Reverse & Render

Insight & Commentary on Texas Appellate Law

Cases involving questions on the admissibility of evidence rarely rise to the level of importance that the Texas Supreme Court gets involved.  Yet these questions routinely arise in the trial courts and are fundamental to trial practice.  The Texas Supreme Court recently examined an evidence question involving the admissibility of public records. In Fleming v. Wilson, the defendants moved for summary judgment on the defense of collateral estoppel.  They supported their motion by attaching…
At a recent continuing education seminar, one of the presenters stated as a fact that amounts awarded in a judgment for prejudgment interest do not need to be included in the amount of a supersedeas bond.  The presenter cited the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in In re Nalle Plastics Family Ltd. Partnership, 406 S.W.3d 168 (Tex. 2013), as support for this statement.  There’s just one problem with relying on Nalle Plastics for this proposition—the issue…
The Fifth Circuit and the Texas Supreme Court recently reaffirmed the high bar that must be met to find that the plain language of a statute violates the absurdity doctrine. Under the absurdity doctrine a court will construe a statute by applying the plain meaning of the words used unless it would lead to absurd or nonsensical results that the legislature could not possibly have intended.  See, e.g., El Paso Educ. Initiative, Inc. v. Amex…
Two years ago, I noted that the data shows that the Texas Supreme Court grants a disproportionate number of petitions for review that come through certain intermediate appellate courts.   One of those intermediate appellate courts is the Third Court of Appeals District, informally known as the Austin Court of Appeals.  That trend continues. Focusing on granted petitions for review, I was curious about where some of these disputes started out, so I looked at what…
The Supreme Court of Texas handed down an opinion in Regent Care of San Antonio, L.P. v. Detrick in early May.  The main holding in the case addresses the application of a settlement credit.   But one short paragraph at the end of the opinion has appellate practitioners talking. The paragraph in question states: “Regent Care also challenges the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury’s findings on causation and past medical damages. Having independently…
For many years after the Texas Supreme Court adopted rules that divided the opinions issued by the intermediate courts of appeals into “opinions” and “memorandum opinions,” many appellate practitioners privately concluded that if an opinion was designated “memorandum opinion,” the chances of getting Texas Supreme Court review were substantially reduced.  But in 2018, I reported that between the years 2014 and 2017 approximately 1/3 of the Supreme Court’s docket of granted petitions was made up…
Often one of the biggest disputes at trial relates to the value of services that a claimant seeks to recover from the opposing party.  At least for routine cases, the form and manner of proving the value of those services is made easier by statute, but when the value of the services is contested, things can get a little complicated. Section 18.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code allows a claimant to prove…
I’ve run the numbers on the reversal rates for the intermediate appellate courts in Texas for the calendar year 2019.  The overall reversal rate for the year was 77%.  To clarify, when the Supreme Court of Texas granted a petition for review, it reversed the court of appeals 77% of the time in 2019.  Some of the courts of appeals performed better than others: First District Court of Appeals — 75% reversal rate Second District…
A dispute exists among the bench and bar as to whether attorney immunity from suit by a non-client is limited to conduct that is related to litigation. In 2015, the Supreme Court of Texas recognized that attorneys do not owe a professional duty of care to third parties who may be damaged by the attorney’s negligent representation of a client.  Cantey Hanger, LLP v. Byrd, 467 S.W.3d 477, 481 (Tex. 2015).  The policy reasons…
I am crunching the numbers for opinion dispositions by the Supreme Court of Texas for the calendar year 2019.  I expect to have a few blog posts showing how the numbers shake out.  Here’s what the initial numbers show: During the 2019 calendar year, the Supreme Court of Texas disposed of 88 causes.  That’s 10 fewer causes than 2018, but more in line with 2017 and 2016, when the court disposed of 84 causes in…