Posted by Rich Phillips
In its weekly order list this morning, the Supreme Court of Texas issued one per curiam opinion and granted review in five new cases.
In No. 16-0718, City of Magnolia 4A Development Corp. v. Smedley, the Court addressed the timeliness of an interlocutory appeal challenging the trial court's decision that governmental immunity did not protect the defendant. The defendants raised immunity in two separate filings: a plea to the jurisdiction and a summary-judgment motion. After the plea to the jurisdiction was denied, the defendants did not appeal, but filed a summary-judgment motion. After the summary-judgment motion was denied, the defendants appealed. The plaintiff argued that the deadline to appeal ran from the denial of the plea to the jurisdiction, not the denial of the summary-judgment motion. The court of appeals agreed and dismissed the appeal. In a per curiam opinion, the Supreme Court reversed, holding that the deadline to appeal the plea to the jurisdiction ran from the denial of the plea but the deadline to appeal the summary-judgment ruling ran from the date of that ruling. The Court reasoned that because the plea to the jurisdiction was a pleadings-based challenge, while the summary-judgment motion was based on evidence, the summary-judgment motion was not merely a motion to reconsider the plea to the jurisdiction.
Some of issues in the petitions granted this morning include: construction of a retained-acreage clause, construction of an offset-well clause, whether Texas recognizes the sham affidavit doctrine, sufficiency of the evidence to support an exemplary-damages award, and the ultra vires exception to governmental immunity.