This update includes many decisions made by the Texas Supreme Court in June. This includes the following cases. To read more on each of these recent rulings, please click CRNewsletter July 2023.
Chamblee Ryan has successfully defended on appeal the summary judgment it obtained in a high- damages case involving a bicycIe accident in a private community in Kemp v. Insight Ass’n Mgmt. GP, Inc., No. 05-22-OO59O-CV. 2023 WL 41A4749, at *1 (Tex. App.— Dallas June 23, 2023, no pet. n.).
Appellate specialist William Newman handled the litigation in Dallas District Court and the appeal in the Dallas Court of Appeals. The trial Court granted summary judgment on premises liability issues. Click the CRNewsletter to read more on this appeal.
Hous. Area Safety Council v. Mendez, ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0496, 2023 WL 4140238 (Tex. June 23, 2023)
The issue in this case is whether third-party companies that collect and test employment-related drug-testing samples owe a duty of care to the employees being tested.
Schindler Elevator Corp. v. Ceasar, ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0030, 2023 WL 4036171 (Tex. June 16, 2023)
The case concerns whether the trial court abused its discretion by including in the jury charge an instruction on res ipsa loquitur.
WRONGFUL DEATH/MENTAL ANGUISH DAMAGES
Gregory v. Chohan, No. 21-0017, 2023 WL 4035886 (Tex. June 16, 2023)
In a case of great interest to liability insurers and defendants, the issue was the sufficiency of evidence for an award of a specific amount in mental anguish or grief damages.
In this wrongful death case, the specific issue is whether a noneconomic damages award of just over $15 million was supported by sufficient evidence.
Taylor Morrison of Tex., Inc. v. Kohlmeyer, ___ S.W.3d ___,2 1-0072, 2023 WL 4278242 (Tex. June 30, 2023) (per curiam)
The Supreme Court continued to emphasize its desire to grant arbitration even where the party subject to arbitration is not the original party signing the agreement.
In re First Rsrv. Mgmt., L.P., 4140454, 22-0227, (Tex. June 23, 2023)
The issue was whether the trial court should have dismissed the plaintiffs’ negligent-undertaking claim against a group of private-equity investors under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a.
Skeels v. Suder, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2023 WL 4140683, 21-1014 (Tex. June 23, 2023)
The issue in this declaratory-judgment suit is whether a corporate resolution authorized a law firm to redeem a departing shareholder’s shares on terms unilaterally set by the firm’s founders.
Tex. Tech Univ. Health Scis. Ctr.–El Paso v. Niehay, ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0179, 2023 WL 4278585 (Tex. June 30, 2023)
The issue is whether morbid obesity qualifies as an “impairment” under the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) without evidence that it is caused by an underlying disorder or condition.
In re A.A., ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0998, 2023 WL 3910142 (Tex. June 9, 2023)
The Mother challenged the termination of her parental rights under Section 161.001(b)(1)(O) of the Family Code because the children were relocated to foster care from Father’s home and for his wrongdoing.
In re J.N., ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0419, 2023 WL 3910042 (Tex. June 9, 2023)
This case concerns a trial court’s failure to interview a child under Section 153.009(a) of the Family Code. Under this section, upon application by certain parties, a trial court “shall” interview a child twelve and older to determine the child’s wishes as to who will have the exclusive right to determine their primary residence. This statute applies only to nonjury trials or hearings.
In re J.S., ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0420, 2023 WL 4036262 (Tex. June 16, 2023)
This concerns the findings a trial court is required to make under Section 263.401(b) of the Family Code to extend the automatic dismissal deadline for a parental-rights-termination suit.
Horton v. Kan. City S. Ry. Co., ___ S.W.3d ___, 2023, 21-0769, WL 4278230 (Tex. June 30, 2023)
This case is about questions of federal preemption, evidentiary sufficiency, and charge error. Ladonna Sue Rigsby was killed when her truck collided with a train operated by Kansas City Southern Railroad Company while she was driving across a railroad crossing. Her children sued the Railroad Company, alleging two theories of liability: (1) the Railroad Company failed to correct a raised hump at the midpoint of the crossing; and (2) it failed to maintain a yield sign at the crossing. Both theories were submitted to the jury in one liability question.
Abbott v. Harris County, ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0124, 2023 WL 4278763 (Tex. June 30, 2023)
In a hot-issue case, the question was case is whether the Governor has authority to issue executive orders that prohibit local governments from imposing mask-wearing requirements in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
CPS Energy v. Elec. Reliability Council of Tex. and Elec. Reliability Council of Tex., Inc. v. Panda Power Generation Infrastructure Fund LLC, ___ S.W.3d ___, 22-0056, 22-0196, 2023 WL 4140460 (Tex. June 23, 2023)
In this much anticipated case arising from the blackouts during the Texas freeze in 2021, the main issue was whether ERCOT is entitled to sovereign immunity. In CPS, CPS sued ERCOT for breach of contract and other claims, alleging that ERCOT unlawfully short-paid CPS to offset losses suffered after Winter Storm Uri caused some wholesale market participants defaulted on their payment obligations to ERCOT. ERCOT filed a plea to the jurisdiction, asserting sovereign immunity and, alternatively, that the Public Utility Commission had exclusive jurisdiction.
City of League City v. Jimmy Changas, Inc., ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0307, 2023 WL 3909986 (Tex. June 9, 2023)
This case involves the governmental function/proprietary function dichotomy in a breach-of-contract context. League City and Jimmy Changas entered into an agreement under Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code, which permits cities to provide economic-development incentives to stimulate commercial activity.
City of Houston v. Green, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2023 WL 22-0295, 22-0295 (Tex. June 30, 2023) (per curiam)
The issue was whether a police officer is entitled to immunity under the Texas Tort Claims Act’s emergency exception. Houston police officer Samuel Omesa was responding to an emergency call when his vehicle collided with one driven by Crystal Green.
MEDICAL EXPERT REQUIREMENT/CHAPTER 74
Collin Creek Assisted Living Ctr., Inc. v. Faber, ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0470, 2023 WL 4278313 (Tex. June 30, 2023)
This case examines what constitutes a “health care liability claim” under the Texas Medical Liability Act. Christine Faber sued an assisted living facility for premises liability after her mother, a facility resident, died from injuries she sustained while being pushed on a rolling walker by a facility employee along the facility’s sidewalk.
Univ. of Tex. Sys. v. Franklin Ctr. for Gov’t & Pub. Integrity, ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0534, 2023 WL4278243 (Tex. June 30, 2023)
The issue was whether documents underlying an external investigation into allegations of undue influence in a public university’s admissions process are protected by the attorney–client privilege and are thus exempt from disclosure under the Texas Public Information Act.
MOTIONS FOR NEW TRIAL
In re Rudolph Auto., LLC, ___ S.W.3d ___, 2023 WL 4035804, 21-0135 (Tex. June 16, 2023)
Only relatively recently has the Court been willing to review orders of new trials after a jury verdict on Mandamus. Traditionally it had held that there was sufficient remedy by appeal (so that the complaining party was forced to try the case a second time—and lose—to have any right to redress).
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Levinson Alcoser Assocs., L.P. v. El Pistolón II, Ltd., ___ S.W.3d ___, 21-0797, 2023 WL 4035916 (Tex. June 16, 2023)
The Court held that a prior dismissal for failure to comply with the required expert architectural certificate as required by statute does not toll the statute. The issue was whether the running of limitations was equitably tolled during the appeal of the plaintiff’s earlier, identical suit, which was ultimately dismissed after limitations expired.