Can a Texas summary judgment be final when attorney's fees claims are not addressed?

Posted by Scott StolleyIn a recent post (click here), I addressed whether a Texas judgment is final even when it does not address court costs. The answer appears to be that it is final, and this is also true when a statute makes attorney’s fees taxable as court costs.In a very recent opinion, the Texas Supreme Court addressed a related issue — whether a summary judgment is final when it does not address the parties’ competing claims for attorney’s fees. See FarmBureau Cnty. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Rogers, No. 14-0279, 2015 WL 392946 (Tex. Jan. 30, 2015). In that case, the insurer brought a declaratory-judgment claim with a request for attorney’s fees under the Uniform Declaratory Judgments Act. The policyholder counterclaimed for attorney’s fees under the DTPA. The trial court denied the insurer’s motion for summary judgment, and decreed that the insurer had a duty to defend and indemnify.The Supreme Court ruled that the summary judgment was not final (and therefore it was not appealable), because it did not address the attorney’s fees claims. The Court found that neither the language taxing court costs nor the Mother Hubbard clause disposed of the attorney’s fees claims.Thus, a judgment’s silence about attorney’s fees is generally treated differently than silence about court costs, at least when the judgment is not after a trial on the merits. There can be some twists, but in general, silence about attorney’s fees will deprive a summary judgment of finality, absent other indications (discussed in Rogers) that the trial court intended to dispose of the attorney’s fees claims through the Mother Hubbard clause.