Appeal from the County Civil Court at Law No. 1 Harris
County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1075659.
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Brown and
an interlocutory appeal from an order overruling a special
appearance made by a nonresident defendant in a suit on a
promissory note. A resident of California, Greg Mungas,
solicited a resident of Texas, Brian Rishikof, for a loan.
Rishikof loaned Mungas the money, which Mungas agreed to
repay according to the terms of a promissory note. Mungas
defaulted on the note, and Rishikof sued Mungas in Texas
state court. Mungas filed a special appearance, which the
trial court denied, ruling that Mungas was subject to
specific jurisdiction. On appeal, Mungas contends that his
Texas contacts are insufficient to establish personal
jurisdiction over him. We affirm.
dispute arises out of the default on a promissory note by the
maker of the note, Greg Mungas, a resident of California. The
bearer of the note is Brian Rishikof, a resident of Texas.
Rishikof and Mungas know each other from prior business
dealings. They both own companies that have worked together
on government-funded aerospace research.
early 2012, Mungas solicited Rishikof for a loan of $75, 000.
According to Mungas, he solicited the loan from Rishikof
because he needed funds to continue operating his business in
California. Rishikof agreed to loan Mungas the money, and the
two prepared a promissory note. The principal amount, $75,
000, was printed on the top left corner of the note, and
"Houston, Texas" was printed on the top right. The
first paragraph stated:
For value received, the undersigned ("Maker")
promises to pay to Brian Rishikof ("Payee"), of
[street address], Houston, TX 77059, the principal sum of
seventy-five thousand dollars ($75, 000.00), together with
interest at the rate hereinafter provided for on the unpaid
balance of this note from time to time outstanding until paid
note provided that "principal and interest shall be due
and payable in full on April 30, 2012." Although the
note made clear that the principal and interest were payable
to Rishikof, it did not provide any instructions on exactly
where Mungas was supposed to repay him. Nor did the note
contain provisions specifying the governing law or the
parties' choice of forum.
Mungas and Rishikof drafted the note, Rishikof asked Mungas
to send him a signed copy and to provide him with wiring
instructions so he could wire Mungas the proceeds from his
personal bank account. Mungas signed the promissory note and
provided Rishikof with the instructions. Rishikof wired the
proceeds from his bank account in Texas to Mungas's bank
account in California.
never made any payments, and Rishikof eventually filed this
lawsuit to collect on the note. In response to Rishikof's
petition, Mungas filed a special appearance.
supported his special appearance with a sworn declaration. In
the declaration, Mungas stated that, at all times relevant to
the lawsuit, he was a resident of California. His home and
business were in California. He paid state and local taxes in
California. He was registered to vote in California. When the
lawsuit was filed, he was temporarily residing in Arizona,
but he expected to return to California in the near future.
to Mungas's sworn declaration, Mungas had never resided
or worked in Texas, was not registered to vote in Texas, did
not own property in Texas, did not have employees or agents
in Texas, and did not earn income from Texas. Mungas stated
that the promissory note was for loan proceeds that were
related to business operations in California. He stated that
he did not sign the promissory note in Texas, did not receive
the money in Texas, and did not deposit the money into a
Texas bank account.
trial court overruled Mungas's special appearance,
finding that Mungas was subject to specific jurisdiction
because the promissory ...