Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
Delma Ramirez DELEON, Irma Gomez, Josefina Castor, Olga Ramirez Niaves, Oralia De La Rosa, Gloria R. Dunford, and San Juanita R. Rodriguez, Appellants
Oliverio C. RAMIREZ and Maria Luisa Ramirez, Appellees
the 81st Judicial District Court, La Salle County, Texas
Trial Court No. 13-02-00046 CVL Honorable Donna S. Rayes,
Sitting: Karen Angelini, Justice, Marialyn Barnard, Justice,
Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice
Marialyn Barnard, Justice
Delma Ramirez Deleon, Irma Gomez, Josefina Castor, Olga
Ramirez Niaves, Oralia De La Rosa, Gloria R. Dunford, and San
Juanita R. Rodriguez, appeal the trial court's order
granting summary judgment in favor of appellees, Oliverio C.
Ramirez and Maria Luisa Ramirez, in a dispute over title to a
151.77 acre tract of land in LaSalle County (the
"Property"). The title dispute hinges on whether a
deed from Martha Ramirez to Oliverio and his wife Maria Luisa
was a gift deed which conveyed only Martha's interest in
the Property or a community survivor deed which conveyed all
of the community property interest in the Property. In
addition to arguing the deed was a gift deed, the appellants
also contend: (1) Oliverio and Maria Luisa were not innocent
purchasers of the Property because they had notice of its
community character; (2) Oliverio and Maria Luisa could not
acquire title to the Property because they were cotenants
with the appellants; and (3) Oliverio and Maria Luisa are
estopped from asserting ownership. We affirm the trial
and Martha Ramirez were married in 1941, and they had
thirteen children, including appellants and Oliverio.
Gregorio inherited a 1/13 interest in the Property from his
parents which was his separate property. Gregorio and Martha purchased the
remaining 12/13 interest in the Property from the other
heirs, and the 12/13 interest became Gregorio and
Martha's community property. In order to acquire the
12/13 interest, Gregorio and Martha borrowed $12, 600.00 from
the Farmers Home Administration and executed a deed of trust
to secure the loan.
died intestate in 1976, and his estate was never probated. On
November 1, 1993, the FHA sent Martha a letter stating she
was required to refinance the loan which had an approximate
balance of $7, 955.85. On November 19, 1993, Martha sent a
letter to the FHA stating her request to refinance with a
different lender was denied. In early 1994, Martha, fearing
foreclosure based on her inability to refinance the loan,
approached Oliverio and Maria Luisa about buying the
March 9, 1994, Martha signed a deed conveying the Property to
Oliverio and Maria Luisa. The deed recited the following
Love and affection Ten Dollars and other valuable
consideration, which includes but is not limited to payment
of the outstanding balance, if any, of one certain note,
executed by maker, dated July 29, 1969, in the sum of $12,
600.00, payable to Farmers Home Administration, United States
of America, Department of Agriculture.
same day, Oliverio and Maria Luisa paid off the FHA loan and
obtained both a transfer of lien and a release of lien which
were filed in the real property records. Between 1994 and
2003, Oliverio and Maria Luisa purchased the interest of five
of Oliverio's siblings. The appellants are Oliverio's
other seven siblings.
2013, the appellants filed the underlying lawsuit seeking a
declaratory judgment regarding the ownership of the Property.
The parties subsequently filed competing motions for summary
judgment. After a hearing, the trial court granted Oliverio
and Maria Luisa's motion and denied the appellants'
motion. In its order, the trial court found the presumption
of a gift was overcome and that the 1994 deed from Martha to
Oliverio and Maria Luisa was a community survivor deed that
conveyed the entire community property interest of Martha and
Gregorio to Oliverio and Maria Luisa.
prevail on a traditional motion for summary judgment, the
movant must show "there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and the [movant] is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c); see also
Diversicare Gen. Partner, Inc. v. Rubio, 185 S.W.3d 842,
846 (Tex. 2005). We generally review a trial court's
granting of a summary judgment de novo. Valence Operating
Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005). Where,
as here, the parties file competing motions for summary
judgment, and the trial court grants one and overrules the
other, we "determine all questions presented, and if the
trial court erred, render the judgment the trial court should
have rendered." Sw. Bell Tel., L.P. v. Emmett,
459 S.W.3d 578, 583 (Tex. 2015).
Deed v. ...