Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 216th Judicial District Court, Gillespie County, Texas
Trial Court No. 14288 Honorable N. Keith Williams, Judge
Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice Luz
Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Stein appeals the trial court's order denying his special
appearance. His sole issue on appeal is that the trial court
erred by denying his special appearance because the trial
court lacks personal jurisdiction over him. We affirm the
trial court's order.
is a Missouri-licensed attorney who lives and works in
Kansas. Stein represented Charles Trois, a Texas resident, in
obtaining a loan from Revere High Yield Fund, LP, a Delaware
limited partnership based in Connecticut. Before approving the loan, Revere required
Trois to obtain a title insurance policy on the property
Trois intended to use as security for the loan. Trois used
real property located in Gillespie County, Texas, as security
for the loan. To obtain a title policy for Trois, Stein
engaged an escrow officer in Texas at a national title
insurance company and provided her with documents and
information regarding the loan. Based on the documents and
information Stein provided, the title company issued a title
commitment for the property located in Texas.
alleged the information and documents Trois and Stein
provided to them and the title insurance company represented
the loan was sought for commercial purposes and the real
property was not Trois's homestead. As part of the loan
transaction, Stein sent Revere an opinion letter applying
Texas law to the loan transaction. After Revere loaned Trois
the money, Trois became delinquent on his payment
obligations, and Revere sought to foreclose on Trois's
sued Revere in district court in Gillespie County to prevent
foreclosure, alleging the real property used to secure the
loan is his homestead. Revere added Stein as a third-party
defendant, alleging various misrepresentation and fraud
claims against him. Stein filed a verified special appearance
to object to the trial court's personal jurisdiction.
Revere responded, emphasizing that Stein sent Revere an
opinion letter applying Texas law to the loan transaction;
communicated with his Texas-resident client, Trois;
communicated with a Texas-based representative of the lender;
engaged an escrow officer in Texas that provided title
insurance based on Stein's representations; and assisted
in closing the real estate transaction.
did not allege any facts regarding the details of how Stein
became Trois's attorney. Stein swore in his affidavit,
which he filed in support of his special appearance, he
"ha[s] not and do[es] not solicit, advertise, or promote
[his] services in Texas." At the hearing on his special
appearance, he explained he met Trois when he "was
representing a client in Louisiana." According to
Trois's deposition testimony, which Revere attached in
response to Stein's special appearance and incorporated
into the response by reference, Stein represented Trois on
other matters including art collection, inheritance, and
"fighting a battle in Italy with [Trois's]
wife's family." The trial court denied Stein's
special appearance, and Stein appeals.
defendant to be subject to personal jurisdiction in a Texas
court, "(1) the defendant must have established minimum
contacts with the forum state; and (2) the assertion of
jurisdiction cannot offend traditional notions of fair play
and substantial justice." Searcy v. Parex Res.,
Inc., 496 S.W.3d 58, 66 (Tex. 2016). There are two types
of personal jurisdiction: specific jurisdiction and general
jurisdiction. Id. at 67 "[S]pecific
jurisdiction exists when the plaintiff's claims arise out
of or are related to the defendant's contact with the
forum." Id. (internal quotation marks omitted).
General jurisdiction exists when the defendant's
affiliations with the state are so continuous and systematic
as to render it essentially at home in the forum state.
Id. at 72-73.
Standard of Review
establish personal jurisdiction, "[t]he plaintiff bears
the initial burden of pleading sufficient allegations to
bring a nonresident defendant within the provisions of the
long-arm statute." BMC Software Belgium, N.V. v.
Marchand, 83 S.W.3d 789, 793 (Tex. 2002);
accord Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§§ 17.041-.045 (West 2015). A defendant challenging
a Texas court's personal jurisdiction over it must negate
all jurisdictional bases." BMC Software, 83
S.W.3d at 793. Whether a trial court has personal
jurisdiction over a defendant is a question of law, which we
review de novo. Id. at 794. When, as here, the trial
court does not make findings of fact and conclusions of law,
"all facts necessary to support the judgment and
supported by the evidence are implied." Id. at
795. "When the appellate record includes ...