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.

White v. Walsh

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

July 31, 2019

Allison Tracy WHITE, Appellant
v.
Jason WALSH, Appellee

          From the 285th Judicial District Court, Bexar County, Texas Trial Court No. 2014-CI-02528 Honorable Stephani A. Walsh, Judge Presiding

          Sitting: Rebeca C. Martinez, Justice Beth Watkins, Justice Liza A. Rodriguez, Justice

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REBECA C. MARTINEZ, JUSTICE

         Allision Tracy White challenges the trial court's order dismissing her petition for bill of review based on failure to prosecute. White contends: (1) the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter its dismissal order, (2) the trial court failed to give sufficient notice of its intent to dismiss, (3) the trial court erred in denying reinstatement of White's case without holding a hearing, and (4) the trial court erred in denying White a hearing on her motion for reconsideration and motion to vacate. White's second issue is dispositive.[1] We hold notice of dismissal was insufficient, and we reverse the trial court's dismissal order and remand with instructions to reinstate White's petition.

         BACKGROUND

         As a bill-of-review appeal, this appeal concerns two trial-court cause numbers: (1) the cause number assigned to the original case that resulted in a final judgment; and (2) the cause number assigned to the petition for bill of review, which seeks to set aside the judgment in the original case.

         In March 2013, Appellee Jason Walsh filed an original divorce proceeding under Cause No. 2013-CI-04825 (the "2013 Cause"). In August 2013, the trial court entered a final divorce decree in that proceeding. In February 2014, Appellant Allison Tracy White filed a petition for bill of review under Cause No. 2014-CI-02528 (the "2014 Cause"). In her petition, White requested the court set aside the final divorce decree entered in the 2013 Cause.

         In July 2014, the trial court held a hearing on the bill of review. There is no reporter's record from the hearing, and the trial court never entered a formal order. The judge's notes from the hearing state, "Bill of Review-granted," and "Trial 8/27/14 9am."[2]

         From this point, the parties confusingly filed documents in both the 2013 Cause and 2014 Cause, and the trial court held hearings in both causes. On August 27, 2014, the trial court held a hearing in the 2014 Cause at which the parties announced "not ready" for trial. In September 2014, White filed a motion for a continuance of the trial setting to conduct discovery in the 2014 Cause. In March 2016, White filed a motion to compel discovery, and, in August 2016, the trial court entered an agreed order on the motion to compel. The trial court also entered temporary orders in the 2014 Cause.

         We do not have a complete record from the 2013 Cause because the present appeal is an appeal from the 2014 Cause.[3] White filed a jury demand in the 2013 Cause in July 2016, and the 2013 Cause was subsequently set for trial at least six times.

         In May 2018, the trial court set the 2014 Cause for a hearing on July 10, 2018, on the dismissal docket. On June 7, 2018, Walsh filed a "Motion to Strike Jury Demand and to Dismiss" in the 2013 Cause. By his motion, Walsh sought to strike White's jury demand and sought "dismiss[al] of this case."

         The trial court held a hearing on Walsh's motion on June 19, 2018. The trial court granted Walsh's motion at the hearing and directed the parties to prepare an order to be filed in both cause numbers. The trial court stated: "I'm going to enter the order in the 2013 [Cause] that grants the dismissal of the Bill of Review in the 2014 [Cause]." According to the trial court, the effect of these orders in the two proceedings would be to dismiss the 2014 Cause and to leave the 2013 divorce decree effective and final. According to the trial court, the order to be entered in the 2013 Cause would moot all filings in the 2013 Cause filed after the divorce decree was entered. The trial court thereafter signed orders in both causes granting Walsh's motion and ordering that the final divorce decree in the 2013 Cause "shall remain in full force and effect."

         White then filed a motion-and later amended motions-to reinstate the 2014 Cause. The parties dispute whether White properly requested hearings on her motions, but it is undisputed the trial court did not hold any hearings on White's ...


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.