4th District Court of Appeals: Trial court did not err, abuse discretion in breach of contract case

By Charmaine Little | Jan 30, 2019

SAN ANTONIO – An appellate court has upheld a lower court's decision in a breach of contract case, ruling that the appellant did not timely plead his affirmative defense of limitations.

The 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio, Texas affirmed the ruling of the Bexar County Court at Law No. 3 on Jan. 23.

"(Edward Meza Jr.) has not demonstrated any error or abuse of discretion in this case," Justice Irene Rios wrote.

Meza Jr., who filed the appeal after Gloria Burns was awarded damages in her breach of contract counterclaim, said the trial court should not have ruled in Burns' favor because her counterclaim was barred by the statute of limitations.

“While Meza contends on appeal that Burns’ counterclaim was barred by limitations, the affirmative defense of limitations was never properly raised in the trial court,” Rios wrote. “It was not raised in Meza’s live pleading, it was not raised by virtue of any consolidation with the Honorcare case, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion by denying leave to file an amended petition raising that defense after Burns rested her case."

Meza and others originally sued Burns over allegations of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraud and securities fraud. They requested that case be consolidated or jointly tried with Honorcare Home Health Inc. v. Edward R. Meza Jr., et al.

"Burns opposed the motion on the ground that it was filed for the sole purpose of circumventing the trial court’s order in the Honorcare case denying Meza’s motion to add Burns as a third-party defendant," Rios wrote.

Once the lower court denied that motion, Burns filed a counterclaim against Meza over allegations of breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.

Before the opening remarks in the trial, Meza argued Burns’ counterclaim wasn’t timely filed. Still, the court found in favor of Burns, stating that Meza would take nothing on his claims. Meza then appealed.

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