Fernando Cantu-Garcia v. Ruth Esmeralda Lopez Medrano

Reversed and Remanded and Memorandum Opinion filed November 3, 2022. In The Fourteenth Court of Appeals NO. 14-21-00171-CV FERNANDO CANTU-GARCIA, Appellant V. RUTH ESMERALDA LOPEZ MEDRANO, Appellee On Appeal from the 280th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2020-73190 MEMORANDUM OPINION Fernando Cantu-Garcia appeals from a default judgment, final protective order granted to appellee Ruth Esmeralda Lopez Medrano. In a single issue, Cantu-Garcia contends the trial court erred in denying his motion for new trial pursuant to Craddock v. Sunshine Bus Lines, 134 Tex. 388, 133 S.W.2d 124 (Tex. 1939). We reverse and remand. Background On November 13, 2020, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office filed an Application for Protective Order on behalf of Medrano. On that same day, the trial court signed a temporary ex parte protective order and set a show-cause hearing for January 6, 2021 on a final protective order. It is undisputed that on November 16, 2020, while Cantu-Garcia was incarcerated in the Harris County Jail, he was served with copies of the application for a protective order and the temporary protective order as well as notice of the hearing date. On January 6, 2021, the trial court held an evidentiary show-cause hearing on the application for a protective order. Cantu-Garcia failed to file an answer in the case or appear for the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found that Cantu-Garcia committed family violence, family violence was likely to occur again in the future, and a protective order was in the best interest of Medrano and the couple’s children and necessary for their safety and welfare as well as the prevention of future family violence. The trial court signed a default judgment ordering Cantu-Garcia to have no contact with Medrano for the remainder of Cantu-Garcia’s lifetime or with the couple’s four minor children for specified periods of time. Cantu-Garcia filed a motion for new trial on February 2, 2021. The State responded on behalf of Medrano, and Cantu-Garcia filed a reply to the response. The trial court denied the motion for new trial on March 2, 2021 without holding a hearing. Standards of Review A trial court’s denial of a motion for new trial under Craddock is reviewed for abuse of discretion. In re Marriage of Sandoval, 619 S.W.3d 716, 721 (Tex. 2 2021). Under Craddock, a trial court’s discretion is limited and a default judgment must be set aside if: (1) the failure of the defendant to answer before judgment was not intentional or the result of conscious indifference on his part but was due to a mistake or accident; (2) the motion for new trial sets up a meritorious defense; and (3) granting the motion would occasion no delay or otherwise work an injury to the plaintiff. Id. When a motion for new trial presents a question of fact upon which evidence must be heard, the trial court is obligated to consider such evidence if the facts alleged by the movant would entitle him to a …

Original document
Source: All recent Immigration Decisions In All the U.S. Courts of Appeals