X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This suit was filed against Paula E. Williams to collect delinquent ad valorem taxes for the years 1991 through 1999. The parties bringing the suit are the county of Dallas, on its own behalf and on behalf of other political subdivisions whose taxes are collected by the Dallas County Tax Collector, the Dallas County School Equalization Fund, the Dallas County Community College District, and the Parkland Hospital District; and the city of Dallas, on its own behalf and on behalf of other political subdivisions whose taxes are collected by the city of Dallas Tax Collector, the Dallas Independent School District, and the Dallas County Education District (the taxing units). Following a bench trial, the trial court ruled in favor of the taxing units. HOLDING:Affirmed. Williams complains the trial court should have excluded the tax statement, because it was not properly certified as a public record and was not self-authenticating under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 902(4). Because Williams did not raise this objection at trial, she did not preserve error for review on this issue. However, even if error was preserved, the court concludes the tax statement was properly certified. Williams argues the trial court should have excluded the tax statement, because the taxing units did not timely disclose the tax statement in response to Williams’ request for disclosure. It is not disputed that the taxing units did not disclose the tax statement in response to Williams’ request for disclosure. However, Williams was given notice that the taxing units were attempting to collect all unpaid taxes assessed against the property, not just unpaid taxes through 1999. In their original petition, the taxing units described the property against which the taxes were assessed; stated they sought delinquent taxes, penalties, interest and costs owed against the property; attached a copy of the taxes delinquent through 1999; and gave notice the suit included all claims for taxes becoming delinquent on the property after the lawsuit was filed and up to the day of judgment. And the exhibit attached to the petition detailed the amounts due through 1999 and stated, “This suit covers all delinquent taxes owed on this property, whether or not itemized herein for all years.” As a result, the pleadings provided notice that the taxing units sought recovery of all unpaid taxes. The court also notes that Williams had the same access to public tax records as the taxing units. The court concludes that lack of unfair surprise to Williams was a legitimate basis for the trial court to admit the delinquent tax statement in evidence. The trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the evidence, the court concludes. Williams contends that the taxing units did not prove she owned the property. Williams did not plead or otherwise raise non-ownership of the property at trial. In a suit to collect delinquent taxes, non-ownership of property is an affirmative defense that must be pleaded or it is waived. OPINION:Lang-Miers, J.; Moseley, Richter, and Lang-Miers, 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?

 
 

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.