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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Nury Chapa bought a Toyota Highlander from Tony Gullo Motors for $30,207, but the model that Chapa purchased is unclear. Chapa alleged that the dealer delivered a base-model Highlander rather than a Highlander Limited, with the sales contract specifying a Highlander Limited. After a two-day trial, the six jurors answered 15 questions concerning breach of contract, fraud and the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) in Chapa’s favor. They found a difference in value of the two models of $7,213, mental anguish damages of $21,639, exemplary damages of $250,000, and attorneys’ fees of $20,000. The trial court disregarded the mental anguish and exemplary awards on the ground that Chapa’s only claim was for breach of contract. The trial court also disregarded the fee award, because Chapa had not segregated fees attributable to that claim alone. In a per curiam memorandum opinion, the 9th Court of Appeals disagreed with both conclusions, reinstating all the awards but reducing exemplary damages to $125,000. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. In entering judgment for Chapa on all her contract, fraud and DTPA claims, the 9th Court of Appeals violated the one-satisfaction rule, the Texas Supreme Court stated. Chapa alleged only one injury, the court stated: delivery of a base-model Highlander rather than a Highlander Limited. While Chapa could certainly plead more than one theory of liability, she could not recover on more than one, the court stated. For breach of contract, the court explained, Chapa could recover economic damages and attorneys’ fees, but not mental anguish or exemplary damages. For fraud, she could recover economic damages, mental anguish and exemplary damages, but not attorneys’ fees. For a DTPA violation, she could recover economic damages, mental anguish and attorneys’ fees, but not additional damages beyond $21,639 (three times her economic damages). The 9th Court of appeals erred by simply awarding them all, the court stated. Chapa succeeded on more than just her breach of contract claim, the court stated, but also her fraud and DTPA claims. Chapa claimed Gullo Motors represented that she would get one model of SUV when in fact it allegedly intended to give her a lesser model, a misrepresentation that constituted fraud and also violated the DTPA, the court stated. While breach of contract alone is not evidence of fraudulent intent, the court stated, breach combined with “slight circumstantial evidence” of fraud is enough to support a verdict for fraudulent inducement. The court found that Chapa presented sufficient evidence to meet that standard. The court then found the $200,000 award of exemplary damages unconstitutionally disproportionate. The court remanded the matter to the 9th Court to determine a constitutionally permissible remittitur. The court also found that Chapa’s failure to segregate her attorneys’ fees did not mean she cannot recover any fees. Unsegregated attorneys’ fees for the entire case, the court stated, are some evidence of what the segregated amount should be. Because the jury found in Chapa’s favor on all her claims, the court concluded, Chapa is entitled to recover on the most favorable theory the verdict would support. But she is not required to make that election until the 9th Court determines how much in attorneys’ fees and exemplary damages she would be entitled to recover. OPINION:Brister, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Jefferson, C.J., and Hecht, Wainwright, Green and Willett, J.J., joined. Medina, J., did not participate in the decision. CONCURRENCE:Johnson, J., filed a concurring opinion. “The court of appeals’ analysis as to the exemplary damages issue is not as detailed as that in this Court’s opinion. But, because the court of appeals did not give a detailed explanation for its conclusion does not mean that its conclusion is wrong. The United States Supreme Court has not set a bright line constitutional limit for exemplary damages.” DISSENT:O’Neill, J., filed a dissenting opinion. “I do not agree that the court of appeals violated constitutional exorbitancy standards by suggesting the remittitur that it did, nor do I agree with the Court’s advisory determination of the attorney’s fee issue.”

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