Texas Supreme Court Orders (1/22/16)

Posted by Rich Phillips[NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect two additional grants]In its weekly order list on Friday, January 22, 2016, the Supreme Court of Texas granted four six petitions for review: 14-0743, Southwest Royalties, Inc. v. Hegar — This tax case examines whether equipment used under ground for extraction of oil and gas is exempt from sales tax either because the equipment is used to process personal property or because the equipment is used to control pollution. A secondary issue is whether the Comptroller’s determination that the appellant’s equipment is not exempt is entitled to deference by the Court. Argument has been set for March 8.14-1022, Texas State Board of Pharmacy v. Witcher — The primary issue in this administrative law appeal is whether the Texas State Board of Pharmacy’s reasoning in suspending Ms. Witcher’s license was merely the application of existing Board policy to a particular set of facts, and was therefore permissible, or whether it rose to the level of ad hoc rulemaking, and therefore violated the Administrative Procedures Act. The suspension was based on an unwritten board policy that a pharmacist with an active suspension in another state cannot practice pharmacy in Texas. Argument has been set for March 9.15-0025, Texas Department of Insurance, Workers’ Compensation Division v. Jones — The issue in this workers’ compensation appeal is whether a settlement between the worker and the insurance company must be rejected because it grants the worker benefits to which she is not entitled under the Labor Code. Argument has been set for March 30 at Baylor Law School.15-0049, Crosstex North Texas Pipeline v. Gardiner — There are numerous issues in this nuisance case arising from the operation of a gas compressor station. Both the plaintiffs and the defendant sought review in the Supreme Court. The primary issues raised by the defendant are: (1) whether the court of appeals erred in finding the evidence legally sufficient to support the jury’s nuisance finding; (2) whether the trial court erred in permitting the plaintiffs to make a trial amendment after the evidence was closed; and (3) whether the plaintiffs’ measure of damages was correct. The plaintiffs’ cross-petition argues that the court of appeals erred in finding that the evidence was not factually sufficient to support the verdict because the court did not follow Pool v. Ford Motor Co. Argument has been set for March 8.15-0106, Town of Lakewood Village v. Bizios — The primary issue in this case is whether a general law municipality has the statutory authority to apply its building codes in its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Argument has been set for March 8.15-0387, Stanfield v. Neubaum — The issue in this legal malpractice case is whether the trial court’s undisputed error in the underlying case broke the causal chain as a matter of law such that the defendant law firm is entitled to summary judgment. Argument has been set for March 30 at Baylor Law School.The Court also denied the motion for rehearing in No. 14-0465, McGinnes Industrial Maintenance Corp. v. The Phoenix Insurance Company. Our prior coverage of the Court’s opinion is here.Also, if you missed it, the Court granted three petitions for review in an order list issued on Tuesday, January 19, 2016. Our coverage of that order list is here.