Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the 83rd Judicial District Court, Val Verde County, Texas
Trial Court No. 32335 Honorable Robert Cadena, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Luz Elena D.
Chapa, Justice Beth Watkins, Justice
BRYAN MARION, CHIEF JUSTICE
Magness appeals a summary judgment in favor of Sheppard Baker
declaring all leases Magness purported to have on property
owned by Baker to be void and unenforceable. Magness presents
four issues on appeal contending the trial court erred by:
(1) denying his motion to enforce a settlement agreement; (2)
not allowing him to amend his pleadings; (3) not allowing him
to redraft his affidavit; and (4) granting summary judgment.
We affirm the trial court's judgment.
January 13, 2016, Magness filed a petition in district court
seeking a declaratory judgment asserting Baker had breached a
"verbal lease" allowing Magness to hunt and fish on
Baker's property in Val Verde County. Baker filed an
answer containing a general denial and asserting the
affirmative defense of statute of frauds, contending any
alleged verbal lease was unenforceable under the statute of
frauds. Baker also filed a counter-claim against Magness
asserting the parties entered into a 2010 limited written
lease agreement for fishing and a 2011 limited written lease
agreement for hunting, and Magness breached both leases.
Baker requested a declaratory judgment that Magness breached
the written lease agreements. Baker also noted in his answer
that he had filed a separate suit for forcible detainer that
was pending in the justice court.
2, 2016, after a "couple of days" of trial in
justice court on Baker's forcible detainer suit, the
parties announced they had reached a settlement.
Magness's attorney announced on the record before the
court that the settlement was "the mutual dismissal of
the respective lawsuits that have been brought by the parties
against each other," including both the forcible
detainer action and the claims filed in district court, and a
mutual release. After an off-the-record-discussion, the
attorneys went back on the record to discuss Baker's
intentions to retract and cancel some leases and powers of
attorney he signed during the course of the litigation. The
record then reflects the following:
THE COURT: Okay. So, as I understand it, you're going to
negotiate a whole new lease?
MR. JOHNSON [Magness's attorney]: We're going - yeah,
we're going to -
MR. STERN [Baker's attorney]: We're going to do a -
we're going to make some amendments so that neither one
can kick the other off the property - okay - and, also, so
that Mrs. Magness - maybe through corporate structure or
whatever y'all want to do - so she's protected
somehow in case something happens to her husband.
MR. JOHNSON: The two 99-year leases for the hunting and
fishing are intact; but the terms and conditions, we're
going to modify and change so they'll be in accordance
with the parties' wishes now.
Anything else, Mr. Stern?
MR. STERN: No. I think that's it.
MR. JOHNSON: Well, thank you again very much for helping us