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The Supreme Court of Texas Holds Hearing at TAMIU

By Joana Santillana
On March 6, 2012

On Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, the Supreme Court of Texas held one of its hearings at the Texas A&M International University Student Ballroom. The event was orchestrated by the Texas Young Lawyers Association, and it is the first time in Laredo's history that the Texas Supreme Court has reviewed a case in the city. The nine Supreme Court Justices that currently sit on the bench are Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, Justice Nathan Hecht, Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice David Medina, Justice Paul Green, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice Don Willet, Justice Eva Guzman, and Justice Debra Lehrmann. The Court heard the case of Raul Ernesto Loaisiga, M.D., the petitioner, v. Guadalupe Cerda and Cindy Velez, the respondents. Guadalupe Cerda sued Loaisiga for "fondling" his underage daughter's breasts during an examination for a sinus illness. On the other hand, Cindy Velez, a former employee of Loaisiga, sued him for improperly touching her breasts after an exam for what appeared to be flu symptoms.

The hearing consisted of each attorney presenting oral arguments for approximately 20 minutes and a short rebuttal at the end. Even though the arguments were brief, the case and documentation had already been extensively examined by the Justices, prior to the hearing. During the oral arguments, the Justices asked questions and requested clarifications as well as further evidence to support the claims made by each party.

In this case, the petitioner's attorney, Carlos Escobar, claimed that there is not sufficient evidence to determine whether a sexual assault was or was not committed, or if the act of fondling a woman's breasts was essential in order to provide a diagnosis. Escobar stated that since "medical care was occurring at the same time that the [alleged] assault was ongoing," it is hard to "draw the line where the illegitimate conduct occurs." Another claim he made is that, to a medically untrained individual, what seems like an improper action could in actuality be necessary in order to provide proper care.

The respondents' attorney, Brendan McBride, dismissed the petitioner's claim by asserting that "it's impossible to say that an allegation that a person was physically or sexually assaulted during the course of healthcare treatment is inseparable from the healthcare treatment itself."

After the session was adjourned, the justices took a short break to rest and came back to finish the event with a question and answer session, where the predominantly student-composed audience asked questions to the judges. Although the case that was just presented was off-limits as a topic of discussion, the justices answered questions on legal procedures, their election or appointment processes, and other protocol.

For more information on the case, visit the Supreme Court of Texas' official website:

You can watch the full hearing here:

Also, you can watch the Q&A session here:

(Joana Santillana may be reached at

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