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The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to dismiss this suit seeking to remove Defendant from a county hospital district board, holding that the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 27.003, applied to the State’s removal action and that the State failed to establish a prima facie case for removal. Defendant argued that the removal petition should be dismissed because the State could not establish a prima facie case for removal. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals reversed and remanded to the trial court for a determination of Defendant’s request for attorney fees and costs. The Supreme Court affirmed as modified, holding (1) the TCPA applies to a removal petition, and a removal petition does not constitute an “enforcement action” under the TCPA; and (2) Defendant was not entitled to dismissal of or attorney’s fees for the state’s allegation that he violated the Open Meetings Act. View "State ex rel. Best v. Harper" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that the Texas Medical Liability Act’s emergency-medical-care provision, which requires claimants asserting certain medical-malpractice claims to prove “willful and wanton negligence,” applies to claims arising from emergency medical care provided in a hospital’s obstetrical unit regardless of whether the patient was first evaluated or treated in a hospital emergency department. Plaintiffs filed suit against an obstetrician, his practice group, and a hospital (collectively, Dr. Wilson) alleging that Dr. Wilson negligently performed maneuvers that dislodged their baby’s shoulder as he was born. In response, Dr. Wilson argued that because Plaintiffs’ claims arose from the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital obstetrical unit, they could only recover by proving that Dr. Wilson acted with willful and wanton negligence. The trial court agreed and granted partial summary judgment to Dr. Wilson. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the Act, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 74.001-.507, did not require Plaintiffs to prove willful and wanton negligence. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that section 74.153 of the Act requires claimants to prove willful and wanton negligence when their claims arise out of the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital obstetrical unit. View "Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Denton v D.A." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals holding that Emergency Medical Training Services (EMTS) did not provide clear and specific evidence under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 27.003, of a prima facie case that a former employee (Defendant) breached nondisclosure agreements she signed in connection with her employment, holding that EMTS established a prima facie case of each essential element of a breach of contract cause of action. EMTS sued Defendant for breach of contract and moved for injunctive relief. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to the TCPA, arguing that her actions were an exercise of her right to petition and her right of free speech. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that EMTS established all the elements of a breach of contract claim with the exception of the damages element. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that EMTS established a prima facie case by clear and specific evidence of each essential element of a breach of contract cause of action. View "S&S Emergency Training Solutions, Inc. v. Elliott" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the trial court rendering judgment for Plaintiffs in this negligence action, holding that the trial court erred by excluding certain evidence and that a truck driver’s employer could not be held directly liable for the death of a pedestrian that was killed by the employer’s truck. The decedent’s family filed this action arguing that the truck driver was negligent in operating the truck and that the truck owner, the driver’s employer, was negligent in training the driver. The trial court rendered judgment on the jury’s verdict finding that the negligence of the driver, the truck owner, and the decedent proximately caused the collision. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court erred by excluding evidence of the pedestrian’s mental illness and the fact that she had alcohol and drugs in her system at the time of the collision; and (2) there was no evidence to support the finding that the alleged negligence of the employer in training the driver proximately caused the collision. View "JBS Carriers, Inc. v. Washington" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court held that Plaintiff, rather than his Bank, must suffer the financial consequences of the complete draining of Plaintiff’s bank account by an identity theft through a series of fraudulent transactions. At issue was Tex. Bus. & Com. Code 4.406(c), which limits the liability of a bank when the customer fails to comply with his or her duties to examine the statement of account and notify the bank of any unauthorized payment. Rather than monitor his account as contemplated by the statute, for more than a year Plaintiff failed to look for missing bank statements or inquire about the status of his account. The court of appeals rendered judgment for Plaintiff, holding that the Bank neither sent the statements to Plaintiff nor made them available to him, and therefore, his statutory duties to examine the statements and report unauthorized transactions never arose. