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Misconduct Report: November 2014

Gregg Costa

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Gregg Costa
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Current Court Information:
Title:   Judge
Service:
Appointed by:   Barack Obama
Active:   5/20/2014-Present
Preceded by:   Fortunato Benavides
Past post:   Southern District of Texas
Past term:   4/26/2012-5/20/2014
Personal History
Born:   1972
Hometown:   Baltimore, MD
Undergraduate:   Dartmouth College, 1994
Law School:   University of Texas Law, 1999

Gregg Costa is a federal judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He was elevated from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas after confirmation by the Senate. The confirmation to the circuit court came on May 20, 2014, when the Senate voted 97-0.[1] On December 19, 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Costa to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.[2]

Costa joined the district court in 2012, after a nomination from President Barack Obama. At the time of nomination, he served as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of Texas and had held that position since 2005.[3][4]

Education

Costa received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1994 and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law in 1999. From 1994 to 1996, Costa taught elementary school through the Teach for America program in Sunflower, Mississippi.[3][4]

Professional career

  • 2005-2012: Assistant U.S. attorney, Southern District of Texas
  • 2002-2005: Associate, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • 2001-2002: Law clerk, Honorable William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States
  • 1999-2000: Law clerk, Honorable A. Raymond Randolph
  • 1999: Bristow Fellow at the Office of the Solicitor General U.S. Department of Justice[3][4]

Judicial career

Fifth Circuit

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Gregg Costa
 Court:Fifth Circuit
 Progress:Confirmed 152 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:December 19, 2013
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAQuestionnaire:Questionnaire
ApprovedAHearing:February 25, 2014
ApprovedAQFRs:QFRs
ApprovedAReported:March 27, 2014 
ApprovedAConfirmed:May 20, 2014
 Vote: 97-0

Gregg Costa was nominated by President Barack Obama on December 19, 2013, to fill a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The vacancy was created when Judge Fortunato Benavides took senior status in February of 2012.[2] On the nominations:

Judges Carnes and Costa have displayed exceptional dedication to public service throughout their careers... I am honored to nominate them today to serve the American people on the United States Courts of Appeals. I am confident that they will be judicious and esteemed additions to the Eleventh and the Fifth Circuits.

[5]

—President Barack Obama[2]

The American Bar Association rated Costa Unanimously Well Qualified for the position on the Fifth Circuit court.[6]

Costa's nomination was returned by the Senate on January 3, 2014, and he was renominated on January 6th by President Obama.[7] He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 25, 2014. On March 27, 2014, the Senate Judiciary Committee reported Costa's nomination to the full U.S. Senate on a voice vote.[8] The United States Senate confirmed Costa to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on May 20, 2014, by a vote of 97-0.[1]

Southern District of Texas

Nomination Tracker
 Candidate:Gregg Costa
 Court:Southern District of Texas
 Progress:Confirmed 231 days after nomination.
ApprovedANominated:September 8, 2011
ApprovedAABA Rating:Unanimously Well Qualified
ApprovedAQuestionnaire:Questionnaire
ApprovedAHearing:November 2, 2011
ApprovedAQFRs:QFRs
ApprovedAReported:December 1, 2011 
ApprovedAConfirmed:April 26, 2012
 Vote: 92-2

On September 8, 2011, Costa was nominated to the federal bench by President Barack Obama to the seat vacated by Judge John Rainey.[9][10] Obama commented on the nomination, stating, "Gregg Jeffrey Costa is a distinguished individual who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice throughout his career. I am grateful for his decision to serve the American people from the District Court bench."[3]

Costa was rated Unanimously Well Qualified by the American Bar Association. He had a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 2, 2011, and you can find his Committee Questionnaire available here and his Questions for the Record available here.[11]

With a vote of 92-2, Gregg Costa was also confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 26, 2012, to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.[12][4]

Notable cases

Partial summary judgment in Bumbo products liability case (2013)

     United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (Blythe, et al v. Bumbo International Trust f/k/a Jonibach Management Trust, et al, 6:12-cv-00036)

