In DeMino v. Sheridan, 176 S.W.3d 359 (Tex. App.-Houston 1st Dist. 2004, no pet.), the plaintiff brought suit against Sheridan, the University of Houston Provost.
The record, in DeMino, reflected that Sheridan did not file a separate pleading suggesting a counterclaim. Rather, his general prayer for relief asked for attorneys' fees and costs of court. Id. at 372.
The DeMino court stated that the issue of whether an answer pleads a counterclaim or is defensive is whether a defendant could have maintained an independent suit. If the suit could not have been maintained, it is defensive. Id.
The court concluded that Sheridan did not invoke the jurisdiction of the trial court by his general prayer. Id.