To obtain attorney’s fees as a sanction under TRCP Rule 13 or Chapter 10 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a party must present supporting evidence at an evidentiary hearing.
Click v. Transportation Workers Union Local 556
Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-1-00796-CV (August 10, 2016)
Justices Francis, Fillmore, and Schenck (Opinion)
Click, Lindemann, and Martin were officers of Transportation Workers Union Local 556. The Union sued them for misappropriation of funds and breach of fiduciary duty. Click and Lindemann moved for summary judgment and, in their prayer, also sought attorney’s fees under Rule 13 and Chapter 10, asserting that the Union’s claims against them were brought in bad faith. The trial court granted their summary judgment motion and in the final judgment ordered that the Union take nothing against them. But it awarded no sanctions or fees against the Union. The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed, reminding practitioners and parties that “Chapter 10 and rule 13 require the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing to make the necessary factual determinations about the motives and credibility of the person signing the allegedly groundless pleading.” “Without such an evidentiary hearing,” the Court explained, “the trial court has no evidence before it to determine that a pleading was filed in bad faith or to harass.” Further, the Court said, “Motions and arguments of counsel are not evidence in a sanction hearing context.” Because Click and Lindemann had not sought or obtained an evidentiary hearing on their request for fees and sanctions, the appeals court affirmed the judgment denying that request.