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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Texas Subsequent History Table Ceases Publication

This week, Thomson Reuters notified subscribers that publication of the Texas Subsequent History Table will be discontinued and no further updates will be produced, due to “insufficient market interest.” Practitioners have been extracting writ (and since 1997, petition) history from the tables since their initial publication in 1917 as The Complete Texas Writs of Error Table. The tables, later published by West, have been used for nearly a century to determine how the Texas Supreme Court or Court of Criminal Appeals disposed of an appeal from an intermediate appellate court. The purpose of adding this notation to citations is to indicate the effect of the Texas Supreme Court’s action on the weight of authority of the Court of Appeals’ opinion.  For example, practitioners may prefer to use as authority a case that the Texas Supreme Court has determined is correct both in result and legal principles applied (petition refused), rather than one that simply presents no error that requires reversal (petition denied).

Though the publication of the Texas Subsequent History Table is ending, petition history is still accessible in some print sources. The Table is supplemented weekly by West’s Texas Cases Advance Sheets, and in the Texas Supreme Court Journal, though neither source provides the user a cumulative table of all Texas actions with a subsequent appellate history.

Subsequent history can also be located online using Westlaw and LexisNexis’ citators. In WestlawNext, petition history may be viewed by clicking on the case’s “History” tab near the top of the page. The direct history will show the petition’s disposition along with the date. In Lexis Advance and Lexis.com, subsequent appellate history may be found by viewing the case’s Shepard’s report. Currently, Bloomberg Law does not provide this information. In addition, the weekly orders from the Texas Supreme Court (1997-present) may be located on the Texas Judicial Branch's newly updated website, www.txcourts.gov. 

For more information about the history of petition and writ review in Texas, see James Hambleton’s Notations for Subsequent Histories in Civil Cases, 65 Tex. B.J. 694 (2002). 

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