With this week’s orders, the Texas Supreme Court issued one opinion and granted review in five cases for oral argument.

The Court also denied the motion for rehearing in IN RE NESTLE USA, INC., No. 12-0518 , bringing that challenge to the franchise tax to a close.

Property owners are competent to testify to value, but their testimony cannot be mere conclusion

This appeal involved a nuisance claim for odors emanating from a gas compressor station.

The key holding is that the Property Owner Rule does not permit conclusory evidence of market value:

Because property owner testimony is the functional equivalent of expert testimony, it must be judged by the same standards. Thus, as with expert testimony, property valuations may not be based solely on a property owner’s ipse dixit. An owner may not simply echo the phrase “market value” and state a number to substantiate his diminished value claim; he must provide the factual basis on which his opinion rests.

The Court noted that a property owner has many resources today to draw upon:

Evidence of price paid, nearby sales, tax valuations, appraisals, online resources, and any other relevant factors may be offered to support the claim. But the valuation must be substantiated; a naked assertion of “market value” is not enough.

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