law-laches | waiver of rights by undue delay, failure to act | lack of due diligence | detrimental to other
LACHES - CASELAW SNIPPETS
Laches is an equitable remedy akin to estoppel that requires a showing that the party
asserting a claim has unreasonably delayed the assertion of that claim and, due to that delay,
the opposing party has made a good faith change of position to his or her detriment. See
City of Fort Worth v. Johnson, 388 S.W.2d 400, 403 (Tex. 1964); In re Laibe Corporation, 307
S.W.3d 314, 318 (Tex. 2010).
However, in its sovereign capacity, the State, unlike ordinary litigants, is not subject to the
defense of laches. State v. Durham, 860 S.W.2d 63, 67 (Tex. 1993).
Laches is an affirmative defense that must be pled and proved by the party asserting the
defense. TEX. R. CIV.P. 94; Jim Rutherford Invs., Inc. v. Terramar Beach Cmty. Ass’n, 25 S.
W.3d 845, 852 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2000, pet. denied). An affirmative defense
that is not specifically pled is waived. TEX. R. CIV. P. 94; Kinnear v. Tex. Comm’n on Human
Rights ex rel. Hale, 14 S.W.3d 299, 300 (Tex. 2000).
LACHES DOCTRINE - TEXAS SUPREME COURT CASES
In re Laibe Corp., No. 09-0426 (Tex. Mar. 26, 2010)(per curiam)
(contractual forum selection enforced by mandamus, laches waiver argument rejected)
IN RE LAIBE CORPORATION; from Wise County;
2nd district (02-09-00089-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 04-24-09)
Pursuant to Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 52.8(c), without hearing oral argument, the Court
conditionally grants the writ of mandamus.
Per Curiam Opinion [pdf]
View Electronic Briefs in No. 09-0426 IN RE LAIBE CORPORATION
Issuance of mandamus relief “is largely controlled by equitable principles,” and equity “‘aids the
diligent and not those who slumber on their rights.’” Rivercenter Assocs. v. Rivera, 858 S.W.2d 366,
367 (Tex. 1993) (quoting Callahan v. Giles, 155 S.W.2d 793, 795 (Tex. 1941)). To invoke the
equitable doctrine of laches, the moving party ordinarily must show an unreasonable delay by the
opposing party in asserting it rights, and also the moving party’s good faith and detrimental change in
position because of the delay. Rogers v. Ricane Enters., Inc., 772 S.W.2d 76, 80 (Tex. 1989).
Jackson Drilling has not demonstrated a detrimental change in position between the time the motion
for reconsideration was denied in the trial court and the filing of the mandamus petition in the court of
appeals. See In re E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., 92 S.W.3d 517, 524 (Tex. 2002) (orig. proceeding)
(rejecting argument that unreasonable delay barred mandamus relief, in part because “plaintiffs have
failed to show how the delay has prejudiced them in any way”).
COURT OF APPEALS CASES
Laches is an equitable remedy that prevents a plaintiff from asserting a claim due to the lapse of time.
Brewer v. Nationsbank of Texas, N.A., 28 S.W.3d 801, 804 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 2000, no pet.).
It is generally not available in a suit to enforce a statutory right. Houston Lighting & Power Co. v. City
of Wharton, 101 S.W.3d 633, 638 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2003, pet. denied). Moreover, to
prevail on it, one must show that 1) his opponent unreasonably delayed in asserting legal or equitable
rights, and 2) the delay caused him to, in good faith, change his position. Caldwell v. Barnes, 975 S.W.
2d 535, 538 (Tex. 1998).
Assuming arguendo that laches is applicable to guardianship proceedings and that the 1.5 year delay
mentioned by Olivares was unreasonable, Olivares did not illustrate that the delay caused him to
change his position to his detriment. Without such a showing, he cannot prevail. See Trevino v.
Trevino, 64 S.W.3d 166, 173 (Tex. App.–San Antonio 2001, no pet.).
IN THE GUARDIANSHIP OF MARY JANE OLIVARES, AN INCAPACITATED
PERSON; from Bexar County; 7th district (07-07-00275-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 12-12-08,
pet. denied Jun 2009)
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