Friday, May 31, 2013

Declarations as a form of judicial relief (under the DJA)

Declaratory relief under the DJA (Declaratory Judgments Act)

Under the declaratory judgment act, "[a] person interested under a . . . written contract. . . may have determined any question of construction or validity arising under the . . . contract . . . and obtain a declaration of rights, status, or other legal relations thereunder." See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 37.004 (West 2008). 

A declaratory-judgment proceeding is "an additional remedy and does not supplant any existing remedy, but is intended as a speedy and effective remedy for the determination of the rights of the parties when a real controversy has arisen." Cobb v. Harrington, 144 Tex. 360, 190 S.W.2d 709, 713 (Tex. 1945). A declaratory-judgment action "is appropriate when a justiciable controversy exists as to the rights and status of the parties and the controversy will be resolved by the declaration sought." Texas Health Care v. Seton Health Plan, Inc., 94 S.W.3d 841, 846 (Tex. App.-Austin 2002, pet. denied). 
A declaratory-judgment action may not be used to obtain an advisory opinion. Transportation Ins. Co. v. WH Cleaners, Inc., 372 S.W.3d 223, 227 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2012, no pet.) (explaining that declaratory-judgment action is proper only when justiciable controversy exists). In other words, the declaratory-judgment statute does not empower courts to comment on "hypothetical or contingent situations, or to determine questions not then essential to the decision of an actual controversy." Texas Health Care, 94 S.W.3d at 846.

SOURCE: AUSTIN COURT OF APPEALS - 03-10-00784-CV - 01/4/2013

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