Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (5/9/14)

This morning, the Supreme Court of Texas issued opinions in two argued cases. The Court did not grant review in any new cases. Access the complete order list here.

The Court issued the following opinions:

No. 12-0522, Waste Management of Texas, Inc. v. Texas Disposal Systems Landfill, Inc. - In this defamation case, the Supreme Court unanimously held that (1) a for-profit corporation can suffer (and recover for) damage to its reputation; (2) reputation damages are non-economic damages such that the cap on punitive damages in the pre-2003 version of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code applies; (3) there was no evidence to support the jury's award of reputational damages; and (4) there was evidence to support the jury's award of remediation damages. The Court remanded the case to the court of appeals for recalculation of the proper amount of punitive damages and pre- and post-judgment interest. View the complete opinion by Justice Willett here.

No. 12-0839, Amedisys, Inc. v. Kingwood Home Healthcare, LLC - In an unanimous opinion by Justice Boyd, the Supreme Court addressed the validity of acceptance of a settlement offer under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code chapter 42 and Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 167. The defendant made such an offer, but then tried to avoid paying the settlement when the plaintiff tried to accept it. The Court held that because the issue was whether a binding contract had been created, the issue is controlled by common-law principles of offer and acceptance. The Court held that the offer had been properly accepted, and that any difference between the offer and the acceptance was immaterial. The Court also addressed an interesting issue of error preservation in summary-judgment proceedings that I will cover in more detail in a post next week. The opinion is available here.

- Rich Phillips, Thompson & Knight