by JoAnn Storey
When the applicable law changes during the pendency of the appeal, the court of appeals must render its decision in light of the change in the law. Blair v. Fletcher, 849 S.W.2d 344, 345 (Tex. 1993).
The court of appeals in Blair vacated the trial court’s death-penalty default judgment against the plaintiff for discovery abuse and remanded the case to the trial court for reconsideration in light of the Texas Supreme Court’s opinion in TransAmerican Natural Gas Corp. v. Powell, 811 S.W.2d 913 (Tex. 1991) (orig. proceeding). The supreme court held the court of appeals has no authority to decline to decide the appeal on its merits.
On the other hand, the supreme court can vacate a court of appeals’ judgment and remand the case to that court to reconsider its judgment in light of changes in the law. Id.