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Ogle v. Hector

Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin

August 2, 2017

Scott Ogle, Appellant
v.
Maeli Hector, a/k/a Maeli Arellano, a/k/a Maeli Johnson, Appellee

         FROM THE COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 2 OF TRAVIS COUNTY NO. C-1-CV-14-011792, HONORABLE TODD T. WONG, JUDGE PRESIDING

          Before Justices Puryear, Pemberton, and Goodwin

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          David Puryear, Justice

         After their relationship ended, appellant Scott Ogle sued appellee Maeli Hector, a/k/a Maeli Arellano, a/k/a Maeli Johnson, asserting claims for breach of contract and promissory estoppel based on his allegations that he and Hector had "executed a valid and enforceable written contract, via texts, that was performable during one year, " under which Hector agreed to take a lie detector test in exchange for Ogle dismissing a defamation suit he had filed against her and paying her $2, 500 for her attorney's fees, and that Hector had breached her agreement by refusing to take the lie detector test. "This agreement, " Ogle asserted, "was a written agreement between the parties through a[] series of text messages." The trial court granted summary judgment for Hector and awarded her $10, 150 in attorney's fees. Ogle argues that the trial court erred in awarding attorney's fees and in granting summary judgment on his claim for promissory estoppel. We affirm the trial court's orders granting summary judgment and awarding Hector attorney's fees.

         Factual Summary[1]

         Ogle and Hector had a relationship some number of years ago. After their relationship ended, Ogle filed suit against Hector, "the subject of which involved the truthfulness of allegations of criminal activity involving" Hector's former church. On the morning of November 21, 2014, [2] Ogle texted Hector to say, "I'm nonsuiting your case when I get back in town today. . . . I'll send you a check." About three hours later, Ogle sent the following messages:

Would you mind calling and retracting your comments about me to Hauck, and any others you mentioned my "court orders"?
Before you collect the $ I "owe" you? and take a lie detector test . . . for my peace of mind.
Or, let everyone assume it was "all in my head"?
Leaving me "under the bus"'?
If not, go find a lawyer.
It takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and one "court ordered crazy" comment to lose it all.

         Three hours later, after Hector apparently did not reply, Ogle sent another message saying, "I would appreciate you taking a lie detector just so I can show the fbi, but I won't hold back on my promise to fold and pay you. Tell me where to meet, and I'll bring your check." Ogle wrote Hector a check for $2, 500 on November 21, and she deposited it that same day.

In early December 2014, Ogle and Hector exchanged emails, saying in relevant part:
Ogle You forgot everything else, and you never accepted . . . anything, other than the original text agreement which included you taking a simple lie detector test that I pay for and you keep the money!
Hector: I'll have your money next week. All $2, 500.[3]
Ogle: I want you to take the test for my credibility. That's what you agreed to in our settlement. Otherwise, ...

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