Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts

Arbitration Award Reinstated in Favor of Chinese Telecom in Dispute Over Liberian Telephone System

November 19, 2018 in Case Summaries

Levinger PC assisted the trial team at Ferguson Braswell Fraser Kubasta PC in convincing the Dallas Court of Appeals to reinstate an arbitration award favoring their client, China-based ZTE Corporation, in its long-running dispute with Universal Telephone Exchange over the installation of a modern telecommunications system in the country of Liberia. The dispute began more than a decade ago, when UTE initiated an arbitration against ZTE seeking a ten-figure damage award based on allegations that ZTE had interfered in UTE’s business relationship with Liberia. The arbitrator ruled in favor of ZTE, but a Dallas district court vacated the award based on UTE’s allegations that the arbitration was affected by procedural and substantive irregularities. In a unanimous opinion, the Dallas Court of Appeals reversed and confirmed the arbitration award. The court rejected UTE’s assertions that it was entitled to a three-person arbitration panel under the International Arbitration Rules, that the award was obtained by fraud or undue means, and that the arbitrator had refused to consider relevant evidence and otherwise exceeded his powers. ZTE Corp. v. Universal Telephone Exchange, Inc., No. 05-17-00781-CV, 2018 WL 6039694 (Tex. App.—Dallas Nov. 19, 2018, pet. filed).

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

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Fort Worth Court of Appeals Affirms $18 Million Products-Liability Judgment in Favor of Injured HVAC Repairman

October 18, 2018 in Case Summaries

Levinger PC teamed with trial lawyers Andy Payne and Todd Ramsey in persuading the Fort Worth Court of Appeals to affirm an $18 million judgment in favor of their client Clarence Johnson in his products-liability suit against HVAC manufacturers Emerson Climate Technologies and Fusite. Johnson, an HVAC repairman, was seriously injured when an air conditioning unit designed by Emerson and equipped with a Fusite terminal exploded and vented scalding oil and refrigerant onto Johnson’s face and body. After a lengthy trial, a jury found in Johnson’s favor on his design defect and marketing defect claims, and awarded substantial damages for his pecuniary loss and mental anguish. In a comprehensive 63-page memorandum opinion, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals rejected the challenges of Emerson and Fusite to the sufficiency of the evidence, to the testimony of Johnson’s design-defect expert, to the instructions in the jury charge, and to the mental anguish awards. Jeff Levinger orally argued the case in June 2017 and the Court issued its opinion in October 2018. Emerson Electric Co., d/b/a Fusite and Emerson Climate Technologies v. Johnson, No. 02-16-00173-CV, 2018 WL 5074702 (Tex. App.—Fort Worth Oct. 18, 2018, pet. filed).

Courts: Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts
Subject Matter: Products Liability & Personal Injury, Procedural & Evidentiary Issues

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Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Purchasers of Estate Property

June 13, 2018 in Case Summaries

In a long-running dispute between Stanley Graff and the purchasers of a multi-million-dollar apartment complex owned by the estate of Graff’s father, Levinger PC persuaded the Dallas Court of Appeals to affirm the probate court’s summary judgment rejecting Graff’s effort to rescind or recover damages arising from the October 2000 purchase of the complex.  Among other rulings, the Court held that Graff’s claims of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud accrued by August 2002 and thus were barred by the four-year statute of limitations; that the independent executor had the authority to sell the real property and thus the transaction should not be rescinded; and that Graff’s claims for aiding and abetting a breach of fiduciary duty against the purchasers failed because there was no evidence that they assisted an appraiser in his valuation of the property.  Graff v. 2920 Park Grove Venture, Ltd., No. 05-16-01411-CV, 2018 WL 2949158 (Tex. App.—Dallas June 13, 2018, pet. denied) (mem. op.).

Courts:  Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts

Subject Matter:  Business Litigation, Ethics & Professional Liability

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Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms $351 Million Judgment in Favor of Highland Capital Affiliate Against Credit Suisse

Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms $351 Million Judgment in Favor of Highland Capital Affiliate Against Credit Suisse.

February 20, 2018 in Case Summaries

Jeff Levinger assisted the trial team at Reid Collins & Tsai in securing the affirmance of a $351 million judgment in favor of an affiliate of Highland Capital Management against Credit Suisse. The judgment consisted of $211 million in actual damages and $140 million in pre- and post-judgment interest, and was based on fraud and breach of contract claims regarding an inflated appraisal that Credit Suisse used to induce the Highland affiliate to finance the Lake Las Vegas development. Applying New York law, which the parties had chosen to govern their relationship, the Dallas court of appeals rejected Credit Suisse’s argument that certain disclaimers in the loan documents protected it from liability for the falsified appraisal. The court also rejected Credit Suisse’s contention that a jury’s award of out-of-pocket damages for fraudulent inducement foreclosed the trial court from subsequently awarding rescissory damages in a bench trial on the remaining claims. Credit Suisse AG, Cayman Islands Branch v. Claymore Holdings, LLC, 2018 WL 947902 (Tex. App. ‑‑ Dallas Feb. 20, 2018, pet. filed) (mem. op.).

 

Courts: Texas Intermediate Appellate Courts

Subject Matter: Business Litigation, Oil & Gas/Real Estate

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Dallas Court of Appeals Affirms Jury Finding that Goodyear Was Grossly Negligent in Exposing Deceased Tire Builder to Asbestos

September 13, 2017 in Case Summaries

Working closely with trial lawyer Chris Panatier, Jeff Levinger convinced the Dallas Court of Appeals to affirm a jury’s finding that the gross negligence of Goodyear at its tire manufacturing facility in Tyler caused its employee Carl Rogers to be exposed to significant amounts of asbestos, which resulted in his death from mesothelioma. Based on extensive expert testimony and historical data concerning the dangers of asbestos, the court of appeals upheld the jury’s finding that Goodyear’s conduct—especially its failure to monitor its employees’ exposure to asbestos for over ten years—involved an extreme degree of risk, and that Goodyear had subjective awareness of that risk but proceeded with conscious indifference to the safety of its employees. The court also rejected Goodyear’s argument that Rogers had not established causation by adequately ruling out the radiation that was used to successfully treat a previous bout with lung cancer. Finally, over a dissent by Justice Ada Brown, the majority suggested a remittitur of the damages awarded under the exemplary-damages cap statute based on its determination that the evidence did not support the entirety of the award for past and future economic damages. The Texas Supreme Court denied Goodyear’s petition for review after full briefing on the merits. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Rogers, 538 S.W.3d 637 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2017, pet. denied).

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

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