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The Supreme Court withdrew its judgment and opinion issued in this case on April 7, 2017 and, while it reaffirmed the legal principles and rules announced in that opinion, it disagreed as to the procedural effect of those principles in this case. Its disposition remained the same, however, because a majority of the Court agreed to reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand the case to the trial court for a new trial. The primary issue in this case was whether Insured could recover policy benefits based on Insurer’s violation of the Texas Insurance Code even where the jury failed to find that Insurer failed to comply with its obligations under the policy. Here, the Court (1) unanimously reaffirmed the five rules it announced in the first opinion addressing the relationship between contract claims under an insurance policy and tort claims under the Insurance Code; (2) reaffirmed the holding in the first opinion that the trial court erred by disregarding the jury’s answer to a jury question; and (3) addressed the procedural effect of the Court’s holdings in this case but reached three different conclusions. The Court then remanded this case for a new trial. View "USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca" on Justia Law

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In this billing dispute between a general contractor, Dudley Construction, Ltd., and a pipe supplier, ACT Pipe and Supply, Inc., the Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals in part and reversed it in part, holding (1) in defending a favorable judgment notwithstanding the jury’s verdict, ACT successfully raised a “cross-point” in the court of appeals that preserved an alternative argument proscribing the jury’s original verdict, even though ACT did not formally label its argument a “cross-point”; and (2) attorney’s fees are not recoverable for a claim brought under the Texas Construction Trust Fund Act. The Court remanded this case to the trial court for further proceedings. View "Dudley Construction, Ltd. v. ACT Pipe & Supply, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the Alamo Heights Independent School District was immune from Employee’s suit alleging Texas Commission on Human Rights Act (TCHRA) claims. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered judgment dismissing Employee’s TCHRA claims in which she alleged same-sex harassment and bullying by female coaches in the girls athletic department at a San Antonio middle school. The Court held (1) the record bore no evidence that the inappropriate conduct alleged was gender motivated, and therefore, the evidence did not raise an inference of gender-motivated discrimination; (2) Employee did not produce evidence to support her retaliation claim when no presumption of unlawful retaliation existed under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework; and (3) governmental immunity was not waived in this case, and subject-matter jurisdiction was lacking. View "Alamo Heights Independent School District v. Clark" on Justia Law

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The common law rule against perpetuities does not invalidate a grantee’s future interest in the grantor’s reserved non-participating royalty interest (NPRI). In addition, section 91.402 of the Texas Natural Resources Code does not preclude a lessor’s common law claim for breach of contract. The court of appeals concluded that the rule did not bar the grantees’ future interest in the NPRI. The court, however, found that the reservation’s savings clause was ambiguous and remanded the case for a jury to determine the proper interpretation. The court held that section 91.402 does not bar a claim for breach of contract. Finally, while determining that several of the grantees’ claims failed as a matter of law, the court of appeals upheld the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees against the grantor pursuant to Tex. R. Civ. P. 91a. The Supreme Court affirmed. View "ConocoPhillips Co. v. Koopmann" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court ruling that a will bequest of a tract of land unambiguously devised a fee-simple interest, rather than a life-estate interest, to the testator’s son, entitling the son to summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment that the will granted the son a life estate and Petitioners the remainder interest in the property at issue, holding that the contested provision unambiguously conveyed a life estate. View "Knopf v. Gray" on Justia Law

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In construing a settlement agreement that conditioned resumption of uranium mining operations on restoration of well-water quality if pre-mining data showed the water had been suitable for specified uses before prior mining operations began, the lower courts impermissibly employed surrounding facts and circumstances to determine subjective intent and interpolate constraints not found in the contract’s unambiguous language. Specifically, the lower courts held that, in determining whether a restoration obligation existed as to a disputed well, the mining company was contractually required to ignore data showing no pre-mining suitability. The Supreme court reversed and rendered judgment for the mining company, holding that the court of appeals clearly erred by relying on extrinsic evidence of intent to add to, alter, and augment the settlement agreements plain and unambiguous language. View "URI, Inc. v. Kleberg County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of the City of San Antonio’s plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity from a suit for damages arising out of a collision between a car and a motorcycle. In her suit, Plaintiff alleged that City police officers were negligent in engaging in a high speed chase, that the City had actual notice of her claims, and that the City’s immunity was waived by the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The trial court denied the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that there was a fact issue as to whether the City had actual notice of Plaintiff’s claims. The City appealed, arguing that the court of appeals applied an erroneous standard. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the cause for want of jurisdiction, holding that the City did not have actual notice that it was at fault in connection with the collision, as required by the TTCA for the City’s immunity to have been waived. Therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. View "City of San Antonio v. Tenorio" 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 denial of the City of San Antonio’s plea to the jurisdiction based on governmental immunity from a suit for damages arising out of a collision between a car and a motorcycle. In her suit, Plaintiff alleged that City police officers were negligent in engaging in a high speed chase, that the City had actual notice of her claims, and that the City’s immunity was waived by the Texas Tort Claims Act (TTCA). The trial court denied the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that there was a fact issue as to whether the City had actual notice of Plaintiff’s claims. The City appealed, arguing that the court of appeals applied an erroneous standard. The Supreme Court agreed and dismissed the cause for want of jurisdiction, holding that the City did not have actual notice that it was at fault in connection with the collision, as required by the TTCA for the City’s immunity to have been waived. Therefore, the trial court lacked jurisdiction over the claims. View "City of San Antonio v. Tenorio" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the decisions of the trial court and court of appeals agreeing with Plaintiffs that a local water district owned an open-space area at Medina Lake the community had long considered public space for recreation and access to the lake. Plaintiffs, three families who owned lots on a peninsula at Medina Lake, filed suit after new neighbors, who claimed that they owned the open-space area and that the community members had no easements or other rights to use it, denied Plaintiffs access to the disputed area. The trial court declared that the new neighbors did not own the open-space. The Supreme Court agreed, holding (1) the new neighbors did not own the disputed area, and therefore, they had no standing to challenge Plaintiffs’ alleged easement over that area or authority to exclude Plaintiffs from the area; but (2) the court of appeals erred in upholding the award of attorney’s fees to the water district. View "Lance v. Robinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the district court’s dismissal of Petitioner’s appeal of an adverse ruling by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for failing to serve citation on the TCEQ within thirty days of filing the petition on the district court as required by the Texas Clean Air Act, see Tex. Health & Safety Code 382.032, holding that the Act did not require dismissal under the circumstances of this case. Petitioner did not formally serve the TCEQ until fifty-eight days after filing its petition with the district court. The district court dismissed Petitioner’s request for judicial review. The court of appeals upheld the dismissal. In reversing, the Supreme Court held (1) the Clean Air Act, rather than the Water Code, controlled Petitioner’s request for judicial review in the district court, and therefore, the thirty-day service requirement was applicable; and (2) because the Legislature expressed no particular consequence for failing to meet the thirty-day statutory deadline and none was logically necessary, the Legislature’s presumed intent was that the requirement be directory rather than mandatory and that late service did not result in the automatic dismissal of Petitioner’s appeal. View "AC Interests L.P. v. Texas Commission on Environmental Quality" on Justia Law