Sitting for the court: Justice Paul W. Green, Justice Nathan L. Hecht, Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson, Justice Phil Johnson, Justice David Medina, Justice Dale Wainwright, Justice Don R. Willett, Justice Eva Guzman, Justice Harriet O'Neill
Thomas O. Bennett Jr. and James B. Bonham Corp. v. Randy Reynolds
from San Saba County and the Third District Court of Appeals, Austin
For petitioners: Susan S. Vance, Austin
For respondent: David Keltner, Fort Worth
The principal issues in this dispute over cattle belonging to one rancher allegedly sold by another are (1) whether $1.25 million in punitive damages violates due process when actual damages were $5,300; (2) whether agency principles support punitive damages against a corporation for its president’s acts; and (3) whether punitive damages against the corporation may be based on “reverse veil-piercing.” In this case Reynolds sued Bennett and the Bonham corporation for conversion, alleging Bennett sold Reynolds’ cattle on the corporation’s land. Bennett’s daughters own the corporation. Bennett, the president but not a shareholder, lives on the corporate property and runs his own cattle on it without charge. The court of appeals affirmed the punitive damages.
The first argument begins at 9 a.m. in the courtroom in Austin. Each side will have 20 minutes for argument.
This advisory serves only as an abbreviated guide to oral argument. Summaries are prepared by the Court’s staff attorney for public information and reflect his judgment alone on facts and legal issues and in no way represent the Court’s opinion about case merits.
Texas Supreme Court advisory
Contact: Osler McCarthy,
Staff Attorney for Public Information
(512) 463.1441 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org