Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 162nd Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-14-13646.
Justices Bridges, Evans, and Schenck
J. SCHENCK JUSTICE
Timothy Brooks ("Brooks") appeals the trial
court's order granting summary judgment in favor of
appellee Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo") in
a suit Brooks initiated to quiet title to certain real
property (the "Property"). Brooks contends the
judgment must be reversed because: (1) the order of dismissal
is broader than the relief requested by Wells Fargo's
motion; (2) Wells Fargo failed to support its motion with
admissible evidence; (3) a fact issue exists; and (4) Wells
Fargo cannot establish it has superior title to the Property.
We affirm the trial court's judgment. See Tex.
R. App. P. 43.2(c). Because all issues are settled in law, we
issue this memorandum opinion. Id. 47.4.
record before this Court establishes the following. At one
time, Brooks' parents co-owned the Property. Brooks'
father died in 1974, at which point, Brooks' mother
became the sole owner of the Property. On January 15, 1983,
Brooks' mother conveyed the Property to Brooks. The
public records include the filing on July 26, 1989, of a
quitclaim deed by which Brooks conveyed all of his right,
title, and interest in and to the Property back to his
mother. That deed bears a notary acknowledgement on July 12,
1989, and a signature date of July 15, 1983.
February 22, 2000, Brooks' mother obtained a home-equity
loan on the Property from New Century Mortgage by which she
granted it a security interest in the Property and the power
to sell the Property following a default on the loan. In
2003, she defaulted on the loan, and the Property was sold at
foreclosure to T.R. Taylor, Inc.
29, 2004, T.R. Taylor, Inc. sold the Property to Allen R.
Sheffield. In connection with the sale, Sheffield executed a
deed of trust, which granted Summit Mortgage Corporation a
security interest in the Property. The deed of trust included
the power to sell the Property following a default on the
Brooks filed an eviction action against Sheffield and
obtained a judgment from the justice court on November 14,
2005, awarding him possession of the Property as against
Sheffield. On July 26, 2006, Brooks obtained a home-equity
loan from Beneficial Texas, Inc., which was purported to be
secured by a lien on the Property.
defaulted on his 2004 loan with Summit Mortgage Corporation,
which had subsequently been transferred and assigned to
Washington Mutual Bank ("WAMU"), and WAMU purchased
the Property at a foreclosure sale on November 7, 2006.
Thereafter, WAMU filed a forcible entry and detainer action
against Sheffield and all other occupants of the Property,
and obtained a judgment on February 19, 2007, awarding it
possession of the Property. Brooks appealed that decision to
the county court at law. On October 18, 2007, WAMU filed a
separate suit against Brooks in the district court. Both the
county court at law and the district court cases were stayed
pending the resolution of the other. On December 5, 2012, the
district court dismissed WAMU's case against Brooks
having concluded WAMU no longer existed due to the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation's ("FDIC")
take-over of its assets. The record does not show the status
or disposition of Brooks' appeal of the judgment in favor
of WAMU to the county court at law.
September 25, 2014, the FDIC, as receiver for WAMU, assigned
Sheffield's deed of trust to Wells Fargo. And on October
13, 2014, JP Morgan Chase Bank, as attorney-in-fact for the
FDIC, conveyed the Property to Wells Fargo.
Fargo then filed a forcible entry and detainer action against
both Sheffield and Brooks. The justice court entered judgment
in favor of Sheffield and Brooks, which was later reversed on
appeal by the county court at law. Brooks appealed the county
court at law's decision to this Court. That appeal is
currently pending before this Court. See Brooks v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., No. 05-16-00616-CV.
November 21, 2014, Brooks, as a pro se plaintiff, sued Wells
Fargo to quiet title to the Property. Wells Fargo answered
generally denying Brooks' allegations and asserting
various defenses, including limitations. On January 7, 2016,
Wells Fargo moved for summary judgment on no-evidence and
traditional grounds. In support of its no-evidence motion for
summary judgment, Wells Fargo asserted there is no evidence
of Brooks' ownership interest in the Property, and no
evidence that Wells Fargo's title to the Property is
invalid or unenforceable. As grounds for traditional summary
judgment, Wells Fargo asserted: (1) Brooks' quiet title
suit is time-barred; (2) Brooks cannot demonstrate an
ownership interest in the Property because the documents upon
which he relies do not establish that Brooks has an ownership
interest in the Property; and (3) Wells Fargo has superior
title to the Property.
March 14, 2016, the trial court granted Wells Fargo's
motion without specifying its reasons for doing so, and
ordered "that all of the claims that Plaintiff Timothy
Brooks ("Plaintiff") asserted or could have
asserted against Defendant Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in the
above-referenced lawsuit are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE."
Brooks filed a ...