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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In this breach of contract case, both parties, Mustang Pipeline Co. and Driver Pipeline Co., obtained favorable jury findings as to the other’s breach of a pipeline construction contract. Mustang initially brought suit against Driver for Driver’s failure to complete work in a timely manner. Driver counterclaimed for Mustang’s wrongful termination of the contract. The court of appeals, in affirming the trial court, held that Mustang could not recover damages because Mustang failed to get a jury finding that Driver’s breach was material. HOLDING:The court affirms the court of appeals’ judgment in part, reverses in part, and renders judgment that Driver take nothing. The court of appeals was correct in holding that a party is released from further obligation under the contract only if the other party materially breached. The court disagrees with the court’s requirement that Mustang obtain an express jury finding that Driver’s breach was material. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 277 mandates that a trial court “shall, whenever feasible, submit the cause upon broad-form questions.” The jury question regarding Driver’s breach tracks the Texas Pattern Jury Charge language for the recommended breach of contract question, asking “Did Driver Pipeline Company fail to comply with the contract it had with Mustang Pipeline Company?” The jury answered yes. The evidence presented at trial established that Driver’s failure to comply was a material breach. The court holds that as a matter of law Driver committed a material breach. Mustang was thereafter discharged from its duties under the contract. Therefore, the trial court should have disregarded the jury’s answer to the wrongful termination question and granted Mustang judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Mustang also argues that the trial court erred by granting Driver’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and entering a judgment that did not award Mustang any damages. The jury found Mustang suffered $2,104,601 in damages as a result of Driver’s failure to comply with the pipeline contract. However, Driver argued that Mustang’s evidence and expert testimony were legally insufficient because there was no evidence presented to show the amount paid was reasonable and necessary. The trial court granted Driver’s motion to disregard the jury’s answer. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that although Mustang offered evidence to prove its damages, it presented no evidence that the costs were reasonable. The court agrees with the court of appeals’ conclusion that Mustang failed to provide evidence that its out-of-pocket costs were reasonable. Because Driver did not have a valid claim against Mustang due to its prior material breach, the court reverses the trial court’s order of attorney’s fees to Driver. While Mustang did have a valid claim against Driver, it was not entitled to recover attorney’s fees because it was not awarded damages on its breach of contract claim. OPINION:Per curiam.

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