the 40th District Court Ellis County, Texas Trial Court No.
Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins.
GRAY Chief Justice.
Masonry, LLC, a Texas company, sued Long Island's finest
Homes, LLC, a New York company, in Texas for breach of
contract and other causes of action in connection with two
leases of short term rental homes in New York and the
subsequent withholding of the security deposit for the first
lease. Long Island filed a special appearance. After both
parties responded multiple times, attaching affidavits and
supporting documents, the trial court held a hearing and
granted Long Island's special appearance and dismissed
WG&D's lawsuit against Long Island. Because the trial
court did not err in granting the special appearance, we
affirm the trial court's judgment.
of Fact and Conclusions of Law
WG&D complains on appeal that the trial court erred in
failing to file findings of fact and conclusions of law when
timely requested and timely notified they were past due.
See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296, 297. As a remedy, WG&D
contends we should either abate the appeal for findings of
fact and conclusions of law or reverse the trial court's
order dismissing WG&D's lawsuit for lack of personal
of orders on special appearances are most commonly brought as
appeals of interlocutory orders, and findings of fact and
conclusions of law are not required in that procedural
posture. See Tex. R. App. P. 28.1(c); Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. §51.014(a)(7) (West 2014).
Notwithstanding that, the order on Long Island's special
appearance in this case is coupled with a dismissal of
WG&D's claims which makes it a final judgment.
However, WG&D is still not entitled to findings of fact
and conclusions of law. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296.
"The purpose of Rule 296 is to give a party a right to
findings of fact and conclusions of law finally adjudicated
after a conventional trial on the merits before the
court." Ikb Indus. v. Pro-Line Corp., 938
S.W.2d 440, 442 (Tex. 1997). Where there is no conventional
trial on the merits, findings and conclusions may be proper,
but a party is not entitled to them. See id.
(findings and conclusions in dismissal of suit as discovery
sanction, helpful but not required). In this case, there was
no conventional trial on the merits. Thus, WG&D was not
entitled to findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the
trial court did not err in not providing them. WG&D's
first issue is overruled.
second and third issues, WG&D asserts that because Barry
Turk was Long Island's agent (second issue) and because
Long Island's contacts through Turk established personal
jurisdiction (third issue), the trial court erred in granting
Long Island's special appearance.
to Rule 120a of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, a special
appearance may be made by any party for the purpose of
objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person or
property of the defendant on the ground that such person or
property is not amenable to process issued by the courts of
this State. Tex.R.Civ.P. 120a(1). Whether a court has
jurisdiction is a question of law that we review de novo.
Moncrief Oil Int'l, Inc. v. OAO Gazprom, 414
S.W.3d 142, 150 (Tex. 2013). "When, as here, the trial
court does not issue findings of fact and conclusions of law,
we imply all relevant facts necessary to support the judgment
that are supported by evidence." Id.
courts have personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant when (1) the Texas long-arm statute provides for
it, and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction is consistent with
federal and state due process guarantees. Spir Star AG v.
Kimich, 310 S.W.3d 868, 872(Tex. 2010); Moki Mac
River Expeditions v. Drugg, 221 S.W.3d 569, 574 (Tex.
2007). The Texas long-arm statute's broad doing-business
language "allows the statute to reach as far as the
federal constitutional requirements of due process will
allow." Retamco Operating, Inc. v. Republic Drilling
Co., 278 S.W.3d 333, 337 (Tex. 2009). Under a
constitutional due-process analysis, personal jurisdiction
exists when (1) the non-resident defendant has established
minimum contacts with the forum state, and (2) the assertion
of jurisdiction complies with "traditional notions of
fair play and substantial justice." Moki Mac,
221 S.W.3d at 575 (quoting Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed. 95
(1945)). We focus on the defendant's activities and
expectations when deciding whether it is proper to call the
defendant before a Texas court. Int'l Shoe Co.,
326 U.S. at 316.
defendant's contacts with a forum can give rise to either
specific or general jurisdiction. Am. Type Culture
Collection v. Coleman, 83 S.W.3d 801, 806 (Tex. 2002).
WG&D alleges that the trial court had both specific and
general jurisdiction. A court has specific jurisdiction over
a defendant if the defendant's alleged liability arises
from or is related to an activity conducted within the forum.
Spir Star AG v. Kimich, 310 S.W.3d 868, 873(Tex.
2010); CSR Ltd. v. Link, 925 S.W.2d 591, 595 (Tex.
1996). In such cases, "we focus on the 'relationship
among the defendant, the forum[, ] and the
litigation.'" Spir Star AG, 310 S.W.3d at
873 (quoting Moki Mac, 221 S.W.3d at 575-76).
General jurisdiction is present when a defendant's
contacts with a forum are "continuous and systematic,
" a more demanding minimum-contacts analysis than
specific jurisdiction. Id. at 807. For general
jurisdiction purposes, we do not view each contact in
isolation. Am. Type Culture Collection v. Coleman,
83 S.W.3d 801, 809 (Tex. 2002).
plaintiff bears "the initial burden of pleading
allegations sufficient to confer jurisdiction, " and the
burden then shifts to the defendant "to negate all
potential bases for personal jurisdiction the plaintiff
pled." Moncrief Oil Int'l, Inc. v. OAO
Gazprom, 414 S.W.3d 142, 149 (Tex. 2013). A defendant
can negate jurisdiction either legally or factually.
Kelly v. Gen. Interior Constr., Inc., 301 S.W.3d
653, 659 (Tex. 2010). Legally, the defendant can show that
the plaintiff's alleged jurisdictional facts, even if
true, do not meet the personal jurisdiction requirements.
See id. Factually, the defendant can present
evidence that negates one or more of the requirements,
controverting the plaintiff's contrary allegations.
TV Azteca v. Ruiz, 490 S.W.3d 29, 36 fn. 4 (Tex.
2016). The plaintiff can then respond with evidence
supporting the allegations; and it risks dismissal of its
lawsuit if it cannot present the trial court with evidence
establishing personal jurisdiction. Id. If the
plaintiff fails to plead facts bringing the defendant within
reach of the long-arm statute, the defendant need only prove
that it does not live in Texas to negate jurisdiction.
Kelly, 301 S.W.3d. at 558-559. If the parties