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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Maria and Daniel Sotelo were married from Dec. 28, 1971, until Oct. 20, 2000. During the marriage, the couple acquired several pieces of real property, including their marital home at 4117 La Brigada and rental property at 421 Canal, both in El Paso. The final divorce decree awarded both properties to Maria. In January 1991, Daniel had signed an earnest money contract to purchase an additional piece of property at 216 S. Florence in El Paso, from BS Joint Venture Co. When Daniel defaulted on the earnest money contract, BS Joint Venture filed suit (Cause No. 91-2527) and obtained a judgment for $82,000, plus court costs, for breach of contract. The judgment in cause No. 91-2527 was entered on Dec. 5, 1994. No party appealed the 1994 judgment. In December 2001, James Scherr, Scherr, Legate & Ehrlich PLLC, Scherr & Legate PC, David Bingham, BS Joint Venture Inc., and the Broker Co. (collectively, the venture) obtained a writ of execution on Maria’s property at 421 Canal. The property was sold by sheriff’s sale in February 2002. On July 15, 2002, Maria filed her original petition in the case underlying this appeal. Maria alleged that she had been unaware of her then-husband’s entry into a contract with BS Joint Venture and was never notified of the suit or judgment in Cause No. 91-2527. She petitioned the trial court to grant an equitable bill of review to set the judgment aside. Maria also asserted several causes of action against the venture, including claims for “wrongful sheriff’s sale,” fraud, misrepresentation, attorney malpractice and usury. The venture filed a hybrid motion for summary judgment on July 6, 2004. On Oct. 6, 2005, the trial court granted the venture’s motion for summary judgment on all of Maria’s causes of action and on her petition for bill of review. HOLDING:Affirmed. In her first issue on appeal, Sotelo argued that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment in the venture’s favor on her bill of review. A bill of review is an equitable action used to set aside a judgment that is no longer appealable or subject to challenge by a motion for new trial. A bill of review is proper only in very limited circumstances. Generally, a bill of review petitioner must plead and prove a meritorious defense to the cause of action alleged to support the judgment that the petitioner was prevented from making by the fraud, accident, or wrongful act of his opponent and that the petitioner was not negligent. In its no-evidence motion for summary judgment, the venture asserted that Sotelo’s bill of review was barred by the statute of limitations. Absent a showing of extrinsic fraud, a bill of review must be filed within four years of the date of the judgment which the proponent seeks to set aside. The judgment that Maria sought to set aside was entered on Dec. 5, 1994. She did not file her petition for bill of review until July 15, 2002. Therefore, without evidence of extrinsic fraud, Maria’s bill of review is barred by the statute of limitations. Extrinsic fraud, the court stated, is fraud that denied a party the opportunity to fully litigate all the rights and defenses that the party was entitled to assert at trial. Specifically, it is wrongful conduct practiced outside the trial, such as preventing a party from going to court, making false promises of compromise or denying a party knowledge of the suit. Maria argued that the venture acted fraudulently by taking a judgment against an individual against whom it had no claim. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Maria, the court found that “one could infer that her former husband may have hidden the original lawsuit from Sotelo,” until the venture acted on the writ of execution years after the judgment. Even so, the court found that the evidence did not raise a material fact issue regarding the venture’s commission of extrinsic fraud. In the absence of extrinsic fraud by the venture, the court found that Maria could not avoid the statute of limitations. In issue two, Maria argued that summary judgment was improper, because the summary judgment record did raise a genuine issue of material fact to support her claim of a wrongful sheriff’s sale. The court found that Maria’s claim for wrongful sheriff’s sale was, in essence, an attempt to avoid the force of the judgment and therefore constituted a collateral attack upon it. Maria did not prove, or even argue, that the judgment was void for lack of jurisdiction. Without such a showing, the court stated that Maria’s collateral attack failed as a matter of law. Thus, the court held that the trial court did not err by granting the venture’s motion for summary judgment, In issue three, Maria argued that the trial court erred by entering a take-nothing judgment in the venture’s favor, because its summary judgment motion did not address her usury claim. But the court found that Maria failed to provide the trial court with evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact on the elements of her usury claim. Without such evidence, the court held that the trial court did not err in granting the venture’s no-evidence motion on the usury claim. OPINION:Carr, J.; Chew, C.J., and McClure and Carr, JJ.

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