TIM LEVASSEUR AND KRISSY LEVASSEUR, INDIVIDUALLY, AND D/B/A LIBERTY COIN, Appellants
STEVE AVEZZANO, Appellee
the County Court at Law Ellis County, Texas, Trial Court No.
Justice Davis, Justice Neill, and Judge Coley. 
E. NEILL JUSTICE.
Avezzano filed suit against Tim and Krissy Levasseur,
individually and d/b/a Liberty Coin, alleging causes of
action for theft, fraud, conversion, DTPA, breach of
contract, and quantum meruit. The trial court issued an order
striking the Levasseurs' only pleading as a discovery
sanction. The trial court later entered judgment in favor of
Avezzano. We affirm.
Levasseur, d/b/a Liberty Coin, purchased gold and coins from
Avezzano. Avezzano testified that in February 2015 and April
2015, he sent coins to Levasseur in accordance with their
agreement, but Levasseur did not send payment for the coins.
Avezzano requested Levasseur to pay for the coins or return
them. After not receiving payment or return of the coins,
Avezzano filed suit on August 31, 2015 against the Levasseurs
seeking the price of the coins, $200, 000, in damages. On
September 30, 2015, the Levasseurs filed special exceptions
to the petition. The Levasseurs did not file any other
December 21 2015, the parties entered into a settlement
agreement where the Levasseurs would pay Avezzano $200, 000
in certain installments. The Levasseurs paid the first
installment of $25, 000 to Avezzano as part of the agreement,
but failed to make the rest of the payments. Avezzano
proceeded with the lawsuit and attempted discovery.
in August 2016, the Levasseurs failed to appear at noticed
depositions. On November 2, 2016, Avezzano filed a motion for
sanctions against the Levasseurs for failing to attend the
numerous properly noticed depositions. On November 30, 2016,
the trial court granted the motion for sanctions and ordered
the Levasseurs to pay costs and attorney's fees. The
trial court also warned the Levasseurs that any further
failure to comply could result in the striking of their
pleadings. On December 1, 2016, Avezzano's attorney sent
deposition notices to the Levasseurs for December 6, 2016.
The Levasseurs again failed to appear, and Avezzano filed a
second motion for sanctions. The trial court granted the
motion for sanctions, ordered the Levasseurs to pay costs and
attorney's fees, and struck their pleadings. The trial
court further entered a default judgment against the
Levasseurs as to liability. The trial court ordered that the
cause would remain on the trial docket for January 31, 2017,
where Avezzano could appear and offer proof of damages,
costs, and attorney's fees. The Levasseurs were provided
with notice of the January 31, 2017 trial setting.
January 31, 2017, the Levasseurs failed to appear for trial,
but their attorney was present. The trial court awarded
Avezzano $175, 000 in damages and also awarded attorney's
first issue, the Levasseurs argue that the trial court erred
in granting "death penalty" sanctions. A trial
court's ruling on a motion for sanctions is reviewed
under an abuse of discretion standard. Cire v.
Cummings, 134 S.W.3d 835, 838 (Tex. 2004); Downer v.
Aquamarine Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d 238, 241 (Tex.
1985). The test for an abuse of discretion is not whether, in
the opinion of the reviewing court, the facts present an
appropriate case for the trial court's action, but
"whether the court acted without reference to any
guiding rules and principles." Downer v. Aquamarine
Operators, Inc., 701 S.W.2d at 241. The trial
court's ruling should be reversed only if it was
arbitrary or unreasonable. Cire v. Cummings, 134
S.W.3d at 839.
215.2 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provides that if:
a party fails to comply with proper discovery requests or to
obey an order to provide or permit discovery, … the
court in which the action is pending may, after notice and
hearing, make such orders in regard to the failure as are
just, and among others the following:
(1) an order disallowing any further discovery of any kind or
of a particular kind by ...