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Green v. Federal National Mortgage Association

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

April 18, 2019

UNIQUE M. GREEN, Appellant
v.
FEDERAL NATIONAL MORTGAGE ASSOCIATION AND ONEWESTBANK, N.A., Appellees

          On Appeal from the 269th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2015-36481

          Panel consists of Justices Lloyd, Kelly, Hightower.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RUSSELL LLOYD, JUSTICE

         Appellant Unique M. Green, proceeding pro se, appeals the trial court's order granting summary judgment in favor of appellees Federal National Mortgage Association ("FNMA") and OneWest Bank, N.A. ("OneWest") on her claims for wrongful foreclosure and wrongful eviction. In her sole issue, Green contends that the trial court erred in granting appellees' no-evidence motion for summary judgment because she presented more than a scintilla of evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact with regard to her claims. We affirm.

         Background

         On June 24, 2015, Green, pro se, filed suit against FNMA alleging claims for wrongful foreclosure and wrongful eviction. In her petition, Green alleged that she was a bona fide purchaser and the owner of the property located at 3129 Elpyco Street, Houston, Texas 77051. On April 25, 2016, Green amended her petition and added OneWest as a defendant.[1]

         On January 10, 2018, appellees filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgment. In their motion, they argued that Green had failed to produce any evidence raising a material fact issue on any of the elements of her wrongful foreclosure and wrongful eviction claims. On February 5, 2018, Green, then represented by counsel, filed a response to appellees' no-evidence motion. In her response, she requested that the trial court continue the hearing on appellees' motion and argued that she had produced sufficient evidence to defeat appellees' no-evidence motion.

         On February 6, 2018, the trial court granted appellees' no-evidence motion for summary judgment. On February 28, 2018, Green filed a motion for reconsideration. On March 29, 2018, the trial court denied Green's motion and entered a final judgment in favor of appellees, dismissing Green's claims with prejudice. This appeal followed.

         No-Evidence Summary Judgment

         On appeal, Green contends that the trial court erred in granting appellees' no-evidence summary judgment motion because she raised a material issue of fact on all the elements of her wrongful foreclosure and wrongful eviction claims when she produced proof that she owned the property to appellees nearly a year before they filed their motion.

         A. Standard of Review

         We review a trial court's summary judgment de novo. Travelers Ins. Co. v. Joachim, 315 S.W.3d 860, 862 (Tex. 2010). When reviewing a summary judgment motion, we must (1) take as true all evidence favorable to the nonmovant, and (2) indulge every reasonable inference and resolve any doubts in the nonmovant's favor. Valence Operating Co. v. Dorsett, 164 S.W.3d 656, 661 (Tex. 2005) (citing Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. v. Knott, 128 S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2003)). If a trial court grants summary judgment without specifying the grounds for granting the motion, we must uphold the trial court's judgment if any one of the grounds is meritorious. Rampersad v. CenterPoint Energy Hous. Elec., LLC, 554 S.W.3d 29, 32 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2017, no pet.).

         After an adequate time for discovery, the party without the burden of proof may move for a no-evidence summary judgment on the basis that there is no evidence to support an essential element of the non-movant's claim. Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(i); Hamilton v. Wilson, 249 S.W.3d 425, 426 (Tex. 2008). The trial court must grant the no-evidence summary judgment unless the non-movant produces competent summary judgment evidence raising a genuine issue of material fact on the challenged elements. Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(i); Hamilton, 249 S.W.3d at 426.

         A no-evidence summary judgment motion is essentially a motion for a pretrial directed verdict. Mack Trucks, Inc. v. Tamez, 206 S.W.3d 572, 581 (Tex. 2006). Accordingly, we apply the same legal sufficiency standard of review that we apply when reviewing a directed verdict. City of Keller v. Wilson, 168 S.W.3d 802, 823 (Tex. 2005). Applying that standard, a no-evidence point will be sustained when (1) there is a complete absence of evidence of a vital fact, (2) the court is barred by rules of law or evidence from giving weight to the only evidence offered to prove a vital fact, (3) the evidence offered to prove a vital fact is ...


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