Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the County Court at Law No. 3, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2018CV08551 Honorable David J. Rodriguez, Judge
Sitting: Sandee Bryan Marion, Chief Justice Rebeca C.
Martinez, Justice Luz Elena D Chapa, Justice, concurring in
the judgment only
BRYAN MARION, CHIEF JUSTICE
Paloma Hernandez ("Hernandez") files this appeal
from a judgment in a forcible detainer action. Because we
conclude the trial court lacked jurisdiction to render
judgment of possession, we reverse and render judgment that
this suit be dismissed for lack of subject matter
Eva Martinez initiated this forcible detainer action in the
justice court, seeking the right to immediate possession of
real property located in San Antonio. After the justice court
ruled in Martinez's favor, Hernandez appealed to the
trial court held a bench trial on January 31, 2019. Prior to
trial, Hernandez filed a pro se letter stating: "I
consider myself with the right to stay in the house since I
have given maintenance and I have been living there and
paying the property taxes of the house for 10 years."
During the trial, Hernandez testified: ". . . I
don't pay rent because Mr. Ave Coronado left me the
house. . . . And practically I see that as my house because I
have been living there for 10 years or more than 10
conclusion of the trial, the trial court entered judgment of
possession in favor of Martinez. On February 5, 2019,
Hernandez filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing the trial
court lacked jurisdiction over the suit because Hernandez
claimed title to the real property by adverse possession and
has "actually, adversely, and openly possess[ed]"
the real property for ten years. The record does not reflect
that the trial court had an opportunity to consider or rule
on the plea to the jurisdiction before Hernandez perfected
this appeal and posted a supersedeas bond.
first of three issues she raises on appeal, Hernandez argues
the trial court lacked jurisdiction to award Martinez
possession of the real property because Hernandez raised an
issue of title by adverse possession.
Standard of review
the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction is a question
of law we review de novo. Tex. Dep't of Parks &
Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004).
The parties cannot waive subject matter jurisdiction and may
raise it for the first time on appeal. Tex. Ass'n
of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d
440, 445 (Tex. 1993). Where jurisdiction is raised for the
first time on appeal, we must construe the pleadings and the
record in favor of the party asserting jurisdiction. Rusk
State Hosp. v. Black, 392 S.W.3d 88, 96 (Tex. 2012). If
the pleadings or the record conclusively negate jurisdiction,
then the suit should be dismissed. Id.
courts and county courts on appeal de novo have jurisdiction
to determine the right to immediate possession in a forcible
detainer suit. Dormady v. Dinero Land & Cattle Co.,
L.C., 61 S.W.3d 555, 557 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2001,
pet. dism'd w.o.j.) (citing Tex. Prop. Code Ann. §
24.004). To prevail in a forcible detainer, the plaintiff
need not prove title but must show sufficient evidence of
ownership to demonstrate a superior right to immediate
possession. Id. (citing Goggins v. Leo, 849
S.W.2d 373, 377 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1993, no
writ)). Where the right to immediate ...