With today’s orders list, the Texas Supreme Court issued opinions in twelve cases.

Two of today’s cases drew dissents, each on a 6-3 vote. Four of the cases resulted in per curiam opinions. The list of opinions follows.

For those of you keeping score at home: With the burst of opinions over the past few weeks, the Court has made substantial progress on resolving the cases argued last fall. By this blog’s count, no cases from the September or October sittings remain undecided, and only one case remains open from the Court’s November sitting.


Expert testimony about causation
Summary for previous event:
Set to be argued on December 10, 2014

This petition challenges a jury verdict that certain chemicals caused a fire within a facility storing many other chemicals, on the basis that (1) the expert's opinions were not supported by a sufficient foundation and (2) the evidence was legally insufficient.

Among the issues identified in the petition:

  • that it "credits expert testimony that damages are 'consistent with' a particular
    causation theory rather than requiring probative evidence of causation"

  • that it includes "proof of causation by process of elimination"

  • that they expert testimony was admitted without "requiring each part of the causation theory to be supported by testing or other scientifically reliable evidence"

  • that it "[d]isregards undisputed test results conducted by a defendant’s experts that
    disprove a plaintiff’s theory"

Construing an insurance policy that covers multiple properties hit by a single hurricane
Summary for previous event:
Set to be argued on September 18, 2014

The insured suffered losses across a number of properties during Hurricane Rita. This petition concerns how to determine the insurers' maximum liability. Is it limited to the "scheduled" value of each property under the policy, taken separately? Or do other provisions in the policy allow the insured to recover the full value of those properties, staying within other limits of the policy?

The insurer contends that the policy, as a whole, should be read as a "scheduled" policy and thus construed in line with a national body of law that would limit its liability here. The petition accuses the court of appeals of coming up with what it labels a "hybrid" policy that would lead to absurd results.

The property owner contends that the court of appeals properly construed the actual policy language agreed here, and that this policy language — not a label like "scheduled" or "hybrid" policy — is what should control the outcome.

The court of appeals heard the case en banc and divided 4-3, with one of the four justices in the majority writing separately to encourage the Court to grant review.

  • Three petitions granted (February 16, 2014)
  • Three opinions, one grant (June 16, 2014)
  • When does post-judgment interest start to accrue?
    Summary for previous event:
    Set to be argued on January 13, 2015

    In a quite long-running case, the dispute here is how to determine the start date for post-judgment interest when the original judgment goes up on appeal and is partially changed on remand.

    The petition contends that the interest should be computed beginning in 2012. It argues that the original 1998 judgment was not itself final — that it was an interlocutory order not itself appealed to the court of appeals. It also argues that the substantive nature of the remand (involving the introduction of new evidence, some by the plaintiff) warranted treating the 2012 award as the starting point for computing interest.