Friday, April 27, 2012
Fraudulent Lien - Statutory Cause of Action & Damages
FRAUDULENT LIEN STATUTE [CPRC § 12.002(a)]
The fraudulent-lien statute provides:
(a) A person may not make, present, or use a document or other record with:
(1) knowledge that the document or other record is a fraudulent court record or a fraudulent lien or claim against real or personal property or an interest in real or personal property;
(2) intent that the document or other record be given the same legal effect as a court record or document of a court created by or established under the constitution or laws of this state or the United States or another entity listed in Section 37.01, Penal Code, evidencing a valid lien or claim against real or personal property or an interest in real or personal property; and
(3) intent to cause another person to suffer:
(A) physical injury;
(B) financial injury; or
(C) mental anguish or emotional distress.
See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM.CODE ANN. § 12.002(a) (Vernon Supp. 2011).
The party asserting that a claimed lien is a fraudulent lien has the burden to prove the requisite elements in the statute. Aland v. Martin, 271 S.W.3d 424, 430 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2008, no pet.). A party who satisfies the section 12.002(a) requirements may recover $10,000 or the actual damages caused by the violation, whichever is greater, in addition to court costs, attorney’s fees, and exemplary damages. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. § 12.002(b).
SOURCE: HOUSTON COURT OF APPEALS - 1ST DISTRICT - 01-11-00129-CV - 4/26/12
There is evidence—through testimony from [...] —that HSMTX called Gray and hired him directly to perform the work at issue here. Gray nonetheless filed a lien affidavit stating that Entis was the general contractor on that job. Viewing this evidence in a light most favorable to the trial court’s findings, we conclude that there is legally sufficient evidence that the affidavit was false and that Gray filed the affidavit with knowledge that it was false. City of Keller, 168 S.W.3d at 827. A reasonable factfinder could reject the contrary evidence cited by Gray, and we thus must likewise disregard it. Id.