Supreme Court of Texas

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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In Landmark Rulings, Appellate Courts Define the Law on Shareholder Oppression and Stock Buy-Back Remedy

Court of Appeals Upholds Finding of Shareholder Oppression and Stock Buy-Back Remedy

March 28, 2011 in Case Summaries

In a closely-watched case involving shareholder oppression, the Dallas Court of Appeals upheld a judgment in favor of Levinger PC client Ann Rupe based on the jury’s finding that she had been oppressed by the officers and directors of Rupe Investment Corporation when they refused her request to meet with potential purchasers of her stock.  The appellate court also upheld the trial court’s order requiring the defendants to buy back Ms. Rupe’s stock as an equitable remedy for their misconduct. In a landmark ruling that redefined the text of shareholder oppression in Texas, the Supreme Court held that the conduct at issue did not satisfy the new definition of oppression, but remanded the case for further analysis of Ms. Rupe’s fiduciary duty claim. Ms. Rupe was represented at trial by Steve Aldous and Charla Aldous.  Ritchie v. Rupe, as Trustee for the Dallas Gordon Rupe, III 1995 Family Trust, 339 S.W.3d 275 (Tex. App. — Dallas), rev’d in part, 443 S.W. 30 856 (Tex.2014).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Business Litigation
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$61 Million Judgment for Breach of Bond Indenture Reversed and Rendered on Appeal

$61 Million Judgment for Breach of Bond Indenture Reversed and Rendered on Appeal

January 15, 2010 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger represented Sears, Roebuck and Co. in the appeal of a $61 million judgment based on a jury verdict that Sears breached a bond indenture by prematurely redeeming corporate bonds held by a number of institutional investors. The Dallas Court of Appeals sustained Sears’ no evidence challenge because the investors failed to present any evidence of breach, and thus reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment against the investors. After Sears responded to the investors’ petition for review, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition. Sears, Roebuck and Co. v. AIG Annuity Ins. Co., 270 S.W.3d 632 (Tex. App.–Dallas 2008, pet. denied).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Business Litigation, Intellectual Property
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Judgment Against Law Firm Reversed Based on Failure to Prove Collectibility

Judgment Against Law Firm Reversed Based on Failure to Prove Collectibility

January 15, 2010 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger represented a national law firm in the appeal of a $1.2 million judgment in a legal malpractice case arising out of a complex civil suit.  The Texas Supreme Court reversed, holding that the plaintiff had failed to prove that a favorable judgment in the underlying suit would have been collectible from the defendant in the underlying suit. Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld v. NDR, 299 S.W. 3d 106 (Tex. 2009).

Courts: Supreme Court of Texas, Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Ethics & Professional Malpractice
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Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment Against DART Contractor Based on Derivative Immunity Statute

Dallas Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment Against DART Contractor Based on Derivative Immunity Statute

August 31, 2006 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger represented Martin K. Eby Construction Company in a successful appeal
to reverse a summary judgment against Eby in its suit against LAN/STV, an architect and engineering firm.  Eby sued LAN/STV for negligent misrepresentations contained in construction plans for a DART rail project running from the West End to the American Airlines Center in Dallas.  The trial court granted summary judgment to LAN/STV based on a Texas statute providing immunity to certain independent contractors of  governmental entities like DART.  Although the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit had previously sided with LAN/STV in a separate appeal involving another contractor, the Dallas Court of Appeals agreed with Eby’s interpretation of the derivative immunity statute and held that LAN/STV would be liable in tort to Eby to the same extent that DART would be liable in contract to Eby.  The court of appeals remanded the case for trial on the merits. Martin K. Eby Construction Co. v. LAN/STV, 205 S.W.3d 15 (Tex. App. — Dallas  2006, pet. denied).

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