The San Antonio Court of Appeals has issued an interesting opinion in a mandamus proceeding involving what is described as an unsuperseded judgment. In In re Romero, Gonzalez & Benavides, L.L.P., there was a dispute between the law firm of Romero, Gonzalez & Benavides (RG&B) and attorney Mark Cantu regarding the right to a portion of a settlement recovery. The funds in question were placed into the registry of the court and the trial court subsequently ruled that the funds belonged to RG&B and signed a final judgment to that effect.
After Cantu appealed, RG&B filed a motion seeking the release of the funds. The trial court ruled that it would not release the funds while Cantu’s appeal was pending. RG&B filed a petition for writ of mandamus seeking to force the release of the funds.
The court of appeals holds that the trial court abused its discretion because Cantu had filed no supersedeas bond to suspend execution on the judgment. Appellate Rule 24.1 allows for the filing of a cash deposit in lieu of a bond. Cantu could have deposited one year’s worth of post-judgment interest and court costs to be added to the existing funds on deposit with the court and arguably the judgment is fully suspended. Or, the trial court could have ordered alternate or lesser security and held that the funds on deposit were sufficient to supersede the judgment. I have not read the parties’ mandamus briefs to know of any of this was tried or argued, but from the court of appeals opinion, it does not appear as the trial court treated its order as an order regarding supersedeas (reviewable by motion rather than mandamus) and it does not appear that the parties asserted that the trial court’s order was an order relating to supersedeas. Nonetheless, it seems as though Rule 24 provides a simple avenue for relief for Cantu. The Court’s opinion may be found here.