Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Nelsen

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

August 29, 2019

IN RE VICKI NELSEN, Relator

          ORIGINAL PROCEEDING WRIT OF MANDAMUS County Civil Court at Law No. 4 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1061520

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Wise and Hassan.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PER CURIAM

         On August 1, 2019, Vicki Nelsen filed a petition for writ of mandamus in this court. See Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 22.221 (Supp.); see also Tex. R. App. P. 52. In the petition, relator asks this court to compel the Honorable Lesley Briones, presiding judge of the County Civil Court at Law No. 4 of Harris County, to vacate her order dated June 21, 2019, granting the motion for new trial of real party-in-interest Debby Ovalle, individually and as next friend to her minor child, Sebastian Ovalle ("Ovalle").

         We conditionally grant the requested mandamus relief.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         Ovalle filed suit against Nelsen, alleging Nelsen's dog bit Ovalle's son on his eye and mouth, and Nelsen was negligent in not restraining the dog or maintaining the dog in a secure enclosure.

         At trial, the jury answered "No" to the question of whether the negligence of Nelsen, if any, proximately caused the occurrence or injury in question. The trial court signed a final judgment that Ovalle take nothing against Nelsen.

         Ovalle filed a motion for new trial, arguing, among other things: (1) the jury's finding of no negligence is against the great weight of the evidence and the evidence conclusively proves Nelsen was negligent and negligent per se; (2) the trial court abused its discretion by excluding an unredacted police report of the incident and by admitting a redacted version of the police report; and (3) the trial court abused its discretion by admitting social media posts of Ovalle. Nelsen filed a response to the motion, to which Ovalle replied.

         The trial court heard the motion for new trial on June 19, 2019, and signed an order granting a new trial without stating a reason.

         Analysis

         Whether the trial court has provided an understandable, reasonably specific explanation for setting aside a jury verdict and ordering a new trial is subject to mandamus review. See In re Bent, 487 S.W.3d 170, 173 (Tex. 2016) (orig. proceeding).

         A new-trial order must initially satisfy the facial validity requirements. See In re Bent, 487 S.W.3d at 173. A trial court granting a motion for new trial must provide an understandable, reasonably specific explanation of the trial court's reasons for setting aside the jury's verdict. See id.; In re Cambell, No. 14-18-01016-CV, ___S.W.3d___, 2019 WL 1388648, at *2 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 28, 2019, orig. proceeding). A trial court granting a motion for new trial should state one or more reasons for the ruling and those reasons must be both legally appropriate and sufficiently specific to show the trial court did not simply parrot a pro forma template, but rather derived the articulated reasons from the particular facts and circumstances of the case at hand. See In re Bent, 487 S.W.3d at 173; In re Cambell, ___S.W.3d at___, 2019 WL 1388648, at *2.

         Ovalle moved for a new trial, arguing, among other things, that the jury's finding of no negligence is against the great weight of the evidence. In In re Cambell, we explained the facial requirements for an order granting a new ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.