Justia Contracts Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Texas
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing in part the judgment of the trial court holding that the settlement agreement between the parties in this case barred the claims asserted in this suit and in an arbitration proceeding, holding that the trial court did not err.A billion-dollar break-up between two large corporations engaged in the international petroleum business resulted in numerous claims and lawsuits, which the parties finally resolved through a comprehensive settlement agreement. The trial court concluded that the settlement agreement, including its release provisions and a disclaimer of reliance, were valid and enforceable and barred the claims asserted in both this lawsuit and in the arbitration proceeding. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that the settlement agreement did not bar certain claims. The Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the final judgment of the trial court, holding that the parties fully and finally resolved the current claims through their comprehensive settlement agreement. View "Transcor Astra Group S.A. v. Petrobras America Inc." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals as to attorney's fees in this case concerning whether Defendant, a condominium association, was entitled to attorney's fees after obtaining a take-nothing judgment on claims by Plaintiff, a unit owner, the Supreme Court held that the fee award was authorized by Tex. Prop. Code 82.161(b).Plaintiff sued Defendant for, among other things, fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of contract, and negligence. Defendant filed a counterclaim for declaratory judgment and requested attorney's fees. The trial court granted Defendant's motion on twelve declaratory issues. After a trial, the court granted judgment for Defendant and awarded attorney's fees. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment for Defendant but reversed the award of attorney's fees. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that Defendant was a prevailing party under Tex. Prop. Code 82.161(b) and was thus entitled to reasonable attorney's fees. View "Sunchase IV Homeowners Ass'n v. Atkinson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the judgment of the trial court, rendered pursuant to a jury verdict, that Stephen Stelly owned real property free of any encumbrance, holding that Stelly adequately pleaded a trespass-to-try-title claim.Stelly brought this action against John DeLoach claiming that DeLoach had breached the parties' contract by not delivering a real property deed after Stelly had paid off the debt on the land's original purchase price.The jury entered a verdict in favor of Stelly. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that Stelly pleaded only a breach-of-contract claim, not a trespass-to-try-title claim and that the statute of limitations had run on Stelly's breach of contract claim. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that Stelly adequately pleaded a trespass-to-try-title claim. View "Stelly v. DeLoach" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals ruling that the parties' contract in this case and its arbitration provision were unenforceable on the grounds that the parties never had a meeting of the minds on the contract, holding that the parties formed the agreement reflected in the contract they signed.Plaintiffs, members of the family of a woman killed in a high-speed crash while riding in a car driven by an intoxicated adult entertainer employed by Defendant, sued for wrongful death and survival damages, alleging that Defendant continued serving the driver alcohol after knowing she was clearly intoxicated. Defendant moved to compel arbitration pursuant to a contract containing an arbitration provision that the decedent and Defendant had signed almost two years earlier. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the terms in the contract were not perfectly clear, and therefore, there was no meeting of the minds. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the contract terms were sufficient to constitute an enforceable contract. View "Baby Dolls Topless Saloons, Inc. v. Sotero" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the decision of the trial court granting summary judgment in favor of Roy Elizondo and dismissing this action brought by Cadence Bank, N.A. for breach of a deposit agreement, breach of warranty under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and common-law torts, holding that the lower courts erred.In response to a stranger's email for legal assistance, Elizondo, an attorney, deposited a cashier's check in his bank account then wired most of the funds to an overseas account. The check was dishonored, and the bank charged the transfer back to Elizondo, as allowed by the UCC and the parties' deposit agreement. When Elizondo refused to pay the overdrawn funds Cadence brought this action. The trial court granted summary judgment for Elizondo, and the court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the wire-transfer form failed to create the contractual duty urged by Elizondo. View "Cadence Bank, N.A. v. Elizondo" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's summary judgment in this case involving a school district's breach of warranty claims against a general contractor and an artificial-field-turf manufacturer, holding that the court of appeals erred.The Supreme Court reversed in part and reinstated the trial court's summary judgment in favor of the contractor, holding (1) a trial court’s on-the-record, oral ruling sustaining an objection to summary judgment evidence suffices to strike the evidence from the summary judgment record when the ruling is not reduced to a written order; and (2) the court of appeals erred in reversing the trial court's summary judgment in favor of the contractor and remanding the claims against the turf manufacturer for a new trial without addressing the merits of the issues on appeal that could result in rendition of judgment in favor of the manufacturer. View "FieldTurf USA, Inc. v. Pleasant Grove Independent School District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals rendering judgment that delivery of the grantor's fractional share in the pipeline occurred in the gathering pipeline rather than the transportation pipeline, holding that the court of appeals did not err.A deed conveying the mineral estate in this case reserved a nonparticipating royalty interest in kind, meaning that the grantor retained ownership of a fractional share of all minerals in place. The deed required delivery of the grantor's fractional share "free of cost in the pipe line, if any, otherwise free of cost at the mouth of the well or mine[.]" The parties agreed that the royalty did not include production and postproduction costs incurred before delivery into the existing gas pipeline but disagreed about the pipeline's location under the terms of the deed. The trial court concluded that delivery occurred in the transportation pipeline. The court of appeals reversed, concluding that delivery occurs in the gathering pipeline. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly interpreted the deed in this case. View "Nettye Engler Energy, LP v. Bluestone Natural Resources II, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the court of appeals reducing the consequential damages awarded by the jury in this breach of contract action, holding that neither the jury's award of $56.3 million nor the court of appeals' reduced allowance of $12.4 million could stand.After a trial, a jury found Defendant breached a contract with Plaintiff by failing to pay $2.4 million as promised. The jury awarded $2.4 million as direct damages and then added more than twenty times that amount in consequential damages. The court of appeals reversed in part, concluding that consequential damages were authorized in the amount of $12.4 million. The Supreme Court reversed in part and affirmed in part and rendered judgment that Plaintiff take nothing on its claim for consequential damages and reducing Plaintiff's recovery of direct damages, holding (1) legally insufficient supported the award of consequential damages; (2) the direct damages award is reversed in part; and (3) the court of appeals properly rejected Defendant's indemnification claim and its rendition of judgment against co-plaintiff Jeffry Ogden. View "Signature Industrial Services, LLC v. International Paper Co." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that no contract to settle a debt was formed in this case, that the implied-revocation doctrine is not constrained to real-property transactions, and that the settlement offer was impliedly revoked when the offeror assigned the underlying judgment.At issue in this contract dispute was whether a purported offer to settle a debt for a reduced sum was accepted before it was revoked. The issue's resolution turned on the parameters of the doctrine of implied revocation adopted by the Supreme Court in Antwine v. Reed, 199 S.W.2d 482 (Tex. 1947). The trial court granted summary judgment against the offeree. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the implied-revocation doctrine is not limited to offers involving the sale of land; and (2) the settlement offer in this case was impliedly revoked when the offeror assigned the underlying judgment to a third party for collection and the assignee gave the offeree a copy of the assignment agreement before the offeree accepted the settlement offer. View "Angel v. Tauch" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court's judgment entered upon a jury verdict awarding future damages of $50,000 for breach of a terminable-at-will rental contract, holding that no evidence supported the amount awarded by the jury.The jury in this case found that Pura-Flo breached its indefinite agreement to make monthly rental payments to Donald Clanton and failed to find that Pura-Flo had terminated the contract. The jury awarded $19,500 in past losses and future damages of $50,000. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that both the fact and amount of future damages lacked reasonable certainty. View "Pura-Flo Corp. v. Clanton" on Justia Law