Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

Texas Causes of Action & Affirmative Defenses

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

A forcible detainer action is a limited-purpose proceeding in Justice Court

    
FORCIBLE DETAINER: NATURE OF ACTION IN JP COURT 
 
A forcible detainer action is a procedure to determine the right to immediate possession of real property where there was no unlawful entry. TEX. PROP. CODE ANN. § 24.002(a)(2) (West 2014); TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.1;[1] Rice v. Pinney, 51 S.W.3d 705, 709 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2001, no pet.). It is intended to be a speedy, simple, and inexpensive means to obtain possession without resort to an action on the title. Scott v. Hewitt, 90 S.W.2d 816, 818-19 (1936); Rice, 51 S.W.3d at 709. The trial court must adjudicate the right to actual possession of the property. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.3(e).

All other claims, including questions of title, validity of a foreclosure, counterclaims, and suits against third parties are not permitted. Id. Those claims must be brought in separate suits. Id. Accordingly, the only issue in a forcible detainer action is which party has the right to immediate possession of the property. Rice, 51 S.W.3d at 709. Whether a sale of property under a deed of trust is invalid may not be determined in a forcible detainer action but must be brought in a separate suit. Scott, 90 S.W.2d at 818; Rice, 51 S.W.3d at 710 (quoting Scott).

PROOF REQUIREMENTS FOR EVICTION OF TENANT AT SUFFERANCE AFTER FORECLOSURE 

To prevail on its forcible detainer action, [the plaintiff has to] to prove (1) it owned the property by virtue of a foreclosure sale deed, (2) Defendant became a tenant at sufferance when the property was sold under the deed of trust, (3) Trans-Atlas gave Defendant notice to vacate the premises, and (4) Defendant refused to vacate the premises. See Elwell v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., 267 S.W.3d 566, 568-69 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, pet. dism'd w.o.j.); see also PROP. § 24.002 (West 2014).

FILED IN JP COURT, WITH OPTION TO APPEAL TO COUNTY COURT 

A forcible detainer suit is brought in justice court. PROP. § 24.004(a) (West 2014). The decision of the justice court may be appealed to the county court. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.10(a). The appeal is by trial de novo, which is "a new trial in which the entire case is presented as if there had been no previous trial." TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.10(c). In the county court, a party may "plead, prove and recover his damages, if any, suffered for withholding or defending possession of the premises during the pendency of the appeal." TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.11.

The validity of a foreclosure sale may not be determined in a suit for forcible detainer but must be brought in a separate suit. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.3(e); Scott, 90 S.W.2d at 818-19; Williams v. Bank of N.Y. Mellon, 315 S.W.3d 925, 927 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.). Defects in the foreclosure process or with Trans-Atlas's title are not relevant in the suit before us. See Williams, 315 S.W.3d at 927.

SOURCE: DALLAS COURT OF APPEALS - 05-14-00126-CV - 3/12/2015  

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