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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS: Lorrie Frazin purchased property from a seller who had, in turn, bought the property from Jane and William Hanley. The Hanleys held a $75,000 lien on the property. They financed the original purchase with a $75,000 interest-only promissory note on the property, which Frazin assumed. Frazin later modified the note to extend the maturity date and to amortize both the principal and interest amounts. Years later, Frazin wanted to refinance the property. During this process, Frazin and the Hanleys disagreed with how much was owed under the note. The Hanleys did not receive either the balance or the next month’s payout. Instead, Frazin filed suit and secured a temporary restraining order enjoining any disbursement of the refinancing proceeds to the Hanleys. The case was set for trial on Aug. 20, 2002. The Hanleys filed a counterclaim on July 11, seeking the balance due on the note. The Hanleys also alleged Frazin breached their agreement to pay off the note in exchange for the release of their lien on the property. Frazin supplemented her previous discovery answers on July 19, designating three experts to testify about the proper accounting of loan balances, attorneys’ fees in Dallas, and attorneys fees in general. The trial court granted the Hanleys’ motion to exclude the experts as untimely designated. Frazin eventually dismissed her claims. The Hanleys’ counterclaim went to trial, and a trial court entered judgment against Frazin for $28,095 in actual damages, plus attorneys’ fees, conditional appellate attorneys’ fees and post-interest. HOLDING: Reversed and remanded. The court first confirms that Frazin and the Hanleys had a valid contract, and that there was evidence that Frazin accepted the Hanleys’ offer to release the lien in exchange for the note’s payoff. The court also finds that there was evidence of the Hanleys’ substantial performance of the agreement. There was evidence that the Hanleys released the lien by e-mail, and that the refinance deal was closed. In light of William Hanley’s testimony that the refinancing was conditioned upon the Hanleys’ release of the lien, it can be reasonably inferred that the Hanleys did in fact release their lien. However, the court also finds that the trial court erred in excluding Frazin’s experts. The court agrees that supplemental discovery answers are governed by T.R.Civ.P. 193.5(b), and that a response made less than 30 days prior to trial is presumed not to be reasonably promptly made. Frazin designated the three experts a mere eight days after the Hanleys filed their counterclaim, and the experts were to testify to issues raised by the counterclaim. There was no evidence Frazin delayed disclosing the witnesses. Moreover, because these experts’ testimony was the only evidence Frazin had to dispute the Hanleys’ calculation of damages and attorneys’ fees, Frazin was necessarily harmed. The court adds that the witness’ testimony was not limited as defense or rebuttal witnesses. OPINION: Morris, J.; Morris, Francis and Lang-Miers, JJ.

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