CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE


TITLE 2. TRIAL, JUDGMENT, AND APPEAL


SUBTITLE C. JUDGMENTS


CHAPTER 31. JUDGMENTS


Sec. 31.001. PASSAGE OF TITLE. A judgment for the conveyance of real property or the delivery of personal property may pass title to the property without additional action by the party against whom the judgment is rendered.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 31.002. COLLECTION OF JUDGMENT THROUGH COURT PROCEEDING. (a) A judgment creditor is entitled to aid from a court of appropriate jurisdiction through injunction or other means in order to reach property to obtain satisfaction on the judgment if the judgment debtor owns property, including present or future rights to property, that:

(1) cannot readily be attached or levied on by ordinary legal process; and

(2) is not exempt from attachment, execution, or seizure for the satisfaction of liabilities.

(b) The court may:

(1) order the judgment debtor to turn over nonexempt property that is in the debtor's possession or is subject to the debtor's control, together with all documents or records related to the property, to a designated sheriff or constable for execution;

(2) otherwise apply the property to the satisfaction of the judgment; or

(3) appoint a receiver with the authority to take possession of the nonexempt property, sell it, and pay the proceeds to the judgment creditor to the extent required to satisfy the judgment.

(c) The court may enforce the order by contempt proceedings or by other appropriate means in the event of refusal or disobedience.

(d) The judgment creditor may move for the court's assistance under this section in the same proceeding in which the judgment is rendered or in an independent proceeding.

(e) The judgment creditor is entitled to recover reasonable costs, including attorney's fees.

(f) A court may not enter or enforce an order under this section that requires the turnover of the proceeds of, or the disbursement of, property exempt under any statute, including Section 42.0021, Property Code. This subsection does not apply to the enforcement of a child support obligation or a judgment for past due child support.

(g) With respect to turnover of property held by a financial institution in the name of or on behalf of the judgment debtor as customer of the financial institution, the rights of a receiver appointed under Subsection (b)(3) do not attach until the financial institution receives service of a certified copy of the order of receivership in the manner specified by Section 59.008, Finance Code.

(h) A court may enter or enforce an order under this section that requires the turnover of nonexempt property without identifying in the order the specific property subject to turnover.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1015, Sec. 1, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 344, Sec. 7.002, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.

Amended by:

Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 52 (H.B. 729), Sec. 1, eff. May 17, 2005.

Sec. 31.0025. AUTHORITY OF COURT TO ORDER TURNOVER OF WAGES. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, a court may not, at any time before a judgment debtor is paid wages for personal services performed by the debtor, enter or enforce an order that requires the debtor or any other person to turn over the wages for the satisfaction of the judgment.

(b) This section applies to wages in any form, including paycheck, cash, or property.

(c) This section does not apply to the enforcement of a child support obligation or a judgment for past due child support.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 671, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991.

Sec. 31.003. JUDGMENT AGAINST PARTNERSHIP. If a suit is against several partners who are jointly indebted under a contract and citation has been served on at least one but not all of the partners, the court may render judgment against the partnership and against the partners who were actually served, but may not award a personal judgment or execution against any partner who was not served.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 31.004. EFFECT OF ADJUDICATION IN LOWER TRIAL COURT. (a) A judgment or a determination of fact or law in a proceeding in a lower trial court is not res judicata and is not a basis for estoppel by judgment in a proceeding in a district court, except that a judgment rendered in a lower trial court is binding on the parties thereto as to recovery or denial of recovery.

(b) This section does not apply to a judgment in probate, guardianship, mental health , or other matter in which a lower trial court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction on a basis other than the amount in controversy.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a "lower trial court" is a small claims court, a justice of the peace court, a county court, or a statutory county court.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 167, Sec. 3.07(a), eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 31.005. EFFECT OF ADJUDICATION IN SMALL CLAIMS OR JUSTICE OF THE PEACE COURT. A judgment or a determination of fact or law in a proceeding in small claims court or justice of the peace court is not res judicata and does not constitute a basis for estoppel by judgment in a proceeding in a county court or statutory county court, except that the judgment rendered is binding on the parties thereto as to recovery or denial of recovery.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 31.006. REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT. A dormant judgment may be revived by scire facias or by an action of debt brought not later than the second anniversary of the date that the judgment becomes dormant.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 935, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 31.007. PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCOUNTING OF OWN COSTS. (a) Each party to a suit shall be responsible for accurately recording all costs and fees incurred during the course of a lawsuit, if the judgment is to provide for the adjudication of such costs. If the judgment provides that costs are to be borne by the party by whom such costs were incurred, it shall not be necessary for any of the parties to present a record of court costs to the court in connection with the entry of a judgment.

