For the current issue of the San Antonio Bar Association’s publication San Antonio Lawyer, Justice Beth Watkins published an article on extending deadlines for notices of appeal during the pandemic. For the full text of the article, please see above or visit the SA Lawyer webpage. (Published with Permission)
At issue in this appeal was whether changing the vinyl on a billboard sign constitutes a “modification” to a real property improvement under chapter 95 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Because the undisputed facts as depicted in this appellate record do not show that the billboard sign was “modified,” the 4th Court concluded that chapter 95 does not apply. Therefore, the court reversed the trial court’s judgment and remanded for further proceedings.
In an oil & gas case, the 4th Court declined to hold that “hot tapping” (a procedure by which a machine is used to cut into a gas pipeline while gas is still flowing through it) is not inherently dangerous as a matter of law. The court relied on the evidence admitted at trial showing hot taps were dangerous.
In a criminal case, the 4th Court held there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction for possession of child pornography. The majority held that the depictions of minors in a documentary about nudists were not “lewd” under the Texas Penal Code considering a variety of factors. The dissent would have held there was legally sufficient evidence showing the video’s depiction of minors was lewd.
In a commercial litigation case, the 4th Court affirmed a judgment rendered after a jury trial when, before trial, the trial court decided on cross-motions for summary judgment what contract controlled the parties’ dispute and instructed the jury accordingly at trial. Among other issues, the majority overruled a challenge to the summary judgment ruling that the employee who executed the contract for the Credit Union had apparent authority to bind the Credit Union. The dissent
In May 2021, the 4th Court issued opinions in 35 civil cases and 19 criminal cases. To see the full list of issued opinions or to read them, please visit http://www.search.txcourts.gov/DocketSrch.aspx?coa=coa04 May 5th (5 Civil & 3 Criminal) May 12th (8 Civil, 5 Criminal) May 19th (10 Civil, 4 Criminal) May 26th (12 Civil, 7 Criminal)