Lucas & Company, LLC

Ethics XV



Ethics XV – 1.5 Contact Hours
The cases in this edition of Ethics are the successive cases of Larson v. Cook Consultants, Supreme Court of Texas 1985 (Larson I), and Cook Consultants v. Larson, Texas Court of Appeals also in 1985 (Larson II). The trial court initially determined that Cook (the surveyor) was negligent in his survey of Larson’s lot. Larson’s house was built over the property line and Cook’s survey had indicated that the lot line was clear of Larson’s home. Because Larson’s home ultimately had to be demolished because of the problem, the jury awarded Larson $32,150.00 in actual damages and $230,000.00 in exemplary damages. Cook appealed. On appeal, Cook claimed that the statute of limitations had run and the appellate court agreed and overturned the trial court determination. However, Larson then appealed and the appeal went to the Texas Supreme Court (Larson I) where the Supreme Court found error in the Appellate Court opinion and sent the case back to Court of Appeals to rectify its error. Back in the Court of Appeals (Larson II), the appellate court reversed its opinion on the statute of limitations but overturned the jury’s determination of $230,000.00 in exemplary damages and awarded Larson $30,500.00 in actual damages. All of this was the result of Cook performing his initial survey of the Larson property in thirty minutes for a fee of $50.00. Any ethical issues? We think so, but would like for you to make that determination for yourself. This is a 2-Page Letter covering 2 Court Opinion consisting of 14 pages. Along with a copy of the Creed and Canons, this is a 17-Page document with a 10-Question examination based on the text of the newsletter, the Creed and Canons, and the court opinions.

OBJECTIVES: To present everyday professional ethical issues based on actual court cases and opinions, resulting in real consequences for the professional(s) and the other parties involved.