Law:Title 2. Trial, Judgment, And Appeal. Subtitle A. General Provisions from Chapter 9. Frivolous Pleadings And Claims (Texas)

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Subtitle A. General Provisions

Contents

Chapter 9. Frivolous Pleadings And Claims

Subchapter A. General Provisions

Section  9.001.  Definitions.

In this chapter:

(1)  "Claimant" means a party, including a plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross-claimant, third-party plaintiff, or intervenor, seeking recovery of damages. In an action in which a party seeks recovery of damages for injury to another person, damage to the property of another person, death of another person, or other harm to another person, "claimant" includes both that other person and the party seeking recovery of damages.

(2)  "Defendant" means a party, including a counterdefendant, cross-defendant, or third-party defendant, from whom a claimant seeks relief.

(3)  "Groundless" means:

(A)  no basis in fact; or

(B)  not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.

(4)  "Pleading" includes a motion.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Section  9.002.  Applicability.

(a) This chapter applies to an action in which a claimant seeks:

(1)  damages for personal injury, property damage, or death, regardless of the legal theories or statutes on the basis of which recovery is sought, including an action based on intentional conduct, negligence, strict tort liability, products liability (whether strict or otherwise), or breach of warranty; or

(2)  damages other than for personal injury, property damage, or death resulting from any tortious conduct, regardless of the legal theories or statutes on the basis of which recovery is sought, including libel, slander, or tortious interference with a contract or other business relation.

(b)  This chapter applies to any party who is a claimant or defendant, including but not limited to:

(1)  a county;

(2)  a municipality;

(3)  a public school district;

(4)  a public junior college district;

(5)  a charitable organization;

(6)  a nonprofit organization;

(7)  a hospital district;

(8)  a hospital authority;

(9)  any other political subdivision of the state; and

(10)  the State of Texas.

(c)  In an action to which this chapter applies, the provisions of this chapter prevail over all other law to the extent of any conflict.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Section  9.003.  Texas Rules Of Civil Procedure.

This chapter does not alter the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure or the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Section  9.004.  Applicability.

This chapter does not apply to the Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act (Subchapter E, Chapter 17, Business & Commerce Code) or to Chapter 21, Insurance Code.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Subchapter B. Signing Of Pleadings

Section  9.011.  Signing Of Pleadings.

The signing of a pleading as required by the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure constitutes a certificate by the signatory that to the signatory's best knowledge, information, and belief, formed after reasonable inquiry, the pleading is not:

(1)  groundless and brought in bad faith;

(2)  groundless and brought for the purpose of harassment; or

(3)  groundless and interposed for any improper purpose, such as to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Section  9.012.  Violation; Sanction. (a)

At the trial of the action or at any hearing inquiring into the facts and law of the action, after reasonable notice to the parties, the court may on its own motion, or shall on the motion of any party to the action, determine if a pleading has been signed in violation of any one of the standards prescribed by Section 9.011.

(b)  In making its determination of whether a pleading has been signed in violation of any one of the standards prescribed by Section 9.011, the court shall take into account:

(1)  the multiplicity of parties;

(2)  the complexity of the claims and defenses;

(3)  the length of time available to the party to investigate and conduct discovery; and

(4)  affidavits, depositions, and any other relevant matter.

(c)  If the court determines that a pleading has been signed in violation of any one of the standards prescribed by Section 9.011, the court shall, not earlier than 90 days after the date of the determination, at the trial or hearing or at a separate hearing following reasonable notice to the offending party, impose an appropriate sanction on the signatory, a represented party, or both.

(d)  The court may not order an offending party to pay the incurred expenses of a party who stands in opposition to the offending pleading if, before the 90th day after the court makes a determination under Subsection (a), the offending party withdraws the pleading or amends the pleading to the satisfaction of the court or moves for dismissal of the pleading or the offending portion of the pleading.

(e)  The sanction may include one or more of the following:

(1)  the striking of a pleading or the offending portion thereof;

(2)  the dismissal of a party; or

(3)  an order to pay to a party who stands in opposition to the offending pleading the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred because of the filing of the pleading, including costs, reasonable attorney's fees, witness fees, fees of experts, and deposition expenses.

(f)  The court may not order an offending party to pay the incurred expenses of a party who stands in opposition to the offending pleading if the court has, with respect to the same subject matter, imposed sanctions on the party who stands in opposition to the offending pleading under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

(g)  All determinations and orders pursuant to this chapter are solely for purposes of this chapter and shall not be the basis of any liability, sanction, or grievance other than as expressly provided in this chapter.

(h)  This section does not apply to any proceeding to which Section 10.004 or Rule 13, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, applies.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 1111, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.



Section  9.013.  Report To Grievance Committee.

(a) If the court imposes a sanction against an offending party under Section 9.012, the offending party is represented by an attorney who signed the pleading in violation of any one of the standards under Section 9.011, and the court finds that the attorney has consistently engaged in activity that results in sanctions under Section 9.012, the court shall report its finding to an appropriate grievance committee as provided by the State Bar Act (Article 320a-1, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes) or by a similar law in the jurisdiction in which the attorney resides.

(b)  The report must contain:

(1)  the name of the attorney who represented the offending party;

(2)  the finding by the court that the pleading was signed in violation of any one of the standards under Section 9.011;

(3)  a description of the sanctions imposed against the signatory and the offending party; and

(4)  the finding that the attorney has consistently engaged in activity that results in sanctions under Section 9.012.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.



Section  9.014.  Pleadings Not Frivolous. (a)

A general denial does not constitute a violation of any of the standards prescribed by Section 9.011.

(b)  The amount requested for damages in a pleading does not constitute a violation of any of the standards prescribed by Section 9.011.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 2, Sec. 2.01, eff. Sept. 2, 1987.


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