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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Show Business Entertainment, a music band, prevailed in its suit against Sambuca, a restaurant, and Doctors Hospital, the host of a party at Sambuca, when neither paid the band for playing at a Christmas party. Sambuca, in turn, successfully claimed that Doctors Hospital was responsible for the band’s fees. On appeal, Doctors Hospital complains only about attorney’s fees awarded to Sambuca. HOLDING:Affirmed as modified. Doctors Hospital asserts that Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 38.001(8) does not permit the court to award attorney’s fees to a party that prevails on a promissory estoppel theory of recovery. Section 38.001′s most basic requirement is that the party seeking attorney’s fees must first prevail on a valid contract claim. Mustang Pipeline Co. Inc. v. Driver Pipeline Co. Inc., 134 S.W.3d 195 (Tex. 2004). For many years, Texas courts have held that promissory estoppel becomes available to a claimant only in the absence of a valid and enforceable contract. If the two previous propositions � that 38.001(8) authorizes attorney’s fees only when a party has a valid contract claim, and a party can recover on promissory estoppel only if it does not have a valid contract claim � are correct, then they are mutually exclusive remedies, the court states. If they are mutually exclusive remedies, then 38.001(8) cannot include a promissory estoppel claim. If the court held otherwise, the court states, it would have to 1. ignore a long line of cases holding that a recovery under promissory estoppel means no valid contract existed; and 2. add a cause of action that the statute’s plain language does not include. The court thinks the Texas cases allowing attorney’s fees probably did so because the parties did not join the issue as directly as the parties do here. None of the cases discuss Texas’ long history of treating contract claims and promissory estoppel claims as mutually exclusive remedies. Most likely, the parties did not bring that point to the courts’ attention. Had the issue been joined � with one party pointing out that a contract claim and a promissory estoppel claim are mutually exclusive � the outcome would have been different. For this reason, the court refuses to follow these cases. The requirement to construe the statute liberally does not mean that the court is at liberty to add new causes of action to the statute. When the Legislature required the courts to construe the statute liberally, it is reasonable to assume the Legislature contemplated procedural issues, not substantive issues. When the Legislature codified the attorney’s fees statute and required it to be liberally construed, Texas case law held that promissory estoppel and contract claims were mutually exclusive theories of recovery. The Legislature could have added promissory estoppel as a claim for which a party could recover attorney’s fees, but it did not. Thus, even mindful of the legislative mandate to construe 38.001 liberally, the court finds that 38.001(8) does not authorize the award of attorney’s fees to a promissory estoppel claimant. The plain language of 38.001(8) allows the court to award attorney’s fees only when a party has a valid oral or written contract claim. When a party recovers on a promissory estoppel claim, it does not have a valid contract claim. As attorney’s fees should not have been awarded, the appellant’s complaint that the trial court should not have reopened the evidence to permit additional testimony about attorney’s fees is moot. The court modifies the judgment to delete the attorney’s fee award and affirms as modified. OPINION:Fowler, J.; Hedges, Fowler and Seymore, JJ.

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