Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Unopposed motion to transfer appeal to avoid conflict of interest denied by newest member of First Court of Appeals, Justice Russell Lloyd

In one of his first official acts as a member of the First Court of Appeals, freshman Justice Russell Lloyd on January 15, 2015 denied a motion to transfer a case from the First to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals, which was filed to avoid a conflict of interest. The motion was not objected to by the other party in the appeal. Both appellate courts sit in Houston, and hear cases from the same counties, which are assigned randomly to one or the other.  
Attorney Orjanel Lewis requested the transfer after an appeal in which his firm - RADACK AND BORUNDA, P.C. -  represents a medical malpractice plaintiff who had summary judgment entered against her by a Harris County District Court was assigned to the First Court of Appeals. The transfer was sought because Jeremy Radack, a name partner and shareholder of the law firm that handles the appeal for the unsuccessful plaintiff in the trial court, is the son of Sherry Radack, the First Court's Chief Justice.

In denying the motion in a short order, Judge Lloyd acted individually, rather for the court. He did not give a reason, other than to cite to the rules governing transfer, disqualification, and recusal.

Order Denying Motion to Transfer case issued by Justice Russell Lloyd

Image of motion to transfer appeal to avoid conflict of interest based on family relationship

 RADACK AND BORUNDA, P.C. - Public Information 

Attorneys are notoriously loath to file recusal motions against sitting judges because they do not want to question the impartiality of a judge before whom they may appear in the future, and make themselves unpopular.

Justice Russell Lloyd took office January 1, 2015, replacing Jim Sharp, who lost his re-election bid. Justice Lloyd does not yet have an official biography on the First Court of Appeal's website (as of 1/21/2015).  Attorney Russell T. Lloyd's profile on file with the State Bar of Texas was last certified on 04/17/2014 and reflects that he practiced law as a solo. He received his law license in 1978 after earning his law degree from the University of Texas that same year. Judge Lloyd's LinkedIn profile provides much more detailed information about his background.

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