Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Release as affirmative defense to claim

A release is a complete bar to a later action based on matters covered in the release. Schomburg v. TRW Vehicle Safety Sys., Inc., 242 S.W.3d 911, 913 (Tex. App.- Dallas 2008, pet. denied) (citing Deer Creek Ltd. v. N. Am. Mortgage Co., 792 S.W.2d 198, 201 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1990, no writ)). Releases are only effective against named parties to the release or parties described with such particularity that their identity is not in doubt. Mem'l Med. Ctr. of E. Texas v. Keszler, 943 S.W.2d 433, 434 (Tex. 1997) (per curiam) (citing Duncan v. Cessna Aircraft Co., 665 S.W.2d 414, 420 (Tex. 1984)). Thus, the BII defendants had the summary judgment burden of showing 2055 was either specifically identified in the release or described with sufficient particularity that its identity is not in doubt. Id. See also Schomburg, 242 S.W.3d at 913, 914. We determine the scope of a release in the same way we review other contracts. See Williams v. Glash, 789 S.W.2d 261, 264 (Tex. 1990). That is, we ascertain and give effect to the parties' intentions as expressed in the document. Frost Nat'l Bank v. L&F Distributors, Ltd., 165 S.W.3d 310, 311-12 (Tex. 2005) (per curiam). We must consider the entire document and attempt to harmonize and give effect to all provisions by analyzing the provisions with reference to the whole agreement. Id. SOURCE: 05-08-01057-CV