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Young v. Parent

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

March 30, 2017

DUANE R. YOUNG, Appellant
v.
JEANNE LYNN PARENT, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 400th District Court Fort Bend County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 15-DCV-224635

          Panel consists of Justices Jennings, Higley, and Massengale.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Laura Carter Higley Justice

         The State filed charges against Duane R. Young for assault, family violence. The charges were later dropped. Young filed suit against Jeanne Lynn Parent, the complainant in the offense. Young asserted claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and defamation. The trial court granted Parent's motion for summary judgment on all claims. In three issues on appeal, Young argues the trial court erred by granting summary judgment on his claims.

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

         Background

         Before April 19, 2015, Young and Parent had been dating and living together. Shortly before April 19, the two ended their relationship, and Parent began looking for a new place to live. On April 19, Parent had been out looking for an apartment when she got a call to come into work. Parent returned to the house to retrieve a bag she needed for work.

         At the house, Young and Parent got into an argument regarding who owned the bag. Young later alleged that Parent assaulted him during the argument. Parent alleged that Young assaulted her. Both parties agree that, in the process, the door to the closet fell off its hinges, and Parent scraped her right arm on some clothes hangers.

         Young called 911, alleging Parent had threatened, "I'm going to get my gun." Deputy Kyle Cornell was dispatched to the scene. Deputy Cornell wore a microphone, which recorded his conversations with Young and Parent.

         Deputy Cornell spoke with Young first, outside the house. Young described the two getting into an argument over the bag. Young told Deputy Cornell that Parent had become violent and that "the level of violence rose" during the argument, culminating in Parent threatening to get a gun. Deputy Cornell observed that emotions were high between the two and that he could smell alcohol on Young.

         Deputy Cornell next went into the house and spoke to Parent. Parent likewise described an argument over the bag. She told Deputy Cornell that Young shoved her into the closet. She explained that the door came off the hinges in the process and indicated the injury she had suffered on her arm, saying the injury hurt.

         After the brief exchange with Parent, Deputy Cornell returned outside to talk to Young. Deputy Cornell observed that Parent had marks on her and Young did not. He also observed that Young had been drinking. Deputy Cornell then told Young that he was going to charge him with assault, family violence. Deputy Cornell arrested Young and placed him in the patrol car. Deputy Cornell continued to talk to Parent, took pictures, and filled out various paperwork.

         After Young was released from jail on bail, Parent recanted. In later conversations with Young, Parent asserted that Young was trying to pull her out of the closet, not push her into it. Ultimately, the Fort Bend District Attorney's office filed a notice of dismissal of the charges.

         In July 2015, Young filed the underlying suit against Parent. Young asserted claims for malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and defamation. Parent later filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing the evidence disproved at least one element for each of ...


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