A team of SKV lawyers led by Craig Smyser, Ty Doyle, and Crystal Robles obtained a dismissal for client Northstar Healthcare Acquisitions, LLC in a competition-related suit brought by competitor Houston Metro Ortho & Spine Surgery Center. In the suit, Metro alleged that Northstar tortiously interfered with a contract Metro had with Dr. Richard Francis, a successful orthopedic surgeon, causing Francis to breach his non-competition agreement. Northstar sought and won a summary judgment motion on the grounds that the non-competition agreement was unenforceable.
Following summary judgment, Metro amended its petition to remove Northstar as a party and to remove its tortious interference cause of action. As the removal of a claim/party after summary judgment is granted results in a dismissal with prejudice, Northstar successfully argued that (1) Metro could not seek a permissive appeal of the trial court’s summary judgment order and (2) Metro could not again amend its petition to “reintroduce” Northstar and the tortious interference cause of action. As a result, the Court of Appeals dismissed Metro’s permissive appeal and the trial court struck Metro’s amended pleadings, finding that Northstar was dismissed with prejudice.