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 August 2001, John Clark and appellees Tom and Jan Bres entered into a construction contract in which John Clark agreed to remodel and construct an addition to appellees’ home. The relationship between Clark and appellees soured to the point that Clark filed suit against appellees. John Clark alleged appellees breached the contract by failing to pay him for all work he had completed. Appellees filed an answer and counterclaim alleging breach of contract, theft, fraud, unjust enrichment, and violations of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act. At trial, John Clark was represented by his mother, Betty Clark. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of appellees. The final judgment awarded appellees $140,000 in damages, $200,000 in additional damages, and attorney’s fees totaling $280,000. On Dec. 15, 2004, the trial court issued an order sanctioning Betty Clark. In that order, the trial court found that Betty Clark’s line of questioning in the deposition of Jan Bres was conducted for the purposes of harassment, intimidation of the witness and unfair tactical advantage. The trial court ordered Betty Clark to pay $2,500.00 in sanctions and attend eight hours of continuing legal education in legal ethics. In an appeal, appellants John Clark and Betty Clark sought reversal of the judgment against John Clark and remand for a new trial on the grounds of improper jury argument. Betty Clark sought to have sanctions levied against her reversed. HOLDING:Affirmed. In his first issue, John Clark argued that appellees engaged in incurable jury argument when appellees’ counsel called John Clark “a thief, a liar, a cheat and a fraud” during closing argument. John Clark, the court stated, was required to show appellees’ arguments amounted to incurable jury argument since he failed to lodge any form of contemporaneous objection to them. The court found that a central issue in the dispute was whether John Clark had lied to, cheated, stolen from, or defrauded appellees; therefore, appellees use of those terms during closing argument did not constitute incurable jury argument. John Clark also argued that appellees engaged in incurable jury argument when appellees discussed John Clark’s litigation with other customers. But the court held that because John Clark did not make an objection during appellees’ closing argument, he waived any error that might have taken place. Betty Clark argued her due process rights were violated because she did not receive full notice of the conduct that the trial court was considering for possible sanctions. After an independent review of the record, the court held that Betty Clark’s due process was not violated because she was “given adequate notice of the trial court’s intention to consider sanctions and was given an opportunity to respond.” In overruling additional points of error, the court stated that Betty Clark was not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of sanctions, and even assuming the trial court erred in citing to alleged violations of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct in the sanctions order, this reference did not result in an improper judgment because there were other grounds to support the sanctions order. OPINION:Anderson, J.; Anderson, Edelman, and Frost, J.J.

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.