Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
GORDON DEAN HALEY AND ANTON SCOTT HALEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS INDEPENDENT CO-EXECUTORS OF THE ESTATE OF MARGARET L. HALEY, Appellants,
BENEFICIAL FINANCIAL I INC., SUCCESSOR BY MERGER TO BENEFICIAL TEXAS, INC., Appellee.
appeal from the 94th District Court of Nueces County, Texas.
Justices Benavides, Hinojosa, and Perkes
GREGORY T. PERKES, JUSTICE.
pro se, appellants Gordon Dean Haley and Anton Scott Haley,
individually and as independent co-executors of the estate of
Margaret L. Haley, appeal from a summary judgment granted in
favor of appellee Beneficial Financial I Inc., successor by
merger to Beneficial Texas, Inc. (Beneficial), on
Beneficial's suit for judicial foreclosure. In what we
construe as three main issues, the Haleys argue on appeal
that: (1) the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction
because there was a pending probate proceeding in county
court; (2) Beneficial failed to conclusively establish its
right to judicial foreclosure; and (3) the Haleys raised
genuine issues of fact on their affirmative defenses under
the Texas Constitution. We affirm.
25, 2006, Bennie Spencer Haley and Margaret L. Haley obtained
a home-equity loan secured by their homestead, commonly known
as 4910 Lavaca Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78411 (the
Property). On October 8, 2006, Bennie died, and
Margaret became the sole owner of the Property. When Margaret
died in May 2011, the Haleys opened an independent
administration of their mother's estate in Nueces County
Court at Law No. 4. In September 2011, Margaret's last
will and testament was admitted to probate and the Haleys
were appointed as the independent co-executors. Under the
will, the Haleys inherited the Property.
undisputed that the last payment on the note was made in June
2011, the month after Margaret died. In March 2015,
Beneficial filed suit for judicial foreclosure in the
district court. The Haleys, initially proceeding pro se,
each filed an answer containing a general denial, specific
denials, and affirmative defenses. Anton's answer also
included counterclaims for violations of the "State and
Federal Truth in Lending Acts" and "State and
Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act."
August 2016, Beneficial moved for traditional summary
judgment on its foreclosure claim and no-evidence summary
judgment on Anton's counterclaims. According to
Beneficial's live pleading filed eight months prior, the
administration of Margaret's estate was still open at
that time, and there is nothing in the record to indicate
when or if it was closed.
Haleys, represented by counsel at this point, filed a joint
response to the combined motion for summary judgment arguing:
(1) Beneficial lacked standing because it was not the owner
of the note; (2) the copy of the promissory note produced by
Beneficial was inadmissible because it was not the
"original ink-signed paper promissory note;" (3)
the affidavit by Beneficial's custodian of records was
inadmissible because it was internally inconsistent and not
based on personal knowledge; (4) as a result of the
inadmissible affidavit, the attached business records were
not properly authenticated; and (5) the business records were
otherwise not admissible because they contained internal
inconsistencies. They subsequently filed a joint sur-response
repeating these issues.
the combined motion was pending,  and after they had filed
their response and sur-response, the Haleys filed joint first
and second supplemental answers, attaching affidavits and
other documents in support of their affirmative defenses
under the Texas Constitution. The summary judgment hearing
was held thirty-nine days after the Haleys filed their second
supplemental answer. The trial court granted Beneficial's
combined motions for summary judgment and this appeal
Standard of Review
moving for traditional summary judgment must establish there
is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Tex.R.Civ.P. 166a(c). We
review summary judgment de novo. Rogers v. RREF II CB
Acquisitions, LLC, 533 S.W.3d 419, 425 (Tex. App.-Corpus
Christi-Edinburg 2016, no pet.) (citing Tex. Mun. Power
Agency v. Pub. Util. Comm'n of Tex., 253 S.W.3d 184,
192 (Tex. 2007)). We take as true all evidence favorable to
the non-movant, indulge every reasonable inference, and
resolve any doubts in the non-movant's favor.
Id. at 426 (citing Sw. Elec. Power Co. v.
Grant, 73 S.W.3d 211, 215 (Tex. 2002)).
A.The trial court's subject-matter