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Mitchell v. Turbine Resources Unlimited, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

March 1, 2018

JENNIFER MITCHELL AND TCSM, LLC, Appellants
v.
TURBINE RESOURCES UNLIMITED, INC., Appellee

         On Appeal from the 61st District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. 2015-50593

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Busby and Wise.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KEN WISE JUSTICE

         In this appeal from the dismissal of a bill of review in a post-judgment turnover and receivership proceeding, appellants contend that the trial court erred in dismissing their bill of review for want of subject matter jurisdiction based on the appellants' pending appeal in this court. Appellants also contend that the trial court erred in dismissing the appellant corporation for lack of standing based on the corporation's forfeiture of its charter. We affirm on the first issue and do not reach the second.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         This case has a lengthy procedural history which is described in detail in this court's opinion in the underlying consolidated appeal and petition for mandamus in Mitchell v. Turbine Resources Unlimited, Inc., 523 S.W.3d 189 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2017, pet. denied) (Mitchell I). We recount the relevant facts from the opinion to place the appellants' arguments in context.

         A. The Underlying Receivership Proceeding and Consolidated Appeal

         In 2006, Turbine Resources Unlimited, Inc. (Turbine) obtained a judgment in its favor against International A, Inc. and Tom George. Id. at 191. To aid in executing the judgment, the trial court appointed Riecke Baumann as master and receiver to take possession of all non-exempt property in any defendant's actual or constructive possession, and to order all defendants and third parties to produce and turn over assets, evidence, and documents pertaining to compliance with the trial court's order. Id. at 191-92.

         Between November 2013 and September 2014, Baumann filed two master's reports, which the trial court adopted in orders signed January 2, 2014, and September 24, 2014. See id. at 192-94. In the order of September 24, 2014, the trial court authorized the sale of certain property "subject to third parties' rights." Id. at 194. During this time, appellant Jennifer Mitchell was not a party to the receivership proceeding. Id.[1] In October 2014, however, Mitchell filed several motions as an "interested third party" to protect alleged interests in property subject to the receivership and to attack several of Baumann's findings in the first and second master's reports. Id. at 194.

         In January 2015, Baumann filed a third master's report. Id. Mitchell filed additional motions challenging all three master's reports, as well as a fourth motion to modify the trial court's orders. Id. at 194-95. The trial court signed an order acknowledging receipt of the third master's report, but the court did not adopt its findings. Id. at 194.

         In March 2015, Mitchell and appellant TCSM, LLC (collectively, the Mitchell Parties) filed a plea in intervention claiming that Baumann wrongfully had taken possession of the Mitchell Parties' property in his attempt to satisfy the judgment against George and International A. Id. at 195. Additional motions and objections followed, in which the Mitchell Parties argued that Baumann unlawfully had confiscated assets based on findings made without the benefit of a separate judicial process, and had exceeded the scope of his authority by including in the receivership property that George did not own. Id.

         Rather than treat the findings in the first two master's reports as conclusive, the trial court held an evidentiary hearing in which Mitchell provided testimony about each of the disputed findings. Id. at 195, 201. On April 14, 2015, the trial court denied Mitchell's fourth motion to modify the court's orders. Id. at 195. On June 2, 2015, the trial court signed an order approving the sale of assets the Mitchell Parties contended were owned by TCSM. Id. The Mitchell Parties appealed to this court, challenging the trial court's April 14, 2015 order denying Mitchell's motion to modify and the June 2, 2015 order approving the sale of assets.[2] See id.

         After perfecting their appeal, the Mitchell Parties filed in the trial court a motion to set aside the first and second master's reports as void. Id. The trial court denied the motion. Id. The Mitchell Parties subsequently filed in this court a petition for mandamus alleging that the trial court's January 2, 2014 and September 5, 2014 orders adopting the first and second master's reports were void and therefore the trial court erred in refusing to set aside the master's reports. Id. at 195, 202. This court consolidated the Mitchell Parties' appeal and mandamus proceedings. See id. at 191.

         On March 30, 2017, this court overruled the Mitchell Parties' appeal, affirming the trial court's orders of April 14 and June 2, 2015. Id. at 203. This court also denied the Mitchell Parties' petition for mandamus, holding that the trial court's orders ...


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