Minton v. Gunn (Tex. 2011)(Opinion)
FULL TEXT OF OPINION [ forthcoming ]
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OPINION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS BELOW: Court of Appeals
Also see: Texas Causes of Action | 2011 Texas Supreme Court Opinions | 2011 Tex Sup Ct Per Curiams
Minton v. Gunn, No. 10-0141 (Tex. Dec. 16, 2011)(patent litigation) (Opinion by Paul Green)
EXCERPT FROM TEXAS SUPREME COURT'S OPINION
This case arises out of patent infringement litigation. We consider whether federal courts possess exclusive
subject-matter jurisdiction over state-based legal malpractice claims that require the application of federal
patent law. The federal patent issue presented here is necessary, disputed, and substantial within the context
of the overlying state legal malpractice lawsuit. Additionally, the patent issue may be determined without
creating a jurisdictional imbalance between state and federal courts. We conclude that exclusive federal
jurisdiction exists in this case. Accordingly, without reaching the merits of the legal malpractice claim, we
reverse the court of appeals’ judgment and dismiss this case.
Because we determine that the application of the experimental use exception to the on-sale bar is a necessary,
disputed, and substantial element of Minton’s state-based legal malpractice claim, and because the federal
courts are capable of addressing this issue without disrupting the jurisdictional balance existing between state
and federal courts, we hold that Minton’s claim has triggered exclusive federal patent jurisdiction. Accordingly,
we do not reach the merits of Minton’s claims, and we reverse the court of appeals’ judgment and dismiss the
VERNON F. MINTON v. JERRY W. GUNN, INDIVIDUALLY, WILLIAMS SQUIRE & WREN, L.L.P., JAMES E. WREN, INDIVIDUALLY,
SLUSSER & FROST, L.L.P., WILLIAM C. SLUSSER, INDIVIDUALLY, SLUSSER WILSON & PARTRIDGE, L.L.P., AND MICHAEL E.
WILSON, INDIVIDUALLY; from Tarrant County; 2nd district (02-06-00443-CV, 301 SW3d 702, 10-08-09)
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and dismisses the case.
Justice Paul Green delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Wainwright, Justice Phil Johnson ,
and Justice Lehrmann joined.
Justice Eva Guzman delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice David Medina and Justice Willett joined.
(Justice Hecht not sitting)
Link to Electronic Briefs in this case, incl. amicus brief: 10-0141 MINTON v. GUNN