Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Texas Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 10/12/07

The Texas Supreme Court issued four opinions with this week’s orders.

In In re U.S. Home Corp. (No. 03-1080) (per curiam), a dispute between a homebuilder and purchasers, the Court conditionally granted mandamus relief from a trial court order refusing to compel arbitration, holding that no evidence supported any of the asserted defenses to enforcement of the arbitration clause.  The Court declined the defendants’ invitation to reverse the trial court’s class certification order because the court of appeals had not yet ruled on that request.

Answering certified questions from the Fifth Circuit in Mid-Continent Insurance Co v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. (No. 05-0261), the Court held under the facts of the case that one insurer owed a second insurer no duty (directly or by subrogation) to compensate the second insurer for paying more than its proportionate share of a settlement to which both contributed.  Justice Willett delivered a concurring opinion providing his additional thoughts on why Texas law should not recognize such a claim.

In In re SCI Texas Funeral Services, Inc. (06-0385) (per curiam), the Court conditionally granted mandamus relief from discovery and sanctions orders in a putative class action because the court of appeals’ reversal of class certification “render[ed] the class-wide discovery superfluous and the class-wide sanctions incongruous.”

In BFI Waste Systems of North America, Inc. v. North Alamo Water Supply Corp. (No. 06-0602) (per curiam), the Court denied both petitions for review, but indicated that the court of appeals (in footnote 6 of its opinion) had improperly commented on the validity of a discharge permit, an issue not before that court.  The supreme court agreed with petitioners’ argument that the court of appeals’ comments should not prejudice future litigation over the discharge permit.

D. Todd Smith
About the Author

D. Todd Smith is an Austin-based civil appellate specialist who works with trial teams from the earliest stages of litigation. In trial courts, he takes the lead on strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.

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