Appeal from the 190th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2014-40269
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Jamison and
Thompson Frost Chief Justice.
plaintiff seeks to appeal an order in which the trial court
granted the defendants' summary-judgment motion and
dismissed the plaintiff's claims with prejudice. In the
order, the trial court did not actually dispose of the
defendants' requests for attorney's fees nor state
with unmistakable clarity that the order was final.
Concluding that the order is interlocutory and that no
statute authorizes an interlocutory appeal from the order, we
dismiss this case for lack of appellate jurisdiction.
Factual and Procedural Background
Baker Hughes, Inc. and Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, Inc.
(collectively, the "Baker-Hughes Parties") hired
appellant/plaintiff Equipment Performance Management, Inc. to
provide preventative-maintenance services to their
pressure-pumping equipment and to perform safety inspections
required by the Texas Department of Transportation. According
to Equipment Management, the Baker-Hughes Parties hired away
the chief of Equipment Management's
preventative-maintenance crew in violation of the crew
chief's contract with Equipment Management and induced
one of Equipment Management's inspectors to start his own
company, which the Baker-Hughes Parties then used for their
Management sued the Baker-Hughes Parties alleging tortious
interference with contract, participation in breach of
fiduciary duty, misappropriation of trade secrets, and
violations of the Texas Theft Liability Act arising out of
the Baker-Hughes Parties' alleged actions. The
Baker-Hughes Parties denied liability and sought to recover
attorney's fees under Civil Practice and Remedies Code
section 134.005(b), which entitles a defendant to recover its
reasonable and necessary attorney's fees for successfully
defending a claim based on an alleged violation of the Texas
Theft Liability Act. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. § 134.005(b).
Baker-Hughes Parties then moved for traditional and
no-evidence summary judgment on all of Equipment
Management's claims. The trial court granted summary
judgment. In moving for summary judgment, the Baker-Hughes
Parties had not sought or proved any amount of attorney's
fees. And, in granting summary judgment, the trial court did
not award any amount of attorney's fees. In its
summary-judgment order, the trial court dismissed Equipment
Management's claims with prejudice.
Management appealed. The day after Equipment Management filed
its notice of appeal, the Baker-Hughes Parties moved to
modify the summary judgment. In their motion to modify, the
Baker-Hughes Parties undertook to prove their attorney's
fees and asked the trial court to modify the judgment to
include the amount of attorney's fees and costs to which
the Baker-Hughes Parties were entitled. The trial court has
taken no action on the motion to modify the judgment.
appeal, the Baker-Hughes Parties assert that this court lacks
jurisdiction over this appeal because the trial court's
judgment is interlocutory. Obliged to determine our own
jurisdiction, see City of Houston v. Rhule, 417
S.W.3d 440, 442 (Tex. 2013), we consider as a threshold
question whether the trial court's judgment is final for
purposes of appeal. If it is not, we lack appellate
jurisdiction to proceed.
statute authorizes an interlocutory appeal in this case, so
this court has jurisdiction over this appeal only if the
trial court's summary-judgment order is final. See
Stary v. DeBord, 967 S.W.2d 352, 352-53 (Tex. 1998) (per
curiam). An order issued without a conventional trial on the
merits is final for purposes of appeal if it (1) actually
disposes of all claims and all parties before the court or
(2) states with unmistakable clarity that it is a final
judgment. See Lehmann v. Har-Con Corp., 39 S.W.3d
191, 192, 200 (Tex. 2001).
The judgment does not actually dispose of all parties and
claims or state with unmistakable clarity an intent to do
trial court did not include any language indicating that its
summary-judgment order was final or that the order resolved
all claims between and among all parties. Nor did the trial
court state with unmistakable clarity that the trial ...