Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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In this defamation action, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment that the complaint be dismissed under the Texas Citizens Participation Act, holding that Respondents failed to carry their burden to survive dismissal under the Act. Respondents sued The Dallas Morning News and Kevin Krause, a writer, arguing that Petitioners defamed them and their compounding-pharmacy business venture. The News moved to dismiss the claims under the Act. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Respondents satisfied their burden under the Act to defeat the News's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court reversed, holding holding that that Respondents did not meet their burden under the Act to show a prima facie case for defamation, and therefore, the News was entitled to dismissal. View "Dallas Morning News, Inc. v. Hall" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's grant of summary judgment for a property owner on a contractor's employee's negligent hiring claim and rendered judgment for the property owner, holding that chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code applies to a contractor's employee's negligent hiring claim against a property owner. Endeavor Energy Resources hired Big Dog Drilling to drill a well on Endeavor's mineral lease. Angel Cuevas, a Big Dog employee, died while working on Endeavor's well. Angel's survivors (together, Cuevas), sued Endeavor, alleging, among other claims, claims that Endeavor negligently hired, retained, and supervised Big Dog. The trial court granted summary judgment for Endeavor on all of Cuevas's claims. The court of appeals reversed on the negligent hiring claim and otherwise affirmed, holding that chapter 95 did not apply to the negligent hiring claim. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that chapter 95 applied to the negligent hiring claim. View "Endeavor Energy Resources, LP v. Cuevas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's decision awarding sanctions in favor of Plaintiff in this negligence case, holding that a trial court may not sanction a party who fails to admit negligence during discovery but concedes it at trial. At the beginning of litigation, Plaintiff served Defendant with requests for admissions asking Defendant to concede with negligence and confess he was the sole cause of the accident at issue in this case. Defendant denied those requests. At trial, Defendant conceded ordinary negligence but contested Plaintiff's gross negligence claim. After trial, Plaintiff moved for an award of reasonable expenses and attorney's fees incurred in proving the negligence issues that Defendant ultimately conceded. The trial court awarded sanctions. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court abused its discretion in awarding sanctions; and (2) no evidence supported the jury's finding that Defendant was grossly negligent. View "Medina v. Zuniga" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals in part and rendered judgment dismissing all of Plaintiffs' claims against the Tarrant Regional Water District, which constructed and maintained the dam from which Plaintiffs' daughter fell and drowned, holding that section 101.056 of the Tort Claims Act, known as the discretionary function exception, applied in this case, and therefore, governmental immunity barred Plaintiffs' claims. Plaintiffs' daughter was attempting to walk across a dam when she lost her footing and slipped into the river and drowned. Plaintiffs sued the District. The District filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing that Plaintiffs' claims were barred because of section 101.056, which creates an exception to the waivers of immunity otherwise provided by the Tort Claims Act. The trial court denied the District's plea to the jurisdiction. The court of appeals reversed in part but upheld the trial court's denial of the District's plea to the jurisdiction as to Plaintiffs' premise-defect claim based on the scoured or eroded riverbed and the resulting possibility of a "hydraulic boil." The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that the District's failure to make the judgments Plaintiffs claim it should have made was the kind of "policy decision[] committed to the other branches of government" that section 101.056 shields from second-guessing. View "Tarrant Regional Water District v. Johnson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's summary judgment concluding that Plaintiff's civil conspiracy claims were barred by limitations, holding that Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 16.003 does not universally apply to civil conspiracy claims. In affirming the summary judgment, the court of appeals followed its own precedent and applied section 16.003, the two-year statute generally applicable to torts, including trespass. The Supreme Court reversed in part and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding (1) the applicable statute of limitations for civil conspiracy must coincide with that of the underlying tort for which the plaintiff seeks to hold at least one of the named defendants liable; and (2) at least one of the underlying torts asserted as the basis for the conspiracy claims in this case may not be barred by its applicable statute of limitations. View "Agar Corp., Inc. v. Electro Circuits International, LLC" 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 trial court granting Defendant's plea to the jurisdiction and dismissing a judicial-review claim that had been filed after the forty-five-day deadline to seek judicial review of a decision by a Division of Workers' Compensation appeals panel, holding that while the forty-five-day deadline is mandatory, it is not jurisdictional. Plaintiff sought workers' compensation benefits from Defendant, which disputed the claim. Plaintiff then initiated administrative proceedings. A hearing office found against Plaintiff, and Plaintiff appealed to an appeals panel. While the administrative proceedings were pending, Plaintiff filed a wrongful-death suit and then amended her probate-court pleadings, seeking judicial review of the administrative decision. Defendant successfully filed a plea to the jurisdiction. Plaintiff then filed suit against Defendant in district court seeking judicial review of the appeals panel decision. The district court granted Defendant's plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed Plaintiff's claims. The court of appeals reversed, holding that the forty-five-day deadline for filing judicial review claims is not a jurisdictional statutory prerequisite, and therefore, the trial court erred in granting Defendant's plea to the jurisdiction. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Plaintiff's failure to file suit before the forty-five-day deadline did not deprive the district court of jurisdiction. View "Texas Mutual Insurance Co. v. Chicas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the judgment of the court of appeals holding that an interlocutory order denying a motion for summary judgment based on a claim against or defense by a member of the media or personal quoted by the media involving constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech or of the press refers to the ruling on the entire motion, including nonconstitutional grounds, and Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on all claims against them. Plaintiff sued a publication and an orchestra alleging various tort claims. Defendants each moved for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff’s claims. The trial court granted the motions in part but denied the publication’s motion on Plaintiff’s claims for defamation, conspiracy to defame, negligence, and gross negligence and denied the orchestra’s motion on Plaintiff’s claims for conspiracy to defame and tortious interference with employment. Defendants appealed based on Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code 51.014(a)(6). Some of Defendants’ defenses arose under constitutional guarantees of free speech and a free press, but others did not. The court reversed the denial of the publication’s motion for summary judgment and part of the denial of the orchestra’s motion. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Defendants were entitled to summary judgment on all of Plaintiff’s claims. View "Dallas Symphony Ass’n v. Reyes" 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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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