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Cuellar v. CVI LCF Mortgage Loan Trust I

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio

October 23, 2019

Palmira P. CUELLAR and Ramiro Cuellar, Appellants
v.
CVI LCF MORTGAGE LOAN TRUST I, Appellee

          From the County Court, Duval County, Texas Trial Court No. 18-C-1574 Honorable Ricardo O. Carrillo, Judge Presiding

         Opinion by: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice

          Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice, Irene Rios, Justice, Beth Watkins, Justice

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice

         Following a forcible detainer action, appellants Palmira C. Cuellar and Ramiro Cuellar appeal from the trial court's judgment in favor of appellee CVI LCF Mortgage Loan Trust I (the Trust). On appeal, the Cuellars raise twelve granular points of error which they aggregate into two issues: whether the trial court erred (1) by rendering judgment for the Trust because it lacked standing or capacity to sue, and (2) by failing to file findings of fact and conclusions of law. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

         Background

         The Cuellars owned certain residential property in Duval County, Texas (the Property), secured by a deed of trust. After the Cuellars defaulted on the note, the Trust purchased the Property at a foreclosure sale. The Trust demanded the Cuellars vacate the Property. When the Cuellars failed to vacate, the Trust filed a forcible detainer action in the justice court.

         The justice court rendered judgment for the Trust and awarded possession of the property to the Trust. The Cuellars appealed to the county court for a trial de novo. In their unverified answer, the Cuellars denied the Trust had authority to prosecute the suit. In response, the Trust filed a supplemental petition in which it named U.S. Bank Trust National Association, in its capacity as trustee of the Trust, as an additional prosecuting party.

         After a bench trial, the trial court rendered a final judgment in favor of the "Plaintiff," awarding possession of the Property to the "Plaintiff." The Cuellars filed a timely request for findings of fact and conclusions of law. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 296. When no findings and conclusions were filed, the Cuellars timely filed a notice of past due findings of fact and conclusions of law. See id. R. 297. The trial court failed to file the requested findings and conclusions, and the Cuellars appeal.

         Discussion

         In their first issue, the Cuellars assert the trial court erred in rendering judgment for the Trust because the Trust lacked standing or capacity to prosecute the forcible detainer action. We begin with standing.

         A. Trust's Standing to Prosecute Forcible Detainer

         "A plaintiff has standing when it is personally aggrieved, regardless of whether it is acting with legal authority." Austin Nursing Ctr., Inc. v. Lovato, 171 S.W.3d 845, 848-49 (Tex. 2005) (quoting Nootsie, Ltd. v. Williamson Cty. Appraisal Dist., 925 S.W.2d 659, 661 (Tex. 1996)); see Estate of Matthews, 510 S.W.3d 106, 113 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 2017, pet. denied).

         In the trial de novo in the county court, the Cuellars' original answer denied that the Trust had "the authority to prosecute [the] suit." On appeal, they assert that standing is a component of subject matter jurisdiction and cannot be waived. See Lovato, 171 S.W.3d at 849; Matthews, 510 S.W.3d at 113. They then argue-presumably to challenge the Trust's standing-that ...


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