Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. CC-16-03213-B
Justices Francis, Brown, and Schenck
J. SCHENCK JUSTICE.
Custom Homes, LLC ("PCH") appeals the trial
court's take-nothing judgment in its forcible detainer
action. We reverse the trial court's judgment and render
judgment that PCH is entitled to possession of the property
at issue and to reasonable attorney's fees, and we remand
to the trial court to determine a reasonable amount of
attorney's fees to be awarded to PCH. We issue this
memorandum opinion because all issues are well settled in
law. Tex.R.App.P. 47.4.
and Procedural Background
Mahlin, Anne Mahlin, and Samanum Ngernerd (collectively,
"Occupants") occupied the property at 5223 Richard
Avenue in Dallas. PCH sent notices to Occupants to vacate
following its purchase of the property. When Occupants failed
to do so, PCH filed a forcible-detainer action in a justice
court, alleging Robert Mahlin and Ngernerd had executed a
promissory note and deed of trust with Homecomings Financial
Network, Inc. and then defaulted on the mortgage. PCH further
alleged the property was sold at a March 1, 2016 foreclosure
sale pursuant to the mortgage to Catalyst Resource Group,
Incorporated ("Catalyst"), which then sold the
property to PCH. The justice of the peace awarded possession
and $1500 in attorney's fees to PCH.
Mahlins appealed the justice
court's award to the county court at law and filed a plea
to the jurisdiction, arguing that the foreclosure sale was
ineffective and all subsequent deeds issued pursuant to the
sale were void because Robert Mahlin sent letters dated
February 29, 2016, to lenders rescinding his mortgage
pursuant to the Truth and Lending Act "due to violations
of the TILA." The county court at law conducted a bench
trial at which the trial judge denied the plea to the
jurisdiction and proceeded to hear the case. PCH submitted
the following documents as evidence, which were admitted over
the Mahlins' objections: (i) notice of substitute trustee
sale; (ii) substitute trustee's deed; (iii) warranty deed
with vendor's lien; and (iv) notices to vacate addressed
to Robert Mahlin, Samanum Ngernerd, Anne Mahlin, and all
other occupants. At the Mahlins' request, the trial judge
took judicial notice of the pleadings on file with the court.
On July 28, 2016, the trial court entered its final judgment,
which ordered that PCH take nothing.
Standard of Review
sole issue, PCH argues legally insufficient evidence supports
the trial court's take-nothing judgment.
as in this case, a trial court makes no separate findings of
fact or conclusions of law, we imply all facts necessary to
support the trial court's judgment that are supported by
the evidence. Rossman v. Bishop Colo. Retail Plaza,
L.P., 455 S.W.3d 797, 808 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2015, pet.
denied). We must affirm the trial court's judgment if it
can be upheld on any legal theory that finds support in the
challenging the legal sufficiency of an adverse finding on an
issue on which that party had the burden of proof at trial
must demonstrate on appeal that the evidence conclusively
established, as a matter of law, all vital facts in support
of the issue. Dow Chem. Co. v. Francis, 46 S.W.3d
237, 241 (Tex. 2001) (per curiam). In reviewing a
matter-of-law challenge, we first examine the record for
evidence that supports the adverse finding, while ignoring
all evidence to the contrary. Id. We indulge every
reasonable inference to support the finding, crediting
favorable evidence if a reasonable factfinder could and
disregarding contrary evidence unless a reasonable factfinder
could not. City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802,
807, 822 (Tex. 2005). If there is no evidence to support the
adverse finding, we then examine the entire record to
determine if the contrary proposition is established as a
matter of law. Dow Chem., 46 S.W.3d at 241. We
sustain the issue only if the contrary proposition is
conclusively established. Id.
forcible-detainer action is used to determine the superior
right to immediate possession of real property where there is
no claim of unlawful entry. Williams v. Bank of N.Y.
Mellon, 315 S.W.3d 925, 926 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no
pet.). It is intended to be a speedy, simple, and inexpensive
means to obtain immediate possession of property.
Id. at 926-27. The only issue in a ...