Texas Causes of Action & Theories of Liability

© 2014 Mark Courtois

If you or your company have been sued, or if you are thinking about bringing a lawsuit, you should be aware of the elements of the causes of action that might be involved in your case. Understanding the elements of the claim can assist in determining what evidence is relevant to the case, how to defend or present the case, and whether insurance may cover one or more of the claims.  For insurance carriers, this guide can be used to assess claims that are presented against insureds for liability and coverage positions.  We can assist you in assessing your case and how best to defend or prosecute your case, and whether and how insurance will be involved. Frequently more than one cause

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of action is asserted in a case, and following the trial of the case, the plaintiff elects the best recovery.  Texas appellate courts have defined a cause of action as a plaintiff's primary right to relief and the defendant's act or omission that violates that right. Krchnak v. Fulton, 759 S.W.2d 524, 526 (Tex. App.--Amarillo 1988, writ denied) (citing Stone Fort Nat'l Bank v. Forbes, 126 Tex. 568, 91 S.W.2d 674, 676 (1936)). The right to a remedy for an injury is a constitutionally protected right.Tex. Const. art. 1, § 13 (All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law). 

In practical terms, a cause of action is what a plaintiff pleads in a lawsuit, governs what evidence is relevant, and what questions are submitted to the jury. Knowledge of the elements of a particular cause of action or theory of liability is essential to the proper prosecution or defense in any civil lawsuit. This online guide provides a helpful quick reference to many civil causes of action and theories of liability available in the State of Texas.

Texas Cause of Action
Type
Limitations Period
Abuse of Process
Tort Claim
2 Years
Aiding and Abetting
Not Yet Recognized Tort Claim
Unclear
Alter Ego
Vicarious Liability Claim
Varies
Assault and Battery
Tort Claim
2 Years
Attractive Nuisance
Tort Claim
2 Years
Breach of Contract
Contract Claim
4 Years
Breach of Fiduciary Duty
Tort Claim
4 Years
Breach of Promissory Note
Contract Claim
6 Years
Business Disparagement
Business Tort Claim
2 Years
Bystander Recovery
Tort Claim
2 Years
Civil Conspiracy
Vicarious Liability Claim
Varies
Deceptive Trade Practices
Consumer Claim
2 Years
Defamation
Tort Claim
1 Year
Dram Shop and Social Host Liability
Tort Claim
2 Years
Equitable Estoppel
Defensive Claim
N/A
False Imprisonment
Tort Claim
2 Years
False Light
Not Recognized in Texas
N/A
Fraud
Tort Claim
4 Years
Fraud in Real Estate
Tort Claim
4 Years
Gross Negligence
Tort Claim
2 Years
Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Tort Claim
2 Years
Intentional Interference with Inheritance
Not Recognized in Texas
N/A
Malicious Prosecution
Tort Claim
1 Year
Negligence
Tort Claim
2 Years
Negligence Per Se
Tort Claim
2 Years
Negligent Entrustment
Tort Claim
2 Years
Negligent Hiring, Supervision, Retention
Tort Claim
2 years
Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
Not Recognized in Texas
N/A
Negligent Misrepresentation
Tort Claim
2 Years
Negligent Undertaking
Tort Claim
2 Years
Nuisance
Real Estate Claim
2 Years
Premises Liability
Tort Claim
2 Years
Products Liability
Tort Claim
2 Years
Promissory Estoppel
Equitable Claim
4 Years
Quantum Meruit
Equitable Claim
4 Years
Res Ipsa Loquitur
Evidence Instruction
N/A
Respondeat Superior
Vicarious Liability Claim
Varies
Spoliation of Evidence
Evidence Instruction
N/A
Suit to Quiet Title
Real Property Claim
Varies
Sworn Account
Contract Claim
4 Years
Theft and Conversion
Tort Claim
2 Years
Tortious Interference With an Existing Contract
Tort Claim
2 Years
Tortious Interference with Prospective Contract
Tort Claim
2 Years
Trespass
Property Tort Claim
2 Years
Trespass to Try Title
Real Property Claim
Varies
Unfair Competition
Tort Claim
2 Years
Unfair Debt Collections Act
Consumer Claim
1 Year
Unjust Enrichment
Equitable Claim
2 Years
Vicarious Liability
Vicarious Liability Defined
Varies
Wrongful Death and Survival Actions
Tort Claim
2 Years