Here is an overview of a few improper uses for declaratory judgments in Texas.
Declaratory Judgments Are Not Available to Settle Disputes Already Pending Before the Court.
"The Declaratory Judgment Act is 'not available to settle disputes already pending before a court.'" A declaratory judgment is improper if the declaratory relief is sought for the first time in an amended petition and merely raises the same issues. Howell v. Mauzy, 899 S.W.2d 690, 706 (Tex. App.--Austin 1994, writ denied).
Parties Cannot Use Declaratory Judgments to Seek Declarations on Affirmative Defenses.
An affirmative defense is not a proper subject of a claim for declaratory relief. In Sanchez v. AmeriCredit Financial Services, Inc., the Dallas Court of Appeals stated as follows: The matters on which [defendant] sought a declaratory judgment were nothing more than affirmative defenses to claims on which the parties had already joined issue and had no greater ramification than the defenses that were presented when [defendant's] counterclaim for declaratory action was filed. In none of [defendant's] requested declarations did he seek affirmative relief; he sought only to avoid liability. In fact, [defendant's] requested declarations were identical to affirmative defenses set forth earlier in the same pleading. Thus, the declaratory-judgment counterclaim duplicated other parts of the pleading in every respect. The allegations pled in [defendant's] counterclaim are not averments of fact upon which affirmative relief could be granted. They are denials of [plaintiff's] cause of action.
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