Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 254th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DF-16-23071
Justices Francis, Fillmore, and Whitehill
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.
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,
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.
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.
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
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).
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.).
Did Father plead and prove sufficient facts to invoke the
court's equitable jurisdiction?
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