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:Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages Inc. sued Eugene X. Mercier to recover a debt of $274,767.29 for advertising services and additionally sought an award of $91,589.09 in attorney’s fees to pay its attorney Ryan E. Stevens. Southwestern Bell moved for summary judgment asserting its entitlement to recover on the debt under the causes of action of sworn account, breach of contract and quantum meruit, as well as its entitlement to recover attorney’s fees and costs of court. Mercier did not respond and the trial court entered an order granting summary judgment. Mercier then filed a motion for new trial, which the trial court granted. Southwestern Bell subsequently filed a second motion for summary judgment adopting by reference its original motion for summary judgment including the exhibits. Without stating its reasons, the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Southwestern Bell. Mercier again filed a motion for new trial. The trial court denied the motion. HOLDING:Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part. Southwestern Bell, the court stated, provided copies of contracts executed by Mercier by which Southwestern Bell agreed to provide advertising to Mercier in the 2003 and 2004 Corpus Christi and Rio Grande Valley telephone directories and by which Mercier agreed to pay for the advertising. Southwestern Bell’s summary judgment evidence further demonstrated that Southwestern Bell provided advertising in the directories and that there remained an unpaid balance of $274,767.29. In his response to Southwestern Bell’s motion for summary judgment, Mercier acknowledged that he contracted for the advertising services and that he did not pay for the services. Based on the foregoing evidence, the court concluded that Southwestern Bell established its entitlement to summary judgment on both breach of contract and quantum meruit grounds as a matter of law. The court further concluded that Mercier did not raise any fact issues precluding summary judgment in his written response. Mercier, the court stated, also contended that the trial court erred in awarding Southwestern Bell attorney’s fees in the amount of $91,589. Mercier contended that Southwestern Bell failed to demonstrate the reasonableness and necessity of the fees. The court agreed. The trial court awarded attorney’s fees under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �38.001. The awarding of fees under �38.001, the court stated, is mandatory if there is proof of the reasonableness of the fees. On appeal, the court stated, Mercier re-urged his contention that, without proof of a written contingent-fee agreement, and without proof, other than Stevens’ conclusory statement, that an award of attorney’s fees for “1/3 of the amount owed” would be reasonable, Stevens failed to show himself entitled to the fees awarded. The court concluded that Stevens’ contentions � that Southwestern Bell agreed to pay reasonable attorney’s fees and that “1/3 of the amount owed” or $91,589.09 would be reasonable � does not prove that the fee was reasonable for purposes of a recovery of attorney’s fees from Mercier. Accordingly, the court concluded that the trial court erred in awarding Southwestern Bell’s request for attorney’s fees. The court reversed and remanded in part to the trial court for a determination of the attorney’s fees issue. OPINION:Garza, J.; Yanez, Rodriguez and Garza, J.J.

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

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* 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 © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.