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Wiggins v. Janousek

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

August 3, 2017

MATTHEW D. WIGGINS, JR., Appellant
v.
CHRISTOPHER J. JANOUSEK AND MADELEINE M. GRIFFIN, Appellees

         On Appeal from the 55th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2015-02155

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Brown, and Wise.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          MARC W. BROWN JUSTICE.

         Appellant Matthew D. Wiggins, Jr., filed suit against appellees Christopher J. Janousek and Madeleine M. Griffin to collect on a promissory note that matured in April 2010. Wiggins filed two traditional motions for summary judgment, which were denied. Janousek and Griffin filed a traditional motion for summary judgment, which was granted on the basis that Wiggins's claims were time-barred. Wiggins presents two issues. First, Wiggins argues that the trial court erred by granting the summary-judgment motion filed by Janousek and Griffin. Next, Wiggins argues that the trial court erred by denying his first summary-judgment motion. This case turns on whether the note is a negotiable instrument. If the note is non-negotiable, then it is subject to a four-year statute of limitations and Wiggins's claim is time-barred. If the note is negotiable, then it is subject to a six-year statute of limitations and the claim is not time-barred. We find the note non-negotiable. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's order granting summary judgment.

         Background

         The relevant facts are not in dispute. Wiggins filed his original petition against Janousek and Griffin on January 14, 2015, to collect on a promissory note. Wiggins alleged that the note matured on April 1, 2010. The note states, in part:

FOR VALUE RECEIVED, the undersigned hereby jointly and severally promise to pay to the order of Matthew D. Wiggins the sum of Fifty-Five Thousand Dollars ($55, 000) together with interest thereon at the rate of ten percent (10%) per annum on the unpaid balance. Said sum shall be paid in the manner following: . . . .

         Immediately following this typed sentence, in handwritten terms, the note states:

Interest accrues only after cash advance date.
Interest only payable on the 1st day of month.
No pre-payment penalty.
Total amount due on 4/1/10.

         The note next states, in typed sentences:

All payments shall be first applied to interest and the balance to principal. All prepayments shall be applied in reverse order of maturity. This note may be prepaid, at any ...

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