Texas Court of Appeals Erroneously Calculated a Judgment
In Drilex Sys., Inc. v. Flores, 1 S.W.3d 112, 42 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 1121 (Tex. 1999) Jorge Flores was injured. He, his wife, and their three children sued two defendants.
Prior to trial, each member of the Flores family settled with one defendant for a total of $ 774,675.
In an agreed judgment, specific settlement amounts were allocated to each plaintiff.
In calculating settlement credits, the court of appeals reduced the jury's award to each plaintiff by 10%, which was the percentage of fault attributed to Jorge Flores by the jury, and performed other calculations.
The court of appeals then erroneously calculated the judgment against the non-settling defendant by treating each family member as a separate "claimant" and applying settlement credits allocated to each family member only to the amount of the jury award to that family member:
Had the court of appeals treated the family as a single claimant, the entire settlement amount of $ 774,675 would have been deducted from the jury's total award to the family (after that award had been reduced by 10%).
That would have resulted in subtracting $ 774,675 from $ 1,930,500, for a judgment of $ 1,155,825.
That is what this Court did in Drilex.
Instead, the court of appeals' methodology would have resulted in a judgment of $ 1,198,270, which meant that the non-settling defendant would not have gotten credit for $ 42,445.
The court of appeals did not give the non- settling defendant any credit for the amount by which the settlement payments to the Flores children exceeded the jury awards to them.