What Is An Immaterial Jury Question In Texas ?
A jury question is immaterial when it calls for a finding beyond the province of the jury, such as a question of law. See Southeastern Pipeline Co. v. Tichacek, 997 S.W.2d 166, 172 (Tex. 1999).
Where a trial court decides such a question of law and applies the law to undisputed facts, we review the trial court's decision de novo. See Cartlidge v. Hernandez, 9 S.W.3d 341, 346 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, n. pet .h.) (where personal jurisdiction issues presented a question of law and where special appearance based on undisputed or established facts, appellate court conducts de novo review).
The question of whether a party has breached a contract is generally a question of law for the court, not a question of fact for the jury. See Meek v. Bishop Peterson & Sharp, P.C., 919 S.W.2d 805, 808 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1996, writ denied).
In interpreting a contract, the court determines as a matter of law what conduct is required by the parties, and, insofar as there is a fact dispute concerning the failure of a party perform the contract, the court submits the disputed fact questions to the jury. See id.
Where, however, as here, the facts are not disputed or are conclusively established, the trial court need not submit the issues to the jury. See Sullivan v. Barnett, 471 S.W.2d 39, 44 (Tex.1971); Meek, 919 S.W.2d at 808.
A trial court also may disregard a jury finding and enter judgment where the finding is immaterial. See McDaniel v. Continental Apartments Joint Venture, 887 S.W.2d 167, 170 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1994, no writ).
A finding is immaterial when the trial court should not have submitted the question to the jury, and the jury's finding does not apply to the case. See id.