Latest & Greatest: Litigation with the Federal Government

By Gregory C. Sisk Published by West Academic Publishing KF 9065 .L472 2016

By Gregory C. Sisk

Published by West Academic Publishing

KF 9065 .L472 2016

It is relatively common knowledge in the legal community that the Federal Government is a party to every federal criminal case. Yet few are aware that the Government is a party in nearly 20 percent of all civil cases filed in the federal courts. In these matters come the special rules surrounding sovereign immunity and the waiver of that immunity. In his book, Litigation with the Federal Government, author Gregory C. Sisk seeks to explain the concept of sovereign immunity and provide a summary of the various statutory waivers of sovereign immunity, both specific and general. He discusses, in some detail, the requirements needed to bring suit under the Federal Torts Claim Act and both the standards for and exceptions to liability under the statute. Other statutes include Suits in Admiralty Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Social Security Act, to name a few. Sisk also devotes some discussion to claims against federal officers and employees, including those seeking money damages and those looking to compel the officer or employee to perform a specific duty. The author also addresses the notion of equitable estoppel in the instance when the Federal Government is bound by the unauthorized representations by its employees. Lastly, the author discusses the Federal Government’s power to sue as a plaintiff.

Note that this book is part of the Hornbook Series, a set of one-volume treatises designed as study aids that simplify a legal topic by providing a summary or overview of the topic. They are good resources for those who want to understand more about a legal subject without having to sort through complex cases as well as for those who are representing themselves.

Free Westlaw CLE from the Legal Tech Institute

The Legal Tech Institute at the Harris County Law Library is hosting a free Westlaw CLE this week. To register, visit the Course Calendar on the Legal Tech Institute website.

Join us on Thursday, February 16, 12:00pm to 1:00pm for a Vendor Visit from our Westlaw representative who will discuss Legislative and Statutory Resources available for free on the Law Library’s Westlaw computers. Texas attorneys can earn 1.0 hour CLE credit.

You can also watch past CLEs anytime on the Legal Tech Institute On-demand Learning webpage. CLE credit is available in Texas for viewing the video up to a year after the live event.

Latest & Greatest – Davis’s Texas Estate Planning Forms 2017

By Mickey R. Davis Published by O’Connor’s KFT 1340 .A65 D38

By Mickey R. Davis

Published by O’Connor’s

KFT 1340 .A65 D38

The Harris County Law Library is pleased to have a new addition to its collection of books from that trusted and reliable publisher, O’Connor’s: Davis’s Texas Estate Planning Forms 2017. This new resource, designed to assist in the drafting of wills and the providing of estate planning services to clients, contains a myriad of forms that can be adapted to fit your client’s situation. There is an entire chapter devoted to advanced directives and powers of attorney and an extensive sampling of various types of wills based upon marital status and the need for tax planning. You can also find provisions and clauses for specific testamentary gifts, administrative issues, and the payment of expenses and debts. There are also examples of simple wills that are good for those whose estates are a bit simpler and require little or no additional estate planning. Moreover, there is a chapter dedicated to trusts, including irrevocable gift trusts, irrevocable life insurance trusts, and charitable trusts . Like the library’s other Texas resources from O’Connor’s, the forms contained in this book can be found on O’Connor’s Online here at the law library.

Legislative Histories of Cybersecurity Laws Enacted by the 113th and 114th Congresses

January is Data Privacy and Information Security Law Month at the Harris County Law Library. All month long, we are promoting the data privacy resources in our collection to raise awareness of the need for data security in the practice of law. We are also featuring relevant electronic sources, including the Cybersecurity Law Institute at Georgetown University, and the Cybersecurity Law Report, both of which are freely available on the Internet.

The Law Library's subscription databases provide access to even more good resources, including legislative histories of key cybersecurity laws. HeinOnline has just added several new cybersecurity law resources to its U.S. Federal Legislative History Library. The new collection, Legislative Histories of Cybersecurity Laws Enacted by the 113th and 114th Congresses (William H. Manz, ed.) (2016)  is a compilation of eight laws enacted in 2014 and 2015 including: 

  • Cybersecurity Workforce Assessment Act
  • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2014
  • National Cybersecurity Protection Act of 2014
  • Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014

Four additional Acts grouped into the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 are also part of the compilation. The legislative histories include the text and chronology of the Acts, bill versions, related bills, committee reports, congressional debates and hearings, GAO reports, and presidential materials. 

To access these legislative histories and a world of other content, visit the Law Library or access HeinOnline on your mobile device.

Access to Justice: Supported Decision-Making Agreements

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With the passage of HB 39 and SB 1881 by the 84th Legislature, Texas became the first state to enact legislation allowing individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) greater autonomy in the making of personal decisions while still retaining their rights. Prior to the passage of the Supported Decision-Making Agreement Act (codified at Tex. Estates Code ch. 1357), individuals with an I/DD were forced to relinquish their rights, and all decisions were then made by the person appointed as guardian, including such choices as where to live, where to work, and which doctors to use. The Act's stated purpose is to provide a less restrictive alternative to guardianship for those adults who require assistance with day-to-day decisions but who are not considered incapacitated for guardianship purposes. Under the Act, an individual with an I/DD may appoint a caregiver to assist the individual with making decisions, including helping the individual understand any consequences of the decision, collecting relevant information to aid in the making of the decision, and assisting with the communication of the individual’s wishes. Note that the agreement may be terminated at any time by either party.

 TexasLawHelp.org, a program of the Texas Legal Services Center, has made available on its website a free Supported Decision-Making Agreement. With this form, a person with an I/DD is able to choose a trusted caregiver, referred to as a “supporter,” to assist with the making of the decisions indicated by the individual. The form specifically states that the supporter does not make the decisions for the individual and allows the individual to identify the types of decisions for which he/she needs the assistance of the supporter.

In connection with the Supported Decision-Making Agreement form, TexasLawHelp.org provides an additional form: an authorization to release confidential information under a supported decision-making agreement. This form allows the supporter to obtain information about the individual with an I/DD that would have been private and otherwise protected.