Justice Eva M. Guzman
Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva M. Guzman
Justice Guzman was appointed in Oct. 2009 to fill the seat vacated by former Justice Scott
Brister, who resigned prior to expiration of his term of office and returned to private practice.
Guzman, a Republican, faced the state-wide electorate in 2010 and won voter approval.
Justice Guzman previously served as a member on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston.
See Recent Opinions Authored by Justice Guzman as a Judge of the Court of Appeals
2012 Liaison Assignment for Justice Guzman
Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families
Association of Municipal Court Judges
Association of County Court Judges
State Bar of Texas Pattern Jury Charges Oversight Committee
State Bar of Texas Family Law Section Task Force for Post-Trial Rules in Cases
Involving Termination of the Parental Relationships
2011 Opinions Written by Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman
LAST UPDATED: 12/20/2011
Minton v. Gunn, No. 10-0141 (Tex. Dec. 16, 2011)(patent litigation) (Opinion by Paul Green)
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 case.
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-
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
City of Dallas v. Stewart, Heather,
No. 09-0257 (Tex. Jul. 1, 2011)(Opinion by Chief Wallace B. Jefferson)(administrative resolution of nuisance abatement
dispute not preclusive, judicial review available, takings claim)
Urban blight threatens neighborhoods. Either as a risk to public health or as a base for illicit activity, dilapidated structures
harm property values far more than their numbers suggest. Cities must be able to abate1 these nuisances to avoid
disease and deter crime. But when the government sets up a mechanism to deal with this very real problem, it must
nonetheless comply with constitutional mandates that protect a citizen’s right to her property.
Today we hold that a system that permits constitutional issues of this importance to be decided by an administrative board,
whose decisions are essentially conclusive, does not correctly balance the need to abate nuisances against the rights
accorded to property owners under our constitution. Independent court review is a constitutional necessity. We affirm the
court of appeals’ judgment, but on different grounds.
Conclusion. That the URSB’s nuisance determination cannot be accorded preclusive effect in a takings suit is compelled
by the constitution and Steele, by Lurie and its antecedents, by the nature of the question and the nature of the right. The
protection of property rights, central to the functioning of our society,26 should not—indeed, cannot—be charged to the
same people who seek to take those rights away.
Because we believe that unelected municipal agencies cannot be effective bulwarks against constitutional violations, we
hold that the URSB’s nuisance determination, and the trial court’s affirmance of that determination under a substantial
evidence standard, were not entitled to preclusive effect in Stewart’s takings case, and the trial court correctly considered
the issue de novo.
We affirm the court of appeals judgment. Tex. R. App. P. 60.2(a).
CASE DETAILS: CITY OF DALLAS v. HEATHER STEWART; from Dallas County; 5th district (05-07-01244-CV, ___ SW3d
The Court affirms the court of appeals' judgment.
Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Justice David
Medina, Justice Don R. Willett, and Justice Debra Lehrmann joined. [pdf]
Here is the link to e-briefs in case no. 09-0257 CITY OF DALLAS v. STEWART [including 3 amicus briefs]
Justice Phil Johnson delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice Paul W.
Green, and Justice Eva M. Guzman joined. [pdf]
The finding by Dallas’s Urban Rehabilitation Standards Board (URSB) that Heather Stewart’s property was a nuisance,
when affirmed by the trial court, should have determined the nuisance question and precluded its relitigation. Because the
Court holds otherwise, I respectfully dissent.
Conclusion I would hold that the process provided to Stewart by the URSB proceedings and appellate review of those
proceedings and the URSB’s order by the substantial evidence standard was sufficient. In this regard I join Justice Guzman’
I would reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and render judgment that Stewart take nothing.
