Texas Jurors

In Texas civil litigants are entitled to a trial by jury consisting of 12 jurors. Alternate jurors may be appointed to serve so long as they meet the same qualifications and are selected when the first 12 are selected. Alternates may be substituted for a juror that dies, becomes disabled or is deemed disqualified. However, unless a juror dies or becomes disabled, a jury verdict cannot be rendered by less than 12 jurors. The result is a mistrial. On the other hand, as few as 9 jurors may render a verdict so long as the jurors excused were excused because of death or disability, not disqualifications. The Texas Supreme Court recently reiterated these rules. To read the opinion click here: http://www.search.txcourts.gov/historical/2014/aug/130409.pdf

When an Invitee Becomes a Trespasser

“[A] person lawfully on the property of another as an invitee who uses the property on a venture in his own interests and not within the scope of his invitation or for the purpose for which the property was reasonably intended, loses his status as an invitee and becomes a trespasser.”

To learn more please read:

United Food & Commercial Workers Int’l Union v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 430 S.W.3d 508, 512 (Tex. App.–Fort worth 2014, no pet.).

Re-characterization of Private Property as Public

In an interesting summertime beach decision the Texas Supreme Court held that the “recharacterization of private property as public [does not] constitute a compensable taking under Article I, Section 17(a) of the Texas Constitution.” This case involved Porreto Beach in Galveston, Texas where visitors paid for parking and other amenities, such as umbrellas and chairs, but not the beach. It was undisputed that the State owns the coastal land submerged by the Gulf of Mexico including the “wet beach” (technically, the mean higher high tide line). The “dry beach” is the area which may be privately owned. The decision did not alter these definitions, but merely dealt with the recharacterization of property. To read the full opinion, click here: http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2014/jul/120483.pdf