French v. Brown – Case Brief Summary (Texas)

In French v. Brown, 424 S.W.2d 893 (Tex. 1967), the bill of review plaintiff learned that a party had been granted summary judgment in the underlying suit.

The bill of review plaintiff, alleging that he failed to respond to the summary judgment because he had not received notice of the motion, timely moved for a new trial.

After the motion was overruled by operation of law, the bill of review plaintiff did not perfect an appeal.

The Supreme Court held that the bill of review plaintiff was not entitled to relief because after his new-trial motion was overruled by operation of law, he did not seek to perfect an appeal.

The court noted that there was no allegation that the bill of review plaintiff had been prevented from perfecting an appeal by the wrongful act of the opposite party or by official error.

In French v. Brown, a summary judgment was granted against Brown. Although neither Brown nor his attorney were present at the hearing, Brown received notice of the order and timely filed a motion for new trial.

The motion was overruled by operation of law, but Brown did not pursue an appeal. Brown then filed a bill of review which was denied.

On review, the Texas Supreme Court determined that because Brown did not appeal within the proper time frame after he filed a motion for new trial, a bill of review of the order granting summary judgment was not an available remedy. Id. at 895.