Lay Opinion – Reversed and Rendered

  • Spaulding v. Sumrall
    • 09-16-00153-CV, 2018 WL 2339619
    • County Court at Law No. 1 of Jefferson County
    • Justice Horton, May 24, 2018
  • The plaintiff exchanged his catamaran for the defendant’s 1974 Corvette Stingray and cash. After learning that the car was not in the condition as represented, plaintiff filed suit under the DTPA. The trial court allowed the plaintiff to prove his damages from his own lay testimony that he was familiar with the market value of Stingrays by looking on the internet at trade price lists.
  • The Ninth Court found that a property owner is generally qualified to testify to the value of his property even if the owner is not an expert; this rule is based on the assumption that the owner is familiar with the owner’s own property. In this case, however, the plaintiff must have shown knowledge of the Stingray’s value when the trade was made between the parties. The plaintiff did not have the expertise to provide the trial court with a reliable opinion regarding the market value of 1974 Stingray; thus, his testimony was legally insufficient to support the damage award.