Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: March 6, 2018
Appeal from the 170th District Court McLennan County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2014-1758-4
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
K. Burgess Justice .
Watson sued Yates Brothers Motor Company, Inc. (Yates), for
breach of contract, conversion, violations of the Texas
Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), and DTPA
unconscionability after Yates repossessed her motor vehicle.
A McLennan County jury found all issues in Watson's favor
and rendered a verdict against Yates. On appeal, Yates argues that
the trial court erred in failing to grant its motion for new
trial because, among other things, (1) it conclusively
established its breach of contract counterclaim against
Watson and (2) there was no evidence to support the
jury's verdict on the DTPA unconscionability claim. We
conclude otherwise and affirm the trial court's judgment.
Factual and Procedural Background
February 20, 2014, when Watson purchased a 2007 Toyota Tundra
from Yates, she entered into a Motor Vehicle Installment
Sales Contract and an Insurance Addendum Agreement
(collectively referred to as the Contract). Watson made a $2,
000.00 cash payment, financed the remaining $16, 282.94 with
Yates at an interest rate of 17.55%, and agreed to make
payments of $210.00 every two weeks beginning on March 8,
to the terms of the Contract, Watson was required to provide
written proof of her insurance, make timely payments, and
inform Yates in writing of a change "in [her] address or
the address where [she would] keep the motor vehicle."
At trial, Yates argued that it repossessed Watson's
vehicle for failing to comply with those contractual
requirements. The jury disagreed and concluded that
Yates' treatment of Watson constituted unconscionable
Proof of Insurance
relevant part, the Contract stated,
If I fail to give you proof that I have insurance,
you may buy physical damage insurance. . . . I will pay the
premium for the insurance and a finance charge at the
contract rate. If you obtain collateral protection insurance,
you will mail notice to my last known address shown in your
If I default, you may repossess the motor vehicle from me if
you do so peacefully.
If you take my motor vehicle, you will tell me how much I
have to pay to get it back.
The contract also provided,
I must keep the collateral insured against damage or loss in
the amount I owe. . . . I must keep this insurance until I
have paid all that I owe under this contract. I may obtain
property insurance from anyone I want or provide proof of
insurance I already have. . . . I agree to give you proof of
property insurance. . . .
I also understand that I may purchase the required
comprehensive and collision insurance from any insurance
company licenses [sic] in Texas but that it is my
responsibility to provide written proof to Yates Brothers
Motor Co., Inc.[, ] showing that the required comprehensive
and collision coverage is in effect at all times. Yates
Brothers Motor Co., Inc.[, ] has the right to repossess the
vehicle if I do not . . . provide written proof of the
required insurance coverage at all times.
undisputed that Watson had the insurance coverage required by
Yates at all times. Watson insured the vehicle on the date it
was purchased through Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance
Company, with coverage expiring on March 20, 2014. On March
5, 2014, Watson purchased insurance on the vehicle from
Farmers Texas County Mutual Insurance Company (Farmers), with
coverage beginning on March 10 and ending on September 10,
2014. Nevertheless, initially citing only Watson's
failure to notify Yates of her insurance coverage, Yates
repossessed the vehicle on Monday, April 7, 2014.
trial, Watson informed the jury that she had given Yates'
business card, which Yates provided to her when she purchased
the vehicle, to Farmers so it could mail proof of insurance
to Yates' address. Jeff Holder, Watson's insurance
agent from Farmers, testified that proof of Watson's
insurance was mailed to Yates on March 6, 2014, and that
Farmers' computer records reflected that
fact. Watson testified that, although she did
not remember who she spoke with, she called Yates on March 5
to notify it that she had a new policy with Farmers and that
proof of insurance would promptly be mailed by Farmers.
to Yates, it did not receive Watson's proof of insurance,
and it repossessed Watson's vehicle. On the morning of
April 8, 2017, Watson called the police after she found her
only means of transportation to work missing. Although she
had received no communication from Yates, the police informed
her that Yates had contacted them to report that it would be
towing Watson's vehicle. Shocked, Watson called Yates and
spoke with Maria Jesus Fuentes, Yates' location manager.
Both Watson and Fuentes stated that Fuentes said the only
reason for the repossession was failure to provide proof of
insurance. Fuentes testified that there was no record of
Watson's previous call notifying them that she had
obtained the insurance. Holder testified that Watson called him
on the day after the repossession and that he personally
faxed proof of insurance to Yates on that day.
after Watson provided written proof that she had maintained
insurance on the vehicle at all times, Yates failed to return
her vehicle, stating that she now had to pay a $500.00
repossession fee to secure its return. It later sold
the contract, Watson's bi-monthly payments were to begin
on March 8, 2014. The Contract provided that Watson would be
subject to a late charge if her payment was not received
within fifteen days of its due date. Watson testified that
she was current with her payments.
trial, Yates' corporate representative, Clint Yates,
agreed that Watson had made two early payments of $210.00,
and had paid a total of $630.00 prior to the repossession.
Yet, both Clint and Fuentes testified that Watson failed to
make a payment on Saturday, ...