Association That Obtained a “Take Nothing” Judgment is Awarded over $220,000 in Attorney’s Fees

This case involved a dispute between a homeowner (“Owner”) and his homeowners’ association (“Association”) over Association’s entitlement to an award of attorney’s fees after Association obtained a “take nothing” judgment on claims Owner had alleged against Association.

The action that gave rise to the contested attorney’s fee issues involved claims Owner alleged against Association relative to the handling of proceeds received from Association’s insurance carrier for hurricane damage. Owner sued Association and its board of directors for fraud, civil conspiracy, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, gross negligence, conversion, and trespass. In his action, Owner contended that Association had created a fraudulent scheme to keep insurance proceeds from owners and to shift the repair obligations to the individual unit owners. In response to Owner’s action, Association filed a counterclaim for declaratory judgment and request an award of attorney’s fees under various Texas statutes.

A jury in the trial court found in favor of Association and awarded Association attorney’s fees in excess of $220,000. Owner appealed the trial court judgment. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s “take nothing” judgment but reversed the trial court’s award of attorney’s fees to Association because:

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