When Can a Third Party Beneficiary Enforce a Contract In Texas ?

In determining whether a third party can enforce a contract, the intention of the contracting parties is controlling. See MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Texas Utilities Elec. Co., 995 S.W.2d at 651. A court will not create a third-party beneficiary contract by implication. See id. The intention to contract or confer a direct benefit to a third party must be clearly and fully spelled out or enforcement by the third party must be denied. See id. Consequently, a presumption exists that parties contracted for themselves unless it "clearly appears" that they intended a third party to benefit from the contract. See id. If there is any reasonable doubt as to an intent to confer a direct benefit, the third-party beneficiary claim must fail. MJR Corp. v. B & B Vending Co., 760 S.W.2d at 10 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1988). Therefore, third-party beneficiary recovery will generally be denied, unless: (1) the obligation of the bargain-giver is fully spelled out; (2) it is unmistakable that a benefit to the third party was within the contemplation of the primary contracting parties; (3) the primary parties contemplated that the third party would be vested with the right to sue for enforcement of the contract -- all presumptions being invoked against liability to the third party. See id. at 15.