Shutterstock_183259712In the last two weeks, the Supreme Court of Texas ruled as follows in the 11 cases it decided:

  • Threw out $46.5 million jury verdict for the owner of the Rivercenter Mall and the ground beneath the Marriott Riverwalk hotel in downtown San Antonio. The owner had sued its tenants for sending a letter that "blew up" a pending $166 million deal to sell the property. The Court held that, despite the "dramatic effect" of the letter on the deal, no evidence supported the jury's finding that the deal would have closed but-for the letter. HMC Hotel Properties II Ltd. P'ship v. Keystone-Texas Property Holding Corp., No. 12-0289 (Tex. June 13, 2014).
  • Held that the guarantor of a $696,000 note waived his statutory right to reduce the note amount by the $840,000 fair market value of the collateral securing the note at the time the lender foreclosed. The guaranty provided that the guarantor waived "any defense", which the Court construed to include the right of offset under section 51.003(b) of the Texas Property Code. Moayedi v. Interstate 35/Chisam Road, L.P., No. 12-0937 (Tex. June 13, 2014).
  • Ruled that cotton farmers had to arbitrate a dispute with a marketing pool. The Court severely limited the unconscionability defense, allowing a contract provision that entitled the pool but not the farmers to an award of attorneys' fees and ordering severance of an unenforceable waiver of the farmers' rights under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act despite the pool's failure to request it in the trial court. Venture Cotton Coooperative v. Freeman, No. 13-0122 (Tex. June 13, 2014).
  • Overturned a jury finding that the majority shareholders of a Texas corporation oppressed the minority by thwarting their efforts to sell their shares. The Court held that the business judgment rule protected majority conduct that oppresses the minority. It also disallowed the trial court's order that the majority buy out the minority shareholders' stake and abolished any common-law claim for minority oppression in Texas. Ritchie v. Rupe, No. 11-0447 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Tossed a jury verdict awarding a general contractor $5 million in damages for a subcontractor's egregiously faulty construction plans, ruling that the "economic loss" rule generally bars tort claims between participants in construction projects under Texas law. LAN/STV v. Martin K. Eby Construction Co., Inc., No. 11-0810 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Vacated $26 million arbitration award in a dispute relating to the sale of insurance companies, concluding that the striking of an arbitrator for "partiality" violated the parties' arbitration agreement, which required only "knowledgeable" and "independent" arbitrators but not "impartial" ones. Americo Life, Inc. v. Myer, No. 12-0739 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Rendered judgment for Schlumberger, whose guest on a fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico drank himself to extreme drunkenness before driving home and hitting a couple riding a motorcycle and causing them to lose their legs, on the ground that Schlumberger's activity on navigable waters did not give rise to a claim under federal maritime law, which in contrast to Texas law would have recognized Schlumberger's liablity as a "host". Schlumberger Technology Corp. v. Arthey, 12-1013 (Tex. June 20, 2013).
  • Rendered judgment that the owner of Tract A could not recover damages from the lessee of minerals in Tract B for building a road between Tract A and Tract B, holding that a pooling order that covered parts of both Tract A and Tract B gave the lessee "implied" rights to use the surface of Tract A. Key Operating & Equip., Inc. v. Hegar, No. 13-0156 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Reinstated a jury verdict in favor of Ford Motor Company. Ford claimed that the plaintiff and a juror in a personal injury case defrauded it into paying millions of dollars to settle the case by inducing the juror to send a note asking "what is the maximum amount that can be awarded" during deliberations. Ford Motor Co. v. Castillo, No. 13-0158 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Rendered judgment against a victim of an assault at the Graham Central Station nightclub, ruling that no evidence supported the trial court's finding that Graham Central Station, Inc. owned and provided security for Graham Central Station. Graham Central Station, Inc. v. Pena, No. 13-0450 (Tex. June 20, 2014).
  • Held that a workers compensation provide had a right to receive a bigger share of the proceeds of workers' claims against third-parties. State Office of Risk Management v. Carty, No. 13-0639 (Tex. June 20, 2014).

Judge for yourself whether the decisions favored the strong or the weak.