Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Laches explained (equitable remedy)


WHAT IS LACHES AND WHEN CAN IT BE INVOKED? 

"[L]aches is an equitable remedy that prevents a plaintiff from asserting a claim due to a lapse of time."Bluebonnet Sav. Bank, F.S.B. v. Grayridge Apartment Homes, Inc., 907 S.W.2d 904, 912 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ denied). Based on the doctrine of laches, a claim is described as being stale. Id. 
  
The elements of a laches defense are (1) an unreasonable delay in asserting a legal or equitable right, and (2) a good faith, detrimental change of position because of the delay. Rogers v. Rican Enters., Inc., 772 S.W.2d 76, 80 (Tex. 1989). "Although a court applying the doctrine of laches is not bound by any particular statute of limitations, the statute of limitations [may be] one measure of whether a claim has become stale." Bluebonnet Sav. Bank, 907 S.W.2d at 912.[19] 

SOURCE:  TEXARCANA COURT OF APPEALS - No. 06-15-00074-CV - 22/25/2016 
CASE STYLE: DON A. WADE v. HOUSEHOLD FINANCE CORP. III 


IV. Doctrine of Laches

Wade also asserts the doctrine of laches as an affirmative defense. 



"[L]aches is an equitable remedy that prevents a plaintiff from asserting a claim due to a lapse of time."Bluebonnet Sav. Bank, F.S.B. v. Grayridge Apartment Homes, Inc., 907 S.W.2d 904, 912 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ denied). Based on the doctrine of laches, a claim is described as being stale. Id. The elements of a laches defense are (1) an unreasonable delay in asserting a legal or equitable right, and (2) a good faith, detrimental change of position because of the delay. Rogers v. Rican Enters., Inc., 772 S.W.2d 76, 80 (Tex. 1989). "Although a court applying the doctrine of laches is not bound by any particular statute of limitations, the statute of limitations [may be] one measure of whether a claim has become stale." Bluebonnet Sav. Bank, 907 S.W.2d at 912.[19]
Wade contends that HFC abandoned the right to foreclose on the Property because although it obtained an order to proceed with foreclosure from the district court in November 2009, it did not begin the actual foreclosure sale and eviction process until years later. Because of this delay, Wade claims the doctrine of laches applies to his case. HFC responds that Wade failed to bring this particular claim to the attention of the lower courts and, therefore, he has waived his right to do so on appeal. Furthermore, HFC contends that Wade's laches claim relates to issues surrounding the validity of the foreclosure sale, which the trial court does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate. We agree with HFC.
To preserve a complaint for our review, a party must first present to the trial court a timely request, objection, or motion stating the specific grounds for the desired ruling if not apparent from the context. TEX. R. APP. P. 33.1(a)(1). Further, the trial court must have ruled on the request, objection, or motion, either expressly or implicitly, or the complaining party must have objected to the trial court's refusal to rule. TEX. R. APP. P. 33.1(a)(2). In this case, Wade has waived this particular issue on appeal because he failed to plead or otherwise raise it with the trial court, either at the trial before the county court at law or by submitting a motion.
Wade also filed a motion for new trial. In a civil case, the overruling by operation of law of a motion for new trial preserves for appellate review a complaint properly made in the motion, unless taking evidence was necessary to properly present the complaint in the trial court. TEX. R. APP. P. 33.1(b). Although Wade filed a motion for new trial, which was overruled by operation of law, he did not present the affirmative defense of laches as an issue. Therefore, his motion for new trial did not preserve his claim for our review on appeal. Wade's third point of error is overruled.[20]

V. Conclusion

We affirm the judgment of the trial court.