Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Discharge Defense to Suit to Enforce Personal Guaranty - Material Alteration of Contract without Guarantor's Consent

   
AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF DISCHARGE AGAINST ENFORCEMENT OF PERSONAL GUARANTY FOR LIABILITY EVIDENCED BY PROMISSORY NOTE

To be entitled to discharge from liability, the guarantor must prove: (1) a material alteration of the underlying contract; (2) made without the guarantor's consent; (3) which is to the guarantor's detriment. Vastine v. Bank of Dallas, 808 S.W.2d 463, 464-65 (Tex. 1991) (per curiam); Old Colony Ins. Co. v. City of Quitman, 163 Tex. 144, 352 S.W.2d 452, 455 (1961).
 
We review a trial court's conclusions of law as a legal question. BMC Software Belg., N.V. v. Marchand, 83 S.W.3d 789, 794 (Tex. 2002).
   
DISCHARGE DEFENSE NOT ESTABLISHED
 
There is no evidence of any modification of the promissory note here. The evidence Byboth relies on concerns whether Wood breached the note, not whether it modified it. Moreover, the evidence also negates as a matter of law any damages resulting from the misapplication of the payments from 2-16 Holdings, Inc. It is undisputed that when Wood calculated the amount owed on the note at trial (or at least before judgment), it credited 2-16 Holdings, Inc. and Byboth with the amounts of the four payments. Byboth agreed that Wood was not seeking to recover under the guaranty more than 2-16 Holdings, Inc. owed under the terms of the promissory note. Therefore, any earlier misapplication of the payments due under the promissory note was corrected, and the judgment on the underlying obligation reflected the correction. Thus, the undisputed facts fail to show that Byboth should be discharged from liability.
 
SOURCE: 05-08-00915-CV (Dallas Court of Appeals) (5/21/09, pet. denied Oct 16, 2009)

Material Alteration of Contract and Discharge Defense
in Suit to Enforce Personal Guaranty