TRAP 24.2’s $25-million Supersedeas Cap Applies Per Judgment Debtor, Not Per Judgment

Greystar Development & Construction, LP  v. Williams

Dallas Court of Appeals, No. 05-23-01168-CV (April 10, 2024)

Justices Molberg, Carlyle, and Breedlove (Opinion, linked here)

Ken Carroll

Williams secured a judgment holding three defendants jointly and severally liable for actual damages of more than $360 million. The three defendants posted one joint bond in the total amount of $25 million—the supersedeas “security” cap prescribed by TCPRC § 52.006(b)(2) and TRAP 24.2(a)(1)(B)—contending this was sufficient to suspend execution against all three, pending appeal. Pursuant to TRAP 24.1(b)(2), however, the trial court reviewed the joint bond and found it did not comply with the statute or the rule and did not suspend enforcement of the judgment. The trial court reasoned that the $25-million cap applied to each judgment debtor, rather than to the judgment as a whole. The court directed the defendants to specify which of them would be covered by the existing bond and then to file additional bonds for the other two defendants in order to suspend execution. Defendants, who by then had commenced an appeal on the merits, filed a motion pursuant to TRAP 24.4 seeking appellate review of the trial court’s ruling. 

The Dallas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision. The Court noted a split of authority about whether the $25-million cap was to be applied per judgment or per judgment debtor. In Huff Energy Fund, LP v. Longview Energy Co., a divided panel of the San Antonio Court had held the cap applied to the judgment as a whole. The Tyler Court, however, came to the opposite conclusion in John M. O’Quinn, PC v. Wood. The Tyler court reasoned that the Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines “security” to mean “a bond or deposit posted … by a judgment debtor to suspend execution of the judgment during appeal of the judgment.” 

The Dallas Court found the reasoning of the Tyler Court persuasive and adopted its resolution, “hold[ing] that the $25-million cap in § 52.006 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code [and TRAP 24.2] applies per judgment debtor and not per judgment."



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