Texas Supreme Court weekly orders (3/13/15)

  Posted by Scott Stolley, Thompson & Knight In its weekly orders (3/13/15), the Texas Supreme Court did not issue any opinions, but did grant review in three cases. Click here to read the order list.The three cases involve (1) whether a liability insurer  must pay the plaintiffs who received an assignment from the insured after the insurer failed to defend, (2) whether the former owner of a chemical plant is liable for an injury occurring at the plant years later, and whether the statute of repose applies, and (3) whether the Texas Citizens Participation Act and the fair report privilege bar the plaintiff’s defamation claim. Reproduced below is the Court’s advisory about these cases. Texas Supreme Court advisoryContact: OslerMcCarthy, staff attorney/public information512.463.1441 or click for emailTwitter: @OslerSCTXMARCH 13 ORDERS… No opinions… Three grantsISSUES SUMMARIES IN CASES GRANTED ORAL ARGUMENT13-0673Roy Seger, et al. v. Yorkshire Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ocean Marine InsuranceCo. Ltd.from Hutchinson County and the Amarillo Court of AppealsOral argument date pendingThe issue is whether a post-answer default judgment may establish damages in a Stowersaction assigned by an insured to wrongful-death plaintiffs. In essence, does the reasoning in Evanston Insurance v. ATOFINA, holding that an insurer may not challenge a settlement’s reasonableness when the insurer refuses a defense or coverage, conflict with State Farm Fire and Casualty v. Gandy’s requirement that an insured’s damages evidence result from a fully adversarial trial when a claim against an insurer has been assigned by the insured to a plaintiff?BriefsCourt of appeals opinion13-0961Occidental Chemical Corp. v. Jason Jenkinsfrom Harris County and Houston’s First Court of AppealsOral argument date pendingThe issues are (1) whether a jury finding that a former plant owner’s licensed engineerssupervised equipment design blamed for a worker’s injury satisfies a 10-year repose statute barring a lawsuit against licensed engineers who design, plan or supervise real-property improvements; (2) whether evidence conclusively established the former plant owner constructed the equipment toinvoke a 10-year repose statute that would protect it from suit; and (3)whether recovery should be barred because the plaintiff failed to get jury findings supporting premise-liability or products-liability claims.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion14-0456KBMT Operating Co., et al. v. Minda Lao Toledofrom Orange County and the Beaumont Court of AppealsOral argument date pendingThe issues in this defamation case are (1) whether the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act, a statutory protection against suits targeting a speaker’s free expression, requires dismissal of the plaintiff’s claim and (2) whether the fair-report privilege bars the defamation claim.BriefsCourt of appeals opinion