Monday, March 24, 2014

What must the plaintiff show in a suit to quiet title?


To prevail in a suit to quiet title, a plaintiff must prove: (1) he has an interest in a specific property; (2) title to the property is affected by a claim by the defendant; and (3) the claim, although facially valid, is invalid or unenforceable. See, e.g., Vernon v. Perrien, 390 S.W.3d 47, 61 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2012, pet. denied); see also U.S. Nat'l Bank Ass'n v. Johnson, No. 01-10-00837-CV, 2011 WL 6938507, at *3 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 30, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op.). "[T]o contest a bank's foreclosure of a deed of trust, a party must, at the time of the foreclosure, either (1) be the mortgagor under the deed of trust or be in privity with the mortgagor, or (2) have an ownership interest in the property affected by the foreclosure." Ursic v. NBC Bank S. Tex., N.A., 827 S.W.2d 334, 336 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1991, writ denied) (citing Goswami v. Metropolitan Sav., 751 S.W.2d 487, 489 (Tex. 1988)).

Caselaw snippet from a 2015 federal district court opinion/order 

And the plaintiff must recover on the strength of his own title, not on the weakness of his adversary's title. Fricks v. Hancock, 45 S.W.3d 322, 327 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2001, no pet.) (citing Alkas v. United Sav. Ass'n of Tex., Inc., 672 S.W.2d 852, 857 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 1984, writ ref'd n.r.e.)). He "must allege right, title or ownership in himself with sufficient certainty to enable the court to see that plaintiff has a right of ownership that will warrant judicial interference." Ellison v. Butler, 443 S.W.2d 886, 888-89 (Tex. Civ. App.-Corpus Christi 1969, no writ); see Wright v. Matthews, 26 S.W.3d 575, 578 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 2000, pet. denied). The plaintiff has the burden of supplying the proof necessary to establish his superior equity and right to relief. Essex Crane Rental Corp. v. Carter, 371 S.W.3d 366, 387-88 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.], pet. denied) (op. on reh'g); Ellison, 443 S.W.2d at 888-89.

SOURCE: CORPUS CHRISTI COURT OF APPEALS - Nos. 13-12-00474-CV, 13-12-00753-CV Burnett v Bank of New

Monday, March 3, 2014

Breach of Note Claim - Which elements must the lender / holder / assignee prove?

“To collect on a promissory note, a plaintiff must establish: (1) the existence of the note in question, (2) the defendant signed the note, (3) the plaintiff is the owner and holder of the note, and (4) a certain balance is due and owing on the note.” Cadle Co. v. Regency Homes, Inc., 21 S.W.3d 670, 674 (Tex. App.—Austin 2000, pet. denied); see Clark v. Dedina, 658 S.W.2d 293, 295 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 1983, writ dism’d).
OWNERSHIP OF NOTE AND RIGHT-TO-SUE ISSUE IMPLICATES THE MERITS OF THE CLAIM [not a standing issue in the jurisdictional sense]
“[T]he question of whether a party is entitled to sue on a contract is sometimes informally referred to as an issue of standing.” Ashford Partners, Ltd. v. Eco Res., Inc., No. 01-09-00809-CV, 2010 WL 2991118, at *3 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] July 29, 2010, pet. filed); see Yasuda Fire & Marine Ins. Co. of Am. v. Criaco, 225 S.W.3d 894, 898 (Tex. App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2007, no pet.). “Nevertheless, . . . the issue does not affect the court’s jurisdiction, [and] it is not truly one of standing, but one on the merits of the contract claim itself.” Ashford Partners, 2010 WL 2991118, at *3 (citing Criaco, 225 S.W.3d at 898). Because ownership of the promissory note was an essential element of Wells Fargo’s right to collect on it, see Cadle, 21 S.W.3d at 674; Clark, 658 S.W.2d at 295, the [...] District Court’s determination that Wells Fargo did not own the promissory note is a determination on the merits, not one of jurisdiction. See Ashford Partners, 2010 WL 2991118, at *3; Criaco, 225 S.W.3d at 898.
SOURCE: Houston Court of Appeals for the First District -  01-10-00020-CV 5/12/12

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Equitable Remedy of Constructive Trust

What is Constructive Trust as a form of relief in a lawsuit?


A constructive trust is a legal fiction, a creation of equity to prevent a wrongdoer from profiting from her wrongful acts. Procom Energy, L.L.A. v. Roach, 16 S.W.3d 377, 381 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2000, pet. denied). Such trusts are remedial in character and have the broad function of redressing wrong or unjust enrichment in keeping with basic principles of equity and justice. Id.; see also Hubbard v. Shankle, 138 S.W.3d 474, 485 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2004, pet. denied).
To obtain a constructive trust, the proponent must prove (1) the breach of a special trust, fiduciary relationship, or actual fraud, (2) unjust enrichment of the wrongdoer, and (3) tracing to an identifiable res. Troxel v. Bishop, 201 S.W.3d 290, 297 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.); Hubbard, 138 S.W.3d at 485. "`A constructive trust is a relationship with respect to property, subjecting the person by whom the title to the property is held to an equitable duty to convey it to another, on the ground that [her] acquisition or retention of the property is wrongful and that [she] would be unjustly enriched if [she] were permitted to retain the property.'" Baker Botts, L.L.P. v. Cailloux, 224 S.W.3d 723, 736 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2007, pet. denied) (quoting Talley v. Howsley, 176 S.W.2d 158, 160 (Tex. 1943)).

SOURCE: SAN ANTONIO COURT OF APPEALS – No. 06-13-00043-CV – 2/20/2014