Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
MIKE E. DEUBLER APPELLANT
THE BANK OF NEW YORK MELLON, AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE, UNDER NOVASTAR MORTGAGE FUNDING TRUST 2005-1 APPELLEE
COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 1 OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
WALKER, MEIER, and KERR, JJ.
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
ELIZABETH KERR JUSTICE
three issues, Mike E. Deubler appeals from the trial
court's judgment awarding possession of real property to
Appellee The Bank of New York Mellon, as successor trustee,
under Novastar Mortgage Funding Trust 2005-1 (BONY). We
November 2004, Deubler executed a deed of trust in First
Horizon Home Loan Corporation's favor to secure the
repayment of a promissory note that he used to purchase the
property. Deubler defaulted, and in November 2009, BONY-the
then-holder of the note and deed of trust-foreclosed on the
deed of trust and bought the property at the nonjudicial
foreclosure sale. Deubler unsuccessfully challenged the
foreclosure. See Deubler v. The Bank of New York
Mellon, No. 07-13-00221-CV, 2015 WL 3750312, at *1-8
(Tex. App.-Amarillo June 15, 2015, pet. denied) (mem. op.).
March 2016, BONY demanded that Deubler vacate the property.
When he refused, BONY filed a forcible-detainer action in
justice court. The justice court entered an order evicting
Deubler, and he appealed to county court. After a trial de
novo, the county court entered a judgment for possession of
the property in BONY's favor.
first issue, Deubler complains that BONY's live pleading
was "not a valid pleading on which judgment could have
been granted" because it was improperly verified by its
attorney instead of by BONY, and the trial court therefore
lacked jurisdiction to hear this case and render judgment in
BONY's favor. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 510.3(a)
(providing that "a petition in an eviction case must be
sworn to by the plaintiff"). We have previously
considered this same issue on several occasions and have
concluded every time that a party's attorney may verify a
petition in a forcible-detainer action as that party's
agent. See Norvelle v. PNC Mortg., 472 S.W.3d 444,
447-49 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2015, no pet.) (considering
relevant rules of civil procedure for forcible-detainer
actions, acknowledging well-settled rule that corporations
and other business entities generally may appear in court
only through licensed counsel, and reasoning that
appellant's unsupported "strict" construction
of rule of civil procedure 510.3(a) would "defy the
reality that business entities operate through their
agents" and "usurp the ability of these entities to
have their day in court"); see also Norvelle v.
Beauly, LLC, No. 02-15-00244-CV, 2016 WL 3452785, at *1
(Tex. App.-Fort Worth June 23, 2016, pet. dism'd w.o.j.)
(mem. op.) (citing PNC Mortgage and holding same);
Jimenez v. Fed. Nat'l Mortg. Ass'n, No.
02-15-00229-CV, 2016 WL 3661884, at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
July 7, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.) (citing PNC
Mortgage and holding same); Gaydos v. Fed. Nat'l
Mortg. Ass'n, No. 02-16-00003-CV, 2016 WL 7405809,
at *1 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Dec. 22, 2016, no pet.) (mem.
op.) (citing PNC Mortgage and holding same).
Moreover, even if the verification here were defective (it
isn't), the trial court still would have had
jurisdiction. See Fleming v. Fannie Mae, No.
02-09-00445-CV, 2010 WL 4812983, at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth
Nov. 24, 2010, no pet.) (mem. op.) (holding that defective
verification does not deprive county court of jurisdiction to
hear a forcible-detainer action); see also PNC
Mortg., 472 S.W.3d at 446 (stating same and citing
Fleming and other cases holding same). We decline
Deubler's invitation to reconsider or overrule our
precedent, and we overrule his first issue.
second issue, Deubler argues that because BONY failed to
prove title to the property, it lacked standing to bring a
forcible-detainer action, and the trial court thus lacked
jurisdiction to hear this case and render judgment in
BONY's favor. Specifically, Deubler claims that
BONY's pleading alleging that it is the
"mortgagee" of the property as defined in property
code section 51.0001(4) conflicts with its allegation later
in its pleading that it is the property's owner.
See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 51.0001(4) (West
2014) (defining "mortgagee" to include "the
grantee, beneficiary, owner, or holder of a security
raised this issue in the trial court, but he failed to
provide any evidence raising the existence of a title dispute
sufficient to show that the trial court lacked
jurisdiction. See Jaimes v. Fed. Nat'l Mortg.
Ass'n, No. 03-13-00290-CV, 2013 WL 7809741, at *5
(Tex. App.-Austin Dec. 4, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.); see
also A Plus Invs., Inc. v. Rushton, No. 2-03-174-CV,
2004 WL 868866, at *2 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Apr. 22, 2004, no
pet.) (mem. op.) ("The justice courts and the county
courts at law are only deprived of jurisdiction to adjudicate
a forcible detainer action if the question of title is so
intertwined with the issue of possession that possession may
not be adjudicated without first determining title."
(citing Mitchell v. Armstrong Capital Corp., 911
S.W.2d 169, 171 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1995, writ
denied))). Moreover, "[t]o prevail in a forcible
detainer action, a plaintiff is not required to prove title,
but is only required to show sufficient evidence of ownership
to demonstrate a superior right to immediate
possession." Rice v. Pinney, 51 S.W.3d 705, 709
(Tex. App.- Dallas 2001, no pet.); see also Tex. R.
Civ. P. 510.3(e) (stating that in a forcible-detainer action,
"[t]he court must adjudicate the right to actual
possession and not title"); Kaldis v. Aurora Loan
Servs., No. 01-09-00270-CV, 2010 WL 2545614, at *3 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] June 24, 2010, pet. dism'd
w.o.j.) (mem. op.) (holding that plaintiff in
forcible-detainer suit who purchased property in a
nonjudicial foreclosure sale need not prove a clear chain of
title to it to prove its superior right to possession in
relation to the defendant).
BONY presented as evidence (1) a deed of trust from Deubler
to Jerry Baker-as trustee for the benefit of First Horizon
Home Loan Corporation as lender-that included a provision
that upon a nonjudicial foreclosure sale, Deubler would
become a tenant at sufferance if he did not surrender
possession of the property to the buyer; (2) a substitute
trustee's deed reciting that the property secured by the
deed of trust was sold to BONY at a nonjudicial foreclosure
sale and conveying the property to BONY; and (3) evidence of
the notice to vacate sent to Deubler. Deubler presented no
evidence. Thus, the evidence was sufficient to support a
judgment in BONY's favor on the issue of possession.
See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 24.002 (West 2014),
§ 24.005(b) (West Supp. 2016). We overrule Deubler's
final issue, Deubler asserts that BONY did not present
evidence that it was entitled to rely on the
tenancy-at-sufferance language in the deed of trust because
BONY "was not in privity of contract with Deubler in
regard to the claimed lien instrument." But because
Deubler did not raise this issue in the trial court, he
failed to preserve it our review. See Tex. R. App.
P. 33.1(a)(1); Gaydos, 2016 WL 7405809, at *1