Justice Eva M. Guzman delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice
Paul W. Green, and Justice Phil Johnson joined. [pdf]
The upsurge of abandoned buildings caused by the subprime mortgage debacle and the recent
recession is well known, as are the difficulties it has caused for cities. Abandoned, vandalized, dangerous
buildings constitute a major threat to the safety and vitality of entire neighborhoods. The Legislature has
enacted a comprehensive statutory scheme enabling cities to address this complex problem. Central to
that scheme, summary nuisance abatement is a crucial, front-line tool for cities to deal with an otherwise
Today, the Court holds that “substantial evidence review of a nuisance determination resulting in a
home’s demolition does not sufficiently protect a person’s rights under Article I, Section 17 of the Texas
Constitution,” and thus concludes that a party whose real property has been determined a nuisance is
entitled to an absolute right to de novo judicial review of the underlying nuisance determination made by
an administrative board when the person alleges a taking. By doing so, the Court misses the crux of the
constitutional issue here: do the procedures created by the Legislature for abatement of urban nuisances
violate the due process rights of property owners? Our nuisance precedents establish that due process
does not necessitate a de novo judicial determination that a condition is a nuisance if the Legislature has
both (1) properly declared that the condition in question is a nuisance and provided for its summary
abatement, and (2) specified a different standard of review of such an abatement. Here, the Legislature
has done both. Moreover, the Court’s justifications for requiring de novo review are founded on
misinterpretations of the precedents of both this Court and the United States Supreme Court. Accordingly, I
would reverse the court of appeals’ judgment, and give preclusive effect over the property owner’s takings
claim to the administrative board’s finding that the house was a nuisance, as confirmed on substantial
evidence review by the trial court. I therefore respectfully dissent.
LTTS Charter School, Inc. v. C2 Construction Inc., No. 09-0794 (Tex. Jun. 17, 2011)(Willett)(charter school
a governmental unit for tort claims purposes)(interlocutory appeal of immunity ruling permitted).
Because Universal Academy is a “governmental unit” under the Tort Claims Act, the court of appeals had jurisdiction to hear
Universal Academy’s interlocutory appeal under Section 51.014(a)(8).76 Our holding does not resolve the underlying issue
of whether Universal Academy enjoys immunity from C2’s contract claim. We reverse the court of appeals’ judgment
dismissing the appeal and remand to that court for further proceedings.
LTTS CHARTER SCHOOL, INC. D/B/A UNIVERSAL ACADEMY v. C2 CONSTRUCTION, INC.; from Dallas County; 5th district
(05-07-01469-CV, 288 SW3d 31, 02-02-09) The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to
Justice Willett delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Hecht, Justice Wainwright, Justice Green, Justice
Johnson, and Justice Lehrmann joined. [pdf]
Justice Guzman delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Jefferson and Justice
Medina joined. [pdf]
A party’s ability to take an interlocutory appeal is a limited exception to the general rule that only final
orders are appealable. As applicable here, the contours of that exception are found in sections 51.014(a)
(8) and 101.001(3) of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. Despite these limits, the Court embarks on a
perilous expedition through the Education Code in an attempt to locate some indicia that the Legislature
intended to allow privately run, open-enrollment charter schools to take this circumscribed form of appeal.
In so doing, the Court ventures beyond the narrow procedural question presented in this case: whether a
privately run, open-enrollment charter school is a “governmental unit” as defined by section 101.001(3) of
the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. If it is, then an interlocutory appeal is proper from denial of a plea to
the jurisdiction by the school, as authorized by section 51.014(a)(8). But, because it is not, I would affirm
the court of appeals. Privately run, open-enrollment charter schools do not meet the Legislature’s
definition as set out in section 101.001(3), and therefore no interlocutory appeal may be taken from an
order granting or denying a plea to the jurisdiction by such a school.
Conclusion. Because (1) the plain meaning of Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 101.001(3) does
not cover a privately run, open-enrollment charter school like LTTS, and (2) the Court has effectively
resolved the underlying substance of whether such schools enjoy immunity from suit, rather than the
procedural issue properly before us, I respectfully dissent, and would affirm the court of appeals’ holding
that it lacked jurisdiction over this interlocutory appeal.
See E-briefs in 09-0794 LTTS CHARTER SCHOOL, INC. v. C2 CONSTRUCTION, INC.
In re Reece, No. 09-0520 (Tex. May 27, 2011)(Guzman)
It is well-rooted in our jurisprudence that contempt is a broad and inherent power of a court. But, we have
also recognized that despite the breadth and necessity of that power, it is a power that must be exercised
with caution. Today, we decide as a matter of first impression whether a trial court may hold a litigant in
contempt for perjury committed during a deposition. We are further presented with a question arising from
the bifurcated nature of the Texas judiciary and our limited habeas jurisdiction: whether we should exercise
our mandamus jurisdiction to provide a forum for a civil litigant who is deprived of liberty pursuant to a court’
s contempt order, and the Court of Criminal Appeals has declined to exercise its habeas jurisdiction.
