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Walz v. Hayes

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

February 23, 2017

MIKE WALZ, WALZ FAMILY BUILDERS, AND WHMW, LLC, Appellants
v.
WESLEY HAYES AND ADVANTAGE HOUSING CORPORATION, Appellees

         On Appeal from the 212th District Court Galveston County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 15-CV-0084

          Panel consists of Justices Massengale, Brown, and Huddle.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          REBECA HUDDLE JUSTICE.

         Mike Walz, Walz Family Builders, and WHMW, LLC appeal a judgment entered on a jury's verdict, asserting that the trial court erred in admitting parol evidence related to an oral agreement between the parties. We affirm.

         Background

         In 2002, appellee Wesley Hayes hired Walz to sell mobile homes and manufactured housing for Hayes's company Advantage Housing Corporation ("AHC"). Years later, Hayes created a separate mobile home company, WHMW, which conducted its business under the d/b/a Advantage Housing. WHMW used the name Advantage Housing on its promotional material, and its website was texasadvantagehousing.com.

         In 2010, Hayes gave Walz a 50% interest in WHMW. In June 2011, Hayes sold his remaining 50% membership interest in WHMW to Walz for $10 pursuant to a bill of sale. The bill of sale states: "The membership interests are sold as is and where is with no guarantee. The LLC membership interests are free of any encumbrances." The parties agree that a contemporaneous oral agreement was made at the time of the sale, but they dispute the terms of the oral agreement.

         Following the sale to Walz, Walz continued to operate under the name Advantage Housing. For reasons that are not clear from any contemporaneous document, Walz paid AHC approximately $1, 500 per month from June 2011 to April 2012. Then, in May 2012, Walz emailed Hayes stating that he could no longer afford to pay.

         Approximately two years after Walz stopped paying, in March 2014, Hayes sent Walz a letter demanding payment for the use of the d/b/a Advantage Housing:

Dear Mike,
As per our agreement when you purchased WHMW, LLC. [sic] On 6/1/2011, in order to use the name Advantage Housing as a dba and the use of other assets of Advantage Housing Corp., a monthly fee of $1500.00 would be paid to Advantage Housing Corp.
On May 2012, you informed me you would no longer pay the fee, but continued, without payment, to use the Advantage Housing name on signage, advertising, mailers, checks and web site domain name and continue to do as of this date.
Therefore, I am demanding payment for the past 23 months, May 2012 thru March 2014 for total of $34, 500.00 and cease and desist from using Advantage Housing.
Advantage Housing Corp. will accept as final payment of $22, 500 for the past name use and will sign over certain assets retained by WHMW and Walz Family i.e. Home furniture, storage building located 9105 Ruth Rd., wells cargo trailer, lawn tractor (mower), generator, copy machines, pressure washer, decks and stairs and 5% not paid on purchase below cost of three ...

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