For the week of June 6, 2011, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued seventeen opinions in civil cases. Nine of these dispose of a case without a detailed discussion of the merits (e.g., dismissing a case for want of prosecution, dismissing a case for mootness, dismissing a case pursuant to settlement). The remaining eight cases are as follows:
Cooper v. Texas Workforce Comm’n (05-10-00513-CV) – Recites well-established rule that, if a statute is ambiguous, rules of construction or other extrinsic aids cannot be used to create ambiguity.
Hernandez v. Hammond Homes, Ltd. (05-09-01382-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; (2) rule that an employer of an independent contractor who retains the right to control the contractors work may be liable for negligence in exercising that right; and (3) rule that in a premises liability case, a landowner is liable to employees of an independent contractor only for claims arising from a concealed, pre-existing defect.
Howard v. Burlington Ins. Co. (05-09-01324-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that, when a motion for summary judgment presents both no-evidence and traditional grounds, appellate court first reviews the propriety of summary judgment under no-evidence standards; (2) standard for reviewing no-evidence summary judgment; (3) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; (4) definition of “insurance binder”; (5) rule that interpretation of insurance contracts is governed by the same rules that apply to contracts in general; (6) rule that an insured has a duty to read and be familiar with the terms of his insurance policy; (7) rule that an insured is bound by the terms of his insurance policy whether he reads it or not; (8) rule that the party alleging agency has the burden of proving its existence; and (9) rule that, because a corporation is legal fiction, it can act only through its agents.
Ikemenogo v. Reyes (05-10-00462-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that an individual who is a party to civil litigation has the right to represent himself at trial and on appeal; and (2) rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.
In re A.J.M. (05-10-00920-CV) – Recites well-established rule that the Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel applies to civil cases only when the case involves termination of parental rights or deprivation of liberty.
In re Estate of Brown (05-10-01513-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that appellate jurisdiction is never presumed; (2) rule that, unless the record affirmatively shows the propriety of appellate jurisdiction, an appellate court must dismiss; and (3) rule that, unless an interlocutory appeal is specifically authorized by the Texas constitution or by a statute, appellate courts have jurisdiction only over appeals taken from final judgments.
Kocak v. Kocak (05-09-00637-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that appellate court is obligated to construe rules of appellate procedure reasonably yet liberally; and (2) rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.
Martin v. Clinical Pathology Labs., Inc. (05-09-01079-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that standing cannot be waived; (2) standing may be raised by appellate court sua sponte; (3) rule that, if a plaintiff lacks standing at the time of filing suit, the case must be dismissed even if the plaintiff later acquires an interest sufficient to support standing; (4) rule that, when a person files a bankruptcy petition, he loses all interest in his property, and his property is then vested in the bankruptcy estate; (5) rule that a bankruptcy estate includes any legal claims the bankruptcy debtor owned when he filed the bankruptcy petition; (6) in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee has exclusive standing to assert claims that are owned by the bankruptcy estate; (7) Chapter 13 bankruptcy debtors retain standing to sue on claims that are owned by the bankruptcy estate; and (8) standard for reviewing trial court’s ruling on special exceptions.