Rice v. Rice, 533 S.W.3d 58 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, no pet.).


Tortious Interference With Inheritance Rights


The court, following the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in Kinsel v Lindsey, 526 S.W.3d 411 (Tex. 2017), refused to recognize a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance rights. The court noted that it had previously recognized the tort but realized under principles of vertical stare decisis, it is bound by the Texas Supreme Court decision.


The court explained that the viability of this cause of action was left open by the Texas Supreme Court. After studying the facts of this case, the court pointed out that the parties seeking relief for tortious interference had briefed none of the factors which a court must consider in determining whether to recognize a new cause of action. Accordingly, the court refused to recognize the tort. The court also noted out that the parties already had an adequate remedy as the will was declared invalid for lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence. It appeared that the reason the parties wanted the tort recognized was so that they could seek exemplary damages.


Moral:  Whether Texas recognizes a cause of action for tortious interference with inheritance rights remains an open question.