The trial court dismissed a bill of review proceeding for failing to state a claim and the Fifth Court reversed:
“Accepting appellant’s allegations as true, together with any inference reasonably drawn therefrom, we conclude the petition alleges a wrongful act by the judge and the opposing party’s attorney that occurred outside of the adversarial proceeding and affects how the judgment was procured.
The alleged wrongful act was unmixed with any fault on the part of appellant. We conclude appellant’s allegations are sufficient to meet the second and third elements of a bill of review in the face of a motion to dismiss pursuant to [Tex. R. Civ. P.] 91a.”
For similar reasons, the Court concluded that the petition alleged a sufficiently serious deprivation of the movants’ rights. Thomas v. 462 Thomas Family Properties LP, No. 05-16-01161-CV (Aug. 2, 2018).
Although the Supreme Court traditionally has concluded that personal bias or prejudice alone was not a sufficient basis “for imposing a constitutional requirement under the Due Process Clause,” in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Company, the Court stated there are circumstances “in which experience teaches that the probability of actual bias on the part of the judge or decisionmaker is too high to be constitutionally tolerable.” Caperton, 556 U.S. at 877.