Have you been keeping up with the Texas Supreme Court’s rulings on civil procedure issues? We have been here at O’Connor’s. Here are the six most significant 2016 cases you’ll need to know –
In re J.B. Hunt Transp., 492 S.W.3d 287 (Tex.2016).
The Court held that, for a counterclaim to be considered compulsory under TRCP 97, the claim must not have been the subject of a pending action in another court at the time the original suit was commenced. In re J.B. Hunt Transp., 492 S.W.3d at 292-93. The Court overruled its prior opinions that interpreted TRCP 97 to mean that a counterclaim was compulsory if it was not the subject of a pending action at the time the defendant filed its answer. See In re J.B. Hunt Transp., 492 S.W.3d at 292-93.
The Court also held that a party can be estopped from asserting the dominant jurisdiction of a court in which suit was first filed if the party engaged in inequitable conduct that prejudiced the party filing the second suit. Id. at 294-95.
In addition, the Court clarified the standard for granting mandamus review of an improperly denied plea in abatement in dominant-jurisdiction cases—the defendant must show only that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the plea. Id. at 298-300.
TV Azteca, S.A.B. de C.V. v. Ruiz, 490 S.W.3d 29 (Tex.2016).
The Court held that, for a nonresident media defendant to purposefully avail itself of the Texas forum, the defendant must have more than mere knowledge that its broadcasts could be viewed in Texas; there must also be evidence that the defendant had the intent or purpose to target the Texas market. TV Azteca, 490 S.W.3d at 46-47. The Court applied a test similar to that used in stream-of-commerce cases to determine purposeful availment. Id.
Sullivan v. Abraham, 488 S.W.3d 294, 299 (Tex.2016).
The Court held that, while the amount of reasonable attorney fees awarded under the Texas Citizens Participation Act is subject to the court’s discretion, the court cannot adjust what is reasonable based on considerations of justice and equity. Sullivan v. Abraham, 488 S.W.3d at 299. Those considerations apply only when determining whether to award other expenses incurred in defending the legal action. Id.
Hoskins v. Hoskins, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex.2016) (No. 15-0046; 5-20-16).
The Court held that the statutory grounds in CPRC §171.088(a) are the exclusive grounds for vacating an arbitration award under the Texas Arbitration Act—a party can no longer rely on common-law grounds such as manifest disregard of the law. Hoskins, ___ S.W.3d at ___.
In re City of Dallas, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex.2016) (No. 15-0794; 9-30-16).
The Court held that the petitioner in the case could not use a TRCP 202 presuit deposition to investigate its potential claim because its pleadings did not specify the amount of damages it would seek for the claim. In re City of Dallas, ___ S.W.3d at ___. Because the petitioner did not specify the amount of damages, the trial court could not have determined whether it had subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim, which is required for the court to grant a TRCP 202 petition. In re City of Dallas, ___ S.W.3d at ___.
In re DePinho, ___ S.W.3d ___ (Tex.2016) (No. 15-0294; 5-20-16).
The Court restated that a trial court must have subject-matter jurisdiction over the anticipated suit for a TRCP 202 presuit deposition to be proper. In re DePinho, ___ S.W.3d at ___. The Court clarified that, even though a presuit deposition can be used to investigate a potential claim or suit, the claim must still be ripe for a court to have subject-matter jurisdiction over it. Id. at ___.
For full analysis of these cases and many more, make O’Connor’s Texas Rules * Civil Trials your first source for the law. O’Connor’s Texas Rules * Civil Trials 2017 is now in stock—visit our online store to order your copy!