Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the 430th District Court of Hidalgo County,
Chief Justice Valdez and Justices Longoria and Hinojosa.
ROGELIO VALDEZ Chief Justice.
Marcos Lucio d/b/a Lighthouse Credit Solutions
("Lucio" and "Lighthouse, " respectively)
appeals the trial court's rendition of default judgment
against Lucio. Lucio contends that appellee, State of Texas
(the State) failed to obtain effective service upon Lucio.
Lucio argues the court never obtained in personam
jurisdiction whereby it could render a judgment against him.
We reverse and remand for further proceedings.
Lucio operated Lighthouse Credit Solutions, a credit repair
business, in Hidalgo County, Texas. Utilizing internet and
radio advertisements, Lighthouse Credit Solutions guaranteed
customers that it could improve their credit ratings.
Lucio's business, however, was not properly registered as
a credit services organization, and Lucio failed to perform
according to his business's guarantees. On February 8,
2011, the State filed its original petition and application
for temporary and permanent injunction against Lucio for
violations of Chapter 393 of the Texas Finance Code,
see Tex. Fin. Code § 393.001-.628 (West,
Westlaw through Ch. 34 2017 R. S.), and the Deceptive Trade
Practices-Consumer Protection Act, see Tex. Bus.
& Com. Code Ann. § 17.41-.63 (West, Westlaw through
Ch. 34 2017 R. S.).
trial court signed an agreed final judgment and permanent
injunction. The permanent injunction prohibited Lucio from
(1) engaging in business as a credit services organization
unless he holds a credit services organization certificate of
registration and bond; (2) advertising, offering for sale,
selling, or distributing a credit repair service to the
public unless he holds a credit services organization
certificate of registration; and (3) misrepresenting-either
orally or in writing, directly or by implication-any fact
material to a consumer's decision to purchase any credit
Lucio violated the injunction, the State filed a motion for
contempt and petition for violation of permanent injunction
against Lucio on March 11, 2015. Alleging it attempted
service five times, the State moved for substitute service of
process on April 27, 2015. The trial court granted the motion
that same day.
April 28, 2015, the State amended its motion for contempt and
petition for civil penalties for violation of permanent
injunction against Lucio. On May 1, 2015, the district court
set a show cause hearing for May 27, 2015. The State contends
it served Lucio twelve days later with (1) the notice to show
cause, (2) the order resetting the show cause hearing, and
(3) the State's amended contempt motion through one of
Lucio's employees at Lucio's place of business. Lucio
failed to appear in court on May 27, 2015, and the State
proceeded on its amended contempt motion, seeking civil
penalties and injunctive relief. The trial court heard the
evidence, and on May 29, 2015, the trial court signed a
judgment of contempt and permanent injunction against Lucio.
was served with a copy of the judgment for contempt on June
9, 2015, and he filed a notice of restricted appeal on July
first issue, Lucio contends that the trial court did not have
in personam jurisdiction over him because the State failed to
deliver effective service.
Standard of Review
a Texas court has personal jurisdiction is a question of law,
which we review de novo. BMC Software Belgium, N.V. v.