Last week, the Supreme Court of Texas issued seven grants, two of which are likely to be of particular interest in our areas of practice.
In Harris County v. Lori Annab, the Supreme Court of Texas will hear oral arguments on March 1, 2018, on three interesting issues: (1) the scope of the intentional-tort exclusion under the Texas Tort Claims Act, (2) whether Harris County’s authorization of the use of firearms by its deputies amounts to “use of tangible personal property” under the Texas Tort Claims act, and (3) assuming that Harris County’s authorization and/or ratification amounts to “use,” whether Harris County’s use was a proximate cause of injuries sustained in a shooting-incident involving an off-duty Harris County deputy.
Also on March 1, 2018, the Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Wausau Underwriters Insurance Co. v. James Wedel and Michelle Wedel, a subrogation case arising from a workers’ compensation claim made by a commercial driver who suffered permanent injuries while working for Cactus Transportation. In this case, the workers’ compensation policy issued by Wausau included an endorsement waiving Wausau’s subrogation rights. When the driver brought suit against a third party, Wausau asserted that the endorsement applied to subrogation only and asserted statutory reimbursement rights from any settlement or judgment. The trial court ultimately determined that Wausau had waived its rights to subrogate and reimbursement and granted summary judgment in favor of the Wedels. The 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso affirmed the trial court’s judgment. Now, the Texas Supreme Court will address whether the language in the endorsement at issue is limited to subrogation or whether, as the lower courts determined, the waiver applies to the statutory right of reimbursement as well.