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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Nov. 20, 1999, Henry White was admitted to Columbia North Bay Hospital after suffering a stroke. Dr. Stephen Smith treated White in the emergency room for less than one hour. Dr. Robert Low cared for White for four days before White was transferred to another hospital. White was comatose at the time of the transfer. He died in December 1999. On Jan. 31, 2002, White’s widow, Joyce White, sued the alleged manufacturers, designers and distributors of the drug known as Propulsid; Coastal Bend Hospital Inc., doing business as Columbia North Bay Hospital; eight physicians; and nurse Donna McMahon for damages flowing from her husband’s death. Although most of Joyce White’s claims involved the drug Propulsid, she also alleged that the physicians and hospital were negligent in Henry White’s medical treatment. Attorney Thomas J. Henry represented Joyce White when he filed the petition. His office received copies of Henry White’s medical records months before he filed the petition. Thomas Henry filed a motion to withdraw as counsel on the same day that he filed the petition. Thomas Henry continued to represent Joyce White until the trial court granted the motion to withdraw on May 6, 2002. On May 28, 2002, Smith filed a motion for sanctions against Joyce White and Thomas Henry for alleged violations of Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 13 and Chapters 9 and 10 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. Low filed the same motion. Both physicians argued that none of the medical records from the hospital at which the physicians treated Henry White contained any reference to either doctor having prescribed or provided Propulsid to Henry White. On June 10, 2002, Joyce White nonsuited the case. The physicians’ motions for sanctions remained pending. The trial court held a hearing on the physicians’ motions on July 30, 2002. Thomas Henry did not attend or testify but appeared through his attorney. On July 31, 2002, the trial court granted the motions and ordered Thomas Henry to pay $25,000 in sanctions on each motion for a total of $50,000. On Aug. 2, 2002, the trial court entered a revised judgment that incorporated findings of fact and conclusions of law. On Aug. 26, 2002, Henry filed “a motion for new trial and a motion to vacate, modify, correct or reform the sanctions order.” On Sept. 23, 2002, Thomas Henry filed a supplemental motion. On Oct. 15, 2002, the trial court held a hearing on Henry’s motions. After hearing more testimony, including Henry’s, the trial court ultimately denied admission of all additional evidence and denied Henry’s motion to modify the judgment. Henry filed a motion to reconsider, challenging the adequacy of the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law for the first time. The trial court denied this motion and rejected as untimely all arguments not contained in the original motion for new trial and motion to vacate, modify, correct or reform the judgment. Thomas Henry appealed. An en banc 13th Court of Appeals reversed, holding that because the allegations against the physicians were made in the alternative, sanctions were inappropriate under Chapter 10 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. The court also held that the physicians’ motions did not support sanctions under Chapter 10 for unrelated prior litigation and that the trial court’s order failed to meet the specificity requirements of Chapter 10. The physicians petitioned the Texas Supreme Court for review. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. Chapters 9 and 10 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code and Rule 13 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure allow a trial court to sanction an attorney or a party for filing motions or pleadings that lack a reasonable basis in fact or law. Because the trial court’s written order specifically ordered the penalty against Henry pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, the court reviewed the trial court’s order in light of Chapter 10. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �10.001, the signer of a pleading or motion certifies that each claim, each allegation and each denial is based on the signatory’s best knowledge, information and belief, formed after reasonable inquiry. The statute dictates that each claim and each allegation be individually evaluated for support. The fact that an allegation or claim is alleged against several defendants, the court stated, does not relieve the party from meeting the express requirements of Chapter 10. Henry White’s medical records, which were in Thomas Henry’s possession before he filed the suit, indicated that neither physician ever prescribed or administered the drug to White. The physicians argued that Thomas Henry violated Chapter 10 by alleging that they prescribed and administered Propulsid in spite of the information to the contrary in Henry White’s medical records. The court agreed with the physicians. Under Chapter 10, the physicians were not required to specifically show bad faith or malicious intent, but that: Thomas Henry certified he made a reasonable inquiry into all of the allegations, when he did not; and that he certified that all the allegations in the petition had evidentiary support or were likely to have evidentiary support, when some allegations did not. The court concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Henry failed to meet the standard of Chapter 10. Henry then claimed that the sanction was excessive. The absence of an explanation, the court stated in a review of its prior case law, of how a trial court determined the amount of sanctions when those sanctions are especially severe is inadequate. The court could not determine from the record the basis of the $50,000 penalty, so it remanded the case to the trial court. OPINION:Wainwright, J., delivered the opinion of the court.

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