The Houston Fourteenth District Court of Appeals recently held that the Property Owner Rule applies to corporate owners.  The Property Owner Rule is the rule of law that allows a property owner who is familiar with the market value of his property to testify regarding the market value, even if he is not qualified as (or designated as) an expert.

In Speedy Stop Food Stores, Ltd. v. Reid Road Municipal Util. Dist. No. 2, Justice Kem Frost, writing for the majority, observes that the Texas Supreme Court has not addressed the issue of whether a corporate owner may attest to the market value of its property and the courts of appeals are split on the issue.  The majority opinion asserts that the Waco and Corpus Christi appellate courts permit corporate owners to testify to market value, while Fort Worth does not.  The Houston Fourteenth Court of Appeals holds that the Property Owner Rule applies to corporate entities where there is a representative familiar with the market value of the property.  The majority opinion may be found at this link.

Justice Seymore writes a dissent asserting that existing Texas Supreme Court law controls and argues that a corporate representative is not the "owner."  The dissent further challenges the majority’s characterizations of the Corpus Christi and Waco opinions on the subject matter.  The dissent maybe found at this link.

Given the dissenting opinion, an argued conflict among the courts of appeals, and the lack of a clearly dispositive opinion from the Texas Supreme Court, this case may bear following should a petition for review be filed.