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Affirmed in Part, Reversed and Remanded In Part, and Opinion filed December 22, 2009.


This dispute involves competing claims to 3.101 acres of land along Highway 249 in Harris County. In 2005, Victor Ruiz, owner of the 3.101 acres by virtue of a special warranty deed, sold the property to appellee, Alonso Chapa. Chapa did not file the contract for sale or a deed with the county reflecting his interest in the property. Thirteen months later, Ruiz sold the same 3.101 acres to appellant, Hue Nguyen. Nguyen immediately filed a general warranty deed with the county reflecting his interest in the property. After learning of the Ruiz-Nguyen sale, Chapa sought to establish his title by filing the underlying suit. Challenging Chapa’s unrecorded interest, Nguyen claimed he was a bona fide purchaser. Appellant, Southwestern National Bank (“Southwestern”), the bank who financed Nguyen’s loan on the 3.101 acres, intervened and asserted status as a bona fide mortgagee. A jury found in favor of Chapa on his contract claims against Ruiz and found against Nguyen’s and Southwestern’s claims of bona fide purchaser and mortgagee, respectively. Adopting the jury’s verdict, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of Chapa, declaring Chapa had superior title to the 3.101 acres. Nguyen and Southwestern now appeal, challenging the denial of their motions for new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict. In four related issues, Nguyen and Southwestern argue that because they did not have notice of Chapa’s unrecorded interest, Nguyen is a bona fide purchaser, Southwestern is a bona fide mortgagee, and Chapa’s unrecorded interest is void. Finding as a matter of law that Nguyen is a bona fide purchaser and Southwestern is a bona fide mortgagee, we affirm in part and reverse and remand in part.

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