Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
LETY ROBINSON, INDIVIDUALLY AND D/B/A KISS'L FLOWERS SHOP, LLC, Appellant,
CARLOS OCHOA, ROSALINDA R. OCHOA AND LORENA OCHOA, Appellees.
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 of Cameron County,
Justices Rodriguez, Contreras, and Hinojosa Memorandum
Opinion by Justice Hinojosa
LETICIA HINOJOSA Justice.
Lety Robinson, individually and d/b/a Kiss'l Flowers
Shop, LLC (Robinson) appeals from a judgment, following a
bench trial, entered in favor of appellees Carlos Ochoa,
Rosalinda R. Ochoa, and Lorena Ochoa. By thirteen issues,
which we treat as six, Robinson argues that: the evidence is
legally and factually insufficient to support (1) liability,
(2) damages, and (3) attorney's fees; (4) Rosalinda and
Carlos lack capacity to bring suit; (5) the trial court
abused its discretion by denying Robinson's oral motion
for continuance; and (6) the judgment improperly awards
travel expenses and contains the wrong post-judgment interest
rate. We affirm as modified.
and Rosalinda contracted with Robinson to provide catering,
decorations, and other services for their daughter
Lorena's wedding. Appellees believed that Robinson did
not deliver as promised, and they later sued Robinson for
breach of contract, fraud, conversion, promissory estoppel,
money had and received, and violations of the Texas Deceptive
Trade Practices Act (DTPA). See Tex. Bus. & Com.
Code Ann. §§ 17.41-.63 (West, Westlaw through 2017
was appellees' sole witness at trial. She testified that
her mother Rosalinda originally contacted Robinson to
coordinate her wedding, which was to be held in Brownsville,
Texas, where most of appellees' extended family resided.
Rosalinda travelled from her home in Memphis, Tennessee to
visit with Robinson a month before the wedding and ultimately
agreed to retain her as the wedding coordinator. Lorena, who
resided in Lubbock, Texas, participated in the planning of
the wedding by phone and later met Robinson in person the
week before the wedding.
Agreement for Wedding Services
before the wedding, Rosalinda agreed to pay Robinson $25,
In return, Robinson was to provide the following: bouquets
for the bride, maid of honor, and two bridesmaids; ten
boutonnieres; natural floral decorations for each pew in the
church; further natural floral decorations for the church and
reception venue; table settings and catering for fifty-two
tables and 412 guests; twenty-five waiters; a wedding cake
with floral decorations; photographs and video of the wedding
and reception; a photograph area for guests at the reception;
two lounge areas; and lighting for both the wedding and
paid an initial deposit of $2, 600. The week before the
wedding, Lorena met with Robinson in person, and Robinson
provided a demonstration of the table settings, flower
arrangements, and church and reception decorations. Robinson
also showed Lorena examples of the lighting that she intended
to provide for the wedding. According to Lorena, the lighting
was an important consideration because it was "supposed
to transform the venue" and "make it seem a little
bit more cozier."
Issues with Payment
day of the wedding, Robinson provided an invoice in the
amount of $30, 171.44. Appellees did not object to the
increased price and paid the total amount by check. Robinson,
however, was concerned that the check was not covered by
sufficient funds. Therefore, she demanded that appellees
provide a cash payment. Carlos paid Robinson $23, 000 in
cash. Following the wedding, Robinson deposited
appellees' check, and the check cleared, resulting in an
excess payment in the amount of $25, 600, representing the
cash payment and the initial $2, 600 deposit. After suit was
filed, but before trial, Robinson returned the excess payment
to appellees. At trial, appellees sought no damages as a
result of Robinson's holding of the excess funds.
Services Provided by Robinson
testified concerning the goods and services Robinson failed
to provide. For instance, Robinson did not provide bridal or
bridesmaids bouquets. As a result, Lorena was forced to use
her maid of honor's bouquet for the wedding, and her
bridesmaids resorted to taking flowers from the pews to use
as bouquets. Robinson provided only three of the ten
boutonnieres. Approximately half of the flowers used for
decorations were artificial, and only the first two pews of
the church were decorated with flowers. There were no
decorations for the "backdrop" at the wedding
reception. The lighting at the reception was not as elaborate
as what Robinson demonstrated before the wedding. Rather, it
was very "limited, " and most of the lighting at
the reception was provided by the disc jockey retained
separately by appellees. Lorena also stated that the cake did
not have any floral decorations. Further, the table settings
at the reception were incomplete: "Some didn't have
any silverware, only some had water glasses." Robinson
did not furnish any plates or forks to serve the wedding
cake. Only one lounge area was provided, rather than two, and
there was no area for reception guests to have their picture
taken. Seven waiters were provided for the approximately 400
guests. Robinson did not provide appellees with photographs
or video of the wedding. After suit was filed, appellees
ultimately paid an additional $900 to the photographer to
release the photographs and video. Lorena estimated that the
monetary difference between what Robinson promised and what
she delivered was between $10, 000 and $15, 000.
