law-rule 11 | TRCP 11Agreements | Agreement pursuant to Tex. R. Civ. R. 11 | ENFORCEABLE AGREEMENT | STATUTE OF
FRAUDS | MEDIATED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT | SETTLEMENT | RELEASE AS AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE |
FOR TEX. SANCTIONS CASE LAW SEE --> RULE 13 Tex R. Civ. P. 13 |
RULE 11 AGREEMENTS
Rule 11 provides that “[n]o agreement between attorneys or parties touching any suit pending will be enforced
unless it be in writing, signed and filed with the papers as part of the record, or unless it be made in open court
and entered of record.” TEX. R. CIV. P. 11. Brian argues that because the agreement is not reflected in the
reporter’s record, it does not comply with Rule 11. However, under similar facts, the Texas Supreme Court held
in City of Houston v. Clear Creek Basin Authority, 589 S.W.2d 671, 677 (Tex. 1979), that Rule 11 “is satisfied if
the oral waiver or agreement made in open court is described in the judgment or an order of the court.” Here,
the final decree recites that the parties agreed in open court to submit the attorney’s fees issue to the trial
court. Therefore, Rule 11 was satisfied. See id.
"The law of contracts applies to Rule 11 settlement agreements." Ronin v. Lerner, 7 S.W.3d 883, 886
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, no pet.).
"Parties form a binding contract when the following elements are present: (1) an offer, (2) an acceptance in
strict compliance with the terms of the offer, (3) meeting of the minds, (4) each party's consent to the terms,
and (5) execution and delivery of the contract with the intent that it be mutual and binding." Williams v. Unifund
CCR Partners Assignee Of Citibank, 264 S.W.3d 231, 236 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2008, no pet.)
(emphasis added). Because of the second element, "[w]here an offer prescribes the time and manner of
acceptance, those terms must ordinarily be complied with to create a contract." Padilla, 907 S.W.2d at 460
(citingTown of Lindsay v. Cooke County Elec. Coop. Ass'n, 502 S.W.2d 117, 118 (Tex. 1973)).
Under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 11, no agreement between the attorneys or parties to a suit is enforceable
unless it is in writing, signed, and filed with the papers as part of the record, or unless it is made in open court
and entered of record. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 11. A settlement agreement must comply with Rule 11 to be
enforceable. See Padilla v. LaFrance, 907 S.W.2d 454, 460 (Tex. 1995).
To satisfy the “in writing” component of Rule 11, the contract principles that are used in determining whether a
“writing” satisfies the statute of frauds apply equally to Rule 11 agreements. See id. Thus, “there must be a
written memorandum which is complete within itself in every material detail, and which contains all of the
essential elements of the agreement, so that the contract can be ascertained from the writings without resorting
to oral testimony.” Id. (quoting Cohen v. McCutchin, 565 S.W.2d 230, 232 (Tex. 1978)). The written
memorandum, however, need not be contained in one document. Id.
Padilla v. LaFrance is dispositive in this case. In Padilla, the parties had exchanged a series of letters
regarding terms of a settlement while a lawsuit was pending against Enrique Padilla. See 907 S.W.2d at 455.
Padilla claimed that the letters represented a written settlement between the parties and asked the trial court to
enforce the agreement. See id. at 457. The plaintiffs, however, contended that there was no written
agreement between the parties. See id.
The Texas Supreme Court concluded that the series of letters between the parties were sufficient to constitute
an agreement in writing satisfying Rule 11. See id. at 460. In doing so, the Court noted that the letters
specifically confirmed a settlement agreement between the parties and contained all the material terms of the
agreement: an agreement to pay a specified sum of money in exchange for the settlement of all claims. See
id. at 460–61.
