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Drake Interiors, Inc. v. Thomas

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

September 7, 2017

DRAKE INTERIORS, INC., Appellant
v.
ANDREA MARIE THOMAS AND ROBERT WARREN THOMAS, Appellees

         On Appeal from the 334th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2009-22182

          Justices Boyce, Christopher, and Brown.

          OPINION ON MOTION FOR REVIEW OF SUPERSEDEAS ORDER

          PER CURIAM

         The judgment on appeal declares that appellant Drake Interiors, Inc. does not have a lien on certain property (the Asbury Property) owned by appellee Andrea Marie Thomas, expunges the lis pendens filed by Drake with respect to the Asbury Property, and awards Andrea attorney's fees.[1] The trial court set the amount of the security required to supersede the judgment pending appeal at $70, 000. Drake filed a motion in this court challenging that order. See Tex. R. App. P. 24.4(a). We conclude Drake has not satisfied its burden to show the trial court abused its discretion with respect to the supersedeas order. Accordingly, we deny the motion.

         Background

         The underlying dispute in this case is whether a judgment lien Drake holds attached to the Asbury Property, which Andrea owns and where she lives. This is the second appeal in this matter. In the first appeal, we held an abstract of judgment may create a lien on a home jointly managed as community property if the judgment is based on the premarital debt of only one spouse. We remanded for further proceedings because there was insufficient proof of whether Drake's judgment lien in fact attached and whether the Asbury Property was protected as a homestead when the abstract of judgment was first recorded. See Drake Interiors, L.L.C. v. Thomas, 433 S.W.3d 841, 843 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, pet. denied). This appeal is from the judgment on remand.

         A. Judgment on appeal

         Drake sought a declaratory judgment that the judgment lien attached to the Asbury Property and Drake was entitled to execute the lien against it. Andrea counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment that the lien did not attach to the Asbury Property. She also sought cancellation of the lis pendens Drake filed in 2009 regarding the Asbury Property. Each party petitioned for attorney's fees.

         Both parties moved for summary judgment on their claims for declaratory relief. The trial court denied Drake's motion and granted Andrea's motion in October 2016, leaving the issue of attorney's fees for later disposition.

         On April 25, 2017, the trial court signed a final judgment that repeated the rulings of the October 2016 order and awarded attorney's fees to Andrea. The judgment:

• declares that Drake's judgment lien did not attach to the Asbury Property;
• orders that Drake take nothing on its claim for declaratory relief;
• orders Drake to release the lis pendens;
• awards Andrea approximately $45, 000 in attorney's fees for work ...

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