law-one-satisfaction-rule | apportionment of liability | joint and several liability | election of remedies
unjust enrichment | windfall


A party is entitled to bring suit and seek damages on alternative theories; however, the plaintiff may not
recover on both theories because these would amount to a “double recovery.” Waite Hill Servs., Inc. v.
World Class Metal Works, Inc., 959 S.W.2d 182, 184 (Tex. 1998); Foley v. Parlier, 68 S.W.3d 870, 882
(Tex. App.—Fort Worth 2002, no pet.). A double recovery exists when a plaintiff is awarded more than one
recovery for the same injury. Waite Hill Servs., 959 S.W.2d at 184; Foley, 68 S.W.3d at 882-83. “Texas
law does not permit double recovery.” Parkway Co. v. Woodruff, 901 S.W.2d 434, 441 (Tex. 1995). The
prohibition against double recovery is a corollary to the one satisfaction rule, Foley, 68 S.W.3d at 883,
which provides that a plaintiff may recover only for the damages suffered as a result of a particular injury.
Utts v. Short, 81 S.W.3d 822, 833 (Tex. 2002).


Pursuant to Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 48, a party may plead "as many separate claims or
defenses as he has regardless of consistency." The "one satisfaction rule" provides that a plaintiff cannot
obtain more than one recovery for the same injury. Waite Hill Servs., Inc. v. World Class Metal Works, Inc.,
959 S.W.2d 182, 184–85 (Tex.1998); Borden v. Guerra, 860 S.W.2d 515, 528 (Tex. Civ. App.—Corpus
Christi 1993, writ dism’d by agr.) (citing Stewart Title Guar. Co. v. Sterling, 822 S.W.2d 1, 7 (Tex. 1991)).
This rule is based on the principle that, with only one injury, "there can, in justice, be but one satisfaction
for that injury." Id. When a plaintiff pleads alternate theories of liability, a judgment that awards damages
based upon both theories does not amount to a double recovery if the theories of liability arise from two
separate and distinct injuries, and there has been a separate and distinct finding of damage on both
theories of liability. Birchfield v. Texarkana Mem’l Hosp., 747 S.W.2d 361, 367 (Tex. 1987); Berry Prop.
Mgmt, Inc. v. Bliskey, 850 S.W.2d 644, 664–66 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 1993, writ dism’d by agr.).
An impermissible double recovery occurs when there is only one injury, the theories of liability are mutually
exclusive, or there are no separate damages findings based on the alternate theories of liability. See
Southern Cty. Mut. v. First Bank & Trust, 750 S.W.2d 170, 173–174 (Tex. 1988); Birchfield, 747 S.W.2d at
367. When confronted with a situation of double recovery, the affirmative defense of ―election of
remedies,‖ under certain circumstances, bars a person from pursuing two inconsistent remedies. See
generally Bocanegra v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 605 S.W.2d 848, 850–52 (Tex. 1980).9 The Bocanegra court
articulated the following test for the election doctrine to bar relief: (1) one successfully exercises an
informed choice; (2) between two or more remedies, rights, or states of facts; (3) which are so inconsistent
as to; (4) constitute manifest injustice. Id.; Medina, 927 S.W.2d at 600.


Galle relies on the common-law "one-satisfaction" rule. In cases where chapter 33 or another settlement
credit scheme does not apply, the "one-satisfaction" rule may require a trial court to reduce a damage
recovery based on a settlement. The one-satisfaction rule is "the longstanding proposition that a plaintiff
should not be compensated twice for the same injury." Osborne, 252 S.W.3d at 75 (citing CTTI
Priesmeyer, Inc. v. K & O Ltd. P'ship, 164 S.W.3d 675, 683 (Tex. App.--Austin 2005, no pet.) (citing
Stewart Title Guar. Co. v. Sterling, 822 S.W.2d 1, 7 (Tex. 1991) and Casteel, 22 S.W.3d at 390)). The rule
guards against a plaintiff receiving a windfall "by recovering an amount in court that covers the plaintiff's
entire damages, but to which a settling defendant has already partially contributed. The plaintiff would
otherwise be recovering an amount greater than the trier of fact has determined would fully compensate
for the injury." Id. (citing First Title Co. v. Garrett, 860 S.W.2d 74, 78 (Tex. 1993)). The one-satisfaction
rule applies both when several defendants commit the same act and when multiple defendants commit
"technically different acts" that result in the same, single injury. Id. (citing AMX Enters., Inc. v. Bank One, N.
A., 196 S.W.3d 202, 206 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied) (citing Casteel, 22 S.W.3d at
390)). The application of the rule is not limited to tort claims, and whether the rule may be applied
depends not on the cause of action asserted but rather the injury sustained. Id. (citing El Paso Natural
Gas Co. v. Berryman, 858 S.W.2d 362, 364 (Tex. 1993) and Stewart Title, 822 S.W.2d at 8). Thus, if the
plaintiff has suffered only one injury, even if based on "overlapping and varied theories of liability," the
plaintiff may only recover once; "[t]his is especially true if the evidence supporting each cause of action is
the same." Id. (quoting Buccaneer Homes of Ala., Inc. v. Pelis, 43 S.W.3d 586, 590 (Tex. App.--Houston
[1st Dist.] 2001, no pet.)).  
JOE POOL AND LESLIE POOL v. GALLE, INC.; from Travis County; 3rd district
(Galle, Inc. v. Pool
03-07-00619-CV, 262 SW3d 564, 08-29-08, pet. denied Jun 2009) (fraudulent
misrepresentation)(mold litigation, trial court erred by not applying settlement credit amount of damages
awarded against nonsettling party)(
extinguishment of contribution claim against nonsettling party)(one-
satisfaction rule)
JOE POOL AND LESLIE POOL v. GALLE, INC.; from Travis County; 3rd district
03-07-00619-CV, 262 SW3d 564, 08-29-08, pet. denied Jun 2009)
Consequently, under the one-satisfaction rule, Galle was entitled to a credit for the Allstate settlement
unless the Pools could meet their burden of presenting evidence allocating the settlement amounts to
separate rather than joint damages. Casteel, 22 S.W.3d at 391-92. Because they failed to do so, the
entire settlement amount must be applied against the jury's breach-of-contract award. Because the
settlement amount exceeds the amount of the damage award, the Pools must take nothing on their breach-
of-contract theory.
We accordingly sustain Galle's issue, reverse the district court's judgment, and render judgment that the
Pools take nothing on their claims against Galle.

Also see:
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