Texas Supreme Court issues three opinions from March 20-26

The Texas Supreme Court issued three opinions from March 20-26. As of March 26, the court issued 24 opinions in 2023 — 10 fewer than this point a year ago. The three opinions are below:

  • Austin Trust Co. v. Houren (Opinion), where the court affirmed the lower courts’ rulings rendering summary judgment for the estate’s executor. The case involved the “scope and validity of liability releases in a family settlement agreement relating to the administration of a decedent’s estate.”
  • Fraley v. Tex. A&M University System (Opinion), where the court affirmed the appellate court’s decision to dismiss a case where a driver sued Texas A&M University System for injuries sustained while in a car accident on campus.
  • MSW Corpus Christi Landfill, Ltd. v. Gulley-Hurst, LLC (Per Curiam), where the court heard a case concerning the “correct calculation of damages when (1) a buyer breaches a real estate contract (2) after the seller has fully performed, and (3) the value of the property at the time of the breach exceeds the contract price.” The court granted “the petitions for review, [affirmed] the portion of the court of appeals’ judgment affirming the [judgment notwithstanding the verdict] as to the benefit of the bargain damages, [reversed] the portion of the judgment affirming the award of lost opportunity cost damages, and [rendered] a take-nothing judgment as to those damages.”

From March 20-26, state supreme courts issued 125 opinions nationally. The Kentucky Supreme Court issued the most with 25. State supreme courts in 22 states issued the fewest with zero. Courts where judges are elected have issued 78 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 47.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and the Texas Supreme Court are the state’s courts of last resort. The former is the state’s court of last resort for criminal matters, while the latter is the state’s court of last resort for civil matters; both have nine judgeships. Sharon Keller and Nathan Hecht are the current chiefs of the criminal and supreme courts, respectively. Combined, the courts issued 413 opinions in 2022 and 536 in 2021. Nationally, state supreme courts issued 7,423 opinions in 2022 and 8,320 in 2021. The courts have issued 1,491 opinions in 2023. Courts where judges are elected have issued 807 opinions, while courts whose members are appointed have issued 684. Texas is a Republican trifecta, meaning Republicans control the governorship and both chambers of the state legislature. 

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