Chen v. Nguyen

Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-15-00077 (January 21, 2016)

Justices Francis, Evans (Opinion), and Stoddart

The trial court in this case followed the time-honored tradition: “You must be present to win.” But the Dallas Court of Appeals reversed and held: “Not always.”

Mike Chen obtained a judgment against Chinh Quoc Nguyen on September 26, 2002. No writ of execution was issued, and so the judgment became dormant on September 26, 2012. In August 2014, Chen filed a petition to revive the judgment. Such a motion should be granted if filed no later than the second anniversary of the date the judgment became dormant. TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE § 31.006. Chen did not appear at the hearing, however, and so the trial court denied the petition.

The Dallas Court reversed, holding that Chen had satisfied the statutory requirements to revive the judgment and the trial court therefore had no discretion to deny the petition simply because Chen failed to appear.