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Jaycap Financial, Ltd. v. Neustaedter

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

December 12, 2019

JAYCAP FINANCIAL, LTD., Appellant,
v.
ALFRED NEUSTAEDTER, Appellee.

          On appeal from the 404th District Court of Cameron County, Texas.

          Before Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Hinojosa and Tijerina

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          LETICIA HINOJOSA Justice

         In this interlocutory appeal, appellant Jaycap Financial Ltd. challenges the trial court's temporary injunction. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 51.014(a)(4). By four issues, appellant contends that the trial court's injunction is improper and requests that we dissolve it. We reverse and remand.

         I. Background

         Appellee Alfred Neustaedter secured a loan from appellant for $4.3 million to purchase property in Canada. Appellee defaulted on the loan. Appellant sued appellee in Canada, and the Canadian court awarded appellant $4, 416, 578.60 plus interest "accruing at 17.5% per annum from December 18, 2013 to the date of judgment."[1]Appellant foreclosed on the Canadian property and sold it to satisfy the debt. Appellant received $5, 833, 186.36 in net sale proceeds after all taxes were paid.

         On January 25, 2017, appellant filed the Canadian judgment in the trial court in Cameron County. On January 30, 2017, appellant filed a notice of filing pursuant to the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act. See id. § 36A.004. Appellant sent notice that it had filed the foreign judgment in the trial court to appellee's address in Texas and in Canada, and appellee signed that he received the notices on February 7, 2017 and February 23, 2017, respectively. On June 20, 2017, the Cameron County District Clerk issued a writ of execution for the sale of property owned by appellee in Laguna Vista, Texas (the Cameron County property).

         On July 31, 2017, appellee filed a motion for "emergency" injunction and damages claiming that appellant was "attempting to sell [the Cameron County property], without appropriate notice, by fraud, or with no right to sell or dispose of such property." Appellee sought a trial on the merits of his claims and temporary injunctive relief to preserve the status quo during the pendency of the case. On July 31, 2017, the trial court issued a temporary restraining order preventing appellant from selling appellee's Cameron County property.

         On August 11, 2017, appellant filed a "Motion to Overrule Debtor's Challenges to the Judgment" and plea to the jurisdiction seeking dismissal of appellee's claims for various reasons.[2] The trial court held a hearing on appellant's motions and appellee's motion for temporary injunction on August 14, 2017. At the hearing, evidence was presented that appellant was now seeking payment on the interest it alleges appellee owed as payment on the principal amount, which had been satisfied when appellant sold the Canadian property. Appellant argued that appellee was required to pay 17.5% interest on the $4.4 million judgment for two years. Appellee countered that the judgment only stated that he was required to pay 17.5% interest per annum from December 18, 2013 to the date of judgment. The trial court denied appellant's motions, and on November 27, 2017, the trial court signed a temporary injunction enjoining appellant "from proceeding with any execution of [the Cameron County property]." This appeal followed.

         II. Jurisdiction

         By its first three issues, appellant claims the temporary injunction should be dissolved because the trial court lacked jurisdiction.

         A. Standard of Review

         "Subject matter jurisdiction is essential to the authority of a court to decide a case." Tex. Ass'n of Bus. v. Tex. Air Control Bd., 852 S.W.2d 440, 443 (Tex. 1993). It is never presumed and cannot be waived. Id. at 443-44. An appellate court is obligated, even sua sponte, to determine the threshold question of jurisdiction. See Hayes v. State, 518 S.W.3d 585, 588 (Tex. App.-Tyler 2017, no pet.); Walker Sand, Inc. v. Baytown Asphalt Materials, Ltd., 95 S.W.3d 511, 514 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 2002, no pet.). The existence of subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law that we review de novo. Tex. Dep't of Parks & Wildlife v. Miranda, 133 S.W.3d 217, 226 (Tex. 2004).

         B. Applicable ...


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