The Supreme Court of Texas has ten cases set for oral argument December 4, 5, and 6th. The Court puts together very user-friendly summaries of the cases and issues, which I’ve included below. These will obviously be hot topics of conversation at the Thanksgiving dinner table, so settle in and take a look.
Of note, there are three different cases (in red) on breach of contract, fraud, and fraudulent inducement. These issues pop up commonly for litigators. Frequently, breach of contract claims are paired with fraud/fraudulent inducement claims. One party argues that the other breached the contract, or alternatively, lied about the contents of the agreement. Inevitably the parties are left to argue whether extrinsic evidence is admissible to establish breach/fraud or whether the parol evidence rule bars the evidence. These cases cover a range of issues on breach, fraud, and fraudulent inducement; they should be enlightening on a range of topics.
Also the Texas Citizen Participation Act (TCPA) has made its way back to SCOTX (in blue). If you’re not familiar with the TCPA then I envy you. This is not the first time the Court has considered TCPA, and I’m sure it will not be the last.
- Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, et al. v. Carduco Inc.
- In this case alleging fraud underlying a contract the issues are (1) whether reliance 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) whether the appeals court erred by remitting punitive damages, from $100 million to $600,000.
- Barrow-Shaver Resources Co. v. Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc.
- In this challenge to the appeals court’s take-nothing reversal from a contract-breach and fraud verdict, the issues are (1) whether the court erred by considering a deleted provision from negotiations to interpret the contract and (2) whether the court erred by rejecting a fraud claim on reliance grounds based on an oral promise to act when the written contract omitted that.
- In the Interest of A.L.M-F., et al.
- The issue in this parental-rights termination appeal is whether the trial court erred by denying the mother’s jury-trial request in de novo hearing.
- Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District, et al. v. State of Texas
- Consolidated with case below
- In re Sustainable Texas Oyster Resources Management L.L.C.
- In this contest over a lease by the navigation district to the oyster-production company, to use submerged land to grow and harvest oysters, the issues are (1) whether statute overcomes the district’s governmental immunity claim; (2) whether the district commissioners have authority to lease the land in this case; (3) whether the state properly alleged an ultra-vires claim against the commissioners for restitution; and (4) whether Sustainable Texas Oyster Resources has standing in this appeal.
- Baylor Scott and White, Hillcrest Medical Center v. Ruthen James Weems III
- The issue is whether a fraudulent-misdiagnosis claim falls under the health-care liability statute and requires a threshold expert-report requirement.
- University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center v. Lance McKenzie and Deborah Diver
- The issues are (1) whether M.D. Anderson used tangible personal property during surgery, defeating Anderson’s immunity defense, and, if so, (2) whether that use proximately caused the surgery patient’s death.
- The Dallas Morning News Inc. and Kevin Krause v. Lewis Hall and Richard Hall
- The principal issues in this challenge under the Texas Citizens Participation Act are (1) whether the Halls’ partner compounding pharmacy showed clearly and specifically that the newspaper’s report the company was under federal investigation was substantially false and (2) whether a reasonable reader would infer the pharmacy’s guilt from the newspaper’s reporting that included allegations in lawsuits, a federal investigation and the context of the broader controversy over compounding industry practices.
- International Business Machines Corp. v. Lufkin Industries LLC
- In this appeal from a jury finding for Lufkin on its claims for fraud and fraudulent inducement, the issues are (1) whether reliance was clearly disclaimed despite contract language that exchanges between IBM and Lufkin staffs about project goals and objectives “is the basis of our understanding”; (2) whether fraudulent-inducement damages preclude recovery for fraud; and, assuming liability for fraud and fraudulent inducement, (3) whether Lufkin proved its damages by legally sufficient evidence; (4) whether Lufkin suffered damages for contract breach; and (5) whether Lufkin is bound by incorporation of a clause limiting damages the trial court excluded because of a verification issue.
- Linda Ferreira v. Douglas W. Butler and Debra L. Butler
The issue is whether a default is imputed to a probate applicant presenting a will that had been filed before but outside the requisite time restriction.
For the truly dedicated, the Court offers video and audio recordings of all Oral Arguments!