Texas Supreme Court grants review in seven cases (2/20/15)

Posted by Scott Stolley

In its weekly orders (2/20/15), the Texas Supreme Court granted review in seven cases. Click here to read the order list.

The seven cases include issues about the following topics:

  • breach-of-contract issues under a gas-purchase agreement;
  • applicability of the open-records laws to a nonprofit entity;
  • state preemption of a city's air-quality ordinance;
  • disability accommodations for deaf prison inmates;
  • unconscionability of an arbitration clause in a law firm's engagement letter;
  • necessity of pleading the punitive-damages cap; and
  • worker's compensation coverage while traveling.

Reproduced below is the Court's advisory about the grants. (The advisory says there are eight grants, because in one case, the Court consolidated a petition for review with a mandamus petition.)

Texas Supreme Court advisory

Contact: Osler

McCarthy, staff attorney/public information

512.463.1441 or click for email

Twitter: @OslerSCTX

FEBRUARY 20 ORDERS

... No opinions

... Eight grants

ISSUES SUMMARIES FOR CASES SET FOR ORAL ARGUMENT

13-0596

Kachina Pipeline Co. Inc. v. Michael D. Lillis

from Concho County and the Austin Court of Appeals

On rehearing

Oral argument set March 24

The principal issues arising under a gas-purchase agreement are (1) whether Kachina

breached the contract by charging Lillis, the producer, for downstream

compression services by a plant that predated the contract and (2) whether

Lillis breached a first-refusal option in the contract by building its own

pipeline to deliver gas to a processing plant to which Kachina had delivered

Lillis’ gas.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion

13-0745

Greater Houston Partnership v. Ken Paxton, as Attorney General, and Jim Jenkins

from Travis County and the Austin Court of Appeals

On rehearing

Oral argument set March 25

The principal issue is whether a non-profit contracting with the city for

economic-development services is subject to Texas’ open-records law under the so-called Kneelandtest, that is, whether the Kneeland test is appropriate to a private

entity’s function as a government entity for open records disclosure.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion

13-0768

BCCA Appeal Group Inc. v. City of Houston

from Harris County and Houston’s First Court of Appeals

Oral argument set March 25

The principal issue is whether Houston’s air-quality ordinance intended to regulate

emissions more stringently than state law is preempted by state law.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion

13-0867

Laura Beeman and Janet Lock v. Brad Livingston, as Executive Director of the

Texas Department of Criminal Justice

from Travis County and the Austin Court of Appeals

Oral argument set March 25

In this accommodations challenge by deaf prison inmates the issues are (1) whether

prisons are “public facilities” under the state Human Resources Code and, if

so, (2) whether the department acted without authority by refusing requested

disability accommodations.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion

13-1026

14-0109

Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams LLP v.

from Nueces County and the Corpus Christi/Edinburg Court of Appeals

review petition and mandamus petition consolidated for oral argument

Oral argument set March 26

A principal issue is whether a law firm’s arbitration clause is unconscionable as a legal

matter by controlling in disputes like the malpractice claim in this case but

not in attorney-fee contests brought by the client.

Briefs for 13-1026

Briefs for 14-0109

Court of appeals opinion

14-0067

Mirta Zorrilla v. Aypco Construction II LLC and Jorge Luis Munoz

from Hidalgo County and the Corpus Christi/Edinburg Court of Appeals

Oral argument set March 26

The issues in this contract breach and fraud case are (1) whether, as the court of appeals

held, statutory limits on exemplary damages must be pleaded as an affirmative

defense and (2) whether the appeals court erred by affirming prejudgment

interest, foreclosure of materialman’s and mechanic’s liens and a fraud finding

without considering legal and factual sufficiency of the jury’s contract-breach

finding.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion

14-0272

SeaBright Insurance Co. v. Maxima Lopez

from Starr County and the San Antonio Court of Appeals

Oral argument set March 26

The issues in this worker-compensation death-benefits claim are (1) whether exception to

the coming-and-going rule applied to an accident involving a foreman working on

contract hundreds of miles from home, paid per-diem and supplied with a vehicle

and who transported subordinates to the work site from their temporary living quarters

and (2) whether the continuous-coverage doctrine should apply instead of the

coming-and-going rule.

Briefs

Court of appeals opinion