JUAN C. COSSIO, Appellant
JOSE LUIS DELGADO, Appellee
Appeal from the 10th District Court Galveston County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 16CV0035
consists of Justices Higley, Brown, and Caughey.
Carter Higley Justice.
Luis Delgado sued Juan C. Cossio for failing to provide clear
title to a piece of real property he purchased from Cossio.
The parties mediated the dispute and entered into a mediated
settlement agreement ("MSA"). Cossio failed to
honor the MSA, and Delgado amended his petition, seeking to
enforce it. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor
of Delgado, ordering Cossio to comply with the terms of the
MSA and awarding Delgado his attorney's fees.
appellate issue, Cossio challenges the trial court's
award of attorney's fees to Delgado. Because
Delgado's summary-judgment evidence does not establish
conclusively the amount of his reasonable and necessary
attorneys' fees, we reverse the trial court's
judgment with respect to the award of attorney's fees and
remand. The remaining portions of the judgment, which have
not been challenged on appeal, are affirmed.
2006, Delgado and Cossio entered into a "Lease with
Option to Buy" related to a parcel of real property
owned by Cossio and located in Galveston, Texas. Delgado
agreed to make a down payment of $26, 000 and then make
monthly payments to Cossio for five years, totaling $24, 000.
The contract provided that, once all payments were made,
Cossio would provide Delgado with a warranty deed to the
made the down payment. He would later acknowledge that he
knew, in 2006, that the property had a lien on it and that
Cossio did not have clear title. However, Cossio had assured
Delgado that the lien would be paid off and that he would
provide Delgado with clear title.
five years, Delgado claimed that he had made all of the
required monthly payments to Cossio. He demanded that Cossio
provide him with clear title to the property. When title was
not provided, Delgado filed declaratory-judgment action to
quiet title. Alternatively, Delgado sought specific
performance, requiring Cossio to execute a warranty deed.
Delgado also requested his attorney's fees. Cossio
answered and filed a counterclaim.
parties mediated the dispute. As a result, the parties signed
an MSA in which Delgado agreed to pay for a survey and to
have the property replatted. He also agreed to pay Cossio an
additional sum for the property. In exchange, Cossio agreed
to execute a general warranty deed for the property.
months after mediation, Delgado amended his petition. He
alleged that he had fully complied with the MSA, but Cossio
had "refused to execute the paperwork necessary for the
re-plat and has attempted to 're-negotiate' the
filed a traditional motion for summary judgment. He asserted
that (1) the MSA was binding on the parties; (2) he had
performed under the MSA; (3) Cossio had failed to perform;
and (4) he was entitled to the remedy of specific
performance. Delgado requested that Cossio "be compelled
to execute the required conveyance and re-plat documents and
pay all of Delgado's attorney's fees to date."
support his attorney's fees request, Delgado offered the
affidavit of his attorney, who testified, in relevant part,
2. I was retained by Jose Luis Delgado regarding his purchase
of the property at 1308 43rd Street, Galveston, Texas.
3. I was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1978 and have
conducted a general practice for more than 35 years.
4. As of the date hereof, I have devoted 59.7 hours to this
matter. My hourly rate is $300.
5. Based on my experience and after consideration of the
factors listed below, my ...