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Janis v. AT&T Yellow Pages, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

May 18, 2017

PATRICK JANIS, Appellant,
v.
AT&T YELLOW PAGES, INC., Appellee.

         On appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 of Victoria County, Texas.

          Before Justices Contreras, Benavides and Longoria.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NORA L. LONGORIA Justice.

         Appellee AT&T Yellow Pages, Inc. (Yellow Pages) brought suit against appellant Patrick Janis to recover the unpaid balance from the parties' advertising contracts. The trial court found Patrick Janis jointly and severally liable with Michael Bryant[1] on both contracts. On appeal, Janis argues that the trial court erred in finding him personally liable on both advertising contracts. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Janis and Bryant are officers and shareholders of Calhoun Plumbing, Inc. d/b/a Mr. Rooter Plumbing. On February 21, 2008, Janis signed a contract with Yellow Pages to run advertising for Mr. Rooter Plumbing in the Victoria County Yellow Pages. On June 3, 2009, Bryant entered into another contract with Yellow Pages for advertising for Mr. Rooter Plumbing in the Victoria County Yellow Pages. After the advertising was published, Mr. Rooter Plumbing failed to make the necessary payments as required under the contracts. On January 26, 2011, Yellow Pages brought suit against Janis and Bryant individually to recover the unpaid balance, interest on the unpaid balance, and reasonable attorney's fees.

         On April 19, 2016, the case was tried before the trial court. The trial court held that Janis was jointly and severally liable with Bryant on both contracts. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Yellow Pages for $20, 848.71, not including the prejudgment interest on the unpaid debt and $7, 500 for attorney's fees, subject to post-judgment interest. Janis and Bryant requested the trial court to enter written findings of fact and conclusions of law. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296. However, the trial court did not submit any findings, and Janis did not file a past due notice for the findings. See id. R. 297. This appeal followed.

         II. The Contracts

         In one issue, Janis argues that the trial court erred in finding him personally liable on both contracts.

         A. Standard of Review and Applicable Law

         "The construction of an unambiguous contract is a question of law, which we review de novo." Wright Group Architects-Planners, P.L.L.C. v. Pierce, 343 S.W.3d 196, 200 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2011, no pet.). Texas law does not presume agency. Id. To establish the affirmative defense of agency, a party must prove that he disclosed: (1) that he is acting in a representative capacity; and (2) the identity of the principal. Id.

         Generally, the failure to file a past due notice for requested findings of fact and conclusions of law constitutes a waiver of the right to complain about the trial court's failure to file findings. See Sonnier v. Sonnier, 331 S.W.3d 211, 214 (Tex. App.- Beaumont 2011, no pet.). In that situation, when the record contains no findings of fact and conclusions of law, courts imply all necessary findings to support the judgment. Id.

         B. Discussion

         i. ...


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