Court of Appeals of Texas, Twelfth District, Tyler
from the County Court at Law No. 1 of Tarrant County, Texas
(Tr.Ct. No. 2016-000963-1)
consisted of Worthen, C.J., Hoyle, J., and Neeley, J.
Business Enterprises, LLC appeals the trial court's
judgment rendered in favor of Ablegrowth, Inc. DBE raises
five issues on appeal. We dismiss for want of jurisdiction in
part and affirm in part.
January 20, 2016, Ablegrowth filed a sworn petition for
eviction in the Justice Court for Precinct 7 of Tarrant
County, Texas. In its petition, Ablegrowth alleged that it
was entitled to possession of the premises because of unpaid
rent and other lease violations. The justice court ruled in
Ablegrowth's favor, and DBE filed a de novo appeal in the
County Court at Law Number One of Tarrant County, Texas.
county court at law initially ruled for Ablegrowth.
Thereafter, DBE retained counsel and filed a motion for new
trial, which was granted. Following a bench trial, the county
court at law found that Ablegrowth is entitled to possession
of the premises and awarded $3, 575.00 in past due rent, post
judgment interest, and court costs. The trial court further
awarded $2, 500.00 in attorney's fees. Further still, the
trial court ordered the county clerk to issue a check for all
remaining funds plus any and all accrued interest minus
administrative fees then held in the registry of the court to
be paid immediately to Ablegrowth. This appeal followed.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
initial matter, we must determine if we have jurisdiction to
consider the issues DBE raises in its appeal. See Guillen
v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 494 S.W.3d 861, 865 (Tex. App.-
Houston [14th Dist.] 2016, no pet.). Subject matter
jurisdiction is a question of law we review de novo.
Id. at 866.
appeal from a forcible entry and detainer judgment, we have
no jurisdiction to review the issue of possession if, as is
the case here, the disputed premises were used for commercial
purposes. See Tex. Prop. Code Ann. § 24.007
(West Supp. 2017). The prohibition against considering
possession includes consideration of any finding essential to
the issue of, dependent on, or primarily concerned with the
issue of possession. See Hong Kong Dev., Inc. v.
Nguyen, 229 S.W.3d 415, 431-32 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st
Dist.] 2007, no pet.); Volume Millwork, Inc. v. W.
Houston Airport Corp., 218 S.W.3d 722, 726-27 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, pet. denied).
first issue, DBE argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by granting Ablegrowth possession where DBE was
not found to be in default of the lease
agreement. In its second issue, DBE contends that the
trial court abused its discretion by issuing a writ of
possession in favor of Ablegrowth after DBE filed a notice of
appeal and posted a supersedeas bond and a cash bond. Both of
these issues seek for this court to consider possession or a
finding primarily concerned with the issue of possession.
Therefore, we lack jurisdiction to consider them. See
Nguyen, 229 S.W.3d at 431-32.
third issue, DBE argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by refusing to consider its counterclaims for
breach of contract, wrongful eviction, and
forcible detainer action is a special proceeding created to
provide a speedy, simple, and inexpensive means for resolving
the question of the right to possession of premises. See
Tehuti v. Bank of New York Mellon Tr. Co., Nat'l
Ass'n, 517 S.W.3d 270, 273 (Tex. App.-Texarkana
2017, no pet.). The justice courts have original jurisdiction
over forcible entry and detainer cases. See id. at
274. Counterclaims and the joinder of suits against third
parties are not permitted in such cases. See Tex. R.
Civ. P. 510.3(e). The county court's jurisdiction on
appeal extends only as far as the justice court's
jurisdiction. Espinoza v. Lopez, 468 S.W.3d 692, 695
(Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2015, no pet.). Therefore, we
hold that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by
refusing to consider DBE's counterclaims since it had no
jurisdiction to do so. DBE's third issue is overruled.
fourth issue, DBE contends that the trial court abused its
discretion by awarding Ablegrowth $2, 500.00 in
attorney's fees. Specifically, DBE argues that there is
no evidence of record supporting the reasonableness of the
attorney's fees awarded.
of Review ...