D. Robinson's Testimony
acknowledged that her services for the wedding were not
perfect, but she did a great job by her own estimation.
Robinson claimed appellees never informed her of their
dissatisfaction until after the wedding.
Trial Court's Judgment
After the close of evidence, the trial court announced the
After listening to the testimony yesterday and hearing
counsel and Ms. Robinson, I reviewed the contract and I took
everything into consideration, it's my ruling that
[appellees] should be awarded $15, 000. I found that the-what
they had agreed upon was not-let me look through my notes.
What they got was not delivered. The lighting, the flower
arrangements, the bouquet or lack of bouquet, the photos that
they had to pay another $900 for, the lounge area that was
not what they requested or agreed upon, the food, the
waiters, the lack of plates and the napkins for the wedding
cake, that's why I made that ruling in the amount of $15,
In its written judgment, the trial court awarded appellees:
$15, 000 in damages; $2, 500 for travel expenses; $15, 000
for attorney's fees; and 8.25% in post-judgment interest.
The trial court also awarded conditional appellate attorney
fees of $3, 000 for an appeal to this Court and $3, 000 for
an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. Robinson filed a motion
for new trial, which the trial court denied. Neither party
requested findings of fact or conclusions of law. This appeal
Sufficiency of the Evidence
first three issues, Robinson challenges the legal and factual
sufficiency of the evidence supporting each of appellees'
A. Standard of Review
bench trial in which no findings of fact or conclusions of
law are requested by the parties or filed by the trial court,
we imply all findings of fact necessary to support the
judgment. See BMC Software Belg., N.V. v. Marchand,
83 S.W.3d 789, 795 (Tex. 2002). When the appellate record
includes the reporter's and clerk's records, these
implied findings are not conclusive and may be challenged for
legal and factual sufficiency. Id. We review the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting the findings by
applying the same standards that we use in reviewing the
legal or factual sufficiency of the evidence supporting jury
findings. Catalina v. Blasdel, 881 S.W.2d 295, 297
(Tex. 1994); see also Uribe v. Pharia, LLC, No.
13-13-00551-CV, 2014 WL 3555529, at *4 (Tex. App.-Corpus
Christi July 17, 2014) (mem. op.). The trier of fact is the
sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses and the weight
to give their testimony. City of Keller v. Wilson,
168 S.W.3d 802, 819 (Tex. 2005).
test for legal sufficiency is "whether the evidence at
trial would enable reasonable and fair-minded people to reach
the verdict under review." Id. at 827. In
making this determination, we credit favorable evidence if a
reasonable fact-finder could, and disregard contrary evidence
unless a reasonable fact-finder could not. Id. So
long as the evidence falls within the zone of reasonable
disagreement, we may not substitute our judgment for that of
the fact-finder. Id. at 822. Although we consider
the evidence in the light most favorable to the challenged
findings, indulging every reasonable inference that supports
them, we may not disregard evidence that allows only one
an appellant challenges the factual sufficiency of the
evidence on an issue, we consider all the evidence supporting
and contradicting the finding. Plas-Tex, Inc. v. U.S.
Steel Corp., 772 S.W.2d 442, 445 (Tex. 1989);
Fulgham v. Fischer, 349 S.W.3d 153, 157 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2011, no pet.). We set aside the finding for
factual insufficiency only if the finding is so contrary to
the evidence as to be clearly wrong and manifestly unjust.
Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175, 176 (Tex. 1986) (per
curiam); Fulgham, 349 S.W.3d at 157.
Breach of Contract
first address Robinson's challenge to appellees'
breach of contract claim. Robinson argues that the
parties' agreement was not sufficiently definite and is
therefore unenforceable. Robinson further ...