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 Scott A. Brister, Justice Harriet O'Neill
Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. and Samuel Alvarado v. Michael Sevcik and Cathy Loth
from Waller County and the 13th District Court of Appeals, Corpus Christi/Edinburg
For petitioners: Thomas C. Wright, Houston; Russell H. McMains, Corpus Christi
For respondents: David W. Holman, Houston
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on the issue of whether gross sales evidence admissible in personal-injury case. Among principal issues in this personal-injury case are (1) whether the trial court erred by admitting evidence of the defendant company’s gross sales when plaintiffs were not seeking punitive damages and (2) whether the appeals court erred by modifying an award for past medical expenses. Sevcik and Loth sued Reliance and its truck driver, Alvarado, over a collision that left Sevcik with physical injuries and Loth with permanent brain injury. At trial the judge rejected Reliance’s attempt to show how much Loth earned before the accident, but allowed Loth to introduce evidence of Reliance’s gross sales. On appeal Reliance argues that the gross sales testimony prejudiced the jury’s damages awards. The court of appeals reduced an award for Loth’s past medical expenses by $6,000, but otherwise affirmed damages Reliance challenged.