Justia Texas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

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In this workplace injury case, the Supreme Court conditionally granted YRC, Inc.'s petition for writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to vacate its order denying YRC's motion for leave to designate a responsible third party and to grant the motion, holding that YMC's motion was timely, contrary to the trial court's conclusion.Defendants in this case sought to designate Plaintiff's employer as a responsible party sixty-two days before the suit's third trial setting and more than five years the injury. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that it was untimely. The court of appeals denied mandamus relief. The Supreme Court conditionally granted mandamus relief, holding (1) the motion was timely filed and pleaded sufficient facts; and (2) there was no applicable limitations period for Plaintiff to join the third-party employer as a defendant on tort cause of action because workers' compensation was his exclusive remedy. View "In re YRC Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court answered certified questions asking whether Tex. Alco. Bev. Code 22.16(f) continues to exempt a public corporation if that corporation sells some or all of its shares to a non-exempt corporation and, if so, whether the exempt corporation can acquire additional package store permits, holding that the answer to those questions is yes.In 1995, the legislature prohibited public corporations from owning or holding an interest in package store permit and, at the same time, exempted from this prohibition any public corporation that, as of April of that year, already had permits or had permit applications pending. The Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit certified questions about the scope of the exemption. The Supreme Court answered both questions in the affirmative, holding that an exempt corporation in which a non-exempt corporation has an interest cannot hold a package store permit. View "Gabriel Investment Group, Inc. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law
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In this premises-liability suit, the Supreme Court reversed the opinion of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the trial court rendering summary judgment in favor of the owner of the grocery store and parking lot where Plaintiff tripped and fell, holding that summary judgment was appropriate in favor of the store owner.Plaintiff sued Defendant, the premises owner, after she sustained injuries from tripping over a 3/4-inch divot in the grocery store parking lot. In granting summary judgment for the owner, the trial court concluded that the divot did not rise to the level of being an "unreasonably dangerous condition" as a matter of law. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the defect that caused the accident was not unreasonably dangerous as a matter of law. View "United Supermarkets, LLC v. McIntire" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court terminating Father's parental rights for failure to comply with a court-ordered family service plan and knowingly engaging in criminal conduct resulting in his inability to support his child for at least two years, holding that the evidence was not sufficient to support termination.The trial court terminated Father's parental rights under Tex. Fam. Code 161.001(b)(1)(O) and (Q). The court of appeals affirmed the subsection (O) finding without reaching the question of whether evidence supported termination under subsection (Q). The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case to the court of appeals, holding that the order at issue did not support termination under subsection (O). View "In re A.L.R." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court conditionally granted mandamus relief in this challenge to certain discovery rulings in the underlying vehicle-collision lawsuit, holding that the challenged rulings contravened this Court's precedents regarding discovery requests that are overbroad as a matter of law.After the Supreme Court requested a response to the mandamus petition the real parties interest withdrew the challenged discovery requests, thus, they argued, rendering Petitioner's petition moot and depriving the Supreme Court of jurisdiction. The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief, holding that the discovery ordered was overbroad and that the trial court abused its discretion. View "In re Contract Freighters, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals reversing in part the trial court's grant of summary judgment for Defendant in this negligence and premises-liability case arising from a fatal construction-site accident, holding that remand was required in light of recent opinion.Plaintiffs sued Defendant for negligence, gross negligence, and premises liability. The trial court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The court of appeals reversed as to the negligence and premises-liability claims. The Supreme Court remanded the case, holding that, in applying the general rule and holding that Plaintiffs' petition could not constitute competent summary-judgment evidence, the court of appeals did not have the benefit of this Court's recent opinions in Regency Field Services, LLC v. Swift Energy Operating, LLC, 622 S.W.3d 807 (Tex. 2021) and Energen Resources Corp. v. Wallace, 642 S.W.3d 502 (Tex. 2022). The Supreme Court remanded this case for further consideration of the instant case in light of Regency and Energen and other subsequently issued opinions providing guidance on the legal issues presented. View "Weekley Homes, LLC v. Paniagua" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court held that the Comptroller of Public Accounts of the State of Texas properly taxed an insurer based on premiums it received from sales of "stop-loss" policies under Texas Insurance Code Chapters 222 and 257, holding that the Comptroller properly assessed the taxes at issue.Blue Cross Blue Shield sought a refund of its 2012 premium and maintenance taxes collected from its stop-loss policies, arguing that the policies did not cover risks on "individuals or groups" under Chapter 222. The trial court agreed and ruled for Blue Cross. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the premiums Blue Cross collected on its stop-loss policies were subject to taxation under Chapter 222; and (2) because Blue Cross collected these premiums under its authority to write health insurance, they were subject to Chapter 257's maintenance tax. View "Hegar v. Health Care Service Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law
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The Supreme Court conditionally granted UPS Ground Freight, Inc.'s petition for writ of mandamus and directed the trial court to vacate a portion of a September 30, 2020 discovery order in this wrongful-death suit, holding that the discovery requests were overbroad and that UPS had no adequate remedy by appeal.In the discovery order at issue, the trial court ordered UPS to product the results of alcohol and drug tests conducted on all current and former drivers at its Irving facility for certain periods preceding a fatal multi-vehicle accident. The Supreme Court agreed with UPS that the discovery requested and compelled by the trial court was insufficiently narrowed and was overly broad in scope. The Court ordered the trial court to vacate the portion of the discovery order compelling production of information and records pertaining to drug-and-alcohol test results for current and former UPS driver who were not parties to the litigation and who were not involved in the accident giving rise to this action. View "In UPS Ground Freight, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the district court in the underlying partition action, holding that Subchapter C of Chapter 9 of the Family Code supplements, rather than supplants, the remedial options available to former spouses who wish to divide property that went undivided in divorce.In 1987, the legislature enacted Subchapter C, which created a new option - besides partitions - for former spouses to divide property that escaped division in divorce. Subchapter C set forth a "just and right" standard for a judge to divide community property post-divorce. At issue was whether Subchapter C made that new remedy the exclusive remedy and vested exclusive jurisdiction over that remedy in the original divorce court. The Supreme Court answered the question in the negative, holding (1) if either former spouse prefers the "just and right" standard, Subchapter C supplies it; and (2) the statutory text does not impose any jurisdictional restrictions. View "S.C. v. M.B." on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the probate court to modify a trust under Texas Trust Code 112.054 but denying the trustee's demand for a jury trial, holding that there is no statutory right to a jury in a section 112.054 judicial trust-modification proceeding.In reversing the probate court, the court of appeals held that the Trust Code conferred a right to a jury trial and that the error in denying the trustee's jury demand was harmful. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred by concluding that the Trust Code's incorporation of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure creates a right to a trial by jury in a section 112.054 judicial trust-modification proceeding. View "In re Troy S. Poe Trust" on Justia Law

Posted in: Trusts & Estates