by JoAnn Storey, JoAnn Storey, P.C.
A successor judge lacks the authority to file findings of fact and conclusions of law on behalf of his or her predecessor displaced by an election. Ad Villarai, LLC v. Chan II Pak, 519 S.W.3d 132 140 (Tex.2017). In some instances, the defeated judge has the power to file findings and conclusions even after he or she leaves the bench. Id. at 142; see also Tex.Civ.Prac. & Rem.Code Ann. § 30.002(a). For the statute to apply, the former judge’s end of term must fall within the forty-day period prescribed by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 297 to file the findings and conclusions. Id. at 142.
The case also is noteworthy for its holding that the party complaining that the successor judge lacked authority to file findings and conclusions preserved error with its timely notice of past due findings and conclusions. Id. at 137. The court applied TRCP 297 even though the new judge filed findings, as opposed to a judge’s failure to file, which is contemplated by the rule. Id. And, the court reasoned, the findings the successor judge filed were void and, thus, the complaining party was under no obligation to object to the trial court’s void actions. Id.