Is a creditor trying to enforce a judgment from a lawsuit that you did not have a chance to participate in?
Is there a creditor alleging that you did not answer a lawsuit?
Is there a DEFAULT Judgment against you/your company?
If so, you may be entitled to some relief in the form of an Equitable Bill of Review.
Texas courts generally disapprove of default judgments.
A Bill of Review is a mechanism to provide some relief (before filing an appeal) to party who has:
i) a meritorious defense to the cause of action alleged, or a meritorious ground for new trial or appeal, or a meritorious claim,
ii) which the party was prevented from making by the fraud, accident, or wrongful act of the opposing party, or by official mistake;
iii) unmixed with the party’s fault or negligence; and,
iv) that, through no fault of the party, no other legal remedy is available.
A Bill of Review is an uphill battle, and can be harder to prove than in the case of no-answer default judgment where a party still can bring a motion for new trial. It is imperative to act quickly when you have notice of a default judgment (including if the default is a result of a dismissal for want of prosecution), the burden to overturn the default can be impacted negatively by delay.
There is “standard” Bill of Review case. The most, common, and most challenging Bill of Review cases involve a no-answer default judgment. One party may prevail in a Bill of Review on one set of facts, and another, with a different set of similar facts, may not prevail.
Bill of Review relief may not always be granted, even where there was an injustice, because of the import doctrine in our civil justice system, to respect the finality of judgments issued by courts. This doctrine may trump a Petitioner’s right to relief, and often does.
A Bill of Review is a serious matter, at the Law Office of KC Ashmore we have extensive experience in Bill of Review petitions, having both prosecuted and defended such matters. A Bill of Review is also a cost-effective alternative to challenging a default judgment and collection actions. Call Ashmore & Ashmore to discuss whether you can challenge your default judgment by a Bill of Review, or what other options you may have.