Second Court of Appeals

Week of February 23, 2015 

Summaries of Civil Opinions and Published Criminal Opinions Issued - Week of February 23, 2015

NOTE: Summaries are prepared by the court's staff attorneys and law clerks for public information only and reflect his or her interpretation alone of the facts and legal issues. The summaries are not part of the court's opinion in the case and should not be cited to, quoted, or relied upon as the opinion of the court.

Links to full text of opinions (PDF version) can be accessed by clicking the cause number.


Brand FX, LLC v. Rhine, No. 02-14-00249-CV (Feb. 26, 2015) (Gabriel, J., joined by Livingston, C.J., and Meier, J.).

Held:  Evidence submitted in the trial court in support of Appellant’s motion to reconsider the trial court’s denial of Appellant’s motion to compel arbitration could not be considered in accelerated appeal from the order denying the motion to compel.  Appellant, even in the absence of this evidence, established that its employment contract with Appellee affected interstate commerce; thus, the Federal Arbitration Act applied and preempted the Texas Arbitration Act’s requirement that a waiver of a personal-injury claim also must be signed by Appellee’s attorney.  Appellant, therefore, met its burden to show the existence of a valid arbitration agreement between the parties.  Because Appellee failed to meet his burden to prove his defenses against enforcing the otherwise valid arbitration provision, the trial court abused its discretion by failing to grant Appellant’s motion to compel arbitration.


Wolfe v. State, No. 02-12-00188-CR (Feb. 26, 2015) (Livingston, C.J., joined by Gabriel, J.; Walker, J., dissents with opinion).

Held:  The trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the State’s experts’ testimony on diagnosing abusive head trauma.  Because appellant challenges only the reliability of the diagnosis globally and does not attack the reliability of the diagnosis as applied to the particular circumstances of this case, we decline to address the latter issue.

Dissent:  Because the issue of the reliability of the State’s experts’ testimony that the victim suffered abusive head trauma is fairly included in Appellant’s issue on appeal, the dissent would reach the merits of the issue.


Benefield v. State, No. 02-14-00099-CR (Feb. 26, 2015) (Walker, J., joined by Livingston, C.J., and Gabriel, J.).

Held:  The evidence was sufficient to show Benefield recklessly caused serious bodily injury to a child because the child sustained numerous physical injuries, including blunt force trauma to the head consistent with shaking or shaking with impact, while in Benefield’s sole custody; Benefield’s conviction of both injury to a child and continuous violence against a family member did not violate double jeopardy because the conduct alleged in the injury-to-a-child offense was not the same conduct alleged as part of the continuous-violence-against-the-family offense; the trial court’s jail-time credit for Benefield’s continuous-violence-against-the-family conviction was correct because it ran from the date he was indicted for that offense rather than from the date he was arrested for the separate, injury-to-a-child offense.