Take 5

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Class Certification in Lawsuit Over Late Fees Against Apartment Complex

In a case that could have implications for tenants in Texas, the state’s Supreme Court has reversed the trial court’s certification of a class of current and former tenants who were subject to late fees assessed by an apartment complex. The lawsuit was brought by Tammy Cessor against Mosaic Baybrook One, L.P., alleging that the complex had violated section 92.019 of the Texas Property Code by assessing late fees for rent payments.

Mosaic initially filed an answer denying Cessor’s claims, but later amended its answer to raise affirmative defenses after the deadline for amended pleadings had passed. The trial court granted Cessor’s motion to certify a class, but the Texas Supreme Court held that the trial court’s failure to address Mosaic’s late-asserted defenses constituted reversible error.

The decision could have significant implications for tenants in Texas who may be subject to late fees assessed by their landlords. The ruling emphasizes the importance of adhering to procedural rules and deadlines in litigation, and underscores the need for landlords to ensure that their billing practices comply with the Texas Property Code.

The case has been remanded to the trial court for further proceedings. It remains to be seen how this ruling will impact similar cases in Texas going forward.

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