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Memorial Hermann Health System

Dr. Miguel Gomez sued Memorial Hermann and others in 2012 seeking nearly $50 million for an antitrust conspiracy and other torts. After a multi-week jury trial, he prevailed only on claims for defamation and business disparagement, and the trial judge signed a judgment for $6.4 million. The First Court of Appeals affirmed in 2019. The Texas Supreme Court unanimously reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment. See Memorial Hermann Health System v. Gomez, No. 19-0872; In the Supreme Court of Texas.

After a complicated trial, the issues on appeal included jury charge interpretation, causation, damages, and judgment formation. The Texas Supreme Court agreed with Memorial Hermann on the very first issue, concluding that the plain text of the jury charge must be given its commonsense meaning, and that courts “cannot ignore a charge’s plain, commonsense meaning merely because an unreasonable interpretation would better align with the judgment.” Under this standard, the Court held there was no evidence to support the jury’s verdict and reversed and rendered a take-nothing judgment.

The decision has garnered attention as a significant new holding about how to interpret jury charges.