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Kunstoplast of Am. v. Formosa Plastics Corp.

Supreme Court of Texas
Feb 21, 1997
937 S.W.2d 455 (Tex. 1997)

Summary

holding that nonlawyer corporate officer could perform the ministerial duty of filing a bond necessary to perfect an appeal for a corporation, which must otherwise be represented by legal counsel

Summary of this case from Kinder Morgan SACROC, LP v. Scurry Cnty.

Opinion

No. 96-0757.

December 13, 1996. Rehearing Overruled February 21, 1997.

Appeal from 127th District Court, Harris County, Sharolyn Wood, J.

Matthew L. Benson, Roger R. Evans, Houston, for Petitioners.

Mark F. Elvig, Scott J. Davenport, Houston, for Respondent.


We decide whether a corporate officer, who is not a licensed attorney, may nevertheless perfect an appeal by filing cash deposits in lieu of cost bonds on behalf of the corporation and an individual. The court of appeals held that he could not, and dismissed the appeal for want of jurisdiction. 928 S.W.2d 582. We reverse that judgment and remand the case to the court of appeals for consideration on the merits.

On November 30, 1995, Formosa Plastics Corp., U.S.A., obtained a judgment against Kunstoplast of America, Inc., and Ashok K. Chauhan. To perfect an appeal for both parties, Justin Seth, an officer of Kunstoplast, filed cash deposits in lieu of cost bonds on behalf of both Kunstoplast and Chauhan. See TEX. R. APP. P. 46(b), 48.

The court of appeals dismissed Kunstoplast's appeal, holding that only a licensed attorney can represent a corporation. 928 S.W.2d at 582. The court also dismissed Chauhan's appeal because he did not represent himself or appear by a licensed attorney as required by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 7. Id. at 583. We reject the court of appeals' holding on both counts.

Both Kunstoplast and Chauhan made bona fide attempts to invoke the court of appeals' jurisdiction by having Seth file their cash deposits in lieu of cost bonds. See Grand Prairie Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Southern Parts Imports, Inc., 813 S.W.2d 499, 500 (Tex. 1991); Woods Exploration Producing Co. v. Arkla Equip. Co., 528 S.W.2d 568, 570 (Tex. 1975). "It is our policy to construe rules reasonably but liberally, when possible, so that the right to appeal is not lost by creating a requirement not absolutely necessary from the literal words of the rule." Jamar v. Patterson, 868 S.W.2d 318, 319 (Tex. 1993). Generally a corporation may be represented only by a licensed attorney, see Moore v. Elektro-Mobil Technik GmbH, 874 S.W.2d 324, 327 (Tex.App. — El Paso 1994, writ denied), and an individual must appear in person or by an attorney. See TEX. R. CIV. P. 7. We hold, however, that Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure 40(a)(1) and 41(a)(1) do not preclude a nonlawyer from performing the specific ministerial task of depositing cash with a clerk in lieu of a cost bond.

Accordingly, the Court grants Petitioners' application for writ of error and, without oral argument, pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 170, reverses the judgment of the court of appeals and remands this case to that court for further proceedings.


Summaries of

Kunstoplast of Am. v. Formosa Plastics Corp.

Supreme Court of Texas
Feb 21, 1997
937 S.W.2d 455 (Tex. 1997)

holding that nonlawyer corporate officer could perform the ministerial duty of filing a bond necessary to perfect an appeal for a corporation, which must otherwise be represented by legal counsel

Summary of this case from Kinder Morgan SACROC, LP v. Scurry Cnty.

holding nonlawyer corporate officer could perform "specific ministerial task of depositing cash with a clerk in lieu of a cost bond" but could not represent corporation in court

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holding that a non-lawyer may perform the ministerial task of filing a cost bond to perfect an appeal

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holding that nonlawyers may perfect corporation's appeal by depositing cash with district clerk in lieu of cost bond

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holding that nonlawyers may perfect corporation's appeal by depositing cash with district clerk in lieu of cost bond

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holding that only licensed attorney can appear and represent a corporation in litigation

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holding that only licensed attorney can appear and represent a corporation in litigation

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holding that while a corporation is required to be represented by a licensed attorney, a nonlawyer may perform the ministerial task of perfecting an appeal

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holding that nonlawyer corporate officer could perfect appeal for corporation

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holding that nonlawyer corporate officer could perfect appeal for corporation

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holding that a non-attorney may not appear pro se on behalf of a corporation

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stating that an individual must appear in person or by an attorney

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providing that a nonlawyer may only perform ministerial tasks for a corporation on appeal

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In Formosa Plastics, a corporation known as Kunstoplast wished to challenge an adverse judgment and had one of Kunstoplast's corporate officers, who was not an attorney, file the notice of appeal and deposit the supersedeas cash with the clerk of court.

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stating that corporations may appear only through licensed attorneys

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stating that corporations may appear only through licensed attorneys

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stating that generally an individual must appear either in person or by an attorney although a nonlawyer is not precluded from performing the specific ministerial task of depositing cash with a clerk in lieu of a cost bond

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stating that generally an individual must appear either in person or by an attorney although a nonlawyer is not precluded from performing the specific ministerial task of depositing cash with a clerk in lieu of a cost bond

Summary of this case from Watts v. Nathan

In Kunstoplast, the Texas Supreme Court, which has adopted the majority's "curable defect" approach, emphasized its "policy to construe rules reasonably but liberally, when possible, so that the right to appeal is not lost by creating a requirement not absolutely necessary from the literal words of the rule."

Summary of this case from Wuxi Taihu Tractor Co. v. York Grp., Inc.

stating that generally, a corporation may be represented only by a licensed attorney, and an individual must appear in person or by an attorney

Summary of this case from S&B Consulting Grp., LLC v. Dietzman

In Kunstoplast, the court acknowledged that "[g]enerally a corporation may be represented only by a licensed attorney," but then held that a non-lawyer's act on behalf of a corporation may be given effect by the court when the act is a "specific ministerial task."

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noting that a corporation may be represented only by a licensed attorney

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stating that "[g]enerally a corporation may be represented only by a licensed attorney"

Summary of this case from Triple R v. Ft. Worth

overruling Chauhan v. Formosa Plastics Corp., USA, 928 S.W.2d 582 (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1996)

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Case details for

Kunstoplast of Am. v. Formosa Plastics Corp.

Case Details

Full title:KUNSTOPLAST OF AMERICA, INC. and Ashok K. Chauhan, Petitioners, v. FORMOSA…

Court:Supreme Court of Texas

Date published: Feb 21, 1997

Citations

937 S.W.2d 455 (Tex. 1997)

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