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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The court began by stating that Robert H. Twist filed an appeal, Twist v. McAllen National Bank, et al., appellate Cause No. 13-06-638-CV, and a mandamus proceeding, In Re: Twist, appellate Cause No. 13-07-105-CV, arising from orders issued by the trial court in Cause No. C-3690-99-A. The court then stated in a footnote: “Normally we need not reference the trial court’s cause number in the body of an opinion. However, Robert H. Twist has filed numerous lawsuits and appellate proceedings arising out of the same set of facts. The multiplicity of Twist’s actions remind this Court of the multi-headed monster from Greek mythology, the Lernaean hydra: cut off a head, and several heads grow back in its place. We wish to make absolutely clear which litigation we are addressing because we intend this opinion to completely dispose of the hydra and all its heads.” The court then stated that it would not entertain any motion for rehearing in either the appeal or the mandamus proceeding or any further proceedings arising from trial court Cause No. C-3690-99-A. In 1995, Twist recovered a personal injury settlement for $175,000, which he deposited into an account at McAllen National Bank. At the time, Twist was married to Brenda Griggs, but he allegedly instructed the bank not to distribute any funds from the account to her without his approval. Griggs transferred the money out of the account and then filed for divorce. Griggs later filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on March 1, 1999, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. On July 12, 1999, after Griggs was already in bankruptcy, Twist brought suit against the bank in Hidalgo County District Court, trial court Cause No. C-3690-99-A, seeking to recover the funds. The bank filed a third-party action against Griggs seeking contribution and indemnity. Griggs filed an answer, but she did not notify the parties that she was under the protection of the automatic bankruptcy stay. On Oct. 9, 2000, Twist and the bank agreed to settle the case for $75,000. Twist and the bank appeared before the trial court and dictated their settlement agreement into the record. Twist consented to the settlement under oath on the record. The trial court, however, did not enter a judgment at that time. On Nov. 21, 2000, the parties appeared again before the trial court. Twist was sworn in and stated under oath that he was revoking his consent to the settlement. Twist stated that he objected to the settlement, because the bank’s proposed settlement agreement did not admit liability and contained indemnity language. The bank stated that it intended to seek enforcement of the settlement agreement. The trial court did not enter judgment at that time. On Jan. 19, 2001, the parties again came before the trial court for a status conference. At the hearing, the bank made an oral motion to enforce the settlement agreement. The bank’s attorney represented that the bank had tendered the money to Twist. Nevertheless, Twist again stated that he was revoking his consent to the settlement agreement. The court asked the parties to submit proposed orders. That same day, the court issued an Order Enforcing Settlement Agreement, dismissing Twist’s claims with prejudice. It stated that the bank had moved to enforce the settlement agreement, that the court considered the transcript of the Rule 11 agreement, and that Twist had untimely revoked his consent to the agreement by revoking it after the court had already approved the settlement. Twist sought reconsideration of the Jan. 19, 2001 order dismissing his claims with prejudice, but the trial court denied the motion. According to the docket sheet, there were some motions filed seeking distribution of the settlement funds, although these motions are not contained in the mandamus record, and it is not clear what relief was sought or why. The trial court held a hearing on Oct. 11, 2001. At that hearing, Twist admitted to the court that he had received the settlement check and had cashed it. The trial court orally stated that the case would be dismissed, even though the court had already dismissed all of Twist’s claims with prejudice. On April 29, 2002, the trial court issued a second order dismissing Twist’s claims with prejudice. Twist did not immediately appeal either of the orders dismissing his claims with prejudice. On April 6, 2004, Griggs received a discharge from bankruptcy. On May 3, 2004, Twist filed an appeal from the April 29, 2002, order (the Twist I appeal). The 13th Court of Appeals held that Twist’s notice of appeal had been due on May 29, 2002 (30 days from the April 29, 2002 order) but was not filed until May 3, 2004. Thus, the appeal was untimely. Twist also failed to pay the filing fee. The 13th Court notified Twist of the defects, which he failed or was unable to cure. The 13th Court dismissed the appeal because of Twist’s failure to comply with the appellate rules. On the same day that Twist filed his appeal with the 13th Court, he filed an amended petition in the trial court. He attempted to add the bank’s lawyers as defendants: the firm of Kittleman, Thomas & Gonzales LLP, and its named partners Ray Thomas and Veronica Gonzales (the Kittleman defendants). Twist alleged against the bank and these additional defendants the same claims that were previously dismissed with prejudice. Twist argued that the trial court still had jurisdiction over the case, because the orders dismissing his claims against the bank with prejudice were not final orders. Specifically, Twist