Second Court of Appeals

Week of July 20, 2015 

Summaries of Civil Opinions and Published Criminal Opinions Issued - Week of July 20, 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.

Acadia Healthcare Co. v. Horizon Health Corp., No. 02-13-00339-CV (July 23, 2015) (op. on reh'g) (Gabriel, J., joined by Livingston, C.J., and Walker, J.).

Held:  Expert's future-lost-profits testimony was based on unsupported factual assumptions and analyses not admitted into evidence and, therefore, was not competent to prove future lost profits with reasonable certainty.  Because appellee's compensatory damages were reduced based on the legally insufficient evidence of its future lost profits, the awarded exemplary damages were rendered unconstitutionally excessive.  Thus, a remittitur was suggested to comport with a 4-to-1 ratio of exemplary damages to compensatory damages on a per-defendant basis.  Because the jury did not specifically award exemplary damages against the corporate appellants, exemplary damages may not be awarded jointly and severally against the corporate appellants but only against the individual appellants.  The reduction of compensatory damages based on legally insufficient evidence of future lost profits also requires a new trial on attorney's fees.

In re Cox, No. 02-15-00132-CV (July 23, 2015) (orig. proceeding) (Sudderth, J., joined by Charles Bleil, Senior Justice, Retired, Sitting by Assignment; Walker, J., concurs and dissents with opinion.).

Held:  The trial court heard conflicting evidence at the hearing on relator's disqualification motion, and deference must be given to the trial court's factual determinations that are supported by evidence, as they are in this case.  Because the trial court's decision was therefore not so arbitrary and unreasonable that it amounted to a clear and prejudicial error of law, relator has not shown that she is entitled to mandamus relief.

Concurrence and Dissent:  Because Respondent misapplied well-settled law concerning the disqualification of special prosecutor Cary Piel to the undisputed facts presented at the disqualification hearing, and because Relator possesses no adequate remedy at law concerning Respondent's denial of her motion to disqualify Piel, Relator has shown that she is entitled to mandamus relief concerning the disqualification of Piel.