Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to establish damages for temporary injury to real property

What is the proper measure of damages on a successful claim predicated on non-permanent injury to real property?

"In the case of a temporary injury to real estate, the measure of damages is ordinarily the cost and expense of restoring the land to its former condition, plus the loss or damages occasioned by being deprived of the use of same, with interest." Vaughn v. Drennon, 372 S.W.3d 726, 738 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2012, no pet.); see also Meridien Hotels, Inc. v. LHO Fin. P'ship I, L.P., 255 S.W.2d 807, 821 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.). Felder and Esperanza concede that the record contains no evidence to support the damage award, but appear to believe Esperanza is entitled to a remand for a new trial on this claim.

Because Hagee and Serengeti raised this issue in a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and they assert a no evidence challenge on appeal, they are entitled to a rendition of the judgment, rather than a remand of the cause. See E-Z Mart Stores, Inc. v. Ronald Holland's A-Plus Transmission & Auto., Inc., 358 S.W.3d 665, 670 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2011, pet. denied); but see Graves v. Tomlinson, 329 S.W.3d 128, 141 n.2 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2010, pet. denied) (noting party entitled to remand rather than rendition if legal sufficiency issue preserved only by motion for new trial).

Accordingly, because there is no evidence to support the jury's damage award, the trial court's judgment regarding the trespass claim is reversed, and judgment is rendered that Esperanza take nothing as to the trespass claim.

SOURCE: SAN ANTONIO COURT OF APPEALS - No. 04-12-00434-CV - 1/22/2014

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