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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Rule 165a(3) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a timely motion to reinstate a case that has been dismissed for want of prosecution extends the deadline to perfect appeal. The rule also states: “A motion to reinstate shall set forth the grounds therefor and be verified by the movant or his attorney.” Petitioner Anita Guest and her husband James sued respondent Dr. Austin Dixon and others for medical malpractice. Nearly seven years later, and five years after James had died, Dixon, the only remaining defendant, moved to dismiss the case for want of prosecution. Guest took five months to respond to the motion, and after a hearing, the trial court granted it. Guest then filed a motion to reinstate supported by the affidavit of a lawyer who had acted as co-counsel for her along with other lawyers in his firm for almost all of the time the case had been pending but who, according to his affidavit, had withdrawn from the firm before the case was dismissed. The affidavit discussed the history of the prosecution of the case based on the lawyer’s personal knowledge. The trial court denied the motion, and Guest filed a notice of appeal 89 days after the judgment was signed. A divided 7th Court of Appeals held that a motion to reinstate supported only by the affidavit of the movant’s former attorney in the case does not extend the deadline for appeal. The 7th Court dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction, holding that “because the motion to reinstate was not properly verified, it did not operate to extend the deadline for filing the notice of appeal.” HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. The Supreme Court notes that it held in Butts v. Capitol City Nursing Home, Inc., 705 S.W.2d 696, 697 (Tex. 1986) (per curiam), and again in McConnell v. May, 800 S.W.2d 194, 194 (Tex. 1990) (per curiam), that an unverified motion to reinstate does not extend the deadline for perfecting appeal. Since those cases, the court says it has repeatedly stressed that procedural rules should be construed and applied so that the right of appeal is not unnecessarily lost to technicalities. Assuming that the rule in Butts and McConnell survives our later cases, the court states that the motion in this case was properly verified, because it was supported by the affidavit of the person who was Guest’s attorney for much of the time the case was pending who was aware of the facts regarding its prosecution. That was sufficient to satisfy Rule 165a. To hold that the motion could not be supported by the affidavit of Guest’s former attorney could deprive the party of the best evidence available. The rule does not require such a result. Dixon also argues that the motion to reinstate was not properly verified because Guest’s former attorney ceased his representation nearly two years before the motion was filed and therefore could not account for any lack of activity during that period. But while the attorney’s lack of knowledge may go to the merits of the reinstatement motion, it does not deprive the court of jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court grants Guest’s petition for review and, without hearing oral argument, reverses the judgment of the court of appeals and remands the case to that court for consideration of the other arguments raised by the appeal. OPINION:Per curiam, Johnson, J., not sitting.

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