Dallas Court of Appeals cases for the week of October 24, 2011

For the week of October 24, 2011, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued eighteen opinions in civil cases.  Five of these dispose of a case without a detailed discussion of the merits (e.g., dismissing a case for want of prosecution, dismissing a case for mootness, dismissing a case pursuant to settlement).  The remaining thirteen cases are as follows:

Alderson v. Alderson (05-10-01394-CV) – Recites well-established (1) holding that the occurrence of an injustice is not sufficient to justify relief by bill of review; (2) rule about when bill of review is proper; (3) rule that the only exception to the four-year bill of review statute of limitations is when the petitioner proves extrinsic fraud; and (4) definition of “extrinsic fraud.”

Chambers v. Kaufman County (05-11-00509-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that governmental immunity from suit defeats a trial court’s subject matter jurisdiction; (2) standard for reviewing trial court’s ruling on a plea to the jurisdiction; (3) rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys; (4) definition of “sovereign immunity”; (5) definition of “governmental immunity”; and (6) duties owed by governmental units for “premises defects” and for “special defects.”

Deese v. Combined Specialty Ins. Co. (05-10-00707-CV) – Recites well-established standard for reviewing trial court’s denial of a mistrial.

Florance v. State (05-10-01653-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that appellate jurisdiction is never presumed; (2) rule that, unless the record affirmatively shows the appellate court’s jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the appeal; and (3) rule that, when a trial court renders a final judgment, a party later files an amended petition, and the trial court renders a second judgment based on the amended petition, these are treated as two distinct cases for appellate purposes regardless of the fact that the two cases have the same trial court cause number.

Harrison v. Jones (05-11-00872-CV) – Recites well-established rule that appellate courts have jurisdiction over appeals only when those appeals are taken from final judgments or from interlocutory orders made appealable by the legislature.

In re A.M.A.R. (05-10-01303-CV) – Recites well-established standard for reviewing trial court’s ruling on a bill of review.

Jackson v. Citibank (South Dakota), N.A. (05-10-01399-CV) –  Recites well-established rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.

Key v. Muse (05-11-00071-CV) – Recites well-established standard for reviewing trial court’s ruling on motion to dismiss a health care liability claim.

LTTS Charter School, Inc. v. C2 Constr., Inc. (05-07-01469-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing whether trial court has subject matter jurisdiction; (2) rule that, under the common-law doctrine of sovereign immunity, the state cannot be sued without its consent; and (3) rule that a municipality is immune from suit for torts committed in the performance of its governmental functions but not for torts committed in the performance of its proprietary functions.  Additionally, holds that “open-enrollment charter schools have governmental immunity from suit.”

Muthukumar v. Dess (05-10-01324-CV) – Recites well-established rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.

Nichols v. County of Dallas (05-09-01426-CV) – Recites well-established rule that, when a party petitions to recover excess proceeds following a tax lien foreclosure sale, a trial court’s order on that petition is appealable only if the order directs that the excess proceeds be paid.

Sawyer v. Deutsche Bank Nat’l Trust Co. (05-10-01634-CV) – Recites well-established rule that if a party fails to claim in the trial court that a foreclosure sale was invalid, she has not preserved this claim for appellate review.

White v. Fritz (05-10-01249-CV) – Recites well-established rule that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys.

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