Texas Supreme Court weekly orders (3/20/15)

  Posted by Scott Stolley, Thompson & KnightThe Texas Supreme Court issued eight opinions in its weekly orders for 3/20/15. Click here to read the order list.I will summarize four of the cases in this post, while Rich Phillips will summarize the other four in a separate post.No. 13-0126, Nabors Well Servs., Ltd. v. Loera — The court of appeals had reversed this case on the ground that evidence of seatbelt nonuse was not admissible. But recently, in Nabors Well Servs.,Ltd. v. Romero, the Supreme Court changed the law and held that such evidence is now admissible. The Court remanded to the court of appeals for reconsideration in light of Romero.No. 13-0497, G.T. Leach Builders, LLC v. Sapphire V.P., L.P. — After a real estate project suffered hurricane damage, the developer sued its insurance brokers for allowing the project’s insurance to lapse. The brokers later named the general contractor, some subcontractors, and an engineering consultant as responsible third parties. The developer then added those parties as defendants. The Supreme Court held that the developer was contractually bound to arbitrate its claims against the general contractor, but the other defendants were not contractually entitled to arbitration. Among other things, the Court held that the general contractor’s participation in the lawsuit did not waive arbitration and that it was up to the arbitrators to decide whether a contractual deadline barred the general contractor’s arbitration demand.No. 13-0584, Southwestern Bell Tel., L.P. v. Emmett — Some Southwestern Bell facilities were attached to a bridge that the Harris County Flood Control District designated for demolition as part of a flood control plan. Interpreting a specific provision in the Water Code, the Court held that the district had to bear the costs to relocate the Southwestern Bell facilities.No. 14-0177, In re Conner — The plaintiffs offered no good-cause explanation for their failure to prosecute their case for nearly a decade. The Supreme Court granted mandamus to require the trial court to grant a dismissal for want of prosecution.