Friday, February 1, 2008

2008-02-01 Texas Supreme Court Opinions

Another class action nixed: Justice Nathan Hecht delivers the deadly blow. In a second decision today, Texas high court issues a new opinion in an insurance case last decided in 2005. Comment: How how are they ever going to catch up with the backlog if they keep rehashing cases with 2002 cause numbers? Also see ---> F.F.P. Operating Partners, L.P. v. Duenez, No. 02-0381 (Tex. May 11, 2007)(subst. op. by Wainwright; opinion released Nov. 3, 2006 withdrawn)(Dram Shop Act)

Also see –>>> Feb. 1, 2008 Tex. Sup. Ct. Weekly Orders


Senior Supremo Hecht leads charge to thwart consumer class actions by depriving plaintiffs of standing - and the trial and appellate courts of jurisdiction - rather than merely undoing class certification in interlocutory appeal, as has become the Court's practice to protect industry defendants. The new approach to vindicate the economic interests of corporate defendants complements Hecht's expansion of the judicially created doctrine of sovereign immunity to force dismissal of suits against governmental defendants by the trial courts without regard to merits. Four justices, including Chief Jefferson, who is running for re-election this year, took a strong stand against Hecht's latest example of legislating from the bench by boldly rewriting judicial doctrines to keep consumers and other pesky plaintiffs out of the state's court houses.

Daimler Chrysler Corp. v. Inman, No. 03-1189 (Tex. Feb. 1, 2008)
(Opinion by Justice Nathan Hecht) (class action dismissed on standing grounds, jurisdictional dismissal, DWOJ)
DAIMLERCHRYSLER CORPORATION v. BILL INMAN, DAVID CASTRO, AND JOHN WILKINS, EACH INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED; from Nueces County; 13th district (13-02-00415-CV, 121 S.W.3d 862, 11/20/03)The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and dismisses the case for want of jurisdiction. Justice Hecht delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Wainwright, Justice Brister, Justice Medina, and Justice Willett joined.
Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Harriet O'Neill, Justice Paul Green, and Justice Phil Johnson joined.

Appeals with sequel(s): New opinions issued in insurance case from Harris County

Excess Underwriters v. Frank's Casing Crew & Rental Tools, Inc., No. 02-0730 (Tex. Feb. 1, 2008)(Substitute opinion on rehearing by Justice Harriet O'Neill, 2005 opinion withdrawn) (insurance law, right to reimbursement)
EXCESS UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S, LONDON AND CERTAIN COMPANIES SUBSCRIBING SEVERALLY BUT NOT JOINTLY TO POLICY NO. 548/TA4011F01 v. FRANK'S CASING CREW & RENTAL TOOLS, INC.; from Harris County; 14th district (14-01-00349-CV, 93 S.W.3d 178, 06/27/02)The Court affirms the court of appeals' judgment.
Justice O'Neill delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Medina, Justice Johnson, and Justice Willett joined.
Justice Hecht delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Green joined. Justice Wainwright delivered a dissenting opinion. (Justice Brister not sitting)

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