Appeal from the 506th District Court Grimes County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 31919
consists of Justices Wise, Zimmerer, and Spain.
CHARLES A. SPAIN JUSTICE.
Jack Corey and Corey Supply appeal the trial court's
post-judgment order imposing monetary sanctions against them
in connection with Corey's failure to appear at a
deposition noticed by appellees, Jonathan L. Rankin and RAMS
Aviation Company, Inc. ("RAMS"). In a single issue,
Corey and Corey Supply contend the trial court abused its
discretion in assessing sanctions. We affirm.
and RAMS obtained a judgment against Jack
Corey. Rankin and RAMS sought to conduct a
post-judgment deposition of Corey in an effort to collect the
judgment. Rankin and RAMS repeatedly attempted to schedule
the deposition by agreement, but Corey did not respond with
available dates. Consequently, Rankin and RAMS served Corey
with a deposition notice setting the deposition for September
20, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
September 19, 2017, the day before the scheduled deposition,
Corey and Corey Supply paid cash into the court's
registry in lieu of a bond, ceasing enforcement of the
judgment. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 621a; Tex.R.App.P.
24.1. After 4:00 p.m. on the same day, Corey and Corey Supply
informed Rankin and RAMS that the cash deposit had been made
and, as a result, Corey would not appear for his deposition.
and RAMS moved to compel Corey's deposition, arguing that
the cash paid into the court's registry was insufficient
to supersede the judgment and suspend enforcement
proceedings. In the same motion, Rankin and RAMS also moved
for sanctions against Corey and Corey Supply pursuant to
Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 215, specifically 215.1, for
Corey's failure to appear at the deposition. See
Tex. R. Civ. P. 215. In support of the request for sanctions,
Rankin and RAMS attached to the motion an affidavit and a
billing record showing they had incurred $1, 340 in
attorney's fees for four hours their attorneys spent
preparing for the deposition.
hearing, the trial court denied in part, and granted in part,
Rankin and RAMS's motion. The trial court determined the
judgment had been supersededand denied the request to compel
the deposition. However, the court granted the request for
sanctions and ordered Corey and Corey Supply to pay $1, 340
and Corey Supply argue the trial court abused its discretion
by awarding sanctions because Corey and Corey Supply had
superseded the judgment prior to the scheduled deposition.
Corey and Corey Supply suggest that because they superseded
the judgment before the deposition date, the deposition
notice was no longer effective, and therefore, Corey's
failure to appear for the deposition did not warrant
sanctions pursuant to Rule 215.1.
review a trial court's imposition of sanctions for an
abuse of discretion. Am. Flood Research, Inc. v.
Jones, 192 S.W.3d 581, 583 (Tex. 2006) (per curiam).
Sanctions will be reversed only if the trial court acted
without reference to any guiding rules and principles, such
that its ruling was arbitrary or unreasonable. Id.
trial court's order awarding sanctions did not refer to
Rule 215.1 or track the language of Rule 215.1; thus, whether
the sanctions were proper is not governed by Rule 215.1
alone. See Am. Flood Research, 192 S.W.3d at 583-84
("The order imposing sanctions neither referred to a
specific rule nor tracked the language of any particular
rule; thus, . . . whether the trial court properly sanctioned
[attorney] is not governed by Rule 215.3 alone.").
Although Rankin and RAMS's motion specifically references
sanctions under Rule 215.1(b) in addition to generally
referencing Rule 215, we conclude that the motion and
arguments presented were sufficiently broad for us to affirm
the trial court's sanctions order under Rule
215.3. See Oliver v. Smith Int'l,
Inc., No. 14-11-00276-CV, 2011 WL 5056422, at *2 &
n.5 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 25, 2011, no pet.)
(mem. op.) (concluding motion and arguments were broad enough
to affirm sanctions under Rule 215.3 although movant
specifically referenced Rule 215.1(b)(2)(A)). Rule 215.3
provides that the trial court may impose sanctions "[i]f
the court finds a party is abusing the discovery process in
seeking, making, or resisting discovery."
their motion, Rankin and RAMS argued that Corey and Corey
Supply were abusing the discovery process by resisting
discovery. Rankin and RAMS asserted that they made
"multiple attempts" to schedule the post-judgment
deposition by agreement but their efforts were
"completely ignored." Rankin and RAMS also asserted
that, "[d]espite knowing Rankin[ and RAMS's] intent
to proceed with collection of the judgment entered against
Defendants for months, Defendants waited over six weeks,
until the day before the scheduled deposition to take any
action with respect to the Notice of Deposition." Rankin
and RAMS complained that "Defendants . . . only notified
Rankin [and RAMS] late in the afternoon the day before the
scheduled deposition that they would not be present."