Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:In October 2002, the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services sued Connie Martin, seeking, among other things, to terminate her parental rights. Martin moved for sanctions on Nov. 20, 2002, and that same day, the trial court granted DFPS’ motion to non-suit the case. In February 2003, Martin served DFPS with a request for disclosures, which it answered in March. Martin served several subsequent requests, and moved to compel when DFPS didn’t answer. Instead, DFPS filed a plea to the trial court’s jurisdiction on Sept. 3, 2003, which the trial court granted. HOLDING:Vacated and dismissed. The court points out a trial court loses its plenary jurisdiction over a case 30 days after it signs a final judgment or order. The court also notes that under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 162, DFPS could non-suit a case at any time before the introduction of all of the plaintiff’s evidence. Rule 162, however, also states that a dismissal under its provisions does not affect pending motions for sanctions. Though Martin moved for sanctions before the trial court signed its non-suit order, the Texas Supreme Court has held in Lane Bank Equip. Co. v. Smith S. Equip., Inc., 10 S.W.3d 308 (Tex. 2000), that a judgment need not resolve a pending sanctions motion to be final. The court points out that it has held that a motion for sanctions filed pursuant to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code Chapter 105 does not present a claim for affirmative relief. Thus, the trial court’s non-suit order is a final judgment, and the trial court loses its plenary power, including its power to sanction DFPS, 31 days later. After this date, the trial court had no jurisdiction to enter any sanctions award. Judicial action taken after a trial court’s plenary power has expired is void. Consequently, its order granting DFPS’ plea is void. OPINION:Bland, J.; Radack, C.J., Bland and Sullivan, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.