Texas Supreme Court grants review in seven cases (2/20/15)

   Posted by Scott Stolley In its weekly orders (2/20/15), the Texas Supreme Court granted review in seven cases. Click here to read the order list.The seven cases include issues about the following topics:breach-of-contract issues under a gas-purchase agreement;applicability of the open-records laws to a nonprofit entity;state preemption of a city’s air-quality ordinance;disability accommodations for deaf prison inmates;unconscionability of an arbitration clause in a law firm’s engagement letter;necessity of pleading the punitive-damages cap; andworker’s compensation coverage while traveling.Reproduced below is the Court’s advisory about the grants. (The advisory says there are eight grants, because in one case, the Court consolidated a petition for review with a mandamus petition.) Texas Supreme Court advisoryContact: OslerMcCarthy, staff attorney/public information512.463.1441 or click for emailTwitter: @OslerSCTXFEBRUARY 20 ORDERS… No opinions… Eight grantsISSUES SUMMARIES FOR CASES SET FOR ORAL ARGUMENT13-0596Kachina Pipeline Co. Inc. v. Michael D. Lillisfrom Concho County and the Austin Court of AppealsOn rehearingOral argument set March 24The principal issues arising under a gas-purchase agreement are (1) whether Kachinabreached the contract by charging Lillis, the producer, for downstreamcompression services by a plant that predated the contract and (2) whetherLillis breached a first-refusal option in the contract by building its ownpipeline to deliver gas to a processing plant to which Kachina had deliveredLillis’ gas.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion13-0745Greater Houston Partnership v. Ken Paxton, as Attorney General, and Jim Jenkinsfrom Travis County and the Austin Court of AppealsOn rehearingOral argument set March 25The principal issue is whether a non-profit contracting with the city foreconomic-development services is subject to Texas’ open-records law under the so-called Kneeland test, that is, whether the Kneeland test is appropriate to a privateentity’s function as a government entity for open records disclosure.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion13-0768BCCA Appeal Group Inc. v. City of Houstonfrom Harris County and Houston’s First Court of AppealsOral argument set March 25The principal issue is whether Houston’s air-quality ordinance intended to regulateemissions more stringently than state law is preempted by state law.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion13-0867Laura Beeman and Janet Lock v. Brad Livingston, as Executive Director of theTexas Department of Criminal Justice from Travis County and the Austin Court of AppealsOral argument set March 25In this accommodations challenge by deaf prison inmates the issues are (1) whetherprisons are “public facilities” under the state Human Resources Code and, ifso, (2) whether the department acted without authority by refusing requesteddisability accommodations.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion13-102614-0109Royston, Rayzor, Vickery & Williams LLP v. from Nueces County and the Corpus Christi/Edinburg Court of Appealsreview petition and mandamus petition consolidated for oral argumentOral argument set March 26A principal issue is whether a law firm’s arbitration clause is unconscionable as a legalmatter by controlling in disputes like the malpractice claim in this case butnot in attorney-fee contests brought by the client.Briefs for 13-1026Briefs for 14-0109Court of appeals opinion14-0067Mirta Zorrilla v. Aypco Construction II LLC and Jorge Luis Munozfrom Hidalgo County and the Corpus Christi/Edinburg Court of AppealsOral argument set March 26The issues in this contract breach and fraud case are (1) whether, as the court of appealsheld, statutory limits on exemplary damages must be pleaded as an affirmativedefense and (2) whether the appeals court erred by affirming prejudgmentinterest, foreclosure of materialman’s and mechanic’s liens and a fraud findingwithout considering legal and factual sufficiency of the jury’s contract-breachfinding.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion14-0272SeaBright Insurance Co. v. Maxima Lopezfrom Starr County and the San Antonio Court of AppealsOral argument set March 26The issues in this worker-compensation death-benefits claim are (1) whether exception tothe coming-and-going rule applied to an accident involving a foreman working oncontract hundreds of miles from home, paid per-diem and supplied with a vehicleand who transported subordinates to the work site from their temporary living quartersand (2) whether the continuous-coverage doctrine should apply instead of thecoming-and-going rule.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion