TEXAS SUPREME COURT and COURT OF CRIMINAL APPEALS-FINAL APPROVAL OF AMENDMENTS TO TEXAS RULE OF EVIDENCE 902 8/19/2014
SANCTIONS CASE-Rahul K. Nath, M.D., Petitioner, v. Texas Children’s Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, Respondents, No. 12-0620, August 29, 2014.
FACTS: Dr. Rahul Nath was employed by Baylor College of Medicine (Baylor) and affiliated with Texas Children’s Hospital (the Hospital). In this suit, the trial court imposed sanctions against Dr. Nath in favor of the Hospital in the amount of $776,607 for attorney’s fees and in favor of Baylor for $644,500 for attorney’s fees (totaling slightly more than 1.4 million dollars) for filing groundless pleadings in bad faith and with an improper purpose. The trial court was affirmed by the 14th COA, 375 S.W.3d 403, 06/26/2012.
HOLDING:”Nath primarily argues in this Court that the sanctions imposed against him as the client were not visited on the true offender and were excessive. The Hospital and Baylor countered that Nath had personal, active involvement in the litigation and that the fee award was appropriate given the circumstances. We agree with the Hospital and Baylor that the trial court properly sanctioned Nath because he pursued time-barred claims and irrelevant issues in order to leverage a more favorable settlement. But concerning the excessiveness of the award, the Hospital and Baylor waited almost four years into the litigation before moving for summary judgment on Nath’s claims and only moved for sanctions after obtaining a final judgment. We previously advised courts to consider a variety of factors when imposing sanctions, including the degree to which the non-sanctioned parties’ behavior caused their own expenses. The trial court failed to discuss this relevant factor, and we reverse and remand for it to do so.” p. 7.
This case is very instructive on sanctions and is a must read if you are involved in a sanctions matter or may be. The case discusses the standard of review, the substantive law governing sanctions, including the two prong TransAmerican Natural Gas Corp. v. Powell, 811 S.W. 2d 913, 917 (Tex. 1991) test. p. 10. The case distinguishes between: 1. TRCP Rule 13 sanctions and Chapter 10, TCRPC sanctions; 2. Sanctions against a party v. lawyer; and 3. Sanctions for groundless pleadings v. discovery abuse.
AMENDMENTS to TEXAS RULE OF EVIDENCE 902 (10), EFFECTIVE FOR CASES FILED ON OR AFTER SEPTEMBER 1, 2014. Tex. Sup. Ct. Misc. Dkt. No. 14-9174 and Ct. Crim. App. Misc. Dkt. No. 14-003. The requirement that records be filed with court before trial has been removed. The word “affidavit” in this rule includes an unsworn declaration made under penalty of perjury.
To see the amended Rule 902, click here.