What is a Defendant IN REM ONLY?

Asked over 4 years ago - Dripping Springs, TX

My husband and I have been served as defendants (IN REM ONLY) in a suit filed by the local taxing authority against a contractor that we have an abstract judgment against. It is "demanded" that we respond in writing to the "Citation in Delinquent Tax Suit" within 20 days, but we have no idea what we are responding to.

Attorney answers (1)

  1. Thuong-Tri Nguyen

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . in rem: Lat. Actions against a thing (res) and not against a person. A lawsuit in rem involves settlement of a property claim without reference to the individual claimants. This judgment is binding on all claimants to the property, whether they are parties to the action or not.

    This likely means that you and your husband would not be liable for any money the taxing authority may win (unless the authority has some other basis for a judgment against you).

    The contractor likely fails to pay property taxes and the authority is taking legal actions to seize the property for the taxes.

    If "[you] have no idea what [you] are responding to", you likely should review your specific facts with attorneys local to the court proceeding to that you see what legal options are available to you.

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