Law School Case Brief
Fuentes v. Zaragoza - No. 01-16-00251-CV, 2017 Tex. App. LEXIS 2171 (Tex. App. Mar. 14, 2017)
A petition in intervention is timely if filed before the signing and rendition of final judgment.
Appellee Evangelina Lopez Guzman Zaragoza filed for divorce in May 2014 against appellant Miguel Zaragoza Fuentes. Evangelina's petition named Miguel and each of the intervenors as parties, with the exception of Eagle Ridge Properties. Beginning in February 2015 and continuing through October 2015, Evangelina non-suited the intervenors initially named in her petition. Approximately a week before trial, Evangelina supplemented her amended petition, again naming Dade Aviation, Abbingdon Marine, Ezar Managment, Ezar Properties, and Esther Carrillo as co-respondents. The October 26 supplement did not name Ernesto Carrillo and Texas LPG Storage Company. Evangelina moved to dismiss the appeals brought by Dade Aviation, Inc., Abbington Marine, Inc., Ezar Management, LLC, Ezar Properties, L.P., Eagle Ridge Properties, LLC, Elsa Esther Anchondo Carrillo, Ernesto Carrillo, and Texas LPG Storage Company. Evangelina contended that these parties must be dismissed from the appeal for lack of standing because they were not parties to the underlying case. She also claimed that the petitions to intervene were filed too late.
Were the pleas in intervention filed by the intervenors to a divorce proceeding untimely?
The Court held that pleas in intervention filed by appellant intervenors to a divorce proceeding were not untimely because the trial court's November 2015 oral pronouncement was conditional and not final, given that an outstanding claim for attorney fees remained, and because the intervenors' petitions/pleas were filed before the trial court signed the final judgment in December 2015. Because the intervenors joined the lawsuit before the judgment was final in the trial court, the Court denied appellee Evangelina Zaragoza's motion to dismiss the intervenors' appeals for lack of standing.
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