Land Partition Second Trial

What Is the Land Partition Second Trial

Hi, I’m Philip Hundl, I’m an attorney in Texas, and my practice area focuses on representing landowners involved with land partition matters, and also facing condemnation proceedings. We’re near the end of our series on land partitions.

It’s been fun to go through, brings back a lot of memories of a lot of different cases, I’ve had a lot of different scenarios. So right now we’re at the point where special commissioners have issued an award, a report, and one or both of the parties has objected to the report. And so, you know, then, really the question is, then what happens?

So as the objections to the report have to be filed within 30 days of when the report was filed. And I mentioned earlier about the report, you know, what are the requirements of the report, and the report needs to be signed by the commissioners under oath, and then filed with the clerk. And then obviously, you know, parties need to be noticed by that, and typically the clerk will do that. But you know, for the attorneys, it’s always important to stay on top of it. And you should know, hopefully your special commissioners have told you, the lawyers, hey, we’ve issued the report, or I filed the report at the clerk’s office, and, you know, you’ll be getting a copy sent. So objection to the report. So the second trial, and this is what a lot of people forget about, or don’t know, but there’s a second trial, and at that second trial, the court, you know, what is it trying to determine, or what is it being asked to do? You know, the party that it’s objecting, obviously, to the report, is asking the court to find that if the report is, you know, it’s wrong, so it’s erroneous in some material respect, or unequal or unjust. And so, it’s asking, you know, that party’s asking the court to reject it. So I always like to kind of put this way, is, you know, a party who objects to the report is asking the court to find that the reports, obviously, didn’t follow the instructions of the first trial, the first order, or judgment of the first trial. And then also, it’s unjust or unfair division of the property, ’cause we’re talking about any kind of division, and that’s what the report did, the special commissioners. And so, and now if the court finds and determines that there was a problem with the report, and when we say, it says in the statute, you know, material error in the report, or it’s unjust, unequal, then this is a part a lot of folks don’t know, is the court’s not going to send the special commissioners back to redo it, there’s not going to be a, you know, a redo or do-over by the special commissioners. No, the court is going to basically get rid of that slate of three special commissioners and appoint a new group of three special commissioners. And this basically starts all over, right? And asks, you know, that new slate of special commissioners to go back and, you know, come up with a report. And so, I always kind of use this, you know, a partition can essentially continue to go round and round if the court at that second trial finds that the report is wrong, you know, or there’s an error. So that’s something to always consider when dealing with partitions, is how they can continue to go on. And then, you know, even if the court approves the report and doesn’t find anything wrong with it and says, you know, it’s fair and it’s just, and it’s an equal division, obviously, the party that’s not happy with that can always appeal that finding, or that ruling of that outcome, the outcome of the second trial to, you know, a higher court, which would, in this case, be in Texas, the Court of Appeals, so always something to remember. Hope all this has been helpful, this series of real estate partition videos for Texas. So once again, partition proceedings are very different. Not many attorneys handle partitions, you know, on a routine consistent basis, and so a lot of times these rules are just, like I said, very different and they aren’t familiar with them. So good luck if you’re facing a partition case, and once again, hopefully these videos have been helpful.