Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: June 22, 2017
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 McLennan County,
Texas Trial Court No. 20150281PR1.
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
R. Morriss, III Chief Justice Date
the unexpected death of Brandon Scott Emmons, he was engaged
to Amanda Crawford, was just a few months short of their
intended wedding date, and had been sharing his Windsor
Avenue house in Waco with her. The two had also been sharing
living expenses and their mutual fondness for hunting. When
Crawford moved out of the Windsor Avenue house a few months
after Emmons' death, she took with her Emmons'
collection of pistols, shotguns, rifles, and knives. Later,
she sued Joyce Nuner, Emmons' sister, in her capacity as
the Independent Administrator of Emmons' Estate, claiming
that Emmons had gifted Crawford various assets and that she
was entitled to reimbursement of various expenditures she had
made before Emmons' death. Crawford's claims related
to the house, Emmons' bank and investment accounts, a
1991 Airstream recreational vehicle (the Airstream RV), a
2006 Mastercraft boat, a 1991 Land Rover Defender (the
Defender),  and a 2012 Land Rover Evoque (the Evoque).
The Estate admitted that Emmons had given Crawford the
Evoque, but denied the rest of her claims, and counterclaimed
for the recovery of Emmons' furniture, rifles, shotguns,
pistols, and personal belongings allegedly converted by
Crawford. After a bench trial, the trial court denied all of
Crawford's claims, except her claim relating to the
investment account, and found in favor of the Estate on the
conversion claim for the rifles, shotguns, pistols, and
knives. After offsetting the damages awarded to
against the Estate's damage award, the trial court
entered judgment against Crawford in the amount of $42,
appeal, Crawford complains that the trial court erred in
admitting the listing of guns and knives found on Emmons'
computer (Exhibit 2), that the court erred in excluding
Crawford's testimony that Emmons had given her the
Defender, that the evidence is insufficient to support (a)
the trial court's finding that the guns and knives listed
on Exhibit 2 were the property of the Estate, (b) the finding
that Crawford committed conversion or civil theft of the
property listed in Exhibit 2, (c) the finding that the Estate
was damaged in the amount of $49, 000.00, (d) the trial
court's refusal to find that Emmons gave Crawford the
Defender, (e) the trial court's refusal to find that the
Estate converted the Defender, (f) the refusal to find that
the Estate was unjustly enriched by Crawford's
contributions to Emmons' bank account and the Windsor
house, and (g) the refusal to find that the Estate converted
Crawford's interest in Emmons' bank account.
that (1) Crawford failed to preserve her objection to the
admission of Exhibit 2; (2) Crawford failed to preserve her
complaint regarding the exclusion of her testimony;
evidence supports the trial court's complained-of
fact-findings in favor of the Estate;
evidence supports the trial court's refusal to make the
findings argued by Crawford on appeal, and (5) Crawford
failed to preserve any complaint regarding the trial
court's failure to find unjust enrichment and
constructive trust. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the
1) Crawford Failed to Preserve her Objection to
the Admission of Exhibit 2
focus at trial involved what has been named Exhibit 2, a
document printed from Emmons' computer listing guns,
knives, and sporting good items that Emmons owned. Crawford
asserts that the trial court erred in admitting Exhibit 2
because it was not properly authenticated. The Estate argues
initially that Crawford failed to preserve her error by
failing to make a specific or timely objection.
Alternatively, the Estate argues that Exhibit 2 was properly
authenticated and that any error was harmless. Crawford
responds that her complaint was preserved when she filed a
pre-trial objection to, and motion to exclude, Exhibit
We find that Crawford has failed to preserve her complaint.
night before trial, Crawford filed an objection to the
admission of Exhibit 2 based on an alleged lack of relevancy
and an inability of anyone to authenticate it. Crawford did
not obtain a pre-trial ruling on her objection. Instead, when
Nuner was asked at trial whether she had been able to locate
a gun inventory in Emmons' documents, Crawford objected
and, when asked the nature of her objection, handed the trial
court the document she had filed the night before. Although
Crawford did not state her objection as to authentication,
the trial court looked at the document. When asked for a
response, the Estate's attorney stated that he was in the
process of laying the predicate for admission of the
document. The trial court then overruled the objection, and
Nuner was questioned as to where she located the weapons
inventory, whether she was familiar with and had seen
Emmons' guns, knives, and sporting items, and whether
Exhibit 2 was an accurate list of the same. Nuner testified
that she obtained Exhibit 2 from Emmons' computer, that
she was familiar with his guns, knives, and sporting items
from being around the house and seeing them, and that Exhibit
appeared to be an accurate inventory of Emmons' guns,
knives, and sporting equipment.
following exchange took place:
[Counsel for the Estate]: At this time, we offer Exhibit 2
into evidence, Judge.
