For the week of July 11, 2011, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued seventeen opinions in civil cases. Five 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 twelve cases are as follows:
Affordable Power, L.P. v. Buckeye Ventures, Inc. (05-09-00771-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing legal sufficiency of evidence; (2) standard for reviewing factual sufficiency of evidence; (3) elements of negligent misrepresentation cause of action; (4) components of proximate cause; (5) an agent’s authority to act on behalf of a principal depends on some communication by the principal either to the agent or to the third party; (6) rule that common law indemnity survives in Texas only in products liability actions to protect an innocent retailer in the chain of distribution and in negligence actions to protect a defendant whose liability is purely vicarious in nature; and (7) definition of “vicarious liability.”
Bailey v. Gallagher (05-09-00868-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s conclusions of law; (2) standard for reviewing no-evidence summary judgment; and (3) elements of conversion cause of action.
Barnes v. LPP Mortgage, Ltd. (05-10-00605-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; (2) rule that a party moving for summary judgment on limitations grounds must prove when the cause of action accrued; (3) rule that, where demand is a prerequisite to a cause of action, the injured party must make the demand within a reasonable time after it may lawfully be made; (4) rule that a creditor who makes an excessive demand on a debtor is not entitled to attorneys’ fees for litigation required to recover the debt; (5) rule that a demand is not excessive simply because it is greater than what the factfinder later determines is actually due; and (6) rule that the dispositive inquiry for determining whether a demand is excessive is whether the creditor acted unreasonably or in bad faith.
City of Brownsville v. AEP Tex. Cent. Co. (05-09-00808-CV) – Recites well-established definition of “declaratory judgment.”
Fesseha v. Ethiopian Orthodox Church (05-10-00202-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; (2) rule that, when multiple grounds are raised in a motion for summary judgment and the trial court does not specify the grounds relied upon for its ruling, the appellate court will affirm the summary judgment if any of the grounds advanced in the motion are meritorious; and (3) holding that the First Amendment prohibits governmental action that burdens the free exercise of religion by encroaching on a church’s ability to manage its internal affairs.
First Nat’l Collection Bureau, Inc. v. Walker (05-10-00129-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing statutory construction; (2) standard for reviewing legal sufficiency of evidence; and (3) standard for reviewing factual sufficiency of evidence.
In re J.K.F. (05-10-00482-CV) – Recites well-established rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.
Ivanov v. Hughes (05-10-00741-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that a nonsuit is effective when filed or when announced orally in open court; (2) rule that a docket entry cannot be used to show the existence of an order or judgment; and (3) rule that granting a nonsuit is a ministerial act.
Skidmore Energy, Inc. v. Maxus (U.S.) Exploration Co. (05-09-00402-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s confirmation of arbitration award; (2) rule that, when findings of fact are filed and unchallenged, they are binding on an appellate court unless the contrary is established as a matter of law or there is no evidence to support the finding; (3) rule that, if a party knows or has reason to know of an arbitrator’s alleged bias but remains silent pending the outcome of the arbitration, the party waives the right to complain of the alleged bias; (4) rule that an arbitrator’s authority is limited to disposition of matters expressly covered by an arbitration agreement or implied by necessity; (5) rule that arbitrators exceed their authority when they decide matters not properly before them; and (6) rule that stipulations as to legal conclusions, as opposed to facts, are not binding on courts or parties.
Staton Holdings, Inc. v. Tatum, L.L.C. (05-10-00047-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; and (2) rule that an indemnity agreement will not be construed to indemnify a party against statutorily imposed strict liability unless the agreement expressly states the parties’ intent to provide for indemnification of such claims. Additionally, holds that this “express-intent rule applies to breach-of-warranty claims.”
Tellez v. Tellez (05-09-01139-CV) – Recites well-established standard for reviewing trial court’s decision to award spousal maintenance.
Union Carbide Corp. v. Martin (05-09-01052-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing the issuance of discovery sanctions; (2) holding that, for a sanction to be just, there must be a direct relationship between the offensive conduct and the sanction imposed and the sanction must be no more severe than necessary to satisfy its legitimate purposes; (3) rule that a trial court has inherent power to impose sanctions; and (4) definition of “letters rogatory.”