Here, Papachado [a shareholder in the corporation] testified as a lay witness, not as an expert. His testimony was rationally based upon his perception of the partnership’s market value and was helpful to a determination of a fact issue. See TEX.R.EVID. 701. We thus disagree with Block’s reliance upon Collins [v. Collins, 904 S.W.2d 792 (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ denied)], in which the court focused on expert opinion testimony. Papachado was not required to be designated as an expert in order to give lay opinion testimony of value. We find no error in the admission of his opinions.
The business owner must be able to explain the basis for her opinion as to value for her opinion to be admissible.
Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America v. Justiss, 397 S.W.3d 150 (Tex. 2012), was a nuisance suit for damages, not a divorce. However, the rule articulated by the Texas Supreme Court should apply in divorce cases when a spouse testifies what the family business. In such a situation, the spouse must also explain what that opinion is based on. The Supreme Court stated:
Because property owner testimony is the functional equivalent of expert testimony, it must be judged by the same standards. Thus, as with expert testimony, property valuations may not be based solely on a property owner’s ipse dixit [bare assertion]. An owner may not simply echo the phrase “market value” and state a number to substantiate his diminished value claim; he must provide the factual basis on which his opinion rests. This burden is not onerous, particularly in light of the resources available today. Evidence of price paid, nearby sales, tax valuations, appraisals, online resources, and any other relevant factors may be offered to support the claim. But the valuation must be substantiated; a naked assertion of “market value” is not enough. Of course, the owner’s testimony may be challenged on cross-examination or refuted with independent evidence. But even if unchallenged, the testimony must support a verdict, and conclusory or speculative statements do not.
Thus, the spouse who testifies his auto repair business is worth $200,000 should be asked what that opinion is based on and he should say he checked with a business broker, his banker and owners of several other similar businesses. The spouse cannot simply just say his business is worth $200,000 without an explanation.