Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Need a little legal ammo? Search for caselaw on legal theories and defenses here:

Friday, March 20, 2015

Declaratory Judgments Action - When is it proper?


A declaratory judgment is a remedial measure that determines the rights of the parties and affords relief from uncertainty with respect to rights, status, and legal relations. See Halliburton Energy Servs., Inc. v. Axis Tech., LLC, 444 S.W.3d 251, 262 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2014, no pet.) (citing Ysasaga v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 279 S.W.3d 858, 863 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2009, pet. denied)). The Texas Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act is contained in chapter 37 of the Texas Practice and Remedies Code. See TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. §§ 37.001-37.011.

Under section 37.004(a) of the declaratory judgments act, "[a] person interested under a deed . . . may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the instrument . . . and obtain a declaration of rights, status, or other legal relations thereunder." Id. § 37.004(a). Further, the act provides in part, "[n]otwithstanding Section 22.001, Property Code, a person described by Subsection (a) may obtain a determination under this chapter when the sole issue concerning title to real property is the determination of the proper boundary line between adjoining properties." Id. § 37.004(c). Additionally, section 37.009 of the act states, "In any proceeding under this chapter, the court may award costs and reasonable and necessary attorney's fees as are equitable and just." Id. § 37.009.

Section 16.033 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code provides in part,

A person with a right of action for the recovery of real property or an interest in real property conveyed by an instrument with one of the following defects must bring suit not later than two years after the day the instrument was filed for record with the county clerk of the county where the real property is located:

. . . .
(6) acknowledgment of the instrument in an individual, rather than a representative or official, capacity;
(7) execution of the instrument by a trustee without record of the authority of the trustee or proof of the facts recited in the instrument;
(8) failure of the record or instrument to show an acknowledgment or jurat that complies with applicable law; or
(9) wording of the stated consideration that may or might create an implied lien in favor of the grantor.

Id. § 16.033(a) (West 2002). Section 16.003 does not apply to a forged instrument. Id. § 16.033(b).

A bona fide purchaser is "[a] person who acquires property in good faith, for value, and without notice of any third-party claim or interest." Fletcher v. Minton, 217 S.W.3d 755, 758 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2007, no pet.); see also TEX. PROP. CODE ANN. § 13.001 (West 2014). Status as a bona fide purchaser is an affirmative defense to a title dispute. Madison v. Gordon, 39 S.W.3d 604, 606 (Tex. 2001). However, the protection usually afforded to a bona fide purchaser for value without notice does not apply when such purchaser's claim is dependent upon a forged instrument. Bellaire Kirkpatrick Joint Venture v. Loots, 826 S.W.2d 205, 210 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 1992, writ denied).
SOURCE: DALLAS COURT OF APPEALS - No. 05-13-01581-CV - 1/21/2015