The Texas Supreme Court has just released its final Friday set of opinions for the fiscal year (which ends in August).

I’m at a conference today, so I can’t provide longer case summaries. I will do that where it seems appropriate. I’ll also have a post about the 2010 opinion statistics as soon as those are digested. (I will amend this post to add a link to the order list itself, once that is available on the Court’s site.)

Among the issues in today’s list of opinions:

  • The most divided case of last term, Marks v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, No. 07-0783 (DDB), becomes (on rehearing) the most divided case of this term: read down for more about this one;

  • Whether it is a taking for the State to repurpose the dirt it removes for a pond to use in a highway project (it is): State v. Brownlow, No. 08-0551 (DDB);

  • When a law firm must be disqualified because it hired a legal assistant who worked at an opposing law firm (when “reasonable steps” are not taken to shield them from the matter, as was not here) (In re Columbia Health;

  • Whether a water authority must seek voter approval for “every” bond election (here, at least, yes): Kirby Lake Development, Ltd. v. Clear Lake City Water Authority, No. 08-1003 (DDB);

  • Causation in workers compensation cases: Transcontinental Insurance Co. v. Crump, No. 09-0005 (DDB);

  • Whether attorneys fees are mandatory when a plaintiff fails to file an expert report under the medical-malpractice statute, and what proof is needed (divided 6-3, the Court held that yes the fees are mandatory and not much proof is needed): Garcia v. Gomez, No. 09-0159 (DDB) (Justice Medina wrote the majority; Chief Justice Jefferson wrote a dissent; Justice Johnson joined the Chief and also wrote his own dissent.); and

  • Whether an estate administrator has a duty to timely report unauthorized transactions to the bank, even if those transactions occurred before the descedent’s death (the statute imposes such a duty): Jefferson State Bank v. Lenk, No. 09-0269 (DDB).

On rehearing, the Marks decision breaks the other way

The Texas Supreme Court granted rehearing in Marks v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, No. 07-0783 (DDB) and withdrew its previous opinions — which had been issued in last August’s end-of-August orders.

The court now divides 5-4 (in a quite fragmented way) in favor of the hospital, concluding that the tort falls within the medical-malpractice statute and thus must meet those added procedural requirements.

Justice Medina wrote last year’s opinion, and he writes this year’s opinion on rehearing.

Marks was last term’s most divided case, and the rehearing is perhaps even more. Here’s how the opinion describes the break:

Justice Medina delivered the Court’s judgment and an opinion, in which Justice Hecht joined, and in which Justice Wainwright, Justice Johnson and Justice Willett joined as to Parts I & IV.

Justice Wainwright filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Johnson filed a concurring opinion, in which Justice Willett joined, and in which Justice Hecht joined as to Parts II and III-A, and in which Justice Wainwright joined as to Parts I, II, and III-A.

Chief Justice Jefferson filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part, in which Justice Green, Justice Guzman, and Justice Lehrmann joined.

Justice Guzman filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.