Friday, June 1, 2012

Holding On To Default Judgments in Texas

Creditors (and other plaintiffs) may find it harder to obtain and hold on to default judgments in the State of Texas. 

A recent study of appellate cases heard in the fourteen Texas Courts of Appeal during the Sept. 2010 to Aug. 2011 time frame found that appeals from “no answer” default judgments – in other words, cases where the defendant failed to enter an answer, the plaintiff obtained a default judgment, and the defendant filed a timely appeal from that default judgment – had a reversal rate of 77%.  So, approximately three out of every four default judgments was reversed and sent back down to the trial court for further action.

The reason for these reversals varied, as one would expect, but the primary basis appeared to be defects in personal service on the defendant/debtor.  The lesson for creditors: be extra careful when obtaining service of process on debtors if you want to increase your chances of holding on to the judgment. 

Source: Liberato & Rutter, “Reasons for Reversal in the Texas Courts of Appeal,” 48 Hous. L. Rev. 993 (2012).

By: Cynthia W. Veidt 

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