Compulsory Counterclaim Case Law In Texas
An order that severs a compulsory counterclaim from the main suit is an abuse of discretion. See id.
To be compulsory, a counterclaim must be within the jurisdiction of the court and arise out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject matter of the primary claim, among other requisites. See TEX. R. CIV. P. 97(a), (d); Goins, 857 S.W.2d at 630 (citing Wyatt v. Shaw Plumbing Co., 760 S.W.2d 245, 247 (Tex. 1988)).
To determine whether any of the counterclaims were compulsory, we must look to see if the trial court had jurisdiction over the counterclaims. See Texas Ass'n of Bus. v. Texas Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 445-46 (Tex. 1993) (jurisdictional issues may be raised sua sponte by the court for the first time on appeal). a cross action or counterclaim brought in a statutory county court is treated as a separate suit and must meet the same maximum jurisdictional requirements as an original action. See Smith v. Clary Corp., 917 S.W.2d 796, 798 (Tex. 1996) (per curiam) (op. on reh'g); Tejas Toyota, Inc. v. Griffin, 587 S.W.2d 775, 776 (Tex. Civ. App.-Waco 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
A permissive or compulsory counterclaim may be for an amount within or below the court's minimum jurisdiction, but it cannot be for an amount above the court's maximum jurisdiction. See TEX. R. CIV. P. 97(a); Kitchen Designs, Inc. v. Wood, 584 S.W.2d 305, 307 (Tex. Civ. App.-Texarkana 1979, writ ref'd n.r.e.).
The Collin County Court of Law No. 1 has jurisdiction over "civil cases in which the matter in controversy exceeds $ 500 but does not exceed $ 100,000.00, excluding interest, statutory or punitive damages and penalties, and attorney's fees and costs, as alleged on the face of the petition." TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 25.003(c)(1) (Vernon Supp. 2000); see id. 25.0451 (providing for Collin County Court at Law No. 1).
The amount in controversy is determined by the pleadings. See Texas Ass'n of Bus., 852 S.W.2d at 478; Smith Detective Agency & Nightwatch Serv., Inc. v. Stanley Smith Sec., Inc., 938 S.W.2d 743, 747 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1996, writ denied).