Issue: Under Texas law, does a petitioner have a possible cause of action against witnesses who commit perjury during their depositions?
|Area of Law:||Litigation & Procedure|
|Keywords:||Civil remedies for perjury; Criminal prohibition against perjury|
|Cited Cases:||827 S.W.2d 87; 20 S.W.3d 188; 889 S.W.2d 418; 56 Tex. Crim. 103; 874 S.W.2d 83; 715 S.W.2d 827|
When a person lies, fabricates facts or otherwise provides false testimony in a deposition, they have committed perjury. Texas law allows for perjury to be punished both through use of civil sanctions and through the imposition of criminal penalties, including imprisonment.
Civil Remedies for Perjury
In Lanfear v. Blackmon, 827 S.W.2d 87 (Tex. App.–Corpus Christi 1992, mot. to file mandamus overruled), a witness who was also a defendant in a joint cause of action brought by the plaintiff was sanctioned for discovery abuses and perjury. Lanfear failed to properly respond to
discovery requests and also perjured himself during the course of discovery by signing a response to interrogatories which contained false information and by testifying falsely at a motion hearing. 827 S.W.2d at 88-89. The plaintiff brought a motion for sanctions under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 215. Id. at 89. Rule 215(2)(b) states that parties who fail to comply with proper discovery requests may have sanctions brought against them. The sanctions which are available are widespread and may include an order disallowing further discovery, an order charging discovery expenses against the party, an order that particular matters may be taken as established against that party’s interests, an order striking pleadings or parts of pleadings, and/or the imposition of attorneys’ fees and reasonable expenses, among others.
The lower court judge granted the motion, entering default judgment against Lanfear and ordering him to pay $10,000 in attorney’s fees. […]