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Recent Court Decisions in Texas

This update includes many decisions made by Texas Courts recently. This includes the following cases and topics. To read more on each of these, please click here.

Medical Malpractice Suits: Settlement Credits and Future Expenses

Virlar v. Puente addressed two major topics often seen in medical malpractice suits–settlement credits under Chapter 33 of the Texas Civil and Practice Remedies Code and periodic payments for future medical expenses under the Texas Medical Liability Act. This case arose after a patient developed a severe brain disorder due to a thiamine deficiency. More specifically, there was evidence that the nurses noted symptoms associated with thiamine deficiency and the doctor did not read the notes. As a result, the doctor failed to order thiamine supplement. Experts testified that the alleged failure resulted in the patient developing Korsakoff’s Syndrome—a debilitating brain disorder. The jury ultimately returned a $14 million verdict.

Fast Facts

Family Law: Simply living with your significant other (even for several years) doesn’t mean you’re “common law” married. To be “common law” married, you need to (1) agree to be married; (2) live together as spouses; and (3) represent to others you’re married. This issue came up in a recent case, In the Interest of L.A.M. and L.A.M., minor children.

Slip and Falls: Premise liability and negligence are not interchangeable causes of action—a plaintiff may only assert one or the other, not both. The determination of which cause of action is applicable is fact dependent. United Scaffolding, Inc. v. Levine (Texas Supreme Court).