The Bassett Firm
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December 2012 Archives

Waiver of Bias Complaints in Arbitration

The Dallas Court of Appeals, in a case decided August 20, 2012, held that a litigant in arbitration who had information relevant to its post arbitration claim of "evident bias" waives that argument by failing to object to bias during the arbitration process. Ponderosa Pine Energy, LLC v. Tenaska Energy, Inc., No. 05-10-00516-CV, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 6915 (Tex. App. Dallas Aug. 20, 2012, nph). The Fifth Circuit reached a similar conclusion a week earlier in Dealer Computer Servs. v. Michael Motor Co., No. 11-20053, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 17162 (5th Cir. Tex. Aug. 14, 2012) (unpublished). 

Paid vs. Incurred Medical Bills: Haygood and Beyond

In July 2011, the Texas Supreme Court in Haygood v. De Escabedo held medical expenses, and the admissibility of evidence of medical expenses, are limited by statute to the amounts actually paid or incurred by the claimant. Unfortunately, the opinion offers very little guidance on the affects of trial practice. 

Setting Aside a Default Judgment

In a recent Texas Supreme Court case, the Court considered whether the Defendants satisfied the requirements to set aside a non-answer default judgment. See Milestone Operating Inc. v. ExxonMobil Corp., no. 11-0647, 2012 WL 5285085, (Tex. Oct. 26, 2012). In this case, Defendants failed to answer ExxonMobil's lawsuit and ExxonMobil obtained a $1.8 million dollar default j udgment against the Defendants. The judgment was upheld in the lower courts, but ultimately, the Texas Supreme Court reversed the judgment and remanded the case.

Competency and Motion for Summary Judgment Affidavits

In Pipkin v. Kroger, the Houston Court of Appeals decided that an affidavit executed by a child could be competent evidence to defeat a summary judgment. Shea Pipkin was shopping at a Kroger store with his ten-year old son, Roman, when he slipped and fell on water. Shea sued Kroger alleging that he had suffered a broken hip requiring surgery. However, Shea died of an unrelated condition a few months after filing his lawsuit, and his father, Roy Pipkin, became executor of the Estate. 

Beer Bottles and Products Liability: Factors to Consider

Recently, in the case of Gann v. Anheuser-Busch, Inc. and Falls Distributing, no. 08-11-00017-CV, 2012 WL 3026369 (Tex. App.-El Paso July 25, 2012), the El Paso Court of Appeals addressed a Plaintiff's product liability claim against Anheuser-Busch and Falls Distributing, the manufacturer and distributor, alleging that a long neck beer bottle was a dangerous weapon. Based on their analysis, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment against the Plaintiff. The Court of Appeals discussed the factors needed to prevail in a product liability case and determined that the Plaintiff did not meet her burden in proving the factors needed. 

Wrongful Death and Survival: Two Different Claims

The Fort Worth Court of Appeals attempted to clarify the sometimes confusing law concerning the damages available when a victim of negligence dies. Cunningham v. Haroona, NO. 02-07-00231-CV, 2012 Tex. App. LEXIS 7053 (Tex. App. Fort Worth Aug. 23, 2012, no pet.) (the Court denied motion for reconsideration en banc on October 18, 2012).

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