Originally published by David Fowler Johnson.
In Anderson v. Archer, the trial court’s judgment awarded the plaintiffs $2.5 million in damages based on a tortious interference with inheritance claim. No. 03-13-00790-CV, 2016 Tex. App. LEXIS 2165 (Tex. App.—Austin March 2, 2016, no pet. history). The defendants appealed and argued that Texas law does not recognize such a claim. The court of appeals agreed with the appellants. The court first analyzed prior cases from that court and determined that it had never adopted such a claim. It then analyzed cases from the Texas Supreme Court and determined that that court had never adopted such a claim.
Moreover, the court cited with agreement to a recent opinion from the Amarillo court of appeals that held that Texas has not adopted a tortious interference with inheritance claim: Jackson Walker, LLP v. Kinsel, No. 07-13-00130-CV, 2015 WL 2085220, at *3 (Tex. App.—Amarillo April 10, 2015, pet. filed). The court in Anderson stated:
In short, we agree with the Amarillo Court of Appeals that “neither this Court, the courts in Valdez, Clark, and Russell, nor the trial court below can legitimately recognize, in the first instance, a cause of action for tortiously interfering with one’s inheritance.” We also agree with the Amarillo court’s assessment that neither the Legislature nor Texas Supreme Court has done so, or at least not yet. Absent legislative or supreme court recognition of the existence of a cause of action, we, as an intermediate appellate court, will not be the first to do so.
Id. The court also rejected an argument that a tortious interference with inheritance claim is merely a subset of the tort of tortious interference with a contract or prospective contractual or business relationship. It held that it was a separate claim that had not yet been recognized. The court therefore reversed the award for the plaintiff.
from Texas Bar Today http://ift.tt/1SjsXTX
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