Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
FROM THE COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 1 HENDERSON COUNTY, TEXAS
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Bass, Retired J.,
Twelfth Court of Appeals, sitting by assignment.
Barbay brought suit against her father's estate for
breach of a family settlement agreement. The trial court
granted summary judgment for the estate based upon the
estate's plea of limitations. In one issue, Zelena
contends the trial court erred in granting summary judgment.
The only question presented is when the statute of
limitations began to run. We reverse and remand.
Delea Taraba, the wife of Stanley William Taraba, died on
September 21, 1976. Zelena and her brother, Randal William
Taraba, are the children of Doris and Stanley. On March 27,
1986, Zelena and Randal entered into a family settlement
agreement with Stanley. As part of the agreement, the
children conveyed to Stanley all their interest in the
property owned by Doris at the time of her death including,
but not limited to, her community interest in the house and
lot located at Foxcrest, Carrollton, Dallas County, Texas. In
consideration therefore, Stanley agreed to convey by will, at
his death, a one-half interest in the house and lot in
Carrollton to Randal and Zelena.
5, 1997, Stanley sold the house. Zelena became aware of the
sale in 1997. Stanley died in September 2015. Mary McCarty
Taraba was appointed executrix of Stanley's estate.
Apparently, Stanley's will contained no devise of the
Carrollton house to Randal and Zelena as agreed to in the
family settlement agreement. Nor was there a devise or
bequest to them of the proceeds from the sale of the house.
Zelena filed an unsecured claim against the estate for a
one-half interest in the house and lot in Carrollton, which
was promptly denied.
November 1, 2016, Zelena brought suit for Stanley's
breach of the family settlement agreement. Mary moved for
summary judgment contending that Zelena's claim was
barred by the four year statute of limitations. The trial
court granted Mary's motion. This appeal followed.
maintains that the four year statute of limitations did not
begin to run until Stanley's 2015 death, the time for
performance specified in the agreement. Mary insists that the
statute commenced to run in 1997 when Zelena learned the
house had been sold.
summary judgment is reviewed de novo. See Nixon v. Mr.
Property Mgmt. Co., 690 S.W.2d 546, 548-49 (Tex. 1985);
see also Am. Tobacco Co. v. Grinnell, 951 S.W.2d
420, 425 (Tex. 1997). Appellate courts review summary
judgments following these familiar and well-established
standards: (1) the movant has the burden of showing that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law; (2) in deciding
whether there is a material fact issue precluding summary
judgment, evidence favorable to the nonmovant will be taken
as true; and (3) every reasonable inference must be indulged
in favor of the nonmovant and any doubts must be resolved in
favor of the nonmovant. Grinnell, 951 S.W.2d at 425.
A trial court should grant a defendant's motion for
summary judgment if the defendant establishes all the
elements of an affirmative defense as a matter of law.
of actions accrue and statutes of limitations begin to run
when facts come into existence that authorize a claimant to
seek a judicial remedy." Exxon Corp. v. Emerald Oil
& Gas Co., L.C., 348 S.W.3d 194, 202 (Tex. 2011).
When a cause of action accrues is normally a question of law.
Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128
S.W.3d 211, 221 (Tex. 2003). A cause of action for breach of
contract generally accrues when the contract is breached and
limitations begin to run at the time of the breach. See
Cosgrove v. Cade, 468 S.W.3d 32, 39 (Tex. 2015). The
limitation period for a cause of action for breach of