Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re S.G.T.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

May 21, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF S.G.T., A CHILD

          On Appeal from the 254th Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-16-23071

          Before Justices Francis, Fillmore, and Whitehill

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BILL WHITEHILL JUSTICE

         This case involves Father's petition for a bill of review filed three years after the trial court's determination of child support obligations. In a single issue, Father argues the trial court erred in denying the petition because the failure to recognize his disability led to a retroactive child support judgment against him. We affirm the trial court's judgment because Father did not plead and prove extrinsic fraud or that the judgment was entered through no fault of his own.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Mother's petition to modify the parent-child relationship was heard on June 6, 2013. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) appeared, as did Mother and Father, both represented by counsel. On August 2, 2013, the trial court rendered judgment ordering Father to pay $222.56 monthly child support and $27, 901.58 retroactively.

         On October 26, 2016, Father filed a petition for review alleging that Mother and the OAG engaged in fraud against him by failing to account for disability payments he received after July 27, 2012, and by failing to properly record the Social Security Administration finding that he was disabled.

         The trial court held a hearing and dismissed the petition after concluding that Father's petition did not allege sufficient facts to sustain a bill of review. Appellant filed a motion to reconsider and a motion for new trial. After a hearing, both motions were denied.

         II. Analysis

         A. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         A bill of review is an equitable proceeding brought by a party to a former action who seeks to set aside a judgment that is no longer appealable or subject to a motion for new trial. Baker v. Goldsmith, 582 S.W.2d 404, 406 (Tex. 1979). A bill of review is proper when a party has exercised due diligence to prosecute all legal remedies against a former judgment. King Ranch, Inc. v. Chapman, 118 S.W.3d 742, 751 (Tex. 2003).

         Because Texas favors the finality of judgments, the grounds for granting a bill of review are narrow. Id. To set aside a judgment by bill of review, a petitioner must ordinarily plead and prove three elements: (i) a meritorious defense to the cause of action alleged to support the judgment; (ii) that the petitioner was prevented from making by the fraud, accident, or wrongful act of his or her opponent; and (iii) petitioner was not negligent. King Ranch, 118 S.W.3d at 751- 52. We review the granting or denial of a bill of review under an abuse of discretion standard. Ramsey v. Davis, 261 S.W.3d 811, 815 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.).

         B. Did Father plead and prove sufficient facts to invoke the court's equitable jurisdiction?

         The crux of Father's argument is that Mother and the OAG committed fraud by refusing to recognize that he was found disabled, and their failure to do so led to the retroactive child ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.