Bill of non-review

Appellants filed a bill of review about the dismissal of their case, but could not prove a lack of fault: “Because appellants failed to pursue all adequate legal remedies when they did not appeal the denial of [the] motion to reinstate, appellants could not plead and prove the third element of a bill of review.” McCurdy v. Oeftering, No. 05-14-01353-CV (Feb. 19, 2016) (mem. op.)

Supreme Court Update: Reasonable Diligence Not Established

A year ago, the Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of an equitable bill of review in which the defendants claimed that the plaintiff had not exercised reasonable diligence in its attempts to effect service through registered mail and personal delivery. The Texas Supreme Court has now set aside that ruling, holding that the defendants had presented some evidence that their failure to receive notice of the default judgment resulted solely from the plaintiff’s failure to certify the defendants’ last known mailing address, and not from any negligence or fault on the defendants’ own part. The record contained evidence that the plaintiff’s owner had met with the defendants’ registered agent at their current address, rather than the outdated address on file with the Secretary of State, that raised a genuine issue of material fact as to the validity of the plaintiff’s “last known mailing address” certification.

Katy Venture, Ltd. v. Cremona Bistro, LLC, No. 14-0629

Extrinsic Fraud on Bill of Review

The court of appeals has reversed summary judgment for the defendant in a bill of review case.  After 23 years of marriage, the appellant had filed for divorce from her husband.  Their divorce papers purported to waive the parties’ right to investigate assets and financial information.  But the wife later found out that her husband had substantially more assets than she had been led to believe, which in turn led her to seek a bill of review to overturn the couple’s property division, claiming extrinsic fraud in the judgmenmt.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the husband.  The court of appeals disagreed, holding that whether the husband’s alleged misrepresentations of his financial position and attempts to intimidate his wife into foregoing further investigation  presented a fact question for the jury on whether the settlement was procured by extrinsic fraud.  The court also rejected the husband’s estoppel defense, as there was a fact question whether the wife’s prior testimony that the settlement was fair and equitable was based on mistake, fraud, or duress.  Having reversed the summary judgment, the court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

In re Stroud, No. 05-00982-CV