Last year, I reported that the Texas Supreme Court granted a record number of petitions for review in cases where the court of appeals had issued an opinion designated as a “Memorandum Opinion.”   The statistics seem to dispel the notion that there is an inherent bias against review of “Memorandum Opinions.

In 2020, the number of petitions granted in cases where the court of appeals had issued a Memorandum Opinion returned to a level in line with prior years reviewed, at 35%.  In my view, this is still a hefty number when one considers that Memorandum Opinions (by court rule) are supposed to be reserved for more routine rulings and if the case is routine, it is less likely to be of interest to the Texas Supreme Court.

Cases involving a court of appeals Memorandum Opinion had a higher percentage of reversals (79%) than cases involving a court of appeals Opinion (74%).


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Mike Northrup is a Shareholder and Section Head of the Cowles and Thompson Appellate Practice Group. He practices in both the trial and appellate courts in cases involving personal injury, insurance issues, employment law, commercial disputes, and zoning disputes. He also provides litigation support to attorneys in other sections of the firm. Mike served as a briefing attorney for former Chief Justice Thomas R. Phillips, Texas Supreme Court, 1988-89. He has taught as an adjunct professor at Hastings College of Law and SMU Dedman School of Law. He is Board Certified in Civil Appellate Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.