Under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 131, a successful party is generally supposed to be awarded court costs in the final judgment. And the standard rule is that a Texas judgment is final when it disposes of all claims by all parties. But is a judgment final when it disposes of all claims but is silent about any award of court costs? It appears that the answer is "yes" -- the judgment is nevertheless final.
At least three Texas courts have held that a judgment is final even when it is silent about court costs. E.g., In re J.R., 123 S.W.3d 669, 671-72 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet.); City of Marshall v. Gonzales, 107 S.W.3d 799, 803 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 2003, no pet.); Thompson v. Beyer, 91 S.W.3d 902, 904-05 (Tex. App.--Dallas 2002, no pet.).
Based on this rule, one of those courts also elaborated that when a statute states that attorney's fees are to be awarded as court costs, the judgment is final even if it is silent about attorney's fees. In re J.R., 123 S.W.3d at 671-72. This twist applies only when the statute at issue treats attorney's fees as court costs.
So, if you get a judgment that is silent about court costs, don't automatically assume that the judgment is interlocutory. Your appellate clock could be ticking.
-- Scott Stolley, Thompson & Knight