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the Bank made the statements “available” to Plaintiff for purposes of section 4.406; and (2) under the circumstances, section 4.406 precluded Plaintiff’s attempt to hold the Bank liable for the losses. View "Compass Bank v. Calleja-Ahedo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration of a dispute over which of two orders approving a transfer of a payee’s structured-settlement-payment rights to another under the Structured Settlement Protection Act, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 141.004, controlled, holding that the court of appeals erred in determining that the dispute was one that could not be arbitrated. Specifically, the court of appeals concluded that the dispute over which order controlled was not an arbitrable issue even where an arbitration agreement included in the transfer agreement assigned issues of arbitrability to the arbitrator. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because the parties agreed to have the arbitrator decide issues of arbitrability and because the courts below did not question the validity of the parties’ arbitration clause, this dispute must be sent to arbitration for the arbitrator to at least decide arbitrability. View "RSL Funding, LLC v. Newsome" on Justia Law

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In this contract dispute over an offset provision in an oil and gas lease the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court’s judgment in the lessee’s favor, holding that the court of appeals read a requirement into the lease that its unambiguous language did not support. In reversing, the court of appeals concluded that the lessee did not conclusively prove that it complied with the offset provision. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment and reinstated the trial court’s judgment s modified to remove the award of appellate attorney’s fees, holding (1) the offset provision contained specific requirements, and the lessee met those requirements; and (2) the court of appeals’ reading of the offset provision to contain a proximity requirement constituted a significant deviation from the language the parties chose. View "Murphy Exploration & Production Co. v. Adams" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from the court of appeals’ denial of a petition for mandamus relief from the trial court’s ruling on remand, the Supreme Court directed the trial court to render judgment for Castle Texas Production Limited Partnership with postjudgment interest accruing from the trial court’s final judgment issued in 2009 and further directed the trial court not to reopen the record in doing so, holding that the trial court exceeded its authority when it ordered the reopening of the record on remand. Four years ago, the Supreme Court clarified how to determine the accrual date for postjudment interest when a remand for further proceedings requires new evidence and then applied its holding to the facts before it in this case. On remand, the trial court indicated that the record must be reopened to determine postjudgment interest including the accrual period. Castle petitioned the court of appeals for mandamus relief, contending that the trial court exceed the scope of the Supreme Court’s mandate by indicating its intent to reopen the record. While the court of appeals concluded that the trial court’s decision to reopen the record was not inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s directive, the Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court exceeded the scope of the mandate by reopening the record. View "In re Castle Texas Production Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Court denied the defendant hospital’s petition for a writ of mandamus challenging a trial court’s order requiring the hospital to produce information regarding its reimbursement rates from private insurers and public payers for the services provided to the plaintiff, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in compelling production of the information. The plaintiff, who was uninsured, was treated by the hospital, which billed the plaintiff and filed a hospital lien for the cost of its services. The plaintiff sought a declaratory judgment that the hospital’s charges were unreasonable and its lien invalid to the extent it exceeded a reasonable and regular rate for services rendered. The plaintiff served requests for production and interrogatories on the hospital, including information about reimbursement rates from insurers and government payers. The hospital objected to the discovery requests, but the trial court ordered the hospital to produce the information. The hospital then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, which the court of appeals denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the requested reimbursement rates were relevant to whether the hospital’s charges to the uninsured plaintiff were reasonable. View "In re North Cypress Medical Center Operating Co., Ltd." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals’ judgment that the statute of limitations barred a claim for breach of a recorded right of first refusal to purchase a mineral interest and reinstated the judgment of the trial court rendering judgment for the rightholders, holding that the discovery rule applied to defer accrual. The grantors of the right of first refusal to purchase the mineral interest in this case conveyed the mineral interest to a third party without notifying the rightholders. More than four years later, the holders sued the third party for breach, seeking specific performance. The trial court rendered judgment for the holders. The court of appeals reversed, holding (1) the rightholders’ cause of action accrued when the grantors conveyed the property without notice, and (2) the discovery rule did not apply to defer accrual. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a grantor’s conveyance of property in breach of a right of first refusal, where the rightholder has no notice of the grantor’s intent to sell, is inherently undiscoverable and that the discovery rule applies to defer accrual of the holder’s cause of action until he knew or should have known of the injury. View "Carl M. Archer Trust No. Three v. Tregellas" on Justia Law