Friday, June 30, 2006

The Texas Supreme Court issued 23 new opinions today, most of which are short per curiam opinions that can be accessed here.

Included among the 23 cases that the Court decided today are many cases that the Court has been pondering for a long time. Including, Reata Construction Corp. v. City of Dallas, a case that involved withdrawing an opinion by the Court from April of 2004. Justice Johnson wrote this majority opinion discussing whether the City of Dallas has governmental immunity from suit for claims by Reata Construction Corporation arising from the City’s alleged negligence. The Court concluded that "the City does not have immunity from suit as to Reata’s claims which are germane to, connected with, and properly defensive to the City’s claims, to the extent Reata’s claims offset those asserted by the City."

Justice Brister wrote this concurring opinion, which was joined by Justices Hecht and O'Neill.

In another case, Dew v. Crown Derrick Erectors, the Court addressed the issue of whether, in a wrongful death and survival action, the trial court erred in refusing to submit an inferential rebuttal instruction on “new and independent cause.” Justice Medina delivered this plurality opinion, Justice Brister filed this concurring opinion, and Justice Johnson filed this dissenting opinion.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Texas Supreme Court issued one new opinion last week. In the case of The State of Texas & the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dep't v. Shumake, Justice Medina wrote this majority opinion that discusses the effect of the recreational use statute on a premises liability claim against the state. The Court held that "[w]hile the recreational use statute raises the burden of proof by classifying the recreational user of state-owned property as a trespasser and requiring proof of gross negligence, malicious intent, or bad faith, it does not reinstate sovereign immunity but rather immunizes the state only to the extent of the elevated standard."

Justice Wainwright wrote this concurring opinion and Justice Brister wrote this dissenting opinion that includes this interesting paragraph: "Nature is not safe. In many instances, that is its beauty. We can make a river safer by removing every rock and posting warning signs every 50 feet, but it is no longer a river — it is a waterpark. We can make a bridge safer by creating higher and longer spans, but only at some cost in both dollars and scenic beauty."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

"Ally of White House Counsel Is Under Fire in Texas": Today's Washington Post contains this article that begins, "In Texas, calling someone a 'spokesman' comes close to fighting words. Take the case of the Honorable Nathan L. Hecht, a justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and a well-known conservative jurist. A longtime friend of White House counsel Harriet Miers, Hecht gave more than 120 media interviews during her failed Supreme Court nomination."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Texas Monthly editor and host of Texas Monthly Talks Evan Smith’s interview of Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson will air on Austin’s KLRU this Thursday, June 8th at 7:00 PM.

To read an introduction, click here.

To view clips, click here.