The Houston Fourteenth District Court of Appeals has held that a party may recover attorney’s fees that were incurred by another party prior to the date the first party was served in the lawsuit. In Clearview Properties, L.P. v. Property Texas SC One Corp., Clearview had litigated claims against Defendant Triple Net and others. Later, as the discovery period was nearing completion, Clearview joined Defendant TRL, which retained the same attorney as Triple Net. The trial court allowed TRL to recover attorney’s fees that Triple Net incurred prior to the time TRL was joined and Clearview complained on appeal.
The court of appeals overruled Clearview’s complaint regarding TRI’s recovery of fees Triple Net incurred. The Court reasoned that TRL benefitted from some of the discovery work product and other work its counsel had already done for Triple Net, which saved on the need to conduct additional discovery, etc. for TRL. The Court held that this result is supported by the Supreme Court’s opinion in Tony Gullo Motors I, L.P. v. Chapa, 212 S.W.3d 299 (Tex. 2006).
In addressing Clearview’s segregation complaint, the Court also disposes of TRL’s assertion that Clearview had not preserved its complaint by timely raising it in the trial court. The Court of appeals holds that the failure to segregate was preserved by a post-judgment motion Clearview filed. Because the attorney’s fees issue was tried to the bench, a post-judgment motion raising failure to segregate preserves the issue for appeal.
The Court’s opinion may be found at this link.