Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
James E. Wade, Appellant
Johnny Wade, Individually; Amanda Wade, Individually; and Amanda Wade, as the Independent Executor of the Estate of Edell Wade, Appellees
MOTION FOR REHEARING
THE COUNTY COURT AT LAW OF BURNET COUNTY NO. P9127, HONORABLE
W. R. SAVAGE, JUDGE PRESIDING
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Field and Shannon [*]
withdraw the opinion and judgment issued January 26, 2017,
and substitute the following opinion and judgment in their
place. Appellant's motion for rehearing is denied.
an appeal from a take-nothing judgment of the county
court-at-law of Burnet County in a suit to rescind the sale
of a ranch. Appellant is James E. Wade (Bud), and appellees
are his brother and sister-in-law, Johnny and Amanda Wade.
Amanda was sued individually and as executor of the Estate of
2004, Edell Wade, Bud and Johnny's mother, sold her ranch
to Johnny and Amanda. In 2012, after Edell's death, Bud
sued Johnny and Amanda claiming fraud, and like causes of
action, in an effort to rescind the sale. The court granted
Johnny and Amanda's partial summary judgment for all of
Bud's claims save one, which it submitted to a jury. Upon
jury findings favorable to Johnny and Amanda, the court
rendered final judgment that Bud take nothing. This Court
will affirm the judgment.
ranch consists of 475 acres situated in the hills of north
Burnet County near the Lampasas County line. In 1952, Otto
and Edell Wade, Bud and Johnny's father and mother,
purchased the ranch from the estate of Edell's parents.
Doubtless by dint of hard work and thrifty management, Otto
and Edell coaxed a livelihood from the ranch for themselves
and their seven children. After the children left home, the
Wades continued to live on and operate the ranch. When Otto
sickened and died in 1996, Edell, age 81, remained on the
ranch determined to live out the balance of her days there
and hoping that the ranch would somehow remain in the family.
was a sturdy, resolute country woman. She had always worked
on the ranch alongside her husband. After a full day's
work outside, she still had duties in the house such as
cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the children. As her
daughter Charlene testified, she was a "pretty strong
woman" with "strong thoughts."
was the youngest child and his mother's favorite. Even
when he was a grown man, Edell was fond of introducing him as
her "baby son." When Johnny graduated from Lampasas
High School, he left Central Texas for California. At first,
he worked as a laborer, all the while learning the
steel-construction business. After several years, he formed
his own successful steel-construction operation. Almost from
the time of his arrival in California, he telephoned his
mother every week.
meantime, Johnny met and married Amanda. Although trained in
law, she eventually managed the office operation of
Johnny's construction business.
and Amanda visited Edell on the ranch whenever his work
allowed him to leave California. During these visits, Johnny
built several outbuildings on the ranch, including a shop and
a garage with an apartment. He testified that whatever his
mother needed, he would see that she received it.
visited Johnny and Amanda in California several times. On one
visit, she stayed a month. Once they took her on a cruise off
the California coast to Mexico. Amanda took her sightseeing
and shopping around town. Edell's granddaughter, Kim
George, testified that Edell liked Amanda and admired her for
being able "to do anything a guy could do."
all of this time, Johnny continued to worry about Edell
living alone on the ranch. Apart from Johnny, and sister
Emma, who lived in Georgia, not many of the other children
spent much time at the ranch, although daughter Nancy was
there at regular intervals because Edell paid her to do some
of the housework and ranch chores. Edell, however, was the
principal care-giver for the livestock and the land. For
example, one night one of the cows was having trouble giving
birth to its calf. Edell, by herself, delivered the calf. But
life on the ranch was sometimes hard. During a winter storm,
the electricity was off for some time, shutting off power to
the well pump. As there was no water in the house, Edell
carried water up from the creek for household use. Johnny and
Amanda paid for the installation of a central cooling and
heating system in the house after Edell had suffered from
heat exhaustion during the course of a particularly hot
time, Johnny became concerned that his mother was not
receiving proper care and decided that he needed to return to
the home place to take care of her. When Johnny and Amanda
were at the ranch for the holidays in late 2003, he asked
Edell if she would sell the ranch to ...