Justia Texas Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Antitrust & Trade Regulation
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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals denying Defendants' motion to dismiss under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA), Tex. Civ. Proc. & Rem. Code 27.001-.011, as untimely, holding that because Plaintiff's amended petition in this case asserted new legal claims, Defendants' motion to dismiss those claims was timely.In his original petition, Plaintiff asserted claims for deceptive trade practice, negligence, and negligent misrepresentation. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended petition reasserting the same claims, adding new claims for fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud, fraudulent concealment, and breach of contract, and alleging the same essential facts alleged in the original petition and requesting the same relief. The trial court denied Defendants' TCPA dismissal motion, concluding that the motion was untimely. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the court of appeals erred in holding that Defendant's motion to dismiss the new claims was untimely because the amended petition asserted new legal actions and thus triggered new sixty-day period for Defendants to file a motion to dismiss those new claims. View "Monteglongo v. Abrea" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the portion of the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court granting a motion to reconsider the court's denial of a motion to seal brought under Tex. R. Civ. P. 76a, holding that the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act (TUTSA), Tex. Civ. Proc. & Rem. Code 134A.006a, does not provide an independent, self-contained pathway for sealing court records.Plaintiff sued Defendant for breach of contract, and Defendant asserted counterclaims, including misappropriation of trade secrets. The jury found in favor of Defendant. Defendant subsequently filed a Rule 76a motion to seal thirty trial exhibits. The trial court denied the motion to seal but then granted Defendant's motion to reconsider that relied exclusively on section 134A.006a of TUTSA. The Supreme Court remanded this case to the trial court to exercise its discretion under the applicable provisions of both TUTSA and Rule 76a, holding that the trial court erred by failing to apply the non-displaced provisions of Rule 76a in ruling on the motion to reconsider. View "HouseCanary, Inc. v. Title Source, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case case arising out of the breakup of a limited partnership created to produce and market a new cement product the Supreme Court reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals largely affirming the judgment of the trial court in favor of the limited partnership and a technology-supplying partner, holding that Plaintiffs failed to present legally sufficient evidence of damages and that the technology-supplying partner was not entitled to a permanent injunction for misappropriation of trade secrets.The partnership, its general partner, and the limited partner that supplied the cement-making technology sued the limited partners responsible for funding, the general manager of the partnership, and the companies that foreclosed on and purchased the partnership's assets. Defendants asserted counterclaims. The court of appeals largely affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part, holding (1) the damage awards were not supported by legally sufficient evidence; (2) the technology-supplying partner was not entitled to a permanent injunction for misappropriation of trade secrets; and (3) the company that purchased the partnership's assets and promissory note did not prove it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on its counterclaim for the partnership's failure to pay a deficiency balance on the note. View "Pike v. Texas EMC Management, LLC" on Justia Law

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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