law-promissory-estoppel-attorneys-fees | law-promissory-estoppel elements | breach of contract | attorneys fees
and breach of contract | promissory estoppel and statute of frauds | not to be confused with breach of
promissory note | promissory note suit | promissory note proof of damages | other estoppel theories and related
concepts: quasi-estoppel | equitable estoppel | admission | deemed admissions | stipulation | res judicata | claim
preclusion | collateral estoppel | collateral attack
Basis for fee award: Are attorneys fees available on a promissory estoppel
claim? - Courts are divided
Prince contends that the trial court erred in awarding QAI its attorney’s fees because Texas law does not allow
an award of attorney’s fees based on a claim of promissory estoppel. Prince recognizes that Texas courts
currently are split on this issue. Compare Doctors Hosp. 1997, L.P. v. Sambuca Houston, L.P., 154 S.W.3d 634,
635–38 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. abated) (holding that attorney’s fees are not recoverable
under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 38.001(8) for promissory estoppel claim because such claims presuppose
no “oral or written contract”) (quoting Subaru of Am., Inc. v. David McDavid Nissan, Inc., 84 S.W.3d 212, 226
(Tex. 2002) (“promissory estoppel doctrine presumes no contract exists”)) with Preload Tech., Inc. v. A.B. & J.
Constr. Co., 696 F.2d 1080, 1094–95 (5th Cir. 1983) (upholding attorney’s fees awarded under Texas law for
promissory estoppel claim); Traco, Inc. v. Arrow Glass Co., 814 S.W.2d 186, 194–95 (Tex. App.—San Antonio
1991, writ denied); Safe Env’t v. Pelzel & Assocs., Inc., No. 03-09-00721-CV, 1999 WL 815819, at *31999 Tex.
App. LEXIS 7628 (Tex. App.—Austin 1999, no pet.) (mem. op.).
Our precedent on this issue is contrary to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals’ decision in Sambuca. See Adams
v. Petrade Int’l, 754 S.W.2d 696, 720 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1988, writ denied). Nevertheless, we need
not reconsider our position, because the trial court’s judgment does not specify the theory under which fees
were awarded, and the trial court’s findings of fact and conclusions of law provide a contractual basis for the
attorney’s fee award.
Lee-Way Prince Enterprises, LLC v. Qai Assurance, Inc. (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 29, 2009)(Bland)
(award of attorney’s fees on contract breach attorney's fees for promissory estoppel claim, breach of contract,
breach of settlement agreement, common-law fraud)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Bland
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Bland and Massengale
01-07-01004-CV Lee-Way Prince Enterprises, LLC v. Qai Assurance, Inc. and Arthur Kwok
Appeal from 269th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. John T. Wooldridge
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