Appeal from the 412th District Court Brazoria County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 71532
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Boyce and
condemnation proceeding, appellant Lyndon Mayberry challenges
the trial court's judgment condemning certain Brazoria
County property in favor of appellee Kinder Morgan Crude
& Condensate, LLC ("KMCC"). In four issues,
Mayberry asserts that: (1) he has constitutional standing;
(2) there is legally sufficient evidence that he has
standing; (3) the trial court's judgment is void for lack
of jurisdiction; and (4) certain statutory provisions
concerning notice in a condemnation proceeding are
we conclude that Mayberry lacks an ownership interest in the
condemned property, we affirm the trial court's judgment.
filed a petition for condemnation, seeking to acquire a
permanent easement for construction of a common-carrier
pipeline through property in Brazoria County. KMCC identified
a 98-acre tract of land across which it sought rights for a
50-foot easement. After reviewing the Brazoria County real
property records, KMCC could not identify all owners of
record of the 98-acre tract. Thus, KMCC named several known
and unknown parties as defendants, including Mayberry, the
unknown heirs of T. L. Smith, W. P. Womack, and the estate of
Alice Grovey-all of whom KMCC alleged may own, possess,
or claim some interest in the 98-acre tract. KMCC asserted
that it provided the requisite paperwork to the defendants
and that the defendants rejected its bona fide offer to
purchase an interest in the property.
sought appointment of special commissioners to schedule a
hearing and assess damages occasioned by condemning the
property. The trial court appointed three special
commissioners, who notified Mayberry and the other
defendants, including the unknown defendants via publication,
of the hearing to assess damages. Mayberry appeared at the
special commissioners' hearing. After hearing evidence
and argument, the special commissioners signed an award
assessing damages of $13, 043 for condemnation of the
easement over the 98-acre tract. In June 2013, KMCC deposited
$13, 043 into the court's registry.
on June 7, 2013, Mayberry filed an objection and answer in
which he denied KMCC's condemnation claims and objected
to the special commissioners' award. Tex. Prop. Code
§ 21.018. Mayberry alleged that the condemnation award
was inadequate to compensate him for his interest in the
property and that the special commissioners "failed to
apply the correct measure of damages in determining the
adequate compensation" to which he was entitled.
court set the matter for trial in early 2016. Mayberry filed
an amended answer against KMCC on the day of
trial. Mayberry alleged that KMCC's pipeline
"extend[ed] far beyond just the . . . 98 acre
tract." Importantly, Mayberry expressly stated he had no
interest in the 98-acre tract.
also filed a trial brief in support of a motion to dismiss,
although the motion to dismiss is not contained in our
record. In his brief, Mayberry again clearly disclaimed any
interest in the 98-acre tract at issue by stating "[t]he
only persons with an interest in the Subject property are the
Heirs of TL Smith. [Mayberry] is neither an Heir of TL Smith
nor did he own any of their property interest at the time of
the filing of this action."
filed a bench memorandum "concerning proof of standing
as a predicate to offering evidence." KMCC asserted that
Mayberry had "failed to provide any evidence of a vested
interest in the [98-acre tract] through discovery or
otherwise, be it by deed, mortgage note, county record, or
other property ownership document." KMCC argued that
because Mayberry had not established "an identifiable,
personal stake in the Property, or in this litigation, "
he lacked standing to seek any affirmative relief or recover
any portion of the commissioners' award.
beginning of the bench trial on March 7, 2016, the trial
court inquired whether Mayberry had any interest in the
98-acre tract KMCC sought to condemn: "Let me ask you
this. Is [Mayberry] claiming any ownership interest in the 98
acres that are the subject matter of this condemnation?"
Mayberry's trial counsel explained that Mayberry had an
interest in a larger, 600-acre tract, known as the Morris
Tract, in which this 98-acre tract allegedly was contained,
but stated that Mayberry had "no interest" in the
land described in KMCC's petition.
these discussions, the trial court called the condemnation
proceedings to trial, and Mayberry ...