Landmark Breach of Contract Cases in Texas

June 14, 2023

The Influence of Landmark Breach of Contract Cases in Texas

Contracts are essential in today’s complex economy for establishing parties’ legal responsibilities. However, contract violations can happen, which can result in disagreements and legal action. Texas has seen several notable breaches of contract instances that have profoundly impacted contract law and changed the legal environment.

We will discuss how these arise, the notable cases in Texas history and how they affect Texas’s contractual duties, and why you should hire a breach of contract lawyer from Callender Bowlin as you read on.

Landmark Breach of Contract in Texas

Business partnerships are built on contracts because they give parties certainty and enforceable rights. A contract is broken when one side doesn’t carry out its responsibilities under it. Such violations may have far-reaching repercussions, including monetary losses and strained relationships. Therefore, it is necessary for both organizations and people to comprehend the implications of an important breach of contract instances.

What is a breach of contract?

A court will typically hear a contract case where one or both parties allege that the terms of the agreement have been broken. A breach of contract occurs when a promise that is a component of a contract is not kept without a valid justification. This involves not performing in a way that complies with industry standards or any express or implicit warranty requirements, such as the implied warranty of merchantability.

Texas’s Statute of Limitations for Contract Breach Claims

It’s vital to be aware of how the statute of limitations may impact your case if you seek to bring a breach of contract lawsuit in Texas. Based on Chapter 16 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, claims for breach of contract have a four-year statute of limitations. This implies that you ought to submit your claim within that 4-year span for it to render valid.

Landmark Breach of Contract Cases in Texas

Texas, among the biggest economies in the US, has experienced its fair share of incidents involving breaches of contracts. The verdicts in these instances not only influenced Texas contract law but also established precedents for upcoming legal rulings. Let’s examine some illustrious cases that have occurred in state contract law.

Case 1: Texas Orthodontic Medicaid Fraud Case

As a means to resolve a case brought under the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act (TMFPA) and other grounds regarding the processing of prior authorization requests by dentists to provide orthodontic services to Medicaid patients, Xerox Corporation and multiple of its previous subsidiaries, like Conduent Inc, reached an agreement to a $235.9 million settlement with the State of Texas over the span of three years. The reported settlement is the highest ever reached in a Medicaid-related claims dispute brought by the Texas attorney general’s office.

Between 2004 and 2012, when Medicaid spending rose sharply, pre-authorization of dental and orthodontic treatment for children was handled by Xerox and Conduent. In May 2014, state officials were sued on the grounds that they had shirked their responsibilities by approving treatment requests without doing the necessary reviews. Medicaid is a government health program for low-income individuals and children.

Case 2: EARTH POWER A/C AND HEAT, INC., Appellant V. JOHN PAGE, Appellee

The contract to install a geothermal HVAC system at a home is the source of this dispute.  Appellee John Page, the homeowner, is the subject of an appeal filed by the appellant Earth Power A/C and Heat, Inc. A jury determined that both parties had broken the terms of the agreement, that Earth Power had broken the agreement first and that Page’s subsequent breach was not justified, that Earth Power had violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (“DTPA”)1, and that both parties were owed damages. Following post-trial motions, the trial court issued a ruling that ignored the jury’s conclusion that Page’s breach was not excused, rejected Earth Power’s right to collect under the terms of the contract, and gave Page relief under the DTPA.

Though Earth Power broke the contract first, it was determined that the trial court erred in finding in favor of Earth Power on its contractual claim because Page didn’t succeed to obtain a finding that Earth Power’s earlier breach was material and the evidence did not conclusively prove that Earth Power’s first breach was material. Additionally, the damage award is not supported by any legally acceptable evidence, hence the court erred in ruling in Page’s favor on his DTPA claim. The jury overturned the trial court’s decision and ruled that Page should not get anything from Earth Power and that Earth Power should be reimbursed for its contractual losses as well as the agreed-upon legal costs.

