The Texas Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments this morning in three cases.

Who (if anyone) has standing to sue a city to enforce a referendum?

Carroll Robinson, et al. v. Bill White, City of Houston and Houston City Council, et al., No. 08-0658 (more info)

Here is the preview sent out by Osler McCarthy, the Court’s public information officer: (( As the Court makes clear in many contexts, Osler’s summaries are provided for public information “and reflect his judgment alone on facts and legal issues and in no way represent the Court’s opinion about case merits.” ))

The principal issues are (1) whether proponents who drafted and campaigned for a proposition and voted for it have standing to sue to declare it effective and, if so, (2) whether a “poison pill” provision associated with a competing proposition violates state law. In this case Robinson drafted and promoted Proposition 2, for a city revenue cap, which Houston voters approved in 2004 but by a smaller margin than a proposition for a property-tax revenue cap on the same ballot. The City Council refused to adopt Proposition 2 because of a provision associated with Prop 1, that among inconsistent propositions the proposition approved by most voters would prevail, and because of a similar City Charter provision. The trial court granted summary judgment to Robinson and the other Prop 2 organizers, but the court of appeals reversed and dismissed their claims, holding the organizers did not have standing.

When must a trial court grant an extension to fix a defective expert report in a medical-malpractice case?

Eberhard Samlowski, M.D. v. Carol Wooten, No. 08-0667 (more info)

Osler’s preview of the issues:

The principal issue is whether a trial court must grant a 30-day extension to cure a deficient but arguably curable expert report in a medical-malpractice suit. In this case the trial court dismissed the suit with prejudice – barring refiling the suit – because the expert report did not adequately show how the alleged negligence proximately caused Wooten’s injuries. Wooten alleged Samlowski’s initial inaccurate diagnosis led to a second surgery and complications. The court determined the report was not a good-faith effort to comply with the expert-report requirement. The appeals court reversed to allow an extension to cure the report, holding that the expert report was not a good-faith effort but was a good-faith attempt to comply with the report requirement.

When does Texas have personal jurisdiction over corporate officers?

Dan Kelly and Laura Hofstatter v. General Interior Construction Inc., No. 08-0669 (more info)

Osler’s preview of the issues:

In this jurisdictional challenge the principal issues are (1) whether Texas contacts to establish personal jurisdiction should be limited to pleadings that did not allege a disputed contract was a contact for a fraud claim or for Texas Trust Fund Act violations by the officers individually and (2) whether asserting jurisdiction over the corporate officers complies with federal due process and the Texas long-arm statute. In this case General Interior Construction, a Texas company, sued Kelly and Hofstatter over alleged payments due from Kelly and Hofstatter’s general-contracting business incorporated in Arizona. Their company agreed with another Arizona firm for improvements to a Texas hotel the other firm owned. GIC alleged breach of contract, fraud and misappropriation of trust money Kelly and Hofstatter’s firm held for paying subcontractors. The trial court found specific jurisdiction existed to require Kelly and Hofstatter to defend in Texas against all claims, but the court of appeals reversed on the contract-breach claim, based on Kelly and Hofstatter’s signing the contract as corporate officers.