Default Judgment – Reversed and Rendered

  • Rhojo Enterprises, LLC v. Stevens
    • 540 S.W.3d 621
    • County Court at Law No. 2 of Montgomery County
    • Justice Kreger, Feb. 1, 2018
  • Stevens filed suit against Orion asserting claims arising out of a cell phone service contract and debt collection. A Return of Service indicated that Orion’s registered agent received service of Stevens’s Original Petition on August 11, 2015. One month later, Stevens filed a motion for default judgment based upon Orion’s failure to answer and noticed a hearing on the motion. Shortly before the hearing, Orion’s alleged owner filed a pro se motion to dismiss the case. The trial court proceeded with the hearing and granted with the default judgment in favor of Stevens without regard to Orion’s motion to dismiss.
  • Orion appealed the default judgment and argued that the trial court erred when it failed to recognize Orion’s pro se motion to dismiss as an answer.
  • The Ninth Court, after noting that “Texas appellate courts have been reluctant to uphold default judgments where some response is found in the record, even if the response is in the form of a letter,” held that Orion motion contained enough information to give Stevens fair notice, and therefore, it constituted an answer. The Ninth Court reversed the default judgment entered against Orion and remanded the case to the trial court.

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