modal panel has limitations related to h:form. it should be only inside and not outside by default. And you should read about domElementAttachment in order to check how to avoid that restriction.
Thanks for the reply. I read about the domElementAttachment attribute and set it to "form" and "parent", neither one solved the issue above. The text fields are still not being set.
And I am not sure how to debug the issue.
If it works under IE7 why not try to force IE8 to behave like it's predecessor.
Try inserting <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=EmulateIE7; IE=EmulateIE9" /> into your document <head> section.