As you likely know, AA's parent, AMR, filed for chapter 11 reorganization more than a year ago. The move struck us as an attempt at crash-landing a flying unit that had a glorious past but had come to feature filthy jets, snarky pilots, and surly flight attendants. For that reason, it sent a thrill of hope through customers who, like us, wished for a through cleansing, not only of the debt load but also of the smelly cabins and toxic employee/management attitude.
Guess what? The bankruptcy seemed to do wonders with that toxicity thing, if not the smelliness thing. Leg room a bit more commodious. The pilots didn't mumble as much (or at ear-piercing decibels just as you drifted off for a nap). And the service in the coach cabin got noticeably friendlier, and the snacks on offer tasted somewhat better.
Yes, we rolled our eyes when, a few seconds after AA announced it would buy hundreds of new planes from Boeing and Airbus, the carrier began touting its "most modern" and "newest" fleet — which in fact wouldn't start to arrive for many months and wouldn't build to anything close to newest for years. But we felt less doubtful about a rebranding initiative, which furnished a new and sleeker logo and nicer livery for the incoming jets. And then, on Valentine's Day, AA the US Air said they would join in aviational matrimony to form the biggest domestic carrier in, well, domestica.
You know what took us by surprise? The media coverage. Newspaper people seemed to delight in ridiculing AA's efforts to get better, especially the rebranding effort. We thought: Didn't those folks fly on American planes? Didn't they notice what we saw? Did they really like that stodgy, kind of mean image?
We can say similar things about people who misunderestimate the Supreme Court of Texas. Under Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, the Court has shown increasing signs of — dare we say it? — balance. More opinions out of the Court strike us as less harsh. More persuasive. Less tendentious.
The Court has a ways to go, in our view. But let's give credit where it's due. It has gotten better.
The example that prompted a mental link between AA and the Court arrived last Friday, the usual day for the Court to issue new opinions (and "Weekly Orders" dealing with petitions for review and other matters). The case raised the question of whether the law that cut back on med-mal cases requires expert reports that address all potential grounds for liability as a prerequisite to moving beyond the pleading stage. The Court — per the Chief Justice himself — ruled that the law doesn't require an all-encompassing report on the front-end and instead permits forward movement if the plaintiff submits an expert report that shows a reasonable basis for at least one theory of liability. Certified EMS, Inc. v. Potts, No. 11-0517 (Tex. Feb. 15, 2013).
A more cynical person might speculate that the Court only a few years ago would have rule 5-4 or 6-3 that the report must not only address all theories that the plaintiff pleaded but also all those that he might have alleged. Not us. We're happy. Yay.