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Texas Causes of Action and Theories of Liability

© 2014 Mark Courtois     

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If you or your company have been sued, or if you are thinking about bringing a lawsuit, you should be aware of the elements of the causes of action that might be involved in your case. Understanding the elements of the claim can assist in determining what evidence is relevant to the case, how to defend or present the case, and whether insurance may cover one or more of the claims.  For insurance carriers, this guide can be used to assess claims that are presented against insureds for liability and coverage positions.  We can assist you in assessing your case and how best to defend or prosecute your case, and whether and how insurance will be involved.   

Frequently more than one cause of action is asserted in a case, and following the trial of the case, the plaintiff elects the best recovery.  Texas appellate courts have defined a cause of action as a plaintiff's primary right to relief and the defendant's act or omission that violates that right. Krchnak v. Fulton, 759 S.W.2d 524, 526 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 1988, writ denied) (citing Stone Fort Nat'l Bank v. Forbes, 126 Tex. 568, 91 S.W.2d 674, 676 (1936)). The right to a remedy for an injury is a constitutionally protected right.Tex. Const. art. 1, § 13 (All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law).

In practical terms, a cause of action is what a plaintiff pleads in a lawsuit, governs what evidence is relevant, and what questions are submitted to the jury. Knowledge of the elements of a particular cause of action or theory of liability is essential to the proper prosecution or defense in any civil lawsuit. This online guide provides a helpful quick reference to many civil causes of action and theories of liability available in the State of Texas.

A. Negligence and Other Civil Torts
    Aiding and Abetting
    Abuse of Process
    Assualt and Battery
    Attractive Nuisance
    Civil Conspiracy
    Dram Shop and Social Host Liability
    False Light
    False Imprisonment
    Gross Negligence
    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
    Intentional Interference with Inheritance
    Malicious Prosecution
    Negligence Per se
    Negligent Entrustment
    Negligent Hiring, Supervision, Retention
    Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
    Negligent Undertaking
    Premises Liability
    Products Liability
    Respondeat Superior
    Res Ipsa Loquitur
    Spoliation of Evidence
    Vicarious Laibility
    Wrongful Death and Survival
B. Business Claims
    Alter Ego
    Breach of Contract
    Breach of Fiduciary Duty
    Breach of Warranty
    Business Disparagment
    Copyright Infringement
    Deceptive Trade Practices
    Equitable Estoppel
    Fraud and Fraudulent Inducement
    Joint Enterprise or Venture
    Minority Shareholder Oppression
    Misappropriation of Trade Secrets
    Negligent Misrepresentation
    Promissory Estoppel
    Quantum Meruit
    Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO)
    Single Business Enterprise
    Suit on Sworn Account
    Theft and Conversion
    Tortious Interference with Existing Contract
    Tortious Interference with Prospective Business Relations
    Trademark Infringement
    Unfair Competition
    Unjust Enrichment
C. Construction Claims
    Commerical Construction
    Residential Construction
D. Consumer and DTPA Claims
    Deceptive Trade Practices
    Unfair Debt Collection Practices
E. Insurance
    Unfair Claim Settlement Practices
    Prompt Payment of Claims 
    Policy Limits Demands
    Insurance Subrogation
F. Real Estate and Property Claims
    Adverse Posession
    Fraud in Real Estate
    Nuisance Injury to Land
    Suit to Quiet Title
    Trespass to Try Title
    Underground Utility Damage Claims