No such thing as a sure thing. (UPDATED)

Dickson, an attorney, alleged interference with his contingent fee contract that led to the abandonment of a promising appeal.  The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the defense, noting: “Dickson’s summary judgment response below that the appeal was a ‘slam dunk’ is conclusory because it does not provide the underlying facts to support it.”  Dickson v. American Electric Power, Inc., No. 05-14-00690-CV (revised Jan. 15, 2016) (mem. op.)

No Record, No Error

Mark Palla filed suit against a group of defendants for breach of contract and tortious interference arising out of the breach of a sales commission agreement. The jury returned a verdict for $278,718 on the contract claim against Bio-One, Inc., and exactly $100,000 for tortious interference against Aydemir Arapoglu and Transtrade LLC. Palla argued that the tortious interference damages should have been the same as the breach of contract award and that each of the defendants should be jointly and severally liable for the entire amount. The trial court disagreed, entering judgment against Bio-One for $178,718 and against all three of the defendants, jointly and severally, for an additional $100,000. Palla appealed, but the Court of Appeals affirmed. Although generally the measure of damages for tortious interference is the same as the measure of damages for the breach of the contract, a tortious interference defendant is only liable for damages that are proximately caused by the interference. Thus, the question on appeal was whether there was any evidence that the defendants’ interference had only caused a portion of Palla’s damages. But Palla had not brought forward any record of the trial proceedings, due to the belief that he was entitled to the full amount of contract damages as a matter of law. Since the Court of Appeals could not determine whether the evidence supported only a partial damage award for tortious interference, Palla could not demonstrate that the trial court had erred by refusing to disregard the jury’s finding.

Palla v. Bio-One, Inc., No. 05-12-01657-CV