In the underlying civil case, the relator was held in contempt and confined for perjuring himself during a
deposition. The relator challenged his confinement by seeking a writ of habeas corpus in the Court of
Criminal Appeals, but that court declined to exercise its jurisdiction citing, among other things, the civil
nature of the case. The Court of Criminal Appeals directed the relator to pursue his remedies in this Court.
Because we lack habeas jurisdiction in this case, the relator pursued relief by filing the instant petition for
writ of mandamus to challenge his confinement.
We conclude the trial court abused its discretion by holding the relator in contempt for perjury occurring
during a deposition, because such perjury did not obstruct the operation of the court. Further, because the
underlying suit is civil in nature, and the Court of Criminal Appeals declined to grant the relator leave to file
a habeas petition in that court, we hold the relator has no adequate remedy by appeal and therefore
mandamus is the appropriate remedy to correct the trial court’s abuse of discretion. We conditionally grant
IN RE COY REECE; from Dallas County; 5th district (05-09-00609-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 06-11-09)
motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction denied
motion to revoke bond denied
The Court conditionally grants the writ of mandamus.
Justice Guzman delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Chief Justice Jefferson, Justice Hecht, Justice Wainwright,
Justice Medina, Justice Green, and Justice Lehrmann joined. [pdf]
Justice Johnson delivered a dissenting opinion. [pdf]
The Court of Criminal Appeals has general original habeas jurisdiction, Tex. Const. art. V, § 5; Ex parte Thompson, 273 S.W.
3d 177, 181 (Tex. Crim. App. 2008), while this Court’s habeas jurisdiction is limited. Our habeas jurisdiction exists in
matters where a contemnor is confined because he or she violated “an order, judgment, or decree previously made,
rendered, or entered by the court or judge in a civil case.” Tex. Gov’t Code § 22.002(e).
Although our habeas jurisdiction is limited, our mandamus jurisdiction is broad. See Tex. Const. art. V, § 3(a); Tex. Gov’t
Code § 22.002(a). And for the reasons the Court sets out, I agree that our broad mandamus jurisdiction encompasses the
matters set out in Reece’s petition. Nevertheless, and as SB International, Inc. argues, Reece substantively petitions this
Court for habeas relief. Under the circumstances I would refrain from granting mandamus relief for the reasons Justice
Willett sets out in part IV of his dissent, which I join. Because I disagree that we should grant mandamus relief, I respectfully
Justice Willett delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Johnson joined as to Part IV. [pdf]
Today’s case [sparks] a game of jurisdictional hot potato between us and our constitutional twin, the Court of Criminal
Appeals. Truth be told—and this particular truth has been told repeatedly—the State’s entire Rube Goldberg-designed
judicial “system” is beyond piecemeal repair; it should be scrapped and rebuilt top-to-bottom. That said, and however
labyrinthine the jurisdictional maze often is, the answer in today’s case seems straightforward: This dispute belongs with
our sister court. It arrived on our doorstep because of a simple yet pivotal misunderstanding: the Court of Criminal Appeals’
mistaken belief that we have unfettered habeas jurisdiction and are thus equally able to grant habeas relief.1 We do not,2
and the Court today is unified 9-0 on that point (though the Court does not explicitly mention our sister court’s
misinterpretation). We part ways 7-2 on whether we should make lemons out of jurisdictional lemonade by wiring around
our habeas limitation and relabeling the relief sought “mandamus.”
The mandamus remedy turns on two findings: legality and practicality.3 On both scores, I would return this case to the court
that conceded two years ago that it “does have the authority to act in this case.”4 Statute and precedent strongly suggest we
cannot hear this case, but even if we can, practical considerations advise we should not. Neither refusing nor resisting, the
Court today yanks tighter a Gordian knot that should be cut clean through. I respectfully dissent, and, for good measure,
exhort the Legislature to propose a judiciary worthy of Texas.
See Electronic Briefs in 09-0520 IN RE COY REECE
City of Houston v. Williams, No. 09-0770 (Tex. Mar 18, 2011) (Guzman)
THE CITY OF HOUSTON v. STEVE WILLIAMS, ET AL.; from Harris County; 14th district (14-08-00059-CV, 290 SW3d 260, 03-
The Court affirms in part and reverses in part the court of appeals' judgment and remands the case to the trial court.
