Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Liability based on Joint Enterprise Claim
JOINT ENTERPRISE CLAIM / THEORY
Elements and Consequences
Parties form a joint enterprise when they (1) enter into an express or implied agreement, (2) with a common purpose, (3) a community of pecuniary interest in that purpose, and (4) an equal right to a voice in the direction of the enterprise giving each an equal right of control. Tex. Dep’t of Transp. v. Able, 35 S.W.3d 608, 613 (Tex. 2000).
Parties to a joint enterprise are agents of each other, and thus, liable for the negligent acts of each other. Tex. Dep’t of Transp. v. Able, 35 S.W.3d 608, 613 (Tex. 2000).
The elements necessary to form a binding contract are (1) an offer, (2) acceptance of the offer, (3) a meeting of the minds, (4) the parties’ consent to the terms, (5) execution and delivery with the intent that it be mutual and binding, and (6) consideration. Advantage Physical Therapy, Inc. v. Cruse, 165 S.W.3d 21, 24 (Tex. App.–Houston [14th Dist.] 2005, no pet.). Whether an agreement was reached is a question of fact. Id.
A common pecuniary interest is a monetary interest shared without special or distinguishing characteristics among the members of the group. See St. Joseph Hosp. v. Wolff, 94 S.W.3d 513, 531 (Tex. 2002). An equal right to a voice in the direction of the enterprise giving each an equal right of control means an authoritative voice, some right to do more than make suggestions that could be adopted or rejected. Triplex Commc’ns, Inc. v. Riley, 900 S.W.2d 716, 719 (Tex. 1995).
SOURCE: Tyler Court of Appeals - 12-10-00167-CV - 7/13/11