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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Rebecca L. Broesche and John Daniel Jacobson divorced in 1993 with an agreed decree. Postdivorce litigation began in 1996. Jacobson was a geologist employed by Texas Independent Exploration Inc. (TIE). TIE compensated Jacobson largely by giving him interests in the oil and gas wells that he helped develop. When Broesche, who is also a geologist, and Jacobson divorced, the decree provided that Broesche would receive “[o]ne-half of all oil and gas interests of the parties as described in Exhibit A,” which was a list of 50 oil and gas wells. The central issue in this litigation was the parties’ differing interpretations of exactly what oil and gas interests Broesche received in the decree. Jacobson contended Broesche’s interest is only in the specific wells listed, whereas Broesche claimed that she has an interest in the leaseholds associated with each well. The trial court eventually agreed with Jacobson and ruled as a matter of law that the agreed decree unambiguously awarded an interest only in the wells listed in Exhibit A, not in the associated leaseholds or any subsequent wells drilled pursuant to those leaseholds. The decree also provided that Broesche was responsible for paying one-half of federal income taxes due during certain years of the marriage. When Broesche failed to pay these taxes, Jacobson brought an action in 1996 to enforce the decree. In 1997, the trial court entered judgment for Jacobson in the amount of $24,421 plus interest. Jacobson then filed a writ of garnishment against TIE, who, as operator of the wells, was responsible for paying Broesche revenue for her oil and gas interests under the decree. The trial court eventually dismissed the writ of garnishment and granted a new trial on the tax issue on the condition, to which Broesche agreed, that TIE continue to hold in suspense the money generated from Broesche’s oil and gas interests. The trial court later held a new trial on the tax issue and other issues and entered a judgment in June 2000. Thereafter, in September 2000, the trial court granted another motion for new trial on the other issues but not the tax issue, rendering the tax judgment interlocutory. Meanwhile, TIE became further involved in the litigation in 1998 when Broesche asserted claims against TIE regarding TIE’s handling of her oil and gas interests, including breach of contract, fraud and conversion. TIE moved for summary judgment on all claims. The trial court granted summary judgment for TIE in the matter in 1999, and Broesche did not appeal. TIE continued to hold revenues from Broesche’s oil and gas interests in suspense, because the trial court had not yet held the second trial on the remaining issues. Both parties, however, began demanding that TIE release the funds to them. Because of these conflicting demands, TIE in 2002 filed an interpleader action and deposited the funds in the court’s registry. In January 2004, the remaining issues came to trial. In a pretrial hearing, the trial court made its ruling regarding the interpretation of the decree, rejecting Broesche’s arguments regarding the nature of her oil and gas interests as a matter of law. This ruling effectively resolved all remaining claims except Jacobson’s and TIE’s claims for attorneys’ fees and sanctions against Broesche. The trial court had granted TIE’s motion for sanctions on June 17, 2003, and awarded $17,500 to TIE but carried Jacobson’s motion for sanctions. On Feb. 24, 2004, the trial court signed an order granting Jacobson’s motion for sanctions, awarding $162,000. The same day, the trial court entered a final judgment that, among other things, reconfirmed Jacobson’s prior tax judgment and awarded TIE $119,598.74 in attorneys’ fees for its interpleader action. Now that the tax judgment was final, Jacobson filed a motion under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �31.002, the turnover statute, to have the interpleaded funds turned over to him to satisfy the judgment in his favor. Because the amount of tax money owed by Broesche had more than doubled with interest during the dispute, Jacobson received most of the $55,925.39 in the court’s registry. In 10 issues, Broesche appealed the final judgment, the turnover order and both sanctions orders. HOLDING:Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part. In her first issue, Broesche claims the trial court erred in its interpretation of the divorce decree. The court could not determine whether the parties used the term working interest in its technical sense to refer to a leasehold interest or more loosely to mean mineral interests. The court concluded that both of those interpretations of the decree were reasonable. Thus, the court found that the decree was ambiguous as to the exact nature of the oil and gas interests awarded to Broesche in the decree. Therefore, the court concluded that the trial court erred in finding that the decree unambiguously awarded Broesche an interest only in the wells and not in any leaseholds. As for Broesche’s appeal of the denial of her conversion claims, the court found that her brief never mentioned, much less rebutted, the specific grounds for summary judgment on her conversion claim against TIE offered in TIE’s motion. For these reasons, the court overruled Broesche’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth issues. The court noted that in January 2003, Jacobson moved for sanctions against Broesche asserting multiple grounds, including that Broesche filed numerous groundless pleadings in bad faith or for improper purposes, abused the discovery process and engaged in conduct intended to disrupt the proceedings. Based on the entire record, the court concluded that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing sanctions. The trial court awarded TIE $119,598.74 in attorneys’ fees for its interpleader. The amount of fees included not only TIE’s actual time spent preparing and filing the interpleader but also its time spent defending against Broesche’s conversion counterclaim. Broesche contended that TIE could obtain attorneys’ fees only for the time spent preparing and filing the interpleader. The court, however, concluded that the interpleader and defense of the counterclaim were inextricably intertwined, because to prevail on its interpleader, TIE had to defeat the conversion counterclaim. Thus, legal services to defeat the counterclaim advanced TIE’s interpleader. Therefore, the court held that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding TIE attorneys’ fees based on its defense of Broesche’s conversion counterclaim. In her 10th issue, Broesche contended that the trial court erred in granting the turnover motion, because the funds were in the court’s registry pursuant to an illegal garnishment proceeding. The court rejected this argument on grounds that TIE deposited the funds in the court’s registry pursuant to its interpleader, not a garnishment proceeding. OPINION:Yates, J.; Yates, Anderson and Hudson, J.J.

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