Photo of Mike Northrup

Mike Northrup is the chair of the appellate practice group at Cowles & Thompson, P.C. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and is a former Chair of the Appellate Law Section of the Dallas Bar Association. He is also a former briefing attorney for the Supreme Court of Texas.

Practice Areas

  • Civil Appeals
  • Labor and Employment Law
  • Insurance Law
  • Municipal Law

Professional Associations

  • Dallas Bar Association, Appellate Law Section
  • Defense Research Institute
  • College of the State Bar of Texas
  • State Bar of Texas, Appellate Section
  • Texas Aggie Bar Association

Education

  • JD, Texas Tech University School of Law (1988)
  • B.S., (Political Science), Texas A&M University (1985)

Bar Admissions

  • State Bar of Texas
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • United States District Court, Northern, Southern, and Eastern Districts of Texas

Each calendar year, the Supreme Court of Texas agrees to hear and decide somewhere around 80 petitions for review.   This is only a fraction of the petitions for review that come knocking on the court’s door.   When the court grants a petition for review the odds are very strong that the court is going to reverse the court of appeals judgment.  Overall reversal rates range between 75% to 85% for the years 2014 through 2017, with the average reversal rate for all four years being 82.2%.

Continue Reading The Texas Supreme Court’s Docket, Part 2

For well over a decade, the Supreme Court of Texas has been presented with more than 1000 different matters each fiscal year.  These matters consist of petitions for review, petitions for writs of mandamus, certified questions, petitions for habeas corpus, direct appeals, and a handful of other miscellaneous items.  The bulk of the court’s docket consists of petitions for review, which are either denied or granted.

Continue Reading The Texas Supreme Court’s Docket, Part 1

A “sham affidavit” has been described as referring to an affidavit in which an affiant offers sworn testimony that contradicts the affiant’s prior, sworn testimony on a material point and the affiant gives no explanation in the affidavit for the change in the testimony.  The scenario of the “sham affidavit” arises with great frequency in Texas summary judgment practice.   Because many district courts and intermediate appellate courts refuse to give credence to such an affidavit, many motions for summary judgment have been granted and upheld.

Continue Reading Does Texas follow the “sham affidavit” doctrine?

The answer to this question may depend upon the circumstances.  As reflected in one recent Dallas Court of Appeals opinion, minutes mattered in order for the lawyer to ensure compliance with her obligation not to engage in conduct that might disrupt pending appellate proceedings.  This opinion could serve as a good law school exam question.

Continue Reading How soon must an attorney notify his client of a court filing?

Ordinarily, when evaluating the contacts of distinct legal entities, the contacts of parent corporations and subsidiaries are evaluated separately for jurisdictional purposes, unless the corporate veil is pierced.  On first glance, that doesn’t appear to be what happened in Cornerstone Healthcare Group Holding, Inc. v. Nautic Management VI, L.P.  The key to understanding this opinion

The Texas Public Information Act is intended to provide the public with a window into the business of government and the official acts of public officials.   There are some limited restrictions on the information that may be obtained by a person requesting information.  The Austin Court of Appeals’ opinion in The Austin Bulldog vs. Leffingwell

The Texas Whistleblower Act protects a public employee who makes a good faith report of a legal violation by his or her employer “to an appropriate law enforcement authority.” Tex. Gov’t Code  § 554.002(a).   Texas law has generally held that the “appropriate law enforcement authority” must be an authority that has outward-looking powers to investigate,