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In this attorney-disqualification dispute, the Supreme Court directed the court of appeals to vacate its order directing the trial court to reconsider the merits of disqualification using the factors set forth in In re Meador, 968 S.W.2d 346 (Tex. 1998), holding that the trial court did not clearly abuse its discretion in declining to do so. The first time the Supreme Court addressed the disqualification in this case, the Court held that the trial improperly applied the presumption-based standard in In re American Home Products Corp., 985 S.W.2d 68 (Tex. 1998), to disqualify Plaintiffs’ counsel. Defendants filed a motion to reconsider disqualification under Meador. The trial court denied the request for reconsideration as “untimely, dilatory in nature, and/or waived.” The court of appeals directed the trial court to vacate its order and determined the motion to reconsider on the merits under Meador. The Supreme Court conditionally granted mandamus relief, holding that because Defendants initially sought disqualification based on Meador but later abandoned and affirmatively opposed any consideration under Meador, the trial court did not clearly abuse its discretion in concluding that Defendants were not entitled to a do-over under the circumstances. View "In re RSR Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In this dispute by a third party claiming the benefit of a blanket subrogation waiver by virtue of a written contract with the insured, the Supreme Court reversed the conclusion of the court of appeals that the subrogation waiver was inoperative as to an injured worker’s recovery against the third party, holding that the endorsement waiving the carrier’s recovery rights was effective as to the bodily injury claim. In the contract at issue, the insured agreed to procure a waiver of “all rights of subrogation and/or contribution against [the third party]…to the extent liabilities are assumed by [the insured].” The court of appeals read the “to the extent liabilities are assumed” limitation into the endorsement and ruled that the subrogation waiver did not apply to the injured worker’s recovery against the third party because the insured was not contractually obligated to indemnify the third party for the loss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the endorsement referred to another contract only to identify who may claim the waiver and at what operations but did not refer to, and thus did not incorporate, any other contract limitations. View "Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Insurance Co. of State of Pennsylvania" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals that the evidence was legally sufficient to support the trial court’s award of both actual and punitive damages as to all Plaintiffs in this lawsuit, holding that Plaintiffs were entitled to actual damages but were not entitled to punitive damages. Plaintiffs brought suit against Bombardier Aerospace Corporation for breach of contract, breach of express warranty, and fraud. The jury found in favor of Plaintiffs, and the trial court awarded both actual and punitive damages. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) the evidence was legally sufficient to support the award of actual damages to Plaintiffs; but (2) the limitation-of-liability clauses in the parties’ agreements barred the punitive damages award under the circumstances. View "Bombardier Aerospace Corp. v. SPEP Aircraft Holdings LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court that Plaintiff’s implied warranty claim was actionable only under the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (DTPA), Tex. Bus. & Com. Code 17.41-17.63, holding that the claim for breach of implied warranty of good and workmanlike repairs in this case was not brought under the DTPA and thus was not covered by the DTPA’s two-year limitations period. Plaintiff sought damages for injuries to himself and his small plane when the plane’s engine failed and it crash-landed. Defendant moved to strike Plaintiff’s petition, arguing that the DTPA’s two-year statute of limitations applied. The trial court agreed with Defendant and struck the petition. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Plaintiff’s breach of implied warranty claim was not barred by the DTPA limitations period. View "Nghiem v. Sajib" on Justia Law

Posted in: Consumer Law, Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Sabre Travel International, Ltd.’s motion to dismiss Deutsche Lufthansa Airline Group’s tortious interference with contract claim based on preemption, holding that the federal Airline Deregulation Act (ADA) did not preempt an airline’s claim for tortious interference with contract brought under state law. The trial court denied Sabre’s motion to dismiss but certified a legal question under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 51.014(d) providing for permissive interlocutory appeals. The court of appeals denied the permissive interlocutory appeal without explanation. After Sabre filed a petition for review in the Supreme Court, Lufthansa argued that the Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case because the court of appeals denied the permissive appeal. The Supreme Court held (1) under Tex. Gov. Code 22.225(d), an appellate court’s denial of a permissive interlocutory appeal does not prevent the Supreme Court from reviewing the merits of the interlocutory