Brown v. De La Cruz

In Brown v. De La Cruz, 156 S.W.3d 560 (Tex. 2004), the supreme court held that a former version of the property code that subjected a seller of residential property to a penalty for each day that the vendor failed to transfer title after the purchaser's final payment did not provide the purchaser with a private cause of action. Id. at 561. In so holding, the court reasoned that statutory fines or penalties are generally not payable to a private litigant. Id. The court further contrasted statutes which authorize actions for "damages" to private litigants, but authorize a "civil penalty" collectible by private prosecutors. Id.