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Sumner v. Harbor Owners Association, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

May 1, 2019

TERENCE E. SUMNER, Appellant
v.
HARBOR OWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. A/K/A HARBORSIDE ESTATES & HARBORVIEW ADDITION, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 192nd Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-16-09417

          Before Justices Bridges, Brown, and Nowell

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ERIN A. NOWELL JUSTICE.

         Following a bench trial, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of appellee Harbor Owners Association, Inc. (the "HOA"), and filed findings of fact and conclusions of law. In six issues, appellant Terence E. Sumner asserts the evidence is legally and factually insufficient to support five of the trial court's findings of fact, and argues the award of appellate attorney's fees is incorrect. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Factual Background

         Sumner owns the property located at 5201 Panama Drive in Rowlett, Texas (the "Property"); the Property is within the HOA. Sumner and the HOA's Board of Trustees (the "Board") had numerous disputes, which began approximately four years after Sumner purchased the Property and continued intermittently for more than a decade. The disputes generally related to Sumner's failures to maintain the Property and the fines the HOA levied against him. The record includes numerous letters the HOA sent to Sumner in 2012 and 2013 instructing him to:

(1) remove a dryer stored in the alley;
(2) repair and repaint his chimney;
(3) repair and repaint the house trim;[1]
(4) replace missing shingles from the roof;[2]
(5) trim the trees;[3]
(6) mow and edge his yard, including the side yard and back fence line at the alley, and collect and discard all grass clippings;[4]
(7) remove weeds, trim bushes and trees, and mow and edge lawn; [5]
(8) mow the lawn;[6]
(9) treat and remove weeds from the alley and/or side yard;[7]
(10) "weedeat/line edge in the back of your home";[8]
(11) replace areas of missing sod;
(12) repair his fence that was leaning;[9]
(13) re-stain his fence;[10] and
(14) haul away debris piled up on the driveway.

         The letters state that if the corrective actions are not taken, then fines may be levied. The notices instruct Sumner to refer to Section 6.02 of the HOA's Declarations of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions, which states:

6.02 Maintenance by Owners. Each Owner, at all times, shall maintain, repair and otherwise be responsible for his Lot and ...

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