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After $250k in political support from Apache Corp., Texas Supreme Court does a rare double take

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Last fall, it seemed that Apache Corp., the giant Houston oil company, had hit a dead end in a long-running legal battle.

A paralegal named Cathryn Davis claimed the company fired her in 2013 for complaining about age and gender discrimination. A jury agreed, awarding $900,000 to her and her attorneys; an appeals court upheld the judgment. The company asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the case, but on Oct. 2 it declined.

Litigants can ask the state’s highest civil court to reconsider such decisions, but it’s a long shot; nearly 98 percent of the time, it refuses, according to research by the Texas Bar. Nevertheless, Apache notified the Supreme Court it intended to ask for a so-called rehearing.

After the company contributed $250,000 in political support to justices seeking re-election, the court changed its mind.

Texas is one of only four states with partisan Supreme Court elections, and…

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