When Does a Cause of Action Accrued In Texas ?
The question of when a cause of action accrues is a question of law for the court. Moreno v. Sterling Drug, Inc., 787 S.W.2d 348, 351 (Tex. 1990).
A cause of action generally accrues at the time of the wrongful conduct if the law provides an immediate remedy to redress the harm to the plaintiff's legally protected interest. Zidell v. Bird, 692 S.W.2d 550, 554 (Tex. App.--Austin, 1985, no writ).
The harm to the plaintiff's legally protected interest need only raise a risk of harm to the plaintiff's interest, the harm need not be an inevitable consequence of the conduct. Id. at 557.
A cause of action will accrue when a defendant's wrongful conduct causes some injury. Trinity River Auth. v. URS Consultants, Inc.--Texas, 889 S.W.2d 259, 262 (Tex. 1994).
A defendant seeking summary judgment on the ground of limitations must prove when the cause of action accrued, and must negate the discovery rule by proving as a matter of law there is no genuine issue of fact about when the plaintiff discovered, or should have discovered, the nature of the injury. KPMG Peat Marwick v. Harrison County Housing Finance Corp., 988 S.W.2d 746, 748 (Tex. 1999).
If the movant establishes that the action is barred by limitations, the nonmovant must then adduce summary judgment proof raising a fact issue to avoid the statute of limitations. Id.
In Murray v. San Jacinto Agency, Inc., 800 S.W.2d 826, 828 (Tex. 1990), our supreme court explicated that "a cause of action generally accrues at the time when facts come into existence which authorize a claimant to seek a judicial remedy.
Put another way, 'a cause of action can generally be said to accrue when the wrongful act effects an injury.'" In determining when a cause of action accrues, we must look to "the first point from which a party may seek a judicial remedy." Trapnell v. Sysco Food Servs., Inc., 850 S.W.2d 529, 551 (Tex.App.--Corpus Christi 1992), affirmed, 890 S.W.2d 796 (Tex. 1994).
A cause of action assigned after the filing of a lawsuit no longer belongs to the assignor and therefore may not be maintained by the assignor.
Texas Machinery and Equipment Co. v. Gordon Knox Oil and Exploration Co., 442 S.W.2d 315, 317 (Tex. 1969);
River Consulting, Inc. v. Sullivan, 848 S.W.2d 165, 169 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1992, writ denied) (overruled by implication on other grounds).
When an assignor assigns a cause of action, he no longer owns any part of the claim and therefore "lacks that justiciable interest which is necessary to maintain any action." See Duke v. Brookshire Grocery Co., 568 S.W.2d 470, 472 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 1978, no writ).
The assignee may maintain the lawsuit in its own name, or in the name of the assignor, but unless the assignor has retained some interest in the cause of action, he is precluded from bringing the lawsuit. See Gordon Knox, 442 S.W.2d at 317; River Consulting, 848 S.W.2d at 169.