Pro Bono Work


While Jim has provided pro bono work for those who cannot afford it as a regular part of his practice for decades, here are some issues Jim has recently addressed in his public appellate work, provided free of any charge:

Workplace sexual violence.  In a case critical to the prevention of workplace violence, Jim wrote a brief, pro bono, on behalf of Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association (TTLA).  Jim argued that victims of workplace sexual assault are entitled to sue their employers for money damages, and are not limited to proceedings before the Texas Commission on Human Rights, which requires exhaustion of administrative remedies.  The issue is currently pending before the Texas Supreme Court in B.C. v. Steak N Shake Operations, No. 15-0404.

See Brief: B.C. v. Steak N Shake Operations, No. 15-0404


Employers’ duties to protect worker safety.  In one of its most significant decisions of its last term, the Texas Supreme Court recognized that employers owe their employees not only the duty to maintain a safe worksite, but also the duty to provide proper supervision, safety equipment, and training, especially with regard to how to eliminate or avoid dangerous conditions.  Jim Lewis and Peter Kelly submitted a brief on behalf of TTLA, which was the only brief to make that argument.  After the opinion came out, Jim, again working on behalf of TTLA and with Peter Kelly, submitted another brief calling into question the Supreme Court’s statement that employees, when confronted with workplace hazards, must either work through the danger or be fired–with no consequence to the employer.  Austin v. Kroger Co., No. 14-0216.

See Brief: Austin v. Kroger Co., No. 14-0216

See 2nd Brief: Austin v. Kroger Co., No. 14-0216


Opponents’ access to political parties’ private documents.  The Harris County Democratic Party (HCDP) contacted Jim Lewis to prepare a brief to the Texas Supreme Court in support of the limitation on the required publication of private documents kept by political parties, such as strategy for persuasion of voters, policies pertaining to the recruitment of candidates, and other confidential information.  Though Jim represented the HCDP, he also enlisted cooperation from the Harris County Republican Party, and the Supreme Court refused to subject the parties to heightened disclosure standards.  Greater Houston Partnership v. Paxton, No 13-0745.

See Brief: Greater Houston Partnership v. Paxton, No 13-0745


Reimbursement of medical expenses to an injured man.  Jim argued to the Texas Supreme Court, on behalf of TTLA, that a seriously injured individual is entitled to request reimbursement for the entire amount of the charges for his medical care.  Though the man received his care at a charity hospital, the charity was not designed for the benefit of the individual who caused his injury, and the man was required to pay for medical care in the event he makes a recovery at trial.  Jim opposed the defendant’s proposed transfer of wealth from charitable donors to culpable tort-feasors.  Big Bird Tree Service v. Gallegos, No. 12-0508.

See Brief: Big Bird Tree Service v. Gallegos, No. 12-0508


Homeowners’ rights to benefits under insurance policies.  In a case involving hailstorm damage, but of critical importance to Texans living in hurricane-prone areas, Jim argued that homeowners should be able to obtain the benefit of coverage for serious damage caused by hurricanes and other storms without the necessity of a cost-prohibitive appraisal process.  Though the Texas Supreme Court primarily sided with the insurance companies, The Court heeded Jim’s arguments on behalf of TTLA and held that going through appraisal is not a condition precedent to enforcing the terms of the insurance policy through the courts.  In re Universal Underwriters, No. 10-0238.

See Brief: In re Universal Underwriters, No. 10-0238