. Great Divide moved to transfer the case to Travis County, arguing that venue was not proper in Dallas County as Fortenberry did not reside in Dallas County at the time of his injury. Now, the court will determine whether a residence in a hotel can meet the three-prong residence test created by Snyder v. Pitts, 241 S.W.2d 136 (Tex. 1951). Oral argument is set for January 11, 2023.