08.31.18

08.31.18

This week the Supreme Court of Texas issued no opinions and seventeen grants. Seven grants are of particular interest.

First, Mercedes -Benz USA LLC et al. v. Carduco Inc. deals with fraud underlying a contract. In this case the appellate court reduced the punitive damages awarded by the jury from $115,000,000 to $600,000. The issues granted oral argument include (1) whether reliance on the contract is precluded because the alleged misrepresentations conflict with the contract, (2) whether the contract's merger clause disclaiming reliance precludes fraud, (3) whether evidence supports that each defendant had a disclosure duty or gave affirmative misrepresentations,(4) whether separate jury instructions should have been presented on each fraud theory, (5) whether the appeals court improperly sustained a spoliation instruction, and (6) if the appellate court erred by reducing the punitive damages awarded.

Second, In Barrow-Shaver Resources Co. v. Carrizo Oil and Gas Inc. from the Tyler Court of Appeals, Barrow-Shaver sued Carrizo , Inc. for breach of a consent-to-assignment provision in a farm-out agreement. The court of appeals reversed a $27,000,000 verdict against Carrizo, Inc. and ruled that Barrow-Shaver take nothing. The issues in the Supreme Court are (1) whether the court made a mistake by interpreting the contract using a deleted provision from negotiations and (2) whether the court erred by rejecting a fraud claim on the grounds of reliance based on an oral promise to act although the written contract omitted that.

Third, in Baylor Scott and White, Hillcrest Medical Center v. Ruthen James Weems III, only one major issue is presented. The court listed to oral argument detailing whether a fraudulent-misdiagnosis claim falls under the health-care liability statute and requires a threshold expert-report requirement.

Fourth, in Bombardier Aerospace Corp. v. SPEP Aircraft Holdings LLC el al. from the Dallas Court of Appeals, a private jet bought with a faulty engine led to a fraud breach of contract and implied warranty case. The issues for oral argument include (1) if there is legal sufficient evidence to prove the fraud damage to all plaintiff owners of the private jet, (2) if there is legally sufficient evidence to support the actual damages awarded by the lower courts, (3) whether limits established in the purchase agreement bar any possible punitive damages, and (4) if punitive damages are allowed, are they unconstitutionally excessive in this case.

Fifth, In Rey Garza v. Roxana Harrison and Joseph Santellana, a case from Houston's 14thCourt of Appeals, the issue being heard is whether an off-duty police officer using deadly force outside his jurisdiction during an arrest is acting outside the scope of his employment. A dismissal motion under the Texas Tort Claims Act was denied previously in this case.

Sixth, also from the 14th Court of Appeals, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center v. Lance McKenzie and Deborah Diver revolves around the following issues: (1) whether M.D. Anderson's immunity defense is defeated because they used tangible personal property during surgery and (2) if the use of this tangible personal property during surgery proximately caused the patient's death.

The seventh and final grant of particular interest is Dallas Symphony Association Inc. v. Jose Reyes from the Dallas Court of Appeals. The primary issue in this case is whether an interlocutory appeal from a summary-judgment denial allows review of the entire summary-judgment order and not just that arising from First Amendment issues. In this defamation and contract interference suit, the interference claim is the claim in dispute.