Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
appeal from the 445th District Court of Cameron County,
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Perkes
L. LONGORIA JUSTICE
Roberto Morales Garza failed to file a timely response to
appellee Bryan Robinson's motion for summary judgment.
The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of
Robinson. By one issue, Garza argues that the trial court
erred by failing to grant his motion for new trial. We
September 2007, Garza executed and delivered a warranty deed
to Robinson, conveying property on South Padre Island, in
exchange for $170, 000. In August 2009, Garza filed suit
against Robinson, alleging that Robinson had fraudulently
induced him into selling the property. In October 2010,
summary judgment was granted in favor of Robinson. Garza
appealed the trial court's ruling to this Court. We
concluded that "Robinson established his entitlement to
summary judgment based on his statute-of-frauds affirmative
defense." Garza v. Robinson, No.
13-11-00015-CV, 2013 WL 3326465, at *1 (Tex. App.-Corpus
Christi-Edinburg June 27, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.)
(concluding that the trial court did not err in granting
summary judgment in favor of Robinson because Garza's
evidence pertaining to whether the execution of the deed was
induced by fraud was barred by the statute of frauds).
Robinson asserted that Garza refused to vacate the premises.
In 2014, Robinson filed a forcible entry and detainer action
in a justice of the peace court, but the trial court denied
Robinson's request for possession. In March 2016,
Robinson filed the instant suit for injunctive relief,
requesting that Garza be removed from the property. Garza
filed an answer, alleging that Robinson never appealed the
justice court's dismissal of the forcible entry and
detainer action. On August 3, 2016, Robinson filed a combined
motion for traditional and no-evidence summary judgment,
arguing that he affirmatively established that he is the
record title owner of the property in question and that Garza
"has no evidence and can provide no evidence that he has
any right, title, or interest in the Property." The
trial court set a hearing for the motion on October 18, 2016.
Garza filed a response to the summary judgment motion on
October 14, 2016. Robinson objected to Garza's untimely
response and requested that it not be considered by the trial
court. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 166a(c).
several continuances, the trial court issued an "Order
Granting Continuance, Setting Hearing, and Admonishing
Defendant" on January 6, 2017, in which the trial court
ordered that Robinson's motion for summary judgment would
"be heard by submission" on January 31, 2017. On
January 30, 2017, Garza filed a supplemental response. On
January 31, 2017, Garza appeared but Robinson did not,
believing that the motion was being heard by submission. At
Garza's request, the trial court reset the hearing for
February 21, 2017. On February 14, 2017, Robinson filed a
motion asking the trial court to reconsider its decision to
accept Garza's untimely response, even though the trial
court had not ruled on the objections to Garza's untimely
February 21, 2017, Robinson appeared in person to argue his
motion to reconsider accepting Garza's untimely response.
Garza appeared by telephone at the hearing. The trial court
advised the parties that the hearing was set by mistake and
the motion for summary judgment would be heard by submission.
On February 24, 2017, the trial court issued an order
granting Robinson's motion for summary judgment. In the
order, the trial court found that Robinson's motion for
summary judgment was set for hearing by submission on January
31, 2017 and that on that day, the hearing was erroneously
reset. The trial court's order additionally granted
Robinson's objection to Garza's untimely response,
declared that Garza's response would not be considered,
and reiterated that Robinson's motion for summary
judgment was being heard by submission.
March 22, 2017, Garza filed a motion for new trial, arguing
that he should have an opportunity to present oral argument
because he possessed meritorious defenses and his failure to
appear at the February 21, 2017 hearing was caused by
mistake. On April 27, 2017, the trial court denied
Garza's motion for new trial. This appeal ensued.
sole issue, Garza cites Craddock to argue that the
trial court erred in denying his motion for new
trial. See Craddock v. Sunshine Bus Lines,
Inc., 133 S.W.2d 124, 126 (Tex. 1939).
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
review a trial court's denial of a motion for new trial
for an abuse of discretion. See In re R.R., 209
S.W.3d 112, 114 (Tex. 2006). A trial court abuses its
discretion if "it renders an arbitrary and unreasonable
decision lacking support in the facts or circumstances of ...