Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin
Thomas A. Jamison and Thomas E. Lowe, Appellants
Lake Travis Inn and RV Park, Brenda Horton, Ronnie March, and Suzy March, Appellees
COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 1 OF TRAVIS COUNTY NO.
C-1-CV-16-003787, HONORABLE TODD T. WONG, JUDGE PRESIDING
Chief Justice Rose, Justices Field and Bourland
K. Field, Justice
Lake Travis Inn and RV Park, Brenda Horton, Ronnie March, and
Suzy March (collectively, the Park) gave appellant Thomas A.
Jamison and his son Thomas E. Lowe (the Plaintiffs) written
notice requesting that they vacate the lot on which they were
living in a recreational vehicle. Jamison and Lowe vacated
the property and later sued the Park, asserting causes of
action for "Unlawful Eviction, " "Unlawfully
withholding Security Deposit, " "Harassment, "
"Intentional infliction of emotional distress, "
and "Fraud." Following a bench trial,
trial court signed a final judgment ordering that the
Plaintiffs take nothing on their claims and that the Park
take nothing on its counterclaim for attorney's
fees. In four appellate issues, the Plaintiffs
complain that the trial court abused its discretion in not
granting them a pre-trial conference, that the trial court
did not admit all of their evidence or allow them to fully
represent themselves at trial, that the trial court was not
fair and impartial, and that the trial court erred in not
recognizing a landlord-tenant relationship between the Park
and the Plaintiffs. We will affirm the trial court's
their first issue, the Plaintiffs contend that the trial
court abused its discretion in refusing to provide them with
a pre-trial conference. Whether to hold a pre-trial
conference is in the trial court's discretion.
See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166. The record before us
contains no indication that the Plaintiffs ever asked for a
pre-trial conference until they asserted in their motion for
new trial that the trial court should have granted them one.
Therefore, we conclude that the trial court did not abuse its
discretion in not holding a pre-trial conference.
Accordingly, we overrule the Plaintiffs' first issue.
their second issue, the Plaintiffs contend that the trial
court erred in failing to consider some of their pleadings
and in refusing to admit some of the evidence they offered.
We will address each of these pleadings and pieces of
evidence in turn.
the Plaintiffs complain that the trial court never ruled on
their motion for summary judgment. However, nothing in the
record before us indicates that the Plaintiffs ever attempted
to have their motion set for a hearing. Therefore, we cannot
conclude that the trial court committed reversible error in
not ruling on the Plaintiffs' motion for summary
judgment. See Goodman v. Doss, No. 13-15-00079-CV,
2016 WL 455328, at *3 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi Feb. 4, 2016,
no pet.) (mem. op.) ("Here, Goodman did not request or
set a hearing on his motions to compel discovery, did not
obtain a ruling on any of his motions, and did not file
either an affidavit explaining the need for further discovery
or a verified motion for continuance prior to the summary
judgment. Accordingly, Goodman failed to preserve error, if
any.") (citations omitted); In re Archer, No.
05-15-00020-CV, 2015 WL 128579, at *2 (Tex. App.-Dallas Jan.
9, 2015, orig. proceeding) (mem. op.) ("A court is not
required to consider a motion that has not been properly
called to its attention. The duty to procure a hearing rests
on the moving party, not upon the trial judge. A judge's
failure to set a motion for hearing, when not asked to make
such a setting, is not an abuse of discretion.")
(citations omitted); Corona v. Pilgrim's Pride
Corp., 245 S.W.3d 75, 84-85 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2008,
pet. denied) ("Corona failed to preserve any error for
our review. It was Corona's responsibility to request a
hearing and obtain a ruling on the motion to transfer venue.
Corona waived any issue concerning venue by not requesting a
hearing or ruling.") (citation omitted); In re
Davidson, 153 S.W.3d 490, 491 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2004,
orig. proceeding) ("A court is not required to consider
a motion not called to its attention. Showing that a motion
was filed with the court clerk does not constitute proof that
the motion was brought to the trial court's attention or
presented to the trial court with a request for a
ruling.") (citation omitted).
Plaintiffs also assert that the trial court ignored their
"Motion to Disqualify Attorney, " "Memorandum
of Law, " and "Motion to Take Judicial
Notice." However, the Plaintiffs filed these documents
after the trial court had signed the final judgment.
Moreover, nothing in the record before us indicates that the
Plaintiffs requested a hearing on these documents. Therefore,
we cannot conclude that the trial court committed reversible
error in not ruling on them.
addition, the Plaintiffs argue that they "should have
been permitted to submit every piece of evidence that they
attempted to submit" at the bench trial and complain
that the trial court excluded some of their evidence.
Specifically, the Plaintiffs complain that the trial court
refused to admit a "discharge paper from Austin Oaks
Hospital" and "a video tapped [sic] recording of a
conversation between Appellant Thomas Jamison and
Appellee." We review the admission or exclusion of
evidence under an abuse-of-discretion standard. See
Southwestern Energy Prod. Co. v. Berry-Helfand, 491
S.W.3d 699, 716 (Tex. 2016); Banks v. Bank of Am.,
N.A., No. 03-16-00046-CV, 2017 WL 1832489, at *3 (Tex.
App.-Austin May 4, 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.). The
Plaintiffs offered these items after resting their case, and
they have not provided any legal argument concerning their
admissibility. Therefore, we cannot conclude that the trial
court abused its discretion in excluding this evidence.
Plaintiffs also complain that the trial court refused to
admit a "HUD Housing Complaint." When the
Plaintiffs offered this document, the Park objected on the
basis of relevance and hearsay, and the trial court sustained
the objection. On appeal, the Plaintiffs argue that this
document "should have been considered as evidence that
Appellants['] claims of threats to evict due to visits
from the Mental Health Expanded Mobile Crisis Unit and Travis
County Sherriff's [sic] Deputies were true."
However, the Plaintiffs have not challenged the trial
court's conclusion that the document was inadmissible
hearsay. Moreover, even if the document was admissible, the
Plaintiffs have not explained how they were harmed by its
exclusion. See Tex. R. App. P. 44.1(a) ("No
judgment may be reversed on appeal on the ground that the
trial court made an error of law unless the court of appeals
concludes that the error complained of: (1) probably caused
the rendition of an improper judgment; or (2) probably
prevented the appellant from properly presenting the case to
the court of appeals.").
the Plaintiffs argue that the "Trial Court ignored the
timing of the eviction that occurred immediately after
discharge of Appellant Thomas Lowe from the psychiatric
hospital as evidence supporting claims of discrimination for
mental illness" and that the trial court "did not
even wait for the department of HUD to conclude [its]
investigation to deny relief to Appellants." However,
the Plaintiffs have not cited any legal authorities or
otherwise explained why these alleged actions constitute
reversible error. Specifically, the Plaintiffs have not
directed our attention to any authority holding that the