That’s How We Do Thangs in Texas

I just came across an amusing order on the web today. On January 2, 2003, U.S. District Court Judge Biery approved a settlement between Kinetic Concepts, Inc. and Hillenbrand Industries, Inc. Under the settlement, Hillenbrand agreed to pay Kinetic Concepts $175 million upon dismissal of the suit and an additional $75 million one year after the initial settlement payment, subject to certain conditions. The settlement follows a jury award of $520 million after trebling. Kinetic Concepts Inc. v. Hillenbrand Indus. Inc. and Hill-Rom Co. Inc., No. 95-CV-755 (W.D. Tex. Jan. 2, 2003).

After waxing poetic about the history and direction of the medical and legal industries, Judge Biery muses, “…neither party knows how this Court or the appellate courts will rule on legal issues and sufficiency of evidence questions if they risk going for the Whole Enchilada.” He then drops a footnote to explain the Whole Enchilada as being “a South Texas phrase for which the Court can find no citation but assures the reader will get the picture or ask a South Texan for definition.”

But his Conclusion contains the best kernel of wisdom yet: “There is a concept in less materialistic Eastern religious thought that power and privilege and wealth corrupt the soul. The Western rural expression of that idea is “pigs get fat; hogs get slaughtered.”

Other Texas judges are fond of pig analogies. Sam Kent once wrote in an order that “even if you put a calico dress on it and call it Florence, at the end of the day, a pig is still a pig.”

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