With this week’s orders, the Texas Supreme Court issued two per curiam opinions and granted two new cases for argument next spring.
- , No. 12-0183 – Whether attorney’s fees accrued in a suit to modify an award of child support (as opposed to a suit to enforce unpaid child support) can be folded into that child-support award.
, No. 12-0357 – Whether the expert-report requirement of everybody’s favorite example of legislative clarity (the 2003 health-care-reform law) is tolled by the plaintiff filing a non-suit. Here, the plaintiff filed a non-suit before the expert-report deadline and then after more investigation filed a new lawsuit, in which an expert report was filed. The defendant argues that the second suit should still be governed by the expert-report deadline set in the first (now non-suited) suit.
Per Curiam Opinions
, No. 10-0319
The court of appeals in this case held that the Workers Compensation Act did not allow it to return this case to the Division, once it had concluded the worker’s claim had been mishandled.
, No. 11-0437
This case involved the provision of the Texas Tort Claims Act that makes the state potentially liable for “special defects” on state property, which (in the Court’s words) “pose a threat to ordinary users of the roadway,” but not injuries arising from more mundane or less likely defects.
Here, the defect was a concrete guardrail, which the court of appeals concluded made the intersection so narrow that a left turn was no longer safe.
The Texas Supreme Court disagreed that “an ordinary user” would have any problem: “An ordinary user of the roadway would not be expected to miss a turn and crash through a concrete guardrail.”
With that in mind, the Court reasoned its way to a fairly robust rule against future suits involving guardrails on Texas roads:
Guardrails, by their nature, define the roadway, they do not impede it. We therefore hold that guardrails placed in accordance to plan cannot constitute a special defect under the Act.