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Hyde v. Hawk

Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo

November 27, 2017

CHARLES GLEN HYDE, HYDE-WAY, INC., AND TEXAS AIR CLASSICS, APPELLANTS
v.
ROBERT "BOBBY" HAWK, APPELLEE

         On Appeal from the 158th District Court Denton County, Texas Trial Court No. 2013-20761-158, Honorable Steve Burgess, Presiding

          Before QUINN, C.J., CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JAMES T. CAMPBELL, JUSTICE.

         Appellants Charles Glen Hyde, Hyde-Way, Inc. and Texas Air Classics[1] appeal a final judgment in a suit brought by appellee Robert "Bobby" Hawk. We will affirm.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         In 1995, Charles Glen Hyde conveyed to Wayne Williams an undeveloped lot, Lot 25E, at Northwest Regional Airport in Denton County. The lot was subject to deed restrictions described in an exhibit to the deed. In 1998, Williams sold Lot 25E to Hawk; that deed also conveyed the lot subject to deed restrictions described in an exhibit.

         Appended to the deed restrictions that accompanied the 1998 deed from Williams to Hawk is a document entitled "Addendum to Deed Restrictions Runway and Taxiway License." The document is unsigned, but was prepared for execution by Hyde-Way, Inc. as licensor and Hawk as licensee, and provides a non-exclusive license along common taxiways for access to and from the licensee's hangar, together with the right to use the runway for aircraft landing and departing. It states its term shall be irrevocable for ninety-nine years provided the licensee makes annual payments and complies with deed restrictions. The document contains a blank for the amount of the initial annual payment. An asterisk appears in the blank, and the bottom margin of the page has language, also marked with an asterisk, stating the payment would be determined and would be due on completion of construction of the hangar, at the rate of ten cents per square foot if the hangar was smaller than 5000 square feet and eight cents if it was 5000 square feet or larger. The language states the license agreement "may be re-recorded after hangar completed and amount of payment inserted."

         Some years after Hawk constructed a residential hangar, disputes arose between Hawk and Hyde over Hawk's access to the airport's runway and taxiways, the deed restrictions, and Hawk's entitlement to water supply to the lot. Hawk filed suit against Hyde. His second amended petition, filed in April 2012, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, money damages and attorney's fees.

         A year later, Hawk filed a traditional motion for partial summary judgment on his claim for a declaration that he held a license or easement for access to the runways and taxiways. After a hearing, the trial court granted the motion and signed an order declaring a license for runway and taxiway use accompanies Lot 25E. Hawk shortly thereafter filed a motion to sever the runway-and-taxiway-license claim from his remaining claims.[2] Hyde opposed the severance. In September, the court signed an order granting the motion to sever, and in October 2013, signed the final judgment here on appeal.[3]

         The order granting Hawk's motion for summary judgment states the grounds on which the court found Hawk possessed a license or easement permitting his use of the runway and taxiway. The court found that the unsigned Addendum appended to Hawk's deed "sets out Lot 25E's runway and taxiway license under the law of contract, and the statute of frauds is no bar." It found the partial-performance exception applicable. Alternatively, the court found the Addendum enforceable under the doctrines of promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel or quasi-estoppel. And as an additional alternative, the court found Hawk obtained an easement by estoppel on the Addendum's terms. The court's order further states that if the Addendum did not set the terms of Hawk's license, "then Lot 25E nonetheless has an easement for use of the runway and taxiways under the lot's 1995 Warranty Deed . . . ."

         Analysis

         In this Court, Hyde raises five issues, asserting: (1) the trial court's judgment is not final because it does not dispose of all issues severed; (2) the severance was improper; (3) indispensable parties were not before the court; (4) the court erred in its grant of summary judgment because the evidence did not prove the existence of a license; and (5) the court erred in its grant of summary judgment because the evidence did not prove the existence of a license or an easement by estoppel, equitable estoppel or quasi-estoppel.

         Issue Four - Existence of License

         We begin with Hyde's fourth issue, which asserts error in the grant of summary judgment. We review de novo the grant of summary judgment. Nall v. Plunkett, 404 S.W.3d 552, 555 (Tex. 2013) (per curiam). We take as true all evidence favorable to the non-movant, and indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubt in the non-movant's favor. Nixon v. Mr. Property Management Co., 690 S.W.2d 546, 548-49 (Tex. 1985).

         Hyde's primary contention is that the summary judgment evidence shows only an agreement between Williams and Hawk for sale of Lot 25E to Hawk, and that the attachment of the unsigned Addendum to the Williams-to-Hawk deed does not reflect a contract between Hyde and Hawk. As Hawk points out, the contention misperceives Hawk's position, and ignores the summary judgment evidence that Charles Glen Hyde agreed to the Addendum's terms.

         With respect to Hawk's contention that the evidence appellants invoiced him each year from 2000 through 2007 for the annual payment in the amount called for by the Addendum[4] and his payment of the invoices in each of those years constituted partial performance of the license terms set out in the Addendum, [5] Hyde again asserts the only agreement reflected by the evidence is that between Hawk and Williams. Again, the assertion misperceives Hawk's contention that Charles Glen Hyde agreed to the terms of the Addendum. We agree with Hawk that it is of no moment that the Addendum was appended to Williams' ...


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