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Dallas Court of Appeals cases for the week of August 1, 2011

For the week of August 1, 2011, the Dallas Court of Appeals issued seventeen opinions in civil cases.  Nine 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 eight cases are as follows:

21st Mortgage Corp., Inc. v. Stovall (05-09-01416-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing a trial court’s decision as to joinder of a party; and (2) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment.

Ascendant Anesthesia PLLC v. Abazi (05-11-00115-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that whether an arbitration clause imposes a duty to arbitrate is a matter of contract interpretation and a question of law; (2) rule that, in a de novo review, the trial court’s decision is given absolutely no deference; (3) rule that doubts regrading an arbitration agreement’s scope are resolved in favor of arbitration because there is a presumption favoring agreements to arbitrate; (4) standing doctrine, which requires a controversy to continue to exist between the parties at every stage of the legal proceedings, including the appeal; (5) rule that nonsignatories of arbitration agreements may be bound by the agreement under ordinary contract and agency principles; (6) rule that, when a principal is abound under the terms of a valid arbitration clause, its agents, employees, and representatives are covered by that agreement; (7) rule that claims which would otherwise not be subject to arbitration can become arbitrable when factually intertwined with arbitrable claims; and (8) rule that a party waives an arbitration clause by substantially invoking the judicial process to the other party’s detriment or prejudice.

Brown v. Apex Realty (05-09-01163-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s refusal to grant a jury trial; and (2) rule that the failure to adequately brief an issue waives that issue on appeal.

Crow-Billingsley Stover Creek, Ltd. v. SLC McKinney Partners, L.P. (05-09-00962-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing traditional summary judgment; and (2) rule that the interpretation of an unambiguous contract is a question of law.

In re Marriage of Swiercinsky (05-10-00045-CV) – Recites well-established (1) standard for reviewing trial court’s legal conclusions; and (2) rule that, if an appellant does not attack all independent bases that fully support a complained-of judgment on appeal, the appellate court must affirm the judgment.

Katz v. Winston & Cashett (05-10-01535-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that the existence of personal jurisdiction is a question of law; and (2) rule that, when a nonresident defendant challenges jurisdiction through a special appearance, he must negate all grounds for personal jurisdiction alleged by the plaintiff to prevail.

Kia Motors Corp. v. Ruiz (05-10-00198-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that, if a trial court denies a motion for summary judgment and the case is tried on the merits, the order denying the summary judgment is not reviewable on appeal; (2) standard for reviewing the denial of a motion for JNOV; (3) standard for reviewing legal sufficiency of evidence; (3) definition of “producing cause”; (4) rule that an admission by a party-opponent, being merely a piece of evidence, is not conclusive against the party opponent, but rather may be rebutted by explanation or contradicting evidence; (5) rule that the right to have a jury polled is absolute and the trial court has no discretion in the matter once a request is made; (6) holding that multiple errors, even if considered harmless when taken separately, may result in reversal if the cumulative effect of such errors is harmful; (7) rule that, to show cumulative error, an appellant must show that, based on the record as a whole, but for the alleged errors, they jury would have rendered a verdict favorable to it; (8) rule that the recovery of punitive damages requires a finding of an independent tort with accompanying actual damages; and (9) rule that a defendant cannot be grossly negligent without being negligent.

Mims v. Mims (05-09-01275-CV) – Recites well-established (1) rule that a party may revoke his consent to settle a case any time before judgment is rendered on the agreement; and (2) rule that an agreed judgment rendered after one of the parties revokes his consent is void.