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Chapa v. Arellano

Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg

September 5, 2019

EDAISY CHAPA, Appellant,
v.
ERNESTO ARELLANO AND MARIA ARELLANO, Appellees.

          On appeal from the 206th District Court of Hidalgo County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Perkes

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DORI CONTRERAS CHIEF JUSTICE

         Appellant Edaisy Chapa appeals from a summary judgment granted in favor of appellees Ernesto Arellano and Maria Arellano. By three issues, Chapa argues that the trial court erred when it (1) granted summary judgment, (2) denied equitable relief, and (3) excluded summary judgment evidence. We affirm.

          I. Background

         On August 14, 2017, Chapa purchased from appellees a parcel of land in Hidalgo County, Texas for $32, 000 with the intention of building a home on the land. In her petition, Chapa argued she "inspected the property and saw no visible impediment for the construction of a new home as no defect was open and obvious to anyone." Chapa did not hire a title company to assist with the transaction, and the parties executed a "General Warranty Deed." Under a section titled "Exceptions to Conveyance and Warranty," the deed states that there is a "Right of Way easement in favor of Rio Grande Valley Gas Co., as shown by instrument dated September 12, 1961, in Volume 1028, Page 12, Deed Records of Hidalgo County, Texas." Further, the deed executed by the parties states:

GRANTEE IS TAKING THE PROPERTY IN AN ARM'S-LENGTH AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES. THE CONSIDERATION WAS BARGAINED ON THE BASIS OF AN "AS IS, WHERE IS" TRANSACTION AND REFLECTS THE AGREEMENT OF THE PARTIES THAT THERE ARE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES. GRANTEE HAS NOT RELIED ON ANY INFORMATION OTHER THAN GRANTEE'S INSPECTION.
NO TITLE EXAMINATION WAS REQUIRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE DOCUMENT CONCERNING THE ABOVE DESCRIBED PROPERTY, NOR WAS ANY MADE. THE PREPARER EXPRESSES NO OPINION AS TO TITLE TO THIS PROPERTY, NOR AS TO ANY TAXES DUE ON THE PROPERTY.

         According to Chapa, after purchasing the land and beginning construction plans for a home, the Rio Grande Valley Gas Company placed a sign on the property indicating that an easement[1] exists and informed her that a gas line runs across the property. Chapa was subsequently notified that she could not build a home on the lot. Chapa brought suit against appellees for "breach of contract, rescission, and actionable fraud."

         Chapa filed a traditional motion for summary judgment and argued that "[t]he sale was truly fraudulent since the lot (home site) was not subject for any surface development, and the property is therefore worthless to [Chapa] or anyone as a home site." Appellees filed a traditional motion for summary judgment and attached an affidavit by Maria and the "General Warranty Deed." Appellees argued summary judgment was proper because: Chapa had disclaimed reliance and causation as a matter of law, Chapa had disclaimed any oral representations, all disclosures were properly made in the deed, and the easement of the gas company was disclosed. In her affidavit, Maria states that "The lawyer used to prepare the General Warranty Deed was a lawyer of [Chapa's] choosing." Maria further stated that:

At the time of sale, and no time prior, was I ever informed that the property was not suitable for residential use by anyone. There were, however, easements, including a gas easement, but that is clearly stated on the General Warranty Deed. A gas easement sign was posted by a utility or gas company after the property was sold to [Chapa], but I had nothing to do with this and had no prior notice. No one ever informed me or my husband that the land was not usable.

         The trial court denied Chapa's motion for summary judgment and granted appellees' motion for summary judgment. This appeal followed.

         II. Summary Judgment

         By her first issue, Chapa argues that the trial court erred when it granted appellees' motion for summary ...


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