A judgment rendered on a Rule 11 settlement agreement must be "in strict or literal compliance" with the
terms recited into the record and cannot remove or add material terms. See Chisholm v. Chisholm, 209 S.W.3d
96, 98 (Tex. 2006) (per curiam) (citing Vickrey v. Am. Youth Camps, Inc., 532 S.W.2d 292, 292 (Tex. 1976) (per
curiam)); see also Wyss v. Bookman, 235 S.W. 567, 569 (Tex. Com. App. 1921, holding approved); Reppert v.
Beasley, 943 S.W.2d 172, 174 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 1997, no writ).
When an agreement fails to include all necessary terms, the negotiations of the parties "never reached that
final stage of meeting of minds upon all matters which is essentially necessary to an agreed judgment." Wyss,
235 S.W. at 569. Additionally, if a party withdraws its consent to the Rule 11 settlement agreement before
judgment is rendered, a court is precluded from rendering a consent judgment. Chisholm, 209 S.W.3d at 98 ("a
court `cannot render a valid agreed judgment absent consent at the time it is rendered'") (quoting Padilla v.
Lafrance, 907 S.W.2d 454, 461 (Tex. 1995)); Trevino v. Houston Orthopedic Ctr., 831 S.W.2d 341, 344 (Tex.
App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, writ denied) ("`powers of the judge, exercised by virtue of agreement of the
parties, extend . . . to entering only such judgment as was a literal compliance with the agreement.'") (quoting
Wyss, 235 S.W. at 569).
"When a consent judgment is rendered without consent or is not in strict compliance with the terms of the
agreement, the judgment must be set aside." Chisholm, 209 S.W.3d at 98; see also Ford Motor Co. v. Castillo,
279 S.W.3d 656, 663 (Tex. 2009) (If consent is lacking when the purported agreed judgment is rendered, the
judgment must be reversed and remanded to the trial court.). However, the parties cannot revoke their
consent to the agreement once the trial court renders judgment based on a Rule 11 settlement agreement. S &
A Restaurant v. Leal, 892 S.W.2d 855, 858 (Tex. 1995). As a general rule, "[j]udgment is rendered when the
trial court officially announces its decision in open court or by written memorandum filed with the clerk." Id. at
857. The trial court's words "must clearly indicate the intent to render judgment at the time the words are
expressed." Id. at 858. A trial court's approval of a settlement does not necessarily constitute rendition of
judgment. Id.; Buffalo Bag Co. v. Joachim, 704 S.W.2d 482, 484 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1986, writ ref'd
RULE 11 CASELAW FROM THE TEXAS SUPREME COURT
Ford Motor Co. v. Castillo, No. 06-0875 (Tex. 2009)(Phil Johnson)
(defendant entitled to opportunity to conduct discovery on affirmative defenses to breach of settlement claim
based on improper juror conduct) (Ford given opportunity to show it was justified in backing out of settlement
agreement because of allegedly misleading message from jury which prompted settlement by Rule 11
Justice Wainwright delivered a concurring opinion, in which Justice Medina joined.
Sonat Exploration Co. v. Cudd Pressure Control, Inc. No. 06-0979 (Tex. Nov. 21, 2008) (Brister)(choice of law
when contract not express, enforceability of Rule 11 agreement, indemnity law and public policy of forum state
vs. foreign state)
Murff, MD v. Pass, No. 07-0294 (Tex. Mar. 28, 2008) (jury selection, juror confusion, disqualification)
W. GENE MURFF, M.D. AND MURFF-WANG-MOORE ASSOCIATES, P.A. v. WANDA KAYE PASS, AS NEXT
FRIEND OF LESLIE LEANN PASS, A MINOR; from McLennan County; 10th district (10-06-00162-CV, ___ S.W.
3d ___, 02-28-07)
In re BP Products North America, Inc., No. 07-0119 , 244 S.W3d 841(Tex. Jan. 25, 2008)(Gaultney, sitting by
assignment) (discovery dispute, apex deposition, Rule 11 agreement, motion to quash notice of deposition,
protective order, discovery mandamus granted)