Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No. 1 Harris County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 1064435
consists of Justices Busby, Donovan, and Wise.
forcible detainer case, appellants Issac Cook and Nakia Cook
appeal a judgment that granted possession of their property
to a foreclosure-sale purchaser, appellee Mufaddal Real
Estate Fund. Appellants present three issues on appeal.
First, they contend that the county court at law erred in
denying their motion to abate and plea to the jurisdiction.
Next, appellants contend the county court at law erred in
refusing to consider appellants' Rule 12 motion to show
authority. Last, appellants contend the county court at law
lacked sufficient evidence that there was an actual
foreclosure on their home. For the reasons set forth below,
2007, appellant Nakia Cook purchased a home located in
Houston, Harris County. Appellant obtained a thirty-year loan
from Lehman Brothers Bank that was secured by a promissory
note and deed of trust. The deed of trust recited that:
If the Property is sold pursuant to this Section 22,
Borrower or any person holding possession of the Property
through Borrower shall immediately surrender possession of
the Property to the purchaser at that sale. If possession is
not surrendered, Borrower or such person shall be a tenant at
sufferance and may be removed by writ of possession or other
around 2011, the deed of trust was assigned to Aurora Bank.
In 2012, Aurora Bank assigned the deed of trust to Nationstar
2009, appellants defaulted on their mortgage. In 2010,
appellants maintain they filed suit in Harris County district
court against Aurora Bank for fraud. Appellants assert that
in 2015 they sought a temporary restraining order in district
court trying to stop foreclosure on the property, which was
denied. According to appellants, Nationstar Mortgage filed an
answer, counterclaim, and third-party claim seeking judicial
foreclosure and writ of possession on the property.
Appellants argue that Nationstar Mortgage's counterclaim
indicates that title to the property belongs to Nationstar
Mortgage and not appellee.
Mortgage foreclosed on appellants' property. In April
2015, appellee bought the property from a substitute trustee
at a nonjudicial foreclosure sale and recorded a substitute
trustee's deed. On May 6, 2015, appellee sent notice to
appellants to vacate the property, but appellants did not do
so. Appellee filed a forcible detainer suit against
appellants in the justice court of Harris County, Precinct 7,
Place 1, on May 11, 2015. Appellants also filed a motion to
abate and plea to the jurisdiction as well as a Rule 12
motion to show authority.
11, 2015, the justice court determined that appellants had
committed a forcible detainer and granted appellee immediate
possession of the property. The record does not reflect that
the justice court ruled on appellants' motion to abate
and plea to the jurisdiction or Rule 12 motion to show
authority. Appellants then appealed the judgment to Harris
County Civil Court at Law No. 1, seeking a trial de novo.
county court at law, on July 24, 2015, prior to trial,
appellants again presented their motion to abate and plea to
the jurisdiction. Appellants argued that the county court at
law lacked jurisdiction because of the pending title dispute
between appellants and Nationstar Mortgage, and therefore the
county court at law should dismiss or, in the alternative,
abate the forcible detainer proceedings until the district
court resolved the issues of title to the property. After a
hearing, the county court at law denied appellants' plea
to the jurisdiction and plea in abatement and tried the case
on the merits.
bench trial, as proof that appellants had committed a
forcible detainer and appellee was therefore entitled to the
property, appellee presented as evidence: (1) the original
deed of trust containing a tenancy at sufferance
clause; (2) the substitute trustee's deed to
appellee; and (3) proof of its demand to appellants to vacate
the property. The evidence was admitted without objection.
The county court signed a judgment awarding possession to
appellee on July 24, 2015. Appellants timely filed a notice
county court at law had subject-matter jurisdiction over the
forcible detainer suit.
their first issue, appellants contend that the county court
erred in denying their plea to the jurisdiction. Appellants
argue that the county court lacked jurisdiction and should
have transferred the case ...