In an unscheduled orders list today after its private conference, the Texas Supreme Court granted three petitions for review and set each of them for argument on February 3, 2011.
Petition grants are normally announced with the regular Friday orders, but by releasing this list today, the Court was able to provide these litigants with at least 21 days notice before the oral argument.
Christoper N. Epps and Laura L. Epps v. Bruce Fowler, Jr. an Stephanie L. Fowler, No. 10‑0283 (DDB). This petition asks when a defendant in a Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) suit can recover attorneys fees as a “prevailing party” when the plaintiff voluntarily nonsuits their claim.
1/2 Price Checks Cashed v. United Automobile Insurance Co., No. 10‑0434 (DDB). Texas law provides attorneys fees to the prevailing party in a breach-of-contract suit, if certain procedures are followed. This case asks if a lawsuit to collect on a dishonored check is a “contract” claim within that statute. (Justice Johnson is not sitting on this case.)
CMH Homes, Inc. v. Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc. and Bruce Robin Moore, Jr. v. Adam Perez, No. 10‑0688 (DDB). I thought the last legislative session had saved us from further litigation about whether arbitration-related decisions had to be challenged by interlocutory appeal or by a mandamus proceeding, but here is another. This case asks the Court to conclude that interlocutory appeal is appropriate — or alternatively to do away with the whole distinction, instead embracing a concurring opinion written by the party’s counsel when they were on the Court. In re D. Wilson Construction Co., 196 S.W.3d 774 (Tex. 2006) (Brister, J., concurring).