Aguero v. Ramirez

In Aguero v. Ramirez, 70 S.W.3d 372 (Tex. App.--Corpus Christi 2002, pet. denied), Aguero signed a note payable to Ramirez, secured by a deed of trust and a vendor's lien. Id. at 373. Aguero defaulted, and five years later Ramirez filed suit on the note. Id. Aguero argued that Ramirez's suit was barred by Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code section 16.035's four-year limitations period; Ramirez argued that his suit was timely under section 3.118(a)'s six-year limitations period. Id. at 373-74. The court of appeals held that the six-year statute applied. Id. at 375. Where there is a debt secured by a note, which is, in turn, secured by a lien, the note and lien constitute separate obligations. Id. at 374. Because Ramirez sued to enforce the note, not the lien, the six-year statute applied: "If Ramirez was suing to enforce the lien, the deed of trust, or seeking to foreclose on the property used as security, the four-year statute of limitations would apply. After the expiration of a four-year period, the right to sue to enforce the lien and to foreclose on the property is lost. However, Ramirez is only suing to enforce payment on the promissory note. His suit is still actionable." Id. at 375.