Appeal from the 157th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2013-05157A.
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Donovan and
Wakefield sued Bank of America, N.A. and Federal National
Mortgage Association ("the lenders"), among others,
for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and other claims
relating to her purchase of real property. The lenders moved
for summary judgment based on the statute of limitations,
among other grounds. The trial court granted the motion and
severed Wakefield's claims against the lenders from her
claims against the other defendants, resulting in a final
judgment. We affirm.
October 2005, Wakefield purchased real property located at
1812 Marshall Street, Houston, Texas, 77098. She had been
living at the property for several years and purchased the
property from her then-landlord, Alan Mundy. At the time,
Mundy lived at 1825 Marshall Street.
sales price was $437, 750. Wakefield financed the purchase by
obtaining several loans from Countrywide Home Loans, which
later merged with Bank of America. She signed several notes
and deeds of trust to secure financing for the purchase.
Ultimately, Bank of America became the owner and holder of
the first-lien promissory note and deed of trust.
December 2006, Wakefield and her then-boyfriend also
purchased 1825 Marshall Street from Mundy, and the couple
began residing at 1825 Marshall Street while she leased 1812
Marshall Street to tenants. In April 2011, Wakefield and her
former boyfriend sold 1825 Marshall Street, and Wakefield
moved back to 1812 Marshall Street. While packing up at 1825
Marshall Street, Wakefield found closing documents related
the purchase of 1812 Marshall Street. She testified by
affidavit that she "did not fully realize that a
potential fraud had been perpetrated until [she] found the
closing documents for 1812 in the garage at 1825 in April
appeal, Wakefield summarizes her reasons for suspecting
Upon review of the 1812 closing documents, it became clear to
Appellant that there was something wrong with the closing on
her home at 1812. The discrepancies that were readily
apparent included (a) the real estate earnest money contract
transposed the addresses for the seller/buyer showed [sic]
Appellant's primary residence to be 1825 and MUNDY's
primary residence to be 1812; (b) the Uniform Residential
Loan Application showed the incorrect birth date for
Appellant; (c) the HUD-1 Settlement Statement had the
addresses transposed showing Appellant's primary
residence to be 1825 and MUNDY's primary residence to be
1812; [and] (d) the survey was wholly incorrect; showing the
property as a two-story structure when it is a one-story
structure, Marshall Street running in an incorrect direction,
and the survey appears to be a mirror image of the property
at 1825 which is a completely different house.
alleged in her petition that she believed "something
nefarious had occurred regarding the purchase" of 1812
Marshall Street. After April 2012, Wakefield stopped paying
her mortgage because she believed that continuing to make
payments would "perpetuate a fraud." In September
2012, Bank of America foreclosed on the property.
January 2013, Wakefield sued the lenders and others for
breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and other claims. She
pleaded the discovery rule for each claim. Regarding the
substance of her claims, she contended that the lenders
"went along for the ride" of fraud initiated by
Mundy. She sought to hold the lenders liable for lending her
money to buy the house at a "highly inflated sales
price." She pleaded that the lenders owed her a
fiduciary duty to assure that she was "purchasing the
property at fair market value."
lenders filed a hybrid motion for summary judgment on all of
Wakefield's claims. In relevant part, the lenders argued
that the statute of limitations barred all of Wakefield's
claims and that the discovery rule did not apply because the
basis of her claims would have been readily apparent if she
had exercised ordinary diligence to inspect the closing
documents. The lenders also contended that there was no
evidence that they owed Wakefield a fiduciary duty.
objected to much of the lenders' evidence, and the trial
court sustained the objections and denied the motion for
summary judgment in a single order. But, the trial court
granted the lenders' motion for reconsideration in its
entirety, set aside the prior order, and thereafter granted
the lenders' motion for summary judgment without making
another ruling on the objections. The trial court severed
Wakefield's claims against the lenders, and Wakefield
appeals from the final judgment.
II.Issues and ...