Supreme Court of Texas

Court of Appeals Tosses Developer’s $9 Million Inverse Condemnation Award Against City of McKinney

Court of Appeals Tosses Developer’s $9 Million Inverse Condemnation Award Against City of McKinney

May 3, 2016 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger successfully represented the City of McKinney in its appeal of a judgment of over $9,000,000 stemming from a developer’s claim that the City had committed an “inverse condemnation” by violating a restriction in a deed. In its 2009 lawsuit, Eldorado Land Company contended that the City’s construction of a library on a portion of a 32 acre tract that Eldorado had conveyed to the City for use as a community park violated the deed restriction, which provided that the property could be used only as a “park and recreational facility.” The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of El Dorado on the liability issue, and a jury assessed damages of over $7,500,000 (exclusive of interest), representing the difference in the property’s value with and without its deed and zoning restrictions. In reversing the summary judgment on liability and rendering a take-nothing in favor of the City, the Court of Appeals held that the City’s community library fit squarely within the “plain, ordinary, and generally accepted meaning” of a park and recreational facility, and thus did not violate the restriction in the deed. City of McKinney v. Eldorado Land Co., LP, No. 05-15-00067-CV, 2016 WL 2349371 (Tex. App.-Dallas May 3, 2016, pet. denied).

Courts:Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Business Litigation, Oil & Gas/Real Estate

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Texas Supreme Court Finds Sufficient Evidence of Negligence But Remands for New Trial in Brake-Failure Case

Texas Supreme Court Finds Sufficient Evidence of Negligence But Remands for New Trial in Brake-Failure Case

August 31, 2012 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger was retained to prepare the response brief on the merits on behalf of Talmadge Waldrip, who was catastrophically injured when a 26-foot U-Haul rental truck rolled over him after its parking brake failed.  The Supreme Court found that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s findings of negligence on the part of both U-Haul International and U-Haul of Texas.  Nevertheless, it remanded the case for a new trial based on the admission of evidence that other U-Haul trucks in Canada had experienced mechanical failures.  Over the dissent of Justice Lehrmann, the Court held that the evidence of the Canadian defects was not sufficiently similar to the defect in the truck at issue, and that the admission of the evidence was harmful.  U-Haul Intern. Inc. v. Waldrip, 380 S.W.3d 118  (Tex.  2012).

Courts:  Supreme Court of Texas
Subject Matter:  Products Liability & Personal Injury

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Multi-Million Dollar Judgment for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Reversed Based on Contractual Disclaimer.

Multi-Million Dollar Judgment for Breach of Fiduciary Duty Reversed Based on Contractual Disclaimer.

January 12, 2012 in Case Summaries

In a complex partnership dispute that culminated in a multi-million dollar jury verdict, Jeff Levinger persuaded the Houston First Court of Appeals to reverse the judgment against his client, Douglas Strebel.  Strebel’s former partner, John Wimberly, had obtained a $3.4 million judgment  based on the jury’s findings that Strebel had breached alleged fiduciary duties as both the controlling member of a Delaware LLC and the limited partner of a Texas LP.  The court of appeals reversed, holding that Wimberly’s alleged loss of distributions occurred only at the LP level where the parties had contractually disclaimed any fiduciary duties on the part of the general partner and the controlling member of the general partner.  Strebel v. Wimberly, 371 S.W.3d 267 (Tex. App. ‑‑ Houston [1st Dist.] 2012, pet. denied).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter:  Business Litigation

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Dallas Court of Appeals Rules Again for DART Contractor, Supreme Court Applies Economic Loss Rule

Dallas Court of Appeals Rules Again for DART Contractor in Dispute Against Architect

August 29, 2011 in Case Summaries

In a second appeal involving the same lawsuit, Jeff Levinger again successfully represented Martin K. Eby Construction Company in its negligent misrepresentation suit against LAN/STV, an architect and engineer that prepared faulty construction plans and drawings for an extension of the DART rail project.  Following the remand in the first appeal, Eby settled its administrative claim against DART for $4.7  million and proceeded to trial against LAN/STV.  The jury found that LAN/STV had committed negligent misrepresentations that caused Eby $5 million in damages, but the trial court reduced the award to $2,250,000 plus interest based on the jury’s additional finding that LAN/STV was 45% responsible.  On appeal, the Dallas Court of Appeals rejected LAN/STV’s arguments regarding the derivative governmental immunity statute, the economic loss doctrine, the evidence of negligent misrepresentations, and the effect of the DART settlement.  The Texas Supreme Court subsequently reversed, holding that the economic loss rule restricted Eby to a breach of contact claim against DART.  Martin K. Eby Construction Co. v. LAN/STV, 350 S.W. 3d 675 (Tex. App. — Dallas Aug. 29, 2011), rev’d, 435 S.W. 30 234(Tex.2014).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas,  Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Business Litigation, Procedural & Evidentiary Issues

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Products Liability Judgment Affirmed in Part in Wrongful Death Case Involving Frontal Airbag

Products Liability Judgment Affirmed in Part in Wrongful Death Case Involving Frontal Airbag

August 5, 2011 in Case Summaries

Working closely with trial lawyers Lee Brown, Eric Porterfield, and Mary Alice McLarty, Jeff Levinger successfully represented the family of Andrea Ruiz, who died when the driver’s side airbag in her Kia Spectra failed to deploy in a frontal collision.  The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment that the Ruiz family obtained after a three-week jury trial, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s finding of a defect in the design of the airbag circuitry that caused the nondeployment.  The court also held that Kia was not entitled to claim a presumption of “no-defect” under section 82.008 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code because there is not a federal safety standard that governs the design of airbags or the risk that an airbag would not deploy in a crash. The Texas Supreme Court affirmed the rulings on the sufficiency of the evidence and the inapplicability of the no-defect presumption, but remanded for a new trial based on the trial court’s admission of “other similar incidents” evidence. Kia Motors Corp. v. Ruiz, 348 S.W. 3d 465  (Tex. App. — Dallas Aug. 5, 2011), rev’d in part,  432 S.W. 30 865 (Tex.2014).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Products Liability & Personal Injury
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