Justice Guzman delivered the opinion of the Court. [pdf]
View Electronic Briefs 09-0770 THE CITY OF HOUSTON v. WILLIAMS
RR Comm'n v. Texas Citizens for a Safe Future and Clean Water, No. 08-0497 (Tex. Mar. 11,
The Texas Water Code requires the Railroad Commission of Texas to weigh the “public interest” in the
permitting of proposed oil and gas waste injection wells. In a ruling, the Commission declined to consider
traffic-safety factors in its public interest inquiry. We determine whether the Commission’s interpretation of
“public interest” is entitled to judicial deference. Because we conclude the Commission’s construction of
the phrase was reasonable and in accord with the plain language of the statute, we hold the court of
appeals erred in not deferring to the Commission’s interpretation. We therefore reverse the court of
appeals’ judgment and render judgment for the petitioners in accordance with the trial court’s original
The court of appeals failed to grant deference to the Commission’s interpretation of “public interest” in
section 27.051(b)(1) of the Water Code and instead held the Commission abused its discretion in its
construction of the statute. Because we conclude the Commission’s interpretation of the phrase “public
interest” is reasonable and in accord with the plain meaning of the statute, we hold the court of appeals
erred in refusing to defer to the Commission’s construction of the term.
Accordingly, we reverse the court of appeals’ judgment and render judgment for the Commission and
Pioneer in accordance with the trial court’s original judgment.
RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS AND PIONEER EXPLORATION, LTD. v. TEXAS CITIZENS FOR A SAFE FUTURE AND
CLEAN WATER AND JAMES G. POPP; from Travis County; 3rd district (03-07-00025-CV, 254 SW3d 492, 12-06-07)
The Court reverses the court of appeals' judgment and renders judgment.
Justice Guzman delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Justice Hecht, Justice Wainwright, Justice Medina, Justice
Green, and Justice Johnson joined. [pdf]
Chief Justice Jefferson delivered an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Willett and Justice Lehrmann
View Electronic Briefs 08-0497
RAILROAD COMM'N OF TX v. TX CITIZENS FOR A SAFE FUTURE AND CLEAN WATER
Samlowski MD v. Wooten, Carol, No. 08-0667 (Tex. Feb. 25, 2011)(Medina)
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 74.351 requires that a trial court dismiss a health care liability claim
unless the claimant serves an expert report within 120 days after filing suit. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 74.351(b). This
dismissal requirement is subject to the trial court’s discretion to grant one thirty-day extension for the claimant to cure a
timely served but deficient report. Id. § 74.351(c). The trial court in this health care liability case determined that claimant’s
timely served report was deficient and dismissed her suit without granting her request for an extension of time to cure the
report. The court of appeals agreed the report was deficient but concluded the trial court abused its discretion by denying
the requested extension. 282 S.W.3d 82, 91.
We granted the petition to consider under what circumstances a trial court might abuse its discretion when denying such an
extension. Like most cases involving trial court discretion, a single rule will not fit every situation, but generally a trial court
should grant an extension when the deficient report can be cured within the thirty-day period the statute permits. The court of
appeals concluded, among other things, that the case should be remanded to the trial court for further proceedings, and a
majority of the Court agrees with that judgment. There is no majority reasoning for why we remand, however. Three
members of the Court essentially agree with the court of appeals’ analysis, three members disagree with that analysis and
would reverse and render, and three members disagree with the court of appeals’ analysis but would nevertheless remand
in the interests of justice. I am in this last group.
Because the record does not establish that the deficient expert report would have been cured if the extension had been
granted in this case, I cannot say that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the extension. Although I disagree with
the court of appeals’ analysis of the statute and its application of the abuse of discretion standard, I conclude that the
interests of justice require a remand to the trial court in this case. Accordingly, I would affirm the court of appeals’ judgment
remanding this cause as modified by this opinion.
EBERHARD SAMLOWSKI, M.D. v. CAROL WOOTEN; from Johnson County; 10th district (10-07-00305-CV, 282 SW3d 82, 05-
The Court modifies the court of appeals' judgment and affirms that judgment as modified.
Justice Medina announced the judgment of the Court and delivered an opinion, in which Chief Justice Jefferson and Justice
Hecht joined. [12-page opinion in pdf]
Justice Guzman filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which Justice Lehrmann joined
and in which Justice Wainwright joined Parts I & II.B. [8-page opinion in pdf]
Justice Wainwright delivered an opinion dissenting in part and concurring in the judgment. [6-page opinion in pdf]
Justice Johnson delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Green and Justice Willett joined. [12-page opinion in pdf]
View Electronic Briefs in Case No. 08-0667 EBERHARD SAMLOWSKI, M.D. v. WOOTEN
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