Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation

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This case arose from an allegedly forged home-equity loan. Plaintiff sued the lenders, bringing several claims, including statutory fraud and violations of the Texas Finance Code and Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The trial court granted summary judgment for the lenders without stating its reasons. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding that the court of appeals (1) properly affirmed summary judgment on Plaintiff’s constitutional forfeiture claim; and (2) erred in holding that Plaintiff’s remaining claims were barred on statute of limitations and waiver grounds. View "Kyle v. Strasburger" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued Defendants, attorneys Eric Turton and Oscar Gonzalez and the Law Office of Oscar C. Gonzalez, alleging that they misappropriated $75,000 in trust funds that Turton received after settling a case on Plaintiff’s behalf. The jury found that all three defendants were engaged in a joint enterprise and a joint venture with respect to Plaintiff’s case and committed various torts in relation to Plaintiff. In response to a proportionate-responsibility question, the jury assigned forty percent to Turton, thirty percent to Gonzalez, and thirty percent to the Law Office. The trial court entered judgment holding all three defendants jointly and severally liable for actual damages, pre-judgment interest, additional Texas Deceptive Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act damages, and attorney’s fees. Gonzalez and the Law Office appealed. The court of appeals concluded that Plaintiff could only recover for professional negligence, which amounted to $77,500 in actual damages. The court’s opinion did not address the jury’s proportionate-responsibility findings but nonetheless applied those findings in its judgment, ordering Gonzalez and the Law Firm to each pay Sloan $23,250. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred by failing to address the sufficiency of the evidence of a joint enterprise or joint venture or the legal implications of those findings. Remanded. View "Sloan v. Law Office of Oscar C. Gonzalez, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was a cardiothoracic surgeon who practiced at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center until 2012. When Plaintiff agreed to practice at Methodist West, Defendants - Memorial Hermann and certain healthcare practitioners - began conducting a “whisper campaign” against Plaintiff to cast doubt on Plaintiff’s heart surgery procedures. Plaintiff brought suit, asserting claims for business disparagement, defamation, tortious interference with prospective business relationship, and improper restraint of trade. When Plaintiff moved to compel the production of certain documents, Memorial Hermann asserted the documents were protected from discovery under the medical committee privilege and the medical peer review committee privilege. The trial court ordered Defendants to produce the documents. After the court of appeals denied Defendants’ petition for writ of mandamus, Defendants sought mandamus relief in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court conditionally granted mandamus relief as to some of the documents that the Court determined were protected but denied relief as to the remainder of the documents, holding that they were not confidential under either the medical committee privilege or the medical peer review committee privilege. View "In re Memorial Hermann Hosp. Sys." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff hired Defendant to repair foundation problems on her home. The foundation repair contract specified that Defendant would perform the foundation repair in a good and workmanlike manner and adjust the foundation for the life of the home due to settling. In 2006, Plaintiff sued Defendant for, inter alia, breach of an express warranty, breach of the common-law warranty of good and workmanlike repairs, and Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) claims. The trial court entered judgment for Plaintiff on her breach of implied warranty of good and workmanlike repairs and DTPA claims. The court of appeals reversed, ruling that Plaintiff take nothing. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) parties cannot disclaim but can supersede the implied warranty for good and workmanlike repair of tangible goods or property if the parties' agreement specifically describes the manner, performance, or quality of the services; (2) the express warranty in this case sufficiently described the manner, performance, or quality of the services so as to supersede the implied warranty; and (3) Plaintiff's remaining DTPA claims were time barred. View "Gonzales v. Sw. Olshan Found. Repair Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff brought a Deceptive Trade Practices Act suit against Company and its co-operators for violating the terms of a contract. Through a process server, Plaintiff served all three Defendants with citations, but one citation contained an error in a co-operator's name. Defendants failed to file a timely answer, and Plaintiff obtained a default judgment. Defendants filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that service on the co-operator was improper and that Defendants established the necessary Craddock elements to set aside the default judgment. The trial court denied the motion, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendants asserted facts that, if true, established the first Craddock element, i.e., that the failure to appear was not intentional or the result of conscious indifference but was the result of a mistake or an accident. Remanded for consideration of the second and third elements of the Craddock test. View "Sutherland v. Spencer" on Justia Law