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No. 13-0484
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AMERICAN STAR ENERGY AND MINERALS CORPORATION v. RICHARD “DICK” STOWERS, RICHARD W. STOWERS, FRANK K. STOWERS AND LINDA SUE JASURDA

Oral argument was held on October 14, 2014. The Court issued an opinion resolving the case on February 27, 2015. It then denied rehearing on May 1, 2015 File Closed

In the news...

Tracking 3 articles about this case.

February 27, 2015

Two opinions, including one about whether limitations bars suing a partner over partnership debts [Feb. 27, 2015]

from SCOTXblog

The article also mentions:
  • MIRTA ZORRILLA v. AYPCO CONSTRUCTION II, LLC AND JOSE LUIS MUNOZ
  • The Court has issued opinions:

    June 16, 2014

    Three opinions, one grant [Jun. 13, 2014]

    from SCOTXblog

    This article also mentions 18 other cases.

    March 23, 2014

    Two opinions, one rehearing grant, and six grants [Mar. 21, 2014]

    from SCOTXblog

    This article also mentions 8 other cases.

    Opinion

    February 27, 2015

    Brown
    Hecht
    Green
    Johnson
    Willett
    Guzman
    Lehrmann
    Boyd
    Devine

    Justice Brown delivered the opinion of the CourtView Electronic Briefs | Oral Argument | Video . PDF

     

    Court of Appeals

    Appellate District:7th Court of Appeals
    Outcome Below:Affirmed
    COA Docket No.:07-11-00199-CV
    Opinion Author:Honorable Brian P. Quinn

    Trial Court

    Trial Court:84th District Court
    County:Hutchinson
    Trial Judge:Honorable William D. Smith
    Trial Docket:39,255

    Docket Entries

    Date Event Outcome  
    2015-05-14 Case Stored  
    2015-05-01 Motion for Rehearing - Disposed Denied
    2015-05-01 Mandate issued  
    2015-03-16 Case forwarded to Court
    2015-03-16 Motion for Rehearing  
    2015-02-27 Opinion issued   Court of Appeals' judgment reversed; cause remanded to trial court
    2015-02-27 Court approved judgment sent to attorneys of record Issued
      This case was awaiting the Court's decision after oral argument between October 14, 2014 and February 27, 2015.  
    2014-10-14 Oral argument  
    2014-09-10 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
    2014-09-10 Oral Argument Submission Form from Attorney received  
      This case was waiting for oral argument between June 13, 2014 and September 10, 2014.  
    2014-06-13 Case set for oral argument   Case set for oral argument
      This case was waiting for oral argument between March 21, 2014 and June 13, 2014.  
    2014-03-21 Petition for Review disposed   Filing granted
    2014-03-21 Petition for Review granted
    2014-02-10 Reply Brief (Petitioner)  
    2014-01-24 Brief on the Merits (Respondent)  
    2014-01-22 Case Record Filed  
    2014-01-07 Brief on the Merits (Petitioner)  
    2013-12-23 Motion for Extension of Time disposed.   Filing granted
    2013-12-23 Motion for Extension of Time to File Brief filed  
    2013-11-25 Record Requested in Petition for Review  
    2013-11-22 Brief on the Merits Requested  
    2013-10-14 Call received  
    2013-09-23 Response to Petition (Respondent)  
    2013-08-23 Supreme Court of Texas Requested Response  
    2013-07-23 Case forwarded to Court
    2013-07-17 Response Waiver filed  
    2013-06-28 Petition for Review (Petitioner)  

    Parties

    Party Counsel Role
    American Star Energy and Minerals Corporation
    Mr. John Daren Brown
    Mr. Dusty Joe Stockard
    Petitioner
    Stowers, Frank K.
    Mr. Charles Christopher Aycock
    Mr. John Atkins
    Respondent
    Stowers, Richard “Dick”
    Mr. Michael H. Loftin
    Mr. John Atkins
    Mr. S. Tom Morris
    Respondent
     

    Plaintiffs suing a partnership can wait until after judgment to seek recovery from individual partners

    When a plaintiff sues a partnership, must they immediately join the individual partners as defendants or risk having no recourse if the partnership entity turns out to be insolvent?

    The underlying contract claim was brought against the partnership itself and, after about a decade of litigation, resulted in a judgment of liability that exceeded the partnership's own assets. The plaintiffs then turned to the individual partners for satisfaction, under the principle that they are jointly and severally liable for the partnership entity's debts. The partners invoked limitations, arguing that the clock had expired years before when they were not joined in the original action.

    The Court held that limitations did not bar this post-judgment claim by a judgment creditor against individual partners.

    It noted that the plaintiff could have sued the partners at the outset. And it acknowledged the general principle that a claim "accrues" when it could be brought. But, as the Court explained, the structure of this claim warranted a different result. The Court looked to the provisions of the Texas Revised Partnership Act, which makes this kind of liability contingent on there being a judgment entered against the partnership entity and on the entity failing to pay for 90 days. These features, the Court held, made this kind of statutory claim against individual partners more akin to indemnification than more typical tort or contract claims. Thus, the Court held, the claims were not barred by limitations.

    When does this limitations clock start to run? Is it at the time judgment is entered against the partnership, when any appeal of that judgment is complete, or at some other time? This case did not require finely tuning that answer. The Court suggests that the limitations clock actually begins to run only when the judgment can be collected against an individual partner, which might mean 90 days after the judgment can be executed. So, a supersedeas filing may, it appears, have the side effect of extending the limitations period for collection claims against individual partners.

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