argued that because any claims against Griggs were subject to the bankruptcy stay, the trial court’s orders dismissing his claims had no effect on the bank’s third-party claim against Griggs. He reasoned that because the bank’s claim against Griggs remained pending, the trial court retained jurisdiction over the case. The bank and the Kittleman defendants filed pleas to the jurisdiction, asserting that the trial court’s plenary power had long since expired. The trial court granted the bank and the Kittleman defendants’ pleas to the jurisdiction and struck Twist’s pleadings on Oct. 4, 2004. On Dec. 14, 2004, Twist sought a writ of mandamus (the Twist I mandamus), seeking to compel the trial court to vacate its order granting the pleas to the jurisdiction. He asserted that there was not a final order, because Griggs was never nonsuited or severed from the case, and the orders enforcing the settlement agreement did not dispose of that claim during the pendency of the bankruptcy stay. The 13th Court denied mandamus relief on Dec. 21, 2004, without an opinion on the merits. Nonetheless, Twist refused to give up. Twist filed motions on Sept. 19, 2006, and Oct. 12, 2006, asking the trial court to declare its previous orders void. The trial court denied the motions on Nov. 8, 2006. Still undeterred, Twist filed a second round of proceedings with the 13th Court seeking review. First, he filed a notice of appeal on Nov. 14, 2006, seeking review of the trial court’s Nov. 8, 2006, order; the appeal was docketed as appellate Cause No. 13-06-00638 (the Twist II appeal). Second, Twist filed a mandamus petition, docketed as appellate Cause No. 13-07-0105-CV (the Twist II mandamus). This petition was almost identical to Twist’s initial mandamus petition. The bank filed a motion to dismiss and for sanctions in the Twist II appeal, asserting that the appeal was frivolous and filed solely for the purpose of delay and harassment. The bank sought attorneys’ fees. On March 14, 2007, the 13th Court issued an order requiring Twist and his counsel Stephen T. Leas to show cause why they should not be sanctioned. The Kittleman defendants moved for sanctions on April 3, 2007, and also sought attorneys’ fees. HOLDING:The 13th Court dismissed the appeal, denied the mandamus petition and granted in part the motions for sanctions under Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.11. In his mandamus petition, Twist contended that a live proceeding was currently before the trial court, over which the trial court refused to recognize jurisdiction. First, he argued that the trial court’s judgments enforcing the settlement agreement were void; thus, the trial court never disposed of his claims. Second, he argued that, if the order enforcing the settlement agreement was not void, it was nevertheless an interlocutory order, because the bank’s third-party action against Griggs was never finally determined. Thus, the trial court erroneously denied that it had jurisdiction over his claims. The court held that the trial court had subject-matter jurisdiction to render judgment enforcing the settlement agreement; thus, its order was not void. Even if the trial court erred in enforcing the settlement agreement, the court found Twist’s complaints to be two years too late. Next, the court held that the trial court’s order enforcing the settlement dismissing Twist’s claims against the bank, “whether one considers the final order to be the January 19, 2001 or the April 29, 2002 order,” was not a void order. Rather, it was a final order that disposed of all parties and claims. Absent any postjudgment motions, Twist’s notice of appeal was due on May 29, 2002, the court stated. Twist, however, did not appeal the April 29, 2002, order until May 3, 2004. In this case, however, the bank and Kittleman’s responsive filings were unnecessary, as were the trial court’s rulings on Twist’s subsequent filings, because the trial court’s plenary power had expired. Accordingly, the court denied Twist’s petition for writ of mandamus in Cause No. 13-07-00105-CV. The court found that sanctions in Cause No. 13-07-0105-CV were appropriate. Explaining its award of sanctions, the court noted that Twist’s mandamus petition quoted language from the Texas Supreme Court’s 1995 opinion in Padilla v. La France. “His petition states the following, verbatim,” noted the court: “In Padilla v. LaFrance, 907 S.W.2d 454, 461 (Tex. 1995), the Supreme Court held that”if a party seeks to enforce a settlement agreement, it must invoke the Court’s jurisdiction over the subject matter by filing the proper pleadings, as in any suit based in contract, and any order entered without proper pleadings is void.’” The court stated that it had reviewed that case, “and no such statement appears in the [Padilla v. LaFrance] opinion.” The court notes that, “[a]t the hearing to show cause, in response to the Court’s questions about the Bank’s oral motion to enforce the settlement agreement, Twist’s attorney represented the supreme court’s holding in Padilla by initially repeating the position espoused in his petition:”You have to file a written motion to enforce a settlement agreement. It has to be a written motion. That’s what Padilla says.’ With respect to his failure to accurately quote Padilla, Twist’s attorney argued that the quotations around the cited language from the Padilla opinion were a”typographical error.’ He stated,”It’s not a quote, but that’s what the court held in essence, was that without a written motion, without following a normal suit to enforce the contract the way you’re supposed to do it in writing, with notice, it’s void, period.’ “Justice Benavides then stated that the Court had read Padilla and was concerned that Padilla had been misrepresented to the Court:”So are you telling this Court that Padilla says that you need to have a written motion in order to have subject matter jurisdiction? Because this Court looked at Padilla and it does not state what you said in your brief. And one of the reasons that the Court can sanction you under the appellate procedure Rule 52.11 is that if you are misstating or omitting an obviously important and material fact in the petition or the response. So if you’re misquoting Padilla and that is the basis of your allegations to this Court of why this Court wants jurisdiction, then we have some problems[,] Mr. Leas.’ “Confronted with the Court’s awareness of Padilla’s holding, Twist’s counsel backtracked:”Padilla said that you have to have, you have to follow as any suit in contract. And there’s a string of cases that say that.’ After the hearing, Twist amended his petition to delete the references to the quoted language from Padilla. “Twist’s arguments regarding the January 19, 2001 and April 19, 2002 orders focus solely on whether those orders are”void.’ Even if the quotations were accidentally placed in the text, Padilla does not state, explicitly or otherwise, that orders enforcing a settlement agreement rendered without supporting pleadings are”void,’ nor does the opinion suggest such a rule. Padilla discusses the requirements for enforcing a settlement agreement in a few broadly worded sentences:”An action to enforce a settlement agreement, where consent is withdrawn, must be based on proper pleading and proof. In this case, for example, Padilla filed a counterclaim seeking enforcement of the parties’ agreement, and both sides moved for summary judgment on that claim.’ Nowhere does the Padilla opinion state that the failure to properly plead and prove a breach of a settlement agreement renders any judgment enforcing the agreement void, nor does the opinion state that an oral motion to enforce a settlement agreement is insufficient. Moreover, this Court has not located any authority to support Twist’s position that the orders enforcing the settlement are”void.’ “More troubling, however, is Twist’s argument that the trial court’s orders enforcing the settlement agreement did not dispose of the entire case. In their pleas to the jurisdiction, the Bank and [the] Kittleman [defendants] argued that the Bank’s third-party claim against Griggs was a void action because it was taken, unwittingly, in violation of the automatic stay in bankruptcy. Twist’s mandamus petition does not address, or even acknowledge, this argument, nor does it discuss controlling authority on this point that is directly contrary to Twist’s argument. Specifically, Twist does not attempt to distinguish our decision in Padrino Maritime v. Rizo, where we expressly held that a suit filed during an automatic stay in bankruptcy is a void act that does not invoke the trial court’s jurisdiction over the party in bankruptcy. “Finally, the allegations in the Twist II mandamus are identical to those argued in the Twist I mandamus, which we denied. When confronted with this assertion at the show cause hearing, Mr. Leas stated:”The mandamus action in 2004 was a different action. It had different points in it. The mandamus action in 2004 was based on, number one, abuse of discretion, dismissed case for want of jurisdiction because of loss of plenary power because there was no final judgment in the case. . . . And the other was abuse of discretion because third-party defendant breaches of bankruptcy and there was no dismissal or severance of third-party claim.’ “As can be gleaned from our discussion of the arguments above, these are the identical issues raised in the current mandamus proceeding, the Twist II mandamus.” (footnotes omitted throughout) The court then stated: “Although we might have overlooked the misquotation and mischaracterization of Padilla as negligent error, given the additional complete failure to cite and analyze the law governing critical points in Twist’s argument and the refusal to accept this Court’s disposition of arguments previously presented to this Court, we can only conclude that Twist’s counsel knowingly and in bad faith brought this petition for writ of mandamus, which we find to be groundless.” Accordingly, the court granted the bank’s and the Kittleman defendants’ motion for sanctions as to Twist’s counsel, Stephen Leas. The court ordered Leas to pay attorneys’ fees to the bank in the amount of $2,500 and to the Kittleman defendants in the amount of $2,500. The court notes that “[s]uch fees are to be paid within 30 days of the date of this opinion and are to be applied to real parties’ attorney’s fees expended in responding to the Twist II mandamus.” The court then says in a footnote: “This Court cautions Mr. Leas, however, that if any further filings are made with respect to trial court case number C-3690-99-A, we reserve the right to increase this amount as appropriate.” Additionally, the court ordered Leas to attend a continuing legal education course in advanced civil procedure, and also ordered him to “cease and desist from filing frivolous motions and pleadings in this Court and the trial court.” The court dismissed Twist’s appeal in Cause No. 13-06-00638-CV as untimely but declined to order sanctions in connection with the appeal. The court stated that it would not entertain any motions for rehearing in either cause number. OPINION:Yanez, J.; Yanez, Garza and Vela, JJ.

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