Federal Judge Means' Talk Today

April 24, 2013

As a long time member of the board of directors of the Tarrant County Trial Lawyers Association, I try to attend all of the monthly luncheons at Joe T. Garcia's. Today's was informative -- and had surprising news.

Judge Terry Means, after discussing procedures, rules and new cases in his court, announced that he had just decided to take senior status. For the first time in 22 years, we will only have one full time federal judge in our busy Fort Worth Division. Cases will be referred to judges in other cities.

It may take a long time to seat a new judge. Due to political infighting, judgeships across the country have remained empty for years.

Judge Means has ably served since 1991. He received his B.A. from SMU in 1971 (where my daughter graduated from last year and where she will soon get her Masters in Accounting degree, become a CPA and start working at at a large accounting firm in Dallas -- can you tell I'm a proud father?). Judge Means received his J.D. from SMU Law School in 1974 (where I obtained my law degree in 1979).

Federal courts only hear cases involving (1) the constitutionality of a law (2) the laws and treaties of the U.S. (3) disputes between two or more states (4) bankruptcy and (5) admirality. Federal judges also may only resolve actual, live disputes that the court has the power to remedy that are filed by someone who has been legally harmed by at least $75,000.00 by someone from a different state.

After lunch I drove to the far north side of town to deliver a final settlement check to a wonderful client and was delighted when she said how happy she was with the amount of money and with the service my office had provided. Then I visited a nearby doctor to check on the progress of clients he is treating and take a tour of his medical clinic.