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Chyba v. US Bank N.A.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth

June 6, 2019

P. Chyba, Appellant
v.
US Bank National Association, as Trustee for Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities I Trust 2005-AC6 Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2005-AC6, Appellee

          On Appeal from the 48th District Court Tarrant County, Texas Trial Court No. 048-276121-14

          Before Kerr, Pittman, and Birdwell, JJ.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Wade Birdwell, Justice.

         P. Chyba, a non Texas resident, appeals pro se from the trial court's order denying her special appearance. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 120a. She challenges the trial court's ruling on the merits, and she also contends that the trial court's lack of response to her request for findings of fact and conclusions of law precludes her from properly presenting her appeal. See Tex. R. App. P. 44.4. We overrule her issues and affirm.

         Background

         US Bank National Association, as Trustee for Bear Stearns Asset Backed Securities I Trust 2005-AC6 Asset-Backed Certificates, Series 2005-AC6 (US Bank), sued Chyba--the maker of a purchase money loan for real property located in Grand Prairie, Texas--to foreclose on the securing deed of trust filed in the Tarrant County property records. Chyba, a non Texas resident, filed two unverified special appearances, in which she alleged that the trial court lacked jurisdiction over her and that the suit instead belonged in federal court for diversity jurisdiction. Chyba did not remove the case to federal court.

         Instead, Chyba filed a third special appearance raising the same issues, for which she later filed a "Verified Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Special Appearance" and "Affidavit in Support of Defendant's Special Appearance."[1] The trial court set the special appearance for determination on written submission and denied it. Chyba appeals. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.014(a)(7).

         In three issues, Chyba challenges (1) the trial court's determination that it has personal jurisdiction over her, (2) the lack of findings of fact and conclusions of law, and (3) the trial court's jurisdiction over U.S. Bank. We affirm.

         Lack of Findings Not Fatal

         In her second issue, which we will consider first, Chyba claims that the trial court reversibly erred by failing to file findings of fact and conclusions of law, preventing her from being able to properly present her issues on appeal. See Tex. R. App. P. 44.4.

         Although Chyba timely filed a request for findings of fact and conclusions of law and a notice of past due findings, see Tex. R. Civ. P. 296, 297, the trial court was not obligated to file them because its special appearance ruling is an interlocutory order. See Tex. R. App. P. 28.1(c); Simmons v. Boyd Gaming Corp., No. 09-16-00470-CV, 2017 WL 3298233, at *4-5 (Tex. App.--Beaumont Aug. 3, 2017, pet. denied) (mem. op.); Waterman S.S. Corp. v. Ruiz, 355 S.W.3d 387, 428 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, pet. denied) (op. on reh'g); Tempest Broad. Corp. v. Imlay, 150 S.W.3d 861, 868-69 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 2004, no pet.); Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. v. Kwasnik, 109 S.W.3d 21, 26 (Tex. App.--El Paso 2003, no pet.); see also IKB Indus. (Nigeria) Ltd. v. Pro-Line Corp., 938 S.W.2d 440, 442 (Tex. 1997) ("The purpose of Rule 296 is to give a party a right to findings of fact and conclusions of law finally adjudicated after a conventional trial on the merits before the court. In other cases findings and conclusions are proper, but a party is not entitled to them.").

         Moreover, neither Chyba's special appearance affidavit and verified memorandum nor U.S. Bank's response raises a disputed fact issue. Chyba admits signing the note and deed of trust. She argues that she has no contacts with Texas because she signed the documents in California, because U.S. Bank is not a Texas citizen and does not do business in Texas, and because she did not have any contact with U.S. Bank. These are legal arguments that we review de novo. See Kelly v. Gen. Interior Constr., Inc., 301 S.W.3d 653, 659 (Tex. 2010).

         Accordingly, we overrule Chyba's second issue.

         Trial Court Properly Denied ...


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