Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Cox v. Chevrolet

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

June 25, 2019

FRED COX, SR., Appellant
v.
ALLEN SAMUELS CHEVROLET, ALLEN SAMUELS, AND SANTANDERCONSUMER USA INC., Appellees

          On Appeal from the 215th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2016-82605

          Panel consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Higley and Hightower.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Richard Hightower Justice

         Appellant Fred Cox, Sr., filed this lawsuit against appellees, Allen Samuels Chevrolet, Allen Samuels (collectively the Samuels parties), and Santander Consumer USA Inc., arising out of an automobile sale and financing that occurred in 2013. The Samuels parties moved for summary judgment on res judicata grounds, and the trial court granted summary judgment in favor of both the Samuels parties and Santander, dismissing Cox's claims. In ten issues on appeal, Cox now argues that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment based on various evidentiary and procedural complaints.

         Because we conclude that the trial court erred in granting summary judgment on res judicata grounds, we reverse and remand.

         Background

         Cox's claims in this case arise out of his dealings with the Samuels parties and Santander regarding the purchase and financing of a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu (the vehicle) that had occurred in December 2013. Cox first attempted to bring his lawsuit in federal district court. On November 4, 2015, Cox filed a complaint in the Southern District of Texas against the Samuels parties[1] asserting, among other causes of action, that the Samuels parties engaged in deceptive trade practices, fraud, theft, and forgery in connection with the sale and financing of the vehicle (case number H-15-3297). Less than two weeks later, on November 12, 2015, the federal district judge in that case dismissed Cox's claims "with prejudice."[2] In his "Opinion on Dismissal" signed at the same time as the dismissal order, the district court judge found that the court did not have jurisdiction over Cox's claims, stating in relevant part:

This court does not have jurisdiction over Cox's claims. The failure to sell an advertised car, the theft of five hundred dollars, and loaning a defective car are not claims described by federal law. Fred Cox and Allen Samuels Chevrolet are both citizens of Texas, and the value of a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu is less than $20, 000. Thus, this court does not have party jurisdiction because the parties are not diverse and the value of Cox's claims does not come close to $75, 000.
Cox did not do business with anyone other than Allen Samuels Chevrolet. Thus, he does not describe a transaction with Allen Samuels Chevrolet's parent companies, investors, or employers that the law recognizes.
Cox further complains that Santander Consumer USA participated in giving him a loan but fails to add them as a defendant.

         Cox's complaint will be dismissed with prejudice. Cox then filed a second suit in the Southern District of Texas against the Samuels parties, this time adding Santander as a defendant (case number 4-16-cv-02011).[3] He alleged nearly identical causes of action related to the same transaction and vehicle involved in the prior suit. The Samuels parties assert that the judge in that case dismissed Cox's claims on res judicata grounds, but the electronic docket entry filed with the record in this appeal states only, "The Court makes the following oral ruling: This case is dismissed. The Court's findings, as stated on the record."

         On November 30, 2016, Cox filed the underlying suit against the Samuels parties and Santander. Again, his allegations were substantively similar to those alleged in the two prior federal district court suits. He asserted, among other causes of action, that the Samuels parties and Santander had engaged in deceptive trade practices, fraud, theft, and forgery in the course of selling and financing the vehicle.

         Both the Samuels parties and Santander answered with general denials and pled the affirmative defense of res judicata. The Samuels parties then moved for summary judgment, asserting that the doctrine of res judicata barred all of Cox's claims in the present suit. The Samuels parties asserted that the order dismissing Cox's suit in case number H-15-3297 was a judgment on the merits by a court of competent jurisdiction, that the same parties and underlying facts were involved in both of the prior suits and the instant suit, and that all of Cox's claims in the present suit were or could have been brought in the previous suit. As summary judgment evidence, they attached certified copies of the pleadings from the two previous suits that Cox had filed in the Southern District of Texas based on the same transaction, the final order and Opinion on Dismissal in case number H-15-3297, and the electronic docket entry showing the oral dismissal ruling in case number 4-16-cv-02011.

         Santander did not join the Samuels parties' summary judgment motion or otherwise file ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.