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.

Sellusyourhouse.Com, LLC v. Walker

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

July 11, 2019

SELLUSYOURHOUSE.COM, LLC, Appellant
v.
RUSSELL WALKER AND/OR ALL OCCUPANTS OF 9325 GRADY STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS, Appellee

          On Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No. 2 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1104954

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

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          LAURA CARTER HIGLEY, JUSTICE

         This is an appeal from the county court's judgment dismissing a forcible-detainer action for lack of jurisdiction. A house buyer, SellUsYourHouse.com, LLC ("the Buyer") purchased real property from three siblings. The Buyer then filed a forcible-detainer action against a fourth sibling, Russell Glenn Walker, who claimed to possess a one-fourth interest in the property. The justice court entered judgment for the Buyer, and, after a de novo trial, the county court reversed, holding that both courts lacked jurisdiction.

         In two issues, the Buyer argues that (1) the county court erred in dismissing its suit because the evidence proves, as a matter of law, that the Buyer has a superior right to immediate possession of the property and (2) the county court abused its discretion in admitting documentary evidence that Walker possesses a one-fourth interest in the property because such evidence was unauthenticated and irrelevant.

         We affirm.

         Background

         This forcible-detainer action involves residential property located in Harris County, Texas ("the Property"). The Property was purchased in the early 1970s by Earnest Carl Johnson ("Earnest Sr.") and his wife, Isabel Marie Johnson (nee Walker).

         Isabel died intestate decades later, on August 29, 2004. She was survived by Earnest Sr. and their four children, Earnest C. Johnson III ("Earnest Jr."), Carolyn Johnson, Sherriel Johnson, and appellee Russell Glenn Walker.[1] At the time of Isabel's death, Russell was living on the Property with Isabel and Earnest Sr. After Isabel died, Russell continued to live on the Property, helping care for Earnest Sr.

         Earnest Sr. died intestate about nine-and-a-half years later, on December 17, 2013. After Earnest Sr. died, Russell continued to live on the Property. However, Earnest Sr. and Isabel remained the Property's record title holders, as neither of their estates were probated.

         Sometime in 2017, Russell's three siblings, Earnest Jr., Carolyn, and Sherriel, conveyed their interest in the Property to a company specializing in residential home buying, SellUsYourHouse.com, LLC (again, "the Buyer"). The record does not reflect the circumstances under which the conveyance took place or why Russell was not included in the deal.

         On June 21, 2017, Russell filed an heirship affidavit with the Harris County Clerk. The affidavit consisted of the testimony of two disinterested witnesses, Benny Nelson and Aron Matton, who stated that they had known Earnest Sr. for years; that Earnest Sr. died on December 17, 2013 without leaving a will; and that he was survived by his four adult children, Russell, Earnest Jr., Carolyn, and Sherriel.

         Twenty-two days later, on July 13, 2017, the Buyer recorded a general warranty deed with the Harris County Clerk. Under the deed, Earnest Jr., Carolyn, and Sherriel "granted, sold and conveyed" their interest in the Property to the Buyer. The deed did not state whether the three siblings' collective interest in the property was partial or complete. Nor did the deed mention Russell or otherwise indicate whether Russell (or anyone else) owned an interest in the Property. After the Buyer recorded the deed, Russell continued to live on the Property.

         Later that September, Russell received a statutory notice to vacate from the Buyer. The notice advised Russell that his possession of the Property had been terminated and demanded that he vacate the Property within three days. The notice further advised Russell that if he failed to vacate the ...


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.