order; and (2) there was no preemption under the ADA. View "Sabre Travel International, Ltd. v. Deutsche Lufthansa AG" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court conditionally granted relief to Houston Specialty Insurance Co. (HSIC) in this mandamus proceeding, holding that the trial court erred by denying HSIC’s Tex. R. Civ. P. 91a motion to dismiss a declaratory judgment action because the requested declarations were of nonliability for legal malpractice and, under Amor v. Black, 695 S.W.2d 564 (Tex. 1985), were legally invalid. Two of the requested declarations here expressly sought a declaration of nonliability, and each of the others was relevant only to a potential claim of legal malpractice by HSIC. The Supreme Court held (1) the declarations were legally invalid, had no basis in law, and should have been dismissed; and (2) a traditional appeal after final judgment does not provide HSIC an adequate remedy. View "In re Houston Specialty Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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In this proceeding brought pursuant to a petition under Tex. R. Civ. P. 202 to conduct a pre-suit deposition of a website operator, the Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the trial court and the court of appeals and dismissed this case for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the Rule 202 proceeding had been rendered moot by the fact that Petitioner’s potential claims against several anonymous individuals were now time-barred as a matter of law. In its petition, Petitioner sought to investigate potential defamation and business disparagement claims against the anonymous speakers who posted negative statements about Petitioner on a website. The trial court granted Petitioner’s request to depose the website operator under Rule 202, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated the judgments of the lower courts and dismissed this case for want of jurisdiction, holding that the statute of limitations had conclusively run on the potential claims Petitioner sought to investigate under Rule 202, and therefore, Petitioner’s petition for pre-suit discovery was moot. View "Glassdoor, Inc. v. Andra Group, LP" on Justia Law

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In this wrongful death case, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court in favor of Plaintiff on her claim that Defendant, a neurosurgeon, was negligent, holding that the court of appeals erred in reversing the trial court. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the court of appeals, holding (1) the expert testimony was not conclusory, and therefore, the jury could rely on it to conclude that Defendant was negligent in breaching his standard of care by failing to treat his patient properly; (2) Defendant’s negligence was not too remote to be a proximate cause of the decedent’s death; and (3) the court of appeals erred in deciding factual sufficiency without explaining its application of the standard. View "Windrum v. Kareh" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this election contest for a city council seat the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming a sanctions award, vacated that award, and then dismissed the appeal of the election contest as moot, holding that the appeal was moot to the extent it challenged the election results but that the award of sanctions was an abuse of discretion. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the contestee, the candidate who received the most votes, and declared the contest the winner of the election. The court then awarded sanctions against the contester, the losing candidate, and her attorney for bringing frivolous claims. The court of appeals affirmed. The contester and her attorney appealed again, challenging the election and sanctions. Meanwhile, the contestee was reelected and began his second term in office. The Supreme Court held (1) the election contest is now moot, and no exception to the mootness doctrine applies; and (2) the trial court abused its discretion in sanctioning Appellants for making non-frivolous arguments, and the court of appeals erred in affirming the sanctions. View "Pressley v. Casar" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s judgment in favor of Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Anadarko E&P Co., L.P. (collectively, Anadarko), minority-interest owners in the Deepwater Horizon operation, on Anadarko’s claim that it was entitled to insurance coverage for the legal fees and related expenses Anadarko incurred defending against liability and enforcement claims, holding that a negotiated policy provision did not limit the excess coverage for defense expenses. In this appeal, Anadarko argued that the insurance policy covered all of its defense expenses, up to the policy’s $150 million excess-coverage limit. The policy’s underwriters (the Underwriters), however, argued that the negotiated policy provision capped the excess coverage, including coverage for defense costs, at twenty-five percent of the policy’s excess-coverage limit. The trial court granted Anadarko’s summary judgment motion in part. The court of appeals reversed and rendered judgment for the Underwriters. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the provision at issue did not limit coverage for Anadarko’s defense expenses. View "Anadarko Petroleum Corp. v. Houston Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law