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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Ronald Lemaster, Douglas Raley and Billy Ragland each contributed $5,000 for 5,000 shares of stock in a printing company they created in 1997. Lemaster’s contribution was made by a check on an account in his name, but not his wife’s, and the stocks were issued in his name only. By oral agreement, the three agreed that if one of the others died or became disabled, the other two would have the right to purchase that person’s stock at book value. The agreement was eventually reduced to writing in 2001, with spaces reserved for the trio’s wives to sign to indicate that they understood the stocks were not community property. Raley’s and Ragland’s wives signed the document, but Lemaster’s wife, Annazell, never did. Ronald Lemaster died in 2001. Raley, Ragland and the printing company eventually sued Annazell to enforce the stock purchase agreement. Summary judgment was granted to the plaintiffs on the ground that the oral agreement was valid. The issue of the validity of the written agreement went to trial. Ragland testified that while he was aware that Ronald’s stock was community property, he also understood that Ronald had control over the stock. Raley testified that the reason for having the wives sign the 2001 agreement was to avoid the very litigation they were now in. Annazell did not present any evidence after the plaintiffs rested their case. The trial court then directed a verdict for the plaintiffs, which Annazell not contests on appeal. HOLDING:Affirmed. Under Family Code �3.104, property is presumed to be subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of a spouse if it is held in that spouse’s name, as shown by something like a contract, or if it is in that spouse’s possession and is not subject to such evidence of ownership. A third person dealing with a spouse is entitled to rely, as against the other spouse or anyone claiming from that spouse, on that spouse’s authority to deal with the property if: 1. the property is presumed to be subject to the sole management, control, and disposition of the spouse; and 2. the person dealing with the spouse A. is not a party to fraud on the other spouse; and B. does not have actual or constructive notice of the spouse’s lack of authority. The stock here was in Ronald Lemaster’s name, and funds to buy the stock came from an account on Ronald’s name only. On appeal, Annazell argues that the written contract cannot be used for evidence because it is authenticated only by interested witnesses. The court finds, however, that there is no authority for the proposition that documentary evidence authenticated by an interested witnesses renders the documentary evidence subject to the interested witness rule. Furthermore, the testimony of an interested witness may establish a fact as a matter of law if 1. the testimony could have been readily contradicted if untrue; 2. it is clear, direct and positive, and 3. there are no circumstances tending to discredit or impeach it. Annazell offered no such evidence. The court also rejects Annazell’s assertion that a fact issue still remains over whether Ronald had authority to deal with the stock. The court finds the attempt to get the wives’ signatures was only an attempt to avoid future litigation, not that the husbands lacked authority to own the stock separately. Furthermore, a letter sent to Annazell