Texas Supreme Court to hear weighty issues in Longview
By Special to the News-Journal
Feb. 15, 2017 at 4 a.m.
Attorneys for a family in dispute over a trust inheritance and for a physician arguing her negligence lawsuit should be dismissed will present their cases beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday in the Belcher Center at LeTourneau University.
Both cases arise from 2015 trials.
The first is an inheritance rights case out of the 7th Court of Appeals in Amarillo.
Virginia O. Kinsel is suing Jane O. Lindsey and Keith Branyon and the Jackson Walker law firm from Tarrant County, alleging Lindsey and Branyon are interfering with their late aunt's will.
Among issues before the high court Thursday is whether sufficient evidence supports a trial court jury's finding that the aunt lacked mental capacity to amend her trust.
"The Kinsel case is important because the Texas Supreme Court's decision will likely determine whether Texas legally recognizes a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance rights, a claim that enables people to protect their beneficial interests in estates and trusts," said Scott Stevens, a lawyer with Stevens Henry law firm in Longview. "This cause of action is currently recognized by a majority of the states in this country."
The second case is about medical malpractice and government immunity from the 1st Court of Appeals in Houston: Dr. Leah Anne Gonski Marino v. Shirley Lenoir from Haskell County.
Issues the court are asked to settle include whether the resident, Marino, is protected by governmental immunity if she is hired and paid by a separate entity, the University of Texas Medical Foundation, but supervised by employees of a medical school clinic.
"The Marino case is important because the Texas Supreme Court's decision could impact circumstances under which governmental employees, including medical residents assigned to work at different clinics, are entitled to governmental employee immunity for acts caused by their own negligence, which could further have an impact on graduate medical education and patient care in Texas," Stevens said.
Jessica LaRue, president of the Gregg County Bar Association, said the association is looking forward to the historic visit by the Texas Supreme Court.
"The issues being decided in these cases are significant and will be of great interest not only to the legal community but also the public at large," she said.