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

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