Brooks v. Northglen Ass'n

In Brooks v. Northglen Ass'n, 141 S.W.3d 158, 47 Tex. Sup. Ct. J. 719 (Tex. 2004), a homeowners' association amended its subdivision's deed restrictions to expand the association's board and to charge late fees on unpaid assessments. 141 S.W.3d. at 161. A group of homeowners complained that the board acted outside the bounds of the deed restrictions by adopting these amendments. Id. The association filed suit, seeking, in part, a declaration that its actions were valid. Id. The homeowners counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that the association had no authority to take the disputed actions. Id. The trial court granted the association's summary judgment on the merits, and the court of appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part. Id. At the supreme court, the association argued for the first time that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the plaintiffs failed to join all affected homeowners as parties. Id. at 162. The supreme court rejected the association's jurisdictional argument, noting that the DJA provided the trial court with jurisdiction to declare the rights, status, and other legal relations for homeowners who were interested under a deed or written contract. Id. (citing TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM. CODE ANN. 37.003(a), 37.004(a) (Vernon 1997)). The court concluded that the question was not whether jurisdiction was lacking, but rather "whether the trial court should have refused to enter a judgment when a subset of the homeowners was not joined in the lawsuit." Id.