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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In August 1999, the trustees of Wilchester Homeowners Association, Wilchester West Homeowners Association and the Wilchester Club formed the Wilchester Club Resolution Committee to prepare recommendations concerning the financial future of the club and is relationship with the subdivisions. The committee prepared a paper setting forth its conclusions that the current voluntary annual membership dues for use of the club were not enough to keep up the swimming pool and tennis facilities. The paper concluded that the homeowners’ associations of all subdivisions should vote to either merge with the club or to increase their annual assessments. A majority of the Wilchester West HOA voted against raising their fees, while the Wilchester subdivision homeowners voted to amend their deed restrictions to increase their annual homeowners’ assessment. Petitions were circulated in Wilchester West, and homeowners in that subdivision eventually followed suit. Club representatives met in April 2000 to execute a use agreement to reflect the new membership and assessment developments. Wilchester West Concerned Homeowners (WWCH), a non-profit organization of homeowners from Wilchester West, sued the club and the homeowners’ associations alleging that the petition drive was improper and that the use agreement violated Wilchester West deed restrictions. WWCH sought several declarations related to homeowner authority, though WWCH did not specifically invoke the Declaratory Judgment Act. The club and the homeowners’ associations defended on the merits, and also contended that because all of the homeowners in the subdivisions were necessary parties and had not been served or joined in the suit, the trial court could not grant the declaratory relief sought by WWCH. Without stating its reasons, the trial court denied WWCH’s motion for summary judgment and granted the one filed by the defendants. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court treats WWCH’s claims as if they were brought under the DJA and notes that WWCH’s failure to negate the joinder issue in its summary judgment response means that WWCH is limited on appeal to arguing the legal sufficiency of the issue. If it was uncertain as to the nature of the grounds asserted by the defendants, it was incumbent on WWCH to seek clarification from the trial court. The court points out that DJA �37.006(a) states that all persons who have or claim any interest that would be affected by a declaration must be joined as parties. Additionally, Property Code �301.010(b) says that a suit for a declaratory judgment must name as defendants the final members of the petition committee who are owners of property in the subdivision at the time of the filing of the suit. WWCH sought relief from the trial court in the form of a declaratory judgment that would have rendered void the amended deed restrictions for all of the homeowners in the Wilchester West subdivision. On their face, therefore, WWCH’s claims would directly affect the property interest of each of the homeowners in that subdivision. “Because these homeowners, whose property rights and interests were directly at stake, were indispensable parties to the resolution of WWCH’s declaratory judgment action, we hold that WWCH’s failure to comply with section 201.010(b) deprived the trial court of subject matter jurisdiction.” OPINION:Jennings, J.; Nuchia, Jennings and Keyes, JJ.

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