With today’s orders list, the Texas Supreme Court issued one merits decision and granted rehearing in the most divided case from last term, the Marks v. St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital case. I’ll have short posts up about each of those cases in a few minutes.

Cases set for argument this fall

The Court also set seven new cases for oral argument. Because next week’s argument sitting is the last one on the calendar, it appears these cases will be heard this fall.

Among the grants are a challenge to Travis County’s electronic voting machines, a case about the “collateral source” rule so well known to all tort lawyers, and a case about whether arbitration can be enforced in a dispute between a home buyer and seller when the only arbitration clause was in the mortgage documents.

The blurbs below are lifted from Osler McCarthy’s email and are, of course, not an official summary by the Court.

  • Offshore Specialty Fabricators Inc., et al. v. Wellington Underwriting Agencies Ltd., et al., No. 08-0890 (docket and briefs): “A principal issue in this insurance dispute is whether lined-through language in a policy should be considered as evidence that parties intended no coverage.”

  • XTO Energy Inc. v. Smith Production Inc., No. 09-0270 (docket and briefs): (( Justice Guzman wrote the dissent from this case in the court of appeals. )) “The principal issue is whether the standard form joint-operating agreement allows a non-operating oil-and-gas interest-holder to change its election regarding a drilling proposal when the change is within the agreement’s 30-day response period. If the agreement is ambiguous, (1) is an expert affidavit outlining purported industry custom and usage admissible? and, if so, (2) is it legally sufficient to establish a fact question to defeat summary judgment?”

  • In re Joseph Charles Rubiola, et al., No. 09-0309 (docket and briefs): “The issue is whether arbitration can be compelled for misrepresentation claims involving a home sale when (a) the home-sale agreement did not contain an arbitration provision (b) but the mortgage contract did and (c) the principals selling the house and financing it were the same. The mortgage-agreement arbitration clause covered ‘each and all persons and entities signing this agreement or any other agreements between or among any of the parties as part of this transaction.'”

  • Aaron Glenn Haywood v. Margarita Garza de Escabedo, No. 09-0377 (docket and briefs): “The issue is whether Civil Practices and Remedies Code section 41.0105 abrogates the collateral-source rule, either as an evidentiary rule or a damages rule, when an injured person’s initial medical expenses differ from those actually paid or incurred by or on the claimant’s behalf.”

  • Reid Road Municipal Utility District No. 2 v. Speedy Stop Food Stores Inc. Ltd., No. 09-0396 (docket and briefs): “The principal issue is whether a corporate agent under the property owner rule — allowing a property owner to testify to its value even if unqualified to assess property belonging to someone else — is competent to testify to the value of corporate property.”

  • Esperanza Andrade, Secretary of State v. NAACP of Austin, et al., No. 09-0420 (docket and briefs): “In this challenge to the secretary of state’s electronic-voting-machine certification for Travis County’s use, the principal issues are (1) whether the plaintiffs have standing by showing a concrete injury and, if so, (2) whether their allegations of election law and state constitutional violations waive sovereign immunity either under Election Code section 273.081 or for injunctive and declaratory relief against a state official acting without authority.”

  • Marsh USA Inc. and Marsh and McLennan Cos Inc. v. Rex Cook, No. 09-0558 (docket and briefs): “The issue is whether a covenant not to compete given in exchange for stock options is unenforceable.”