With today’s orders list, the Texas Supreme Court granted rehearing in the Texas Open Beaches Act case Severance v. Patterson. (You can read more about it and see links to previous coverage, on this blog and other news sources, through DocketDB.) The Court has also set the case for re-argument, which has not been common in recent rehearing grants. The argument will be April 19, 2011.

One new grant

The petition for review in Safeshred, Inc. v. Martinez has been granted. You can read more in this post from earlier today.

Five other decisions

  • I started to summarize the Court’s decision in Texas Railroad Commission v. Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water, and ended up writing this separate post.

  • It was an abuse of discretion for a trial court to refuse to let a defendant’s counsel voir dire potential jurors about their views of homosexuality in a civil-commitment case about an alleged sexual predator. At trial, the State’s expert testified that, “if somebody has heterosexual preferences and then they later begin practicing homosexual acts, it infers that there is an instability within their personality which again, is more evidence of why I diagnosed [Hill] with a personality disorder.” The Court, speaking per curiam, reversed and remanded for a new trial. In re Hill, No. 10-0280 (per curiam) (DDB).

  • A business entity that owns property can offer non-expert testimony as to its value, so long as the person testifying is an appropriate corporate officer and has personal knowledge of the value. But this testimony failed the test. Reid Road Municipal Utility District No. 2 v. Speedy Stop Food Stores, Ltd., No. 09-0396 (DDB). Justice Johnson wrote for the Court that this witness, who worked for a different corporate entity that managed this investment, was not in the narrow class of witnesses who could give testimony for the limited partnership itself. Justices Willett and Lehrmann concurred, explaining that they would have announced a more permissive rule for limited partnerships to recognize that they often do not have formal corporate officers of their own but typically act through managing partners. (Justice Guzman did not sit on this case.)

  • An arbitration agreement can grant a non-signatory the right to compel arbitration against those who did sign it. In re Joseph Charles Rubiola, et al., No. 09-0309 (Medina, J.) DDB.

  • And in a case about extensions of time for medical-malpractice expert reports, the Court reversed to give the court of appeals a first chance to consider how these facts fit with Samlowski v. Wooten, which the Court decided two weeks ago. Chiquita Mitchell, et al. v. The Methodist Hospital, et al., No. 10-0117 (per curiam) DDB.