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Okoh-Brown v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

January 28, 2014

LISA MONIQUE OKOH-BROWN, Appellant
v.
MARK ALLEN BROWN, Appellee

On Appeal from the 246th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2009-47145

Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Bland and Huddle.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Jane Bland, Justice

When Lisa Okoh-Brown and Mark Brown divorced in Texas, they agreed that Mark would receive a condominium located in Tampa, Florida as part of the marital property division. Mark defaulted on the condominium's note, and the bank named Lisa as a defendant in a Florida foreclosure proceeding. Lisa sought to extricate herself from the Florida proceeding by filing a motion to enforce the Texas divorce decree, in which she asked the Texas court to require Mark to procure her dismissal from the foreclosure action and to comply with the divorce decree's indemnification provisions.

The divorce court dismissed the motion for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Lisa appeals. In response, Mark moves to dismiss the appeal as moot.[1]

We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand.

Background

Two years after the trial court signed an agreed final divorce decree in Harris County, Lisa was served with a complaint naming her as a defendant in a foreclosure action filed in Hillsborough County, Florida. The foreclosure action, instituted by U.S. Bank N.A., concerned the Tampa condominium that Mark had received in the divorce. Lisa hired counsel to appear on her behalf in the Florida suit.

In response to the Florida suit, Lisa also petitioned the Texas divorce court for enforcement of the parties' marital property division agreement, asking that Mark be required to indemnify her as the divorce decree provided. Mark responded to the Florida suit on behalf of Lisa by requesting that she be removed from the suit.

Following a hearing on Lisa's motion to enforce the divorce decree, the Harris County trial court denied relief on the ground that it lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the Florida real property at issue in the Florida foreclosure action. Lisa challenges that ruling in this appeal.

Mark, in turn, has moved to dismiss this appeal based on later events in the Florida action. Mark avers that in January 2013, he sold the Florida property in a lender-approved short-sale transaction, which resulted in transfer of the property and satisfaction of the remaining deficiency as well as other costs relating to the property.

Discussion

Standard of review

Whether a court has subject-matter jurisdiction is a question of law, subject to de novo review. Graber v. Fuqua, 279 S.W.3d 608, 631 (Tex. 2009); Black v. Wash. Mut. Bank, 318 S.W.3d 414, 416 (Tex. ...


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