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Serralde v. Flores

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

February 21, 2018

Jorge Alberto Enriquez SERRALDE, Appellant
v.
Carlos Cerda FLORES, Marco Antonio Cerda Flores, Mario Alberto Cerda Flores, and Sandra Cerda Flores, Appellees

         From the 49th Judicial District Court, Webb County, Texas Trial Court No. 2012CVF001560 D1 Honorable Jose A. Lopez, Judge

          Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Marialyn Barnard, Justice Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Luz Elena D. Chapa, Justice

         AFFIRMED

         Jorge Alberto Enriquez Serralde appeals a final judgment the trial court rendered after a jury trial. Serralde argues the trial court erred by denying his two pleas to the jurisdiction, denying his motion to disregard the jury's findings, and awarding attorney's fees to appellees. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Background

         Appellees Carlos Cerda Flores, [1] Marco Antonio Cerda Flores, Mario Alberto Cerda Flores, and Sandra Cerda Flores sued Serralde alleging the following facts:

Plaintiffs and Defendant Jorge Enriquez [Serralde][2] had done business together. More specifically, Plaintiffs had paid certain fees to Defendant Enriquez as compensation for the clearing of customs for certain merchandise for Plaintiffs' clients using Defendant Enriquez' Mexican broker's license. Thereafter, Plaintiffs and Defendant Enriquez discussed a transaction whereby Defendant Enriquez would undertake certain measures that would result in his broker's license being transferred to one of the Plaintiffs. The parties attempted to agree on a written contract for this transaction but a written contract was never executed. Despite the contract negotiations not having concluded, and despite not having a signed written contract, Plaintiffs tendered $300, 000 (U.S.) to Defendant Enriquez by delivering such funds to Defendant Robert Perez as requested by Defendant Enriquez. Unfortunately, however, the parties never signed a written contract, Defendant Enriquez never accomplished the transfer of the license to Plaintiffs, and, despite demand, never returned the $300, 000 (U.S.) to Plaintiffs.

         The specific legal theories of recovery and claims for relief appellees alleged included recovery of money had and received, common law fraud, rescission of contract, breach of contract, declaratory judgment, theft, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees.

         In addition to generally denying appellees' allegations and alleging affirmative defenses, Serralde filed a plea to the jurisdiction and a motion for summary judgment. In the plea to the jurisdiction, Serralde alleged the parties entered into their agreement in Mexico, they selected Mexico as the forum for dispute resolution, and at the center of the agreement was a Mexican broker's license. Serralde asserted that consequently, there are no justiciable issues, appellees' causes of action are moot, and another court has exclusive jurisdiction over the suit. The trial court denied Serralde's plea to the jurisdiction, and the trial court's ruling on Serralde's motion for summary judgment is not reflected in the record. However, at oral argument in this court, the parties explained that during an informal pretrial hearing in chambers, the trial court ruled that only two claims would be tried to the jury: breach of contract and money had and received. The jury found the parties entered into an agreement, Serralde breached the agreement, and $150, 000 would fairly compensate appellees for Serralde's breach.[3]

         The parties stipulated the trial court would make findings regarding the recovery of attorney's fees. After the jury trial, Serralde filed a motion to disregard the jury findings as contrary to facts conclusively established by the evidence. He also filed a second plea to the jurisdiction, arguing that only appellee Sandra Flores had standing to sue because the evidence established the money came from her account. Appellees filed a motion to enter judgment and attached billing records as evidence to support their claim for attorney's fees. After a hearing, the trial court signed a final judgment awarding appellees damages in the amount found by the jury, pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and attorney's fees. Serralde appeals.

         Partial Reporter's Record

         We note at the outset Serralde has presented this appeal on a partial reporter's record. The reporter's record consists of only the hearing on the parties' post-trial motions. Under Rule 34.6(c), an appellant may present an appeal on a partial reporter's record if he includes in the request for the reporter's record a statement of the points or issues to be presented on appeal; he will then be limited on appeal to only those points or issues raised. Tex.R.App.P. 34.6(c)(1); In re J.S.P., 278 S.W.3d 414, 418 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2008, no pet.). "When an appellant fails to file the statement of appellate points or issues, we presume that the material missing from the reporter's record is relevant and supports the trial court's judgment." In re J.S.P., 278 S.W.3d at 418. Here, Serralde did not file a statement of the points or issues he intended to present on appeal as required by Rule 34.6(c)(1). We are therefore required to presume the omitted portions of the record are relevant and support the trial court's judgment. See id.

         Pleas to ...


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