Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Texas Supreme Court Orders & Opinions 6/27/08

The Texas Supreme Court issued four decisions—two of which were among the older cases on its docket—with this week’s regular orders.

In Pleasant Glade Assembly of God v. Schubert (No. 05-0916), the Court held that a church was not estopped from asserting its constitutional rights, reversed a money judgment against the church, and rendered judgment of dismissal because the case represented an ecclesiastical dispute over religious conduct.  Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Green, and Justice Johnson each filed separate dissenting opinions.

In JCW Electronics, Inc. v. Garza (No. 05-1042), the Court held that the proportionate responsibility statute (Chapter 33 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code) applies to personal injury claims brought under a breach of implied warranty theory.  Applying that rule to the jury’s finding that the decedent was 60 percent responsible, the Court determined that the plaintiff’s claims were barred and rendered a take-nothing judgment.  Chief Justice Jefferson (joined by Justice O’Neill) concurred.

In In re Chambless (No. 07-0767) (per curiam) the Court concluded that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering temporary grandparental visitation without allowing the custodial parent an opportunity to be heard.

In In re Office of the Attorney General (No. 08-0165) (per curiam), the Court determined that the trial court’s temporary restraining order and related orders violated Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 680 and 684 in various ways and were therefore void.  Because TROs are not appealable, the Attorney General had no adequate remedy at law, and the Court granted mandamus relief.

Unless the Court issues a special set of orders next week, it appears that the last regular orders until late August may come on Friday, July 11.

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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