(Plaintiff Exhibit No. 2 offered)
THE COURT: Exhibit 2 is admitted.
Q. [Counsel for Estate] All right. Those guns that are listed
THE COURT: Hold on.
[Counsel for Crawford]: I just want to object, for the
THE COURT: All right. Anything further, Ms. Galik?
[Counsel for Crawford]: No.
THE COURT: All right. It's admitted. Objection is
argues that her objection to Exhibit 2 was preserved when she
filed her pre-trial objection and motion to exclude, citing
Huckaby v. A.G. Perry & Son, Inc., 20 S.W.3d
194, 203- 06 (Tex. App.-Texarkana 2000, pet. denied).
However, in Huckaby, the appellant filed pre-trial
objections and a motion to exclude evidence, a pre-trial
hearing was held on the objections, and the trial court's
pre-trial ruling on the objections was in writing.
Id. at 205. We held that, in that case, the trial
court's ruling on the pre-trial objections would preserve
the objection through trial. Id. at 206. In this
case, Crawford neither brought her objections and motion to
exclude to the trial court's attention before trial, nor
obtained the trial court's pre-trial ruling on the same.
Rather, Crawford presented the trial court with a copy of her
objections to explain the basis of her objection at trial.
Without a pre-trial ruling by the trial court, her objections
were not preserved throughout trial without lodging a timely
and specific objection to the evidence each time it was
offered. See id.
preserve a complaint about the admission of evidence on
appeal, the record must show that the complainant made a
timely objection "with sufficient specificity to make
the trial court aware of the complaint, unless the specific
grounds were apparent from the context." Tex.R.App.P.
33.1(a)(1)(A). Further, unless the party obtains a running
objection, she must object to the evidence every time it is
offered, or the objection is not preserved. Ganter v.
Indep. Bank, No. 05-15-00413-CV, 2016 WL 4376284, at *5
n.4 (Tex. App.-Dallas Aug. 16, 2016, pet. denied) (mem. op.)
(citing Duperier v. Tex. State Bank, 28 S.W.3d 740,
755 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi 2000, pet. dism'd by
agr.)); Brown v. Traylor, 210 S.W.3d 648, 656 n.8
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.).
case, it appears that both the parties and the trial court
understood that Crawford's objection to Exhibit 2 was
based on a lack of authentication. It also appears that the
trial court recognized that Crawford's objection when the
exhibit was offered into evidence was timely. Crawford did
not ask for a running objection, however, and she failed to
object when two other witnesses, both Nuner's husband,
Eric, and Emmons' close friend, David Jeremy Hill,
testified that Exhibit 2 was an accurate inventory of
Emmons' weapons. Since the same evidence was admitted
without objection, any error concerning the admission of
Exhibit 2 was unpreserved. Brown, 210 S.W.3d at 656
n.8; Crouse v. State, 441 S.W.3d 508, 517 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2014, no pet.). We overrule this point of error.
Crawford Failed to Preserve her Complaint Regarding the
Exclusion of Her Testimony
complains that the trial court erred in excluding (a) her
testimony that Emmons gave her the Defender and (b) her
testimony that she made deposits into Emmons' bank
account to pay joint expenses. Crawford first points to the
following exchange during her testimony:
Q. [By counsel for Crawford]: And when did you get engaged?
A. Oh, July 14th -- is that right? I forgot. I can't
Q. Of what year?
Q. And you posted an announcement?
A. I did. I posted it up on Facebook at that point in time
that we had gotten engaged. And Brandon was so excited. We
were having such a great time. And he had also given me the
blue beast at that point in time, too.
MR. RAINEY (counsel for the Estate): I'm going to object
to hearsay and dead man's rule.
COURT: Sustained. Crawford argues that there was
corroborating evidence in the record, so the trial court
erred in refusing her testimony regarding Emmons' ...