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Wilson v. Westdale Asset Management, Lp

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

April 13, 2017

MICHAEL D. WILSON APPELLANT
v.
WESTDALE ASSET MANAGEMENT, LP APPELLEE

         FROM THE 141ST DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO. 141-283108-16

          PANEL: WALKER, GABRIEL, and PITTMAN, JJ. DELIVERED:

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          PER CURIAM

         I. Introduction

         This is an appeal from a suit for retaliation by a landlord. See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 92.331 (West 2014). Appellant Michael D. Wilson, who appeared pro se in the trial court and is proceeding pro se on appeal, appeals from a directed verdict and take-nothing judgment issued in favor of Appellee Westdale Asset Management, LP. We will affirm.

         II. Background

         After Wilson was evicted from three different apartment complexes, he sued Westdale, alleging causes of action for personal injury, damages to personal property, and retaliation and seeking damages of $75, 000, 000.[2] See id.

         During the jury trial, Wilson testified about the circumstances surrounding his evictions. Wilson lived at an unnamed apartment complex in Irving from November 2004 to June 2011. During that time, Wilson alerted "a national agency" to suspicious activity at the apartments and allegedly thwarted a terrorist attack. After Wilson made that report, he was evicted from his apartment.

         Wilson was homeless for seven months before moving to The Bluffs at Paradise Creek Apartments in Euless. The basis of Wilson's retaliation claim involving his eviction from The Bluffs is vague. He claimed that The Bluffs overcharged him $269 for a garage, but he later admitted that the money was returned to him. Wilson testified that the day after he received the $269 refund, he received a notice of non-renewal of his lease. When Wilson failed to vacate his apartment, The Bluffs sent him a notice to vacate and demand for possession; the notice states that it is based on "TAA Lease Contract dated 04/01/13 between residents named above and The Bluffs at Paradise Creek (owner)." When Wilson continued to hold over, The Bluffs removed Wilson's personal property from his apartment and placed it in the parking lot while it was raining. Wilson testified that he retrieved his personal property; he did not, however, present any evidence showing monetary damages to his personal property or Westdale's involvement in removing and allegedly damaging his personal property.

         Wilson then moved back to Irving and lived in an apartment at the Woodland Hills Apartments, which Wilson said were managed by Numacorp.[3]Wilson testified that after he complained about his refrigerator not working, Numacorp evicted him and removed all of his belongings. Wilson believed that Numacorp and Westdale were affiliated, but he admitted that an interrogatory response had stated that there was no affiliation between the two entities. Wilson presented no documentation to support his belief that the two entities were affiliated or that his property was removed from this apartment by Westdale.

         During Wilson's case in chief, the trial court questioned Wilson about his non-retaliation claims. Wilson said that his personal injury claim was based on "contributory negligence and personal injury for this property damage and mental anguish, mental distress, the fact that [he had] been homeless, . . . [and] the personal injury for burdening [him, ]" but he presented no evidence to support these claims.[4]

         After Wilson rested his case, Westdale moved for a directed verdict, arguing that "[t]here has been no liability established in damages" to support Wilson's claims for personal injury and damage to personal property, that Wilson's retaliation claims related to his eviction from the first apartment in Irving were barred by the statute of limitations, and that Wilson had not offered any evidence to establish retaliation related to his eviction from The Bluffs.

         The trial court stated on the record that the retaliation claims related to Wilson's eviction from the first apartment in Irving, which had accrued more than five years prior to the date suit was filed, were barred by the statute of limitations. The trial court also stated that Wilson had not offered any testimony on the monetary damages he was seeking. Wilson then asked whether he could offer his receipts in closing argument, and the trial court denied Wilson's request and granted Westdale's motion for a directed verdict. The trial court signed a final judgment, ordering that Wilson "take nothing by way of all of his causes of action" against Westdale.

         III. Wilson's ...


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