(b) A judge of any court may include in any order or judgment all costs, including the following:

(1) fees of the clerk and service fees due the county;

(2) fees of the court reporter for the original of stenographic transcripts necessarily obtained for use in the suit;

(3) masters, interpreters, and guardians ad litem appointed pursuant to these rules and state statutes; and

(4) such other costs and fees as may be permitted by these rules and state statutes.

Added by Acts 1987, 70th Leg., ch. 663, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 1987.

Sec. 31.008. PAYMENT OF UNCLAIMED JUDGMENT. (a) A judgment debtor may pay to the court that rendered the judgment the amount under the judgment owed to a judgment creditor whose location is unknown to the judgment debtor if the judgment debtor complies with Subsections (b) and (c). The payment must be made without offset or reduction for any claims of the judgment debtor. The judgment debtor shall prepare a recordable release of the judgment. The judge or clerk of the court shall execute the release of the judgment on behalf of the creditor and issue the release to the debtor. The release shall recite the cause number, the court, the parties, the date of judgment, the amount of judgment, the amount paid into the court, and the date of the release.

(b) Before being entitled to pay a judgment to a court under Subsection (a), the judgment debtor shall send a letter notifying the judgment creditor of the judgment, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to:

(1) the judgment creditor's last known address;

(2) the address appearing in the judgment creditor's pleadings or other court record, if different from the creditor's last known address;

(3) the address of the judgment creditor's last attorney, as shown in the creditor's pleadings or other court record; and

(4) the address of the judgment creditor's last attorney, as shown in the records of the State Bar of Texas, if that address is different from the address shown in the creditor's pleadings or other court record.

(c) If the judgment creditor does not respond to a notice under Subsection (b) on or before the 15th day after the date on which the notice was sent, the judgment debtor may file an affidavit with the court stating that the judgment debtor has provided the required notice, that the judgment creditor has not responded to the notice, and that the location of the judgment creditor is not known to the judgment debtor.

(d) The court shall hold the amount paid to it by the judgment debtor under Subsection (a) and interest earned on that amount in trust for the judgment creditor.

(e) The clerk of the court shall deposit the trust funds and any interest earned by the funds in the clerk's trust fund account. The clerk shall pay the funds and any interest earned by the funds to the judgment creditor or to the successors to the rights of the judgment creditor. The clerk may presume that the funds are payable to the judgment creditor unless the clerk is furnished with a written assignment of the judgment.

(f) Funds held in the clerk's trust fund account in accordance with this section are subject to escheat under Chapter 72, Property Code.

(g) If the judgment debtor complies with Subsections (b) and (c) and the judgment creditor refuses to accept payment of the amount under the judgment or accepts payment under the judgment and refuses to execute a release of judgment, the court shall set the matter for hearing on a party's motion or on the court's own motion to determine whether or not a release should be filed. On notice and hearing the court may direct the judgment debtor to prepare and file a recordable release of the judgment with the clerk of the court if the court finds that:

(1) the amount under the judgment has been paid into the registry of the court; or

(2) the judgment creditor has accepted payment under the judgment and refused to execute a release of judgment.

(h) In this section:

(1) "Judgment creditor" means a party in whose favor a judgment has been rendered, whether a plaintiff, counterclaimant, cross-claimant, third party plaintiff, or other judgment creditor.

(2) "Judgment debtor" means a party against whom a judgment is rendered.

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 730, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 163, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 30, 1993; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 656, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

Sec. 31.010. TURNOVER BY FINANCIAL INSTITUTION. (a) A financial institution that receives a request to turn over assets or financial information of a judgment debtor to a judgment creditor or a receiver under a turnover order or receivership under Section 31.002 shall be provided and may rely on:

(1) a certified copy of the order or injunction of the court; or

(2) a certified copy of the order of appointment of a receiver under Section 64.001, including a certified copy of:

(A) any document establishing the qualification of the receiver under Section 64.021;

(B) the sworn affidavit under Section 64.022; and

(C) the bond under Section 64.023.

(b) A financial institution that complies with this section is not liable for compliance with a court order, injunction, or receivership authorized by Section 31.002 to:

(1) the judgment debtor;

(2) a party claiming through the judgment debtor;

(3) a co-depositor with the judgment debtor; or

(4) a co-borrower with the judgment debtor.

(c) A financial institution that complies with this section is entitled to recover reasonable costs, including copying costs, research costs, and, if there is a contest, reasonable attorney's fees.

(d) In this section, "financial institution" means a state or national bank, state or federal savings and loan association, state or federal savings bank, state or federal credit union, foreign bank, foreign bank agency, or trust company.

Added by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 892, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.