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An inference is an educated guess. When you draw an inference or conclusion based on the evidence, there’s a reason you come to that conclusion and that reason likely comes from the evidence presented within the text. Inferences may be made based on evidence, but an inference itself is not evidence. Can a lawyer in a probate litigation draw inferences that are not based on the evidence?

Probate Case

Magaline v. J.V. Harrison Truck Lines, Inc., 446 S.W.2d 920 (Tex. Civ. App. – Houston [14th Dist.] 1969 writ. ref’d)

Facts & Procedural History

George J. Magdalene (Plaintiff) sued J.V. Harrison Truck Lines, Inc. and Wiley Burton (Defendants) for injuries he allegedly sustained from a car and truck collision in 1967. On the day of the accident, 17 cars and trucks were involved in a series of accidents within the general location. Plaintiff claimed Defendants were the owner and the driver of the vehicle that allegedly struck Plaintiff’s car. The jury found that Plaintiff was not within his vehicle at the time it was struck by the J.V. Harrison vehicle, and the trial court entered judgment that Plaintiff was to take nothing by his suit against the Defendants. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Civil Appeals.

The Court of Civil Appeals reversed and remanded the case back to the trial court. The Court stated that the Defendants’ counsel had referred to facts and issues outside of the record, and indicated to the jury that certain witnesses, who were not called to testify, would have testified on the most critical issue for the case. More specifically, Defendants’ counsel referred to State Highway Patrol or the Deputy Sheriff and how they could be subpoenaed into court to discuss their public records of the car accident. The Court also stated that Defendants’ counsel had suggested to the jury that Plaintiff could still sue an individual, known by the uncalled witnesses, under the statute of limitations. The Court held that both occurrences were improper, harmfully prejudicial, and reversible error.

Main Considerations

What is within the discretion of counsel regarding evidence?

A party’s counsel has the right to discuss evidence and draw their own conclusions, deductions, and inferences. If counsel stays within the record, even if their inferences are erroneous, it can be cured through a jury instruction. However, when the inference is unsupported by the record, clearly unjustified, prejudicial, inflammatory, and a persistent issue, it is reversible error despite the jury instructions of the trial court.

The Takeaway

Magaline v. J.V. Harrison Truck Lines, Inc. shows that counsel may not refer to facts and issues outside of the record, particularly when they reference a critical issue for a case.

Do you need to hire an Experienced Probate Attorney to help with Probate Litigation?

If you are involved in probate litigation in Texas, you may be wondering whether you need to hire an experienced probate attorney. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of your case and the amount of money at stake.

If your case is complex, or if there is a lot of money at stake, it is probably a good idea to hire an experienced probate attorney. Probate litigation can be complex and time-consuming, and an experienced attorney will be able to navigate the process more efficiently. Additionally, an experienced attorney will likely have a better understanding of the law and be better equipped to handle complex legal issues.

That said, if your case is relatively simple and there is not a lot of money at stake, you may not need to hire an experienced probate attorney. In these cases, it may be sufficient to consult with a general practice attorney who can provide some basic guidance. Ultimately, the decision of whether to hire an experienced probate attorney should be based on the specific facts and circumstances of your case. If you are unsure whether you need to hire an attorney, you should consult with one for guidance. Call us today for a FREE attorney consultation. (281) 219-9090.

Houston Laws

Can a party ever refuse to produce certain documents for discovery?

If you’re a party to a probate case in Texas, the court may order you to produce certain documents for discovery. But what if you don’t have the documents the other side is asking for? Can you refuse to produce them?

The answer is maybe. If you have a good reason for not producing the documents, the court may be willing to excuse you from doing so. But if you don’t have a good reason, the court may order you to produce the documents or impose sanctions against you for failing to do so.

So if you’re ordered to produce documents for discovery in a Texas probate case, it’s best to err on the side of caution and just produce them. Otherwise, you may find yourself in hot water with the court.

What is rule 21a of the Texas rules of civil procedure?

Rule 21a – Methods of Service, Tex. R. Civ. P. 21a

(a) Methods of Service. Every notice required by these rules, and every pleading, plea, motion, or other form of request required to be served under Rule 21, other than the citation to be served upon the filing of a cause of action and except as otherwise expressly provided in these rules, may be served by delivering a copy to the party to be served, or the party’s duly authorized agent or attorney of record in the manner specified below:

(1) Documents Filed Electronically. A document filed electronically under Rule 21 must be served electronically through the electronic filing manager if the email address of the party or attorney to be served is on file with the electronic filing manager. If the email address of the party or attorney to be served is not on file with the electronic filing manager, the document may be served on that party or attorney under subparagraph (2).

(2) Documents Not Filed Electronically. A document not filed electronically may be served in person, by mail, by commercial delivery service, by fax, by email, or by such other manner as the court in its discretion may direct.

What is rule 92 of the Texas rules of civil procedure?

Rule 92 – General Denial, Tex. R. Civ. P. 92

A general denial of matters pleaded by the adverse party which are not required to be denied under oath, shall be sufficient to put the same in issue. When the defendant has pleaded a general denial, and the plaintiff shall afterward amend his pleading, such original denial shall be presumed to extend to all matters subsequently set up by the plaintiff.

When a counterclaim or cross-claim is served upon a party who has made an appearance in the action, the party so served, in the absence of a responsive pleading, shall be deemed to have pleaded a general denial of the counterclaim or cross-claim, but the party shall not be deemed to have waived any special appearance or motion to transfer venue. In all other respects the rules prescribed for pleadings of defensive matter are applicable to answers to counterclaims and cross-claims.

How long does a civil lawsuit take in Texas?

If you’re involved in a civil lawsuit in Texas, you may be wondering how long the process will take. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. The length of time it takes to resolve a civil lawsuit in Texas will vary depending on a number of factors, including the complexity of the case, the availability of witnesses and evidence, and the schedules of the judges and attorneys involved.

One thing to keep in mind is that Texas has a mandatory waiting period for certain types of lawsuits. For example, if you’re suing for personal injury damages, you must wait at least 60 days before filing your lawsuit. This waiting period gives the defendant time to respond to your claims and allows both sides to try to reach an out-of-court settlement. If no settlement is reached, then your case will go to trial.

The trial itself can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the complexity of the case. Once a verdict is reached, either side may appeal the decision, which could add even more time to the process.

What is the 52 rule?

Rule 52 – Alleging a Corporation, Tex. R. Civ. P. 52

An allegation that a corporation is incorporated shall be taken as true, unless denied by the affidavit of the adverse party, his agent or attorney, whether such corporation is a public or private corporation and however created.

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