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Lynd v. Bass Pro Outdoor World, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

January 29, 2014

DAVID SCOT LYND, Appellant
v.
BASS PRO OUTDOOR WORLD, INC., Appellee

On Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 3 Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. CC-08-9862-C

Before Justices O'Neill, Myers, and Brown

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LANA MYERS JUSTICE

David Scot Lynd appeals the trial court's judgment that he take nothing on his claims against Bass Pro Outdoor World, Inc. and imposing a permanent injunction against him. Lynd brings thirty-three issues on appeal.[1] We affirm the trial court's judgment.

BACKGROUND

Lynd filed suit against Bass Pro on November 14, 2008 (the 2008 case), alleging that on November 16, 2006, a Bass Pro employee negligently operated a forklift in the parking lot of the Bass Pro store in Garland and damaged Lynd's 1991 pickup truck. Lynd sought monetary damages for the cost to repair the truck and for his lost wages as a result of the accident. During the pretrial litigation, Lynd was represented by attorney Robert Fitzgerald. The case was set for trial on June 29, 2010. On May 28, 2010, Fitzgerald moved to withdraw from representing Lynd; however, the trial court did not rule on this motion. On June 28, 2010, the day before the trial setting, Fitzgerald filed a motion for continuance, stating Lynd needed time to find a new attorney and that Lynd desired to conduct further written discovery.

On June 29, 2010, the parties appeared for trial with Fitzgerald representing Lynd, and the trial court denied the motion for continuance. Before the trial began, the parties announced in open court that they had reached a settlement requiring Bass Pro to pay Lynd $1500.[2] Lynd signed a settlement agreement on July 15, 2010, cashed the $1500 check, and the case was dismissed on the parties' joint motion on July 29, 2010.

The settlement agreement released Bass Pro and its "subsidiaries, related and affiliated companies, corporations and entities, insurers, past or future stockholders, officers, directors employees, agents, servants, legal representatives, attorneys, component part suppliers, successors, and assigns, as well as all other persons, firms, or corporations in privity with same" from all claims in any way related to the incident.

On September 8, 2011, Bass Pro filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement and request for injunctive relief (the 2011 litigation). This pleading alleged that after the settlement, Lynd violated the settlement agreement by contacting Bass Pro's employees telling them the settlement was not valid, that he demanded additional compensation, being "aggressive and threatening" to Bass Pro's employees, stating he will "own Bass Pro" if he is not properly compensated, threatening to "show up on the doorstep of the founder of Bass Pro if he needs to, " bothering employees at their homes, calling the president of Bass Pro at his home, and sending a letter to the president at his home. Bass Pro also alleged Lynd violated the terms of the settlement agreement by sending an ex parte letter to the trial court stating Bass Pro obtained the "settlement and dismissal by 'fraud upon the court' and misrepresented fact statements to the court." Bass Pro asked that Lynd be restrained from contacting Bass Pro and its employees, insurers, and attorneys regarding the incident of damage to Lynd's truck; prohibit Lynd from going within 100 feet of any Bass Pro retail store, corporate headquarters, or within 100 feet of the residences of John Morris (Bass Pro's founder and chairman of the board of directors), Jim Hagale (Bass Pro's president), or of any other Bass Pro employee, officer, or director. On October 7, 2011 the trial court signed a fourteen-day temporary restraining order granting the injunctive relief Bass Pro requested.

On October 21, 2011, following a hearing, the trial court signed a preliminary injunction imposing the same injunctive relief as the temporary restraining order as well as prohibiting Lynd from going within 100 feet of the office or residence of any of Bass Pro's attorneys.

On November 22, 2011, Lynd, pro se, filed a response to the request for enforcement of the settlement agreement and for injunctive relief, requested that the court enter a decree cancelling the parties' July 15, 2010 settlement agreement and vacate the July 29, 2010 judgment dismissing the case, and asked that the court impose sanctions on Bass Pro and its counsel "for abuse of process and frivolous filing, " as well as for "[f]raud, violation of the non disclosure, and misleading the court, and plaintiff." Lynd alleged that certain of Bass Pro's discovery responses in the 2008 case were false and constituted fraud.

Following a trial before the court, the trial court entered a permanent injunction against Lynd and denied his requests to cancel the settlement agreement, to vacate the July 29, 2010 judgment, and to impose sanctions against Bass Pro and its counsel. Lynd now appeals that judgment.

PRO SE PARTIES

Lynd is pro se before this Court. We liberally construe pro se pleadings and briefs. Washington v. Bank of N.Y., 362 S.W.3d 853, 854 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2012, no pet.). However, we hold pro se litigants to the same standards as licensed attorneys and require them to comply with applicable laws and rules of procedure. Mansfield State Bank v. Cohn, 573 S.W.2d 181, 184–85 (Tex. 1978); Washington, 362 S.W.3d at 854. To do otherwise would give a pro se litigant an unfair advantage over a litigant who is represented by counsel. Shull v. United Parcel Serv., 4 S.W.3d 46, 53 (Tex. App.—San Antonio 1999, pet. denied).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This case was tried before the court. The parties did not request findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the trial court did not make findings of fact and conclusions of law. When no findings of fact and conclusions of law were requested or filed, it is implied that the trial court made all findings necessary to support its judgment. Worford v. Stamper, 801 S.W.2d 108, 109 (Tex. 1990) (per curiam); Niskar v. Niskar, 136 S.W.3d 749, 753 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2004, no pet.). The judgment will be upheld on any legal theory that finds support in the evidence. Niskar, 136 S.W.3d at 754.

We review the implied findings of fact for legal and factual sufficiency, and we review the trial court's implied legal conclusions de novo. In re M.P.B., 257 S.W.3d 804, 808 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2008, no pet.). When addressing a legal sufficiency challenge, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the challenged finding, crediting favorable evidence if a reasonable fact-finder could and disregarding contrary evidence unless a reasonable fact-finder could not. City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 827 (Tex. 2005). Anything more than a scintilla of evidence is legally sufficient to support the finding. Formosa Plastics Corp. USA v. Presidio Eng'rs & Contractors, Inc., 960 S.W.2d 41, 48 (Tex. 1998). In a factual sufficiency review, we view all the evidence in a neutral light and set aside the finding only if the finding is so contrary to the overwhelming ...


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