TCJL and the Texas Oil & Gas Association today filed an amicus brief in the Texas Supreme Court requesting the court to accept review in Host Marriott, LP v. Keystone-Texas Property Holding Company, No. 12-0289. Among several issues of importance in the case, we are most concerned about the San Antonio Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold an award of punitive damages in what is essentially a breach of contract action.
The TCJL/TXOGA brief argues that:
1. The Court of Appeals improperly applied Chapter 41, TPRC and existing SCOT precedents with respect to the appropriate standard of “malice” to support an award of punitive damages; and
2. By virtue of the Court of Appeals’ erroneous ruling, any dispute involving the interpretation of a contract may be converted into a tort action, thereby undermining almost two decades of liability reforms and making Texas distinctly unfavorable jurisdiction for doing business.
TCJL and TXOGA expressed further concern regarding the Court of Appeals’ superficial analysis of causation, but left more extensive briefing of this issue to the parties.