A successor judge is authorized to make findings of fact and conclusions of law in a trial heard by his or her predecessor when the presiding judge has died, resigned, or become disabled during his or her term of office. See, e.g., Lykes Bros. S.S. Co. v. Benben, 601 S.W.2d 418, 420 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 1980, writ ref’d n.r.e.); 2900 Smith, Ltd. v. Constellation NewEnergy, Inc., 301 S.W.3d 741, 744 n.6 (Tex. App.—Houston [14 Dist.] 2009, no pet.); Fidelity & Guar. Life Ins. Co. v. Pina, 165 S.W.3d 416, 421 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2005, no pet.).

The rule does not apply, however, where the presiding judge did not render judgment before death, resignation, or disability. See 2900 Smith, 301 S.W.3d at 744 n.6.

Further, the rule does not authorize an appellate court to abate an appeal and remand for entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law where the judge who tried the case was replaced as a result of an election. See Corpus Christi Housing Auth. v. Esquivel, No. 13–10–00145–CV, 2011 WL 2395461, at *1 (Tex. App.—Corpus Christi 2011, no pet.); Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. v. Laca, 243 S.W.3d 791, 796 (Tex. App.—El Paso 2007, no pet.); Larry F. Smith, Inc. v. The Weber Co., 110 S.W.3d 611, 616 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2003, pet. denied).

— JoAnn Storey

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