For the week of August 1, 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:
21st Mortgage Corp., Inc. v. Stovall (05-09-01416-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing a trial court’s decision as to joinder of a party; and (2) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment.
Ascendant Anesthesia PLLC v. Abazi (05-11-00115-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that whether an arbitration clause imposes a duty to arbitrate is a matter of contract interpretation and a question of law; (2) rule that, in a de novo review, the trial court’s decision is given absolutely no deference; (3) rule that doubts regrading an arbitration agreement’s scope are resolved in favor of arbitration because there is a presumption favoring agreements to arbitrate; (4) standing doctrine, which requires a controversy to continue to exist between the parties at every stage of the legal proceedings, including the appeal; (5) rule that nonsignatories of arbitration agreements may be bound by the agreement under ordinary contract and agency principles; (6) rule that, when a principal is abound under the terms of a valid arbitration clause, its agents, employees, and representatives are covered by that agreement; (7) rule that claims which would otherwise not be subject to arbitration can become arbitrable when factually intertwined with arbitrable claims; and (8) rule that a party waives an arbitration clause by substantially invoking the judicial process to the other party’s detriment or prejudice.
Brown v. Apex Realty (05-09-01163-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s refusal to grant a jury trial; and (2) rule that the failure to adequately brief an issue waives that issue on appeal.
Crow-Billingsley Stover Creek, Ltd. v. SLC McKinney Partners, L.P. (05-09-00962-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; and (2) rule that the interpretation of an unambiguous contract is a question of law.
In re Marriage of Swiercinsky (05-10-00045-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s legal conclusions; and (2) rule that, if an appellant does not attack all independent bases that fully support a complained-of judgment on appeal, the appellate court must affirm the judgment.
Katz v. Winston & Cashett (05-10-01535-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that the existence of personal jurisdiction is a question of law; and (2) rule that, when a nonresident defendant challenges jurisdiction through a special appearance, he must negate all grounds for personal jurisdiction alleged by the plaintiff to prevail.
Kia Motors Corp. v. Ruiz (05-10-00198-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that, if a trial court denies a motion for summary judgment and the case is tried on the merits, the order denying the summary judgment is not reviewable on appeal; (2) standard for reviewing the denial of a motion for JNOV; (3) standard for reviewing legal sufficiency of evidence; (3) definition of “producing cause”; (4) rule that an admission by a party-opponent, being merely a piece of evidence, is not conclusive against the party opponent, but rather may be rebutted by explanation or contradicting evidence; (5) rule that the right to have a jury polled is absolute and the trial court has no discretion in the matter once a request is made; (6) holding that multiple errors, even if considered harmless when taken separately, may result in reversal if the cumulative effect of such errors is harmful; (7) rule that, to show cumulative error, an appellant must show that, based on the record as a whole, but for the alleged errors, they jury would have rendered a verdict favorable to it; (8) rule that the recovery of punitive damages requires a finding of an independent tort with accompanying actual damages; and (9) rule that a defendant cannot be grossly negligent without being negligent.
Mims v. Mims (05-09-01275-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that a party may revoke his consent to settle a case any time before judgment is rendered on the agreement; and (2) rule that an agreed judgment rendered after one of the parties revokes his consent is void.