Case 3: JPMorgan Chase Bank (Defendant) V. Royce Dawkins, Jr. (Plaintiff)

Royce Dawkins, Jr., the owner of real estate in Desoto, Texas (the “Property”), filed this lawsuit against defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, a financial company that operates in the State of Texas, so as to prevent a prospective foreclosure of the Property. In the current lawsuit, the plaintiff filed claims for (1) breach of contract and anticipatory breach of contract, (2) unjust collection methods, and (3) injunctive relief in the 162nd Judicial District Court of Dallas County, Texas.

This case’s findings, conclusions, and recommendations according to the judge in favor of the defendant’s motion to dismiss and plaintiff Royce’s claims were then dismissed without prejudice.

Case 4: Baylor University V. Student, Allison King

A U.S. ruling has been overturned by a federal appeals court. Baylor University’s lawsuit against Allision King, a student who demanded refunds and other compensation due to the school’s pandemic-related closures has been dismissed by District Judge Alan Albright of Waco.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals published a 42-page judgment earlier this week. The matter was returned to Albright’s court for further proceedings in accordance with the appeal court’s instructions after the Circuit Court of Appeals partially reversed, partially upheld, and partially modified Albright’s March 2021 order.

Allison King, a McAllen resident, and Baylor student accuses the university of breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Her lawsuit sought reimbursement for tuition, parking, accommodation, dining, and other related expenses for studying at the private Baptist university shortly after it temporarily switched to online-only classes throughout the 2020 spring semester, akin to the hundreds of comparable lawsuits filed across the nation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fifth Circuit remanded the case after partially upholding it and partially overturning it. The FRA states the fundamental terms with a reasonable amount of precision and definiteness, the court explained, making it a legitimate contract. Plaintiff did not make a claim for the nullity of the contract. However, the definition of “educational services” continues to be at the heart of the parties’ disagreement.

On remand, the district court will have to decide whether Baylor’s or Plaintiff’s understanding of “educational services” is correct, the court explained. To clarify the term’s meaning, additional processes may be required if it is latently confusing. On remand, the court must also review the circumstances that were relevant when the FRA was made.

Landmark Cases’ Impact on Contract Law

These precedent-setting breach of contract cases have an impact that goes beyond particular conflicts. They have made a substantial contribution to Texas’ development of contract law. Following court decisions are guided by precedent-setting decisions, which establish a framework for interpreting contractual duties.

As an outcome of these cases, the application and meaning of contract law have gradually changed. In deciding whether to uphold a contract, courts now take into account the facts, the parties intentions, and accepted business procedures. This advancement has given contract law a more complex approach, encouraging justice and equity.

Implications for Businesses and Individuals

It’s crucial for companies and individuals signing contracts in Texas to comprehend the implications of these significant rulings. The conclusions and justifications of these instances can help parties understand their rights and duties under the contract. They are similarly able to make educated decisions and reduce the risks of contract breach owing to this information.

It is vital to draft thorough contracts that specify rights and obligations and take into consideration unforeseen situations. To guarantee that their contracts are compliant with Texas’s evolving legislation on contracts, businesses and individuals must obtain legal counsel. They can proactively protect their interests and lower the likelihood of unpleasant disagreements by doing so.

Obtain Your Breach of Contract Lawyer From CB Trial

It is impossible to overstate the impact of an important breach of contract lawsuit in Texas. These cases have shaped the law, establishing rules and precedents for upcoming business disputes. To successfully negotiate the complexities of contract law, businesses, and people must grow familiar with such instances.

Parties can defend their rights and interests by being aware of the development of Texas contract law and the consequences of important cases. Furthermore, thorough contract drafting and consulting a lawyer from Callender Bowlin can reduce the likelihood of a breach of contract and lead to stronger commercial ties.

You don’t need to be concerned about getting charged for our time if you call us right away to talk about your prospective breach of contract lawsuit. At CB Trial, there are no up-front fees or charges for consultations. Phone us right away at (713) 955-9719, or completed our secure online form.