Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
AURELIANO GARCIA D/B/A A. GARCIA PRODUCE & TRUCKING, LLC, Appellant,
HUMBERTO FLORES, Appellee.
appeal from the County Court at Law No. 5 of Hidalgo County,
Contreras, Chief Justice and Hinojosa and Tijerina, Justices.
Aureliano Garcia d/b/a A. Garcia Produce & Trucking, LLC
("Garcia") challenges the trial court's denial
of his special appearance. By two issues, Garcia contends that
appellee Humberto Flores failed to (1) tender jurisdictional
evidence to support that the trial court has jurisdiction
over him personally and (2) show that Garcia waived his
special appearance. We affirm.
to Flores's petition, he entered a contract with Garcia
to purchase a 2001 Kenworth T800 tractor rig and refrigerated
trailer for $65, 000. Flores alleged that Garcia
"promised" to work with Flores by providing produce
for Flores to haul from Garcia's Hidalgo County Business
to Georgia, and Flores would pay for the rig and trailer by
making such hauls. Flores claimed that Garcia "ceased,
for no good reason, to give [Flores] loads to haul."
Flores stated in his petition that he then asked Garcia to
give him a nonnegotiable title to the rig, and Garcia
refused. According to Flores, "Garcia immediately began
efforts to seize and take the subject rig from [him]"
even though Flores had made "substantial payments"
to Garcia. Flores alleged that his debt to Garcia was only
$10, 000. Subsequently, Corzam, L.L.C., a wrecker and towing
company (the "towing company"), "seized the
subject rig from" Flores in Hidalgo County, Texas.
sued Garcia for breach of contract, breach of duty of good
faith and fair dealing, fraud, and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Flores also sued Garcia and the towing
company for theft. Garcia filed a special appearance and
motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction denying
that he committed any acts in Texas that would bring him
under the Texas long-arm statute and claiming that he resides
in Georgia. Garcia attached a memorandum in support of his
special appearance setting out his arguments regarding his
lack of minimum contacts with Texas. Garcia then filed an
answer (1) generally denying Flores's allegations, (2)
asserting affirmative defenses, and (3) countersuing Flores
for breach of contract. Flores filed a general denial and a
response to Garcia's motion to dismiss for lack of
holding a hearing on Garcia's special appearance and
motion to dismiss, the trial court denied both. This appeal
Applicable Law and Standard of Review
courts have personal jurisdiction over a nonresident
defendant only if it is authorized by the Texas long-arm
statute, see Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§ 17.042, which allows Texas courts to exercise personal
jurisdiction over nonresident defendants who are doing
business in Texas. BMC Software Belg., N.V. v.
Marchand, 83 S.W.3d 789, 795 (Tex. 2002). The Texas
long-arm statute sets out several activities that constitute
"doing business" in Texas; however, the list is not
exclusive, and the long arm statute's "broad
language extends Texas courts' personal jurisdiction
'as far as the federal constitutional requirements of due
process will permit.'" Id. (quoting
U-Anchor Adver., Inc. v. Burt, 553 S.W.2d 760, 762
(Tex. 1977)). Therefore, "the requirements of the Texas
long-arm statute are satisfied if the exercise of personal
jurisdiction comports with federal due process
limitations." CSR Ltd. v. Link, 925 S.W.2d 591,
594 (Tex. 1996).
the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the
United States Constitution, a Texas court has personal
jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant when (1) the
nonresident defendant has established minimum contacts with
the forum state, and (2) the exercise of jurisdiction does
not offend "traditional notions of fair play and
substantial justice." Int'l Shoe Co. v.
Washington, 326 U.S. 310, 316 (1945); BMC Software
Belg., 83 S.W.3d at 795; see U.S. Const. amend.
XIV, § 1. "The exercise of personal jurisdiction is
proper when the contacts proximately result from actions of
the nonresident defendant which create a substantial
connection with the forum state." Guardian Royal
Exch. Assurance, Ltd. v. English China Clays, P.L.C.,
815 S.W.2d 223, 226 (Tex. 1991).
plaintiff bears the initial burden of pleading
"sufficient allegations to bring a nonresident defendant
within the provisions of the [Texas] long-arm statute."
BMC Software Belg., 83 S.W.3d at 793. Once this
burden is satisfied, to challenge personal jurisdiction, the
defendant must file a special appearance negating all bases
of personal jurisdiction asserted by the plaintiff. Moki
Mac River Expeditions v. Drugg, 221 S.W.3d 569, 574
(Tex. 2007); BMC Software Belg., 83 S.W.3d at 793;
El Puerto de Liverpool, S.A. de C.V. v. Servi Mundo
Llantero, S.A. de C.V., 82 S.W.3d 622, 628 (Tex.App.-
Corpus Christi–Edinburg 2002, pet. dism'd w.o.j.).
the trial court has personal jurisdiction over a defendant is
a question of law. BMC Software Belg., 83 S.W.3d at
794. Thus, we review the trial court's ruling on a
special appearance de novo. Id. The trial court
determines the special appearance by referring to the
pleadings, any stipulations made by and between the parties,
any affidavits and attachments filed by the parties,
discovery, and any oral testimony. Tex.R.Civ.P. 120a(3).
trial court does not issue findings of fact and conclusions
of law, we must imply all facts necessary to support the
judgment if those facts are supported by the evidence, and we
presume that the trial court resolved all factual disputes in
favor of its ruling. BMC Software Belg., 83 S.W.3d
at 795; Glattly v. CMS Viron Corp., 177 S.W.3d 438,
445 (Tex.App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2005, no pet.) (citing
Am. Type Culture Collection v. Coleman, 83 S.W.3d
801, 805–06 (Tex. 2002)). Any implied findings are not
conclusive and may be challenged ...