On November 26, 2013, Judge Costa granted partial summary judgment to Bumbo International in a products liability case where parents of an infant alleged that the baby fractured her skull after falling from an elevated surface while seated in a Bumbo Baby Seat. The Baby Seat had a warning that clearly stated it should "never [be used] on any elevated surface." The parents admitted they did not read any of the warnings present, but if they had, they would have obeyed them. Despite these facts, the Blythes still believed Bumbo International failed to provide adequate warnings about the Baby Seat's potential dangers, suing under a marketing defect claim. Judge Costa rejected that theory of the case, ruling that "there [was] no basis for a reasonable jury to decide that this unambiguous and conspicuous warning was insufficient." A jury later returned a verdict in favor of the company on the remaining causes of action.[13]

Awards and associations

Awards

  • 2013: John Marshall Award for Performance in Prosecuting White Collar Crime
  • 2012: Assistant Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service for work on Allen Stanford prosecution
  • 2012: Recognition from United States Postal Inspection Service for work on various fraud cases
  • 2010: Award from Immigration and Customs Enforcement for work on cases involving importation of counterfeit technology products from China
  • 2010: Huston Bar Association Bob Susman Scholarship
  • 2009: Certificate of Appreciation from Director of the Secret Service for work on mortgage fraud prosecution
  • 2008: Certificate of Appreciation from Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security for work on FEMA fraud cases
  • 1998:Vice Chancellor, Ranked second in law school after 2 years
  • 1996: Ellen Waters Olson Scholarship
  • Editor in Chief, Texas Law Review

Associations

  • 2012-Present: Federal Judges Association
  • 2012-Present: Team Manager, Huston Express Soccer Club
  • 2010-2011: Assistant Baseball Coach, Bellaire Little League
  • 2009-2012: National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
  • 2008-2009: Huston Urban Debate League
  • 2008-2009: Youth Soccer Coach, Bellaire Recreation Center
  • 2006-2007: Coordinator, United States Public Service Academy Task Force on Service Learning
  • 2006-2007: Youth Soccer Coach, YMCA
  • 2004, 2014: Reunion Committee, University of Texas School of Law
  • 2003-Present: Supreme Court Historical Society
  • 2002-Present: Congregation Beth Yeshurun
  • 2004-2006: Board Member, 100 Jewish Men
  • 1999-Present: Board Member, Sunflower County Freedom Project
  • 1994-Present: Teach for America[14]

See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 United States Senate, "On the Nomination (Confirmation Gregg Jeffrey Costa, of Texas, to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit)," accessed May 21, 2014
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 'White House, "President Obama Nominates Two to Serve on the United States Courts of Appeals," December 19, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 WhiteHouse.gov, "President Obama Nominates Gregg Jeffrey Costa to Serve on the US District Court," September 8, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Biography of Gregg Costa at the Federal Judicial Center
  5. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  6. American Bar, "RATINGS OF ARTICLE III JUDICIAL NOMINEES 113TH CONGRESS," accessed December 27, 2013
  7. White House, "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate," January 7, 2014
  8. Senate Judiciary Committeee, "Results of Executive Business Meeting - March 27, 2014," accessed April 3, 2014
  9. The White House, "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate," September 8, 2011
  10. The White House, "Presidential Nomination Sent to the Senate," August 20, 2011
  11. Senate Judiciary Committee, "112th Congress Nomination Materials," accessed May 23, 2014
  12. Senate Judiciary Committee, "Report on the Activities of the Senate Judiciary Committee, 112th Congress," accessed May 23, 2014
  13. Courthouse News Service, "Baby Seat Manufacturer Isn't to Blame for Injury," December 2, 2013
  14. Senate Judiciary Committee, "Questionnaire for the Nominee," accessed February 26, 2014
Federal judicial offices
Preceded by:
Fortunato Benavides
Fifth Circuit
2014-Present
Succeeded by:
NA
Preceded by:
John Rainey
Southern District of Texas
2012–2014
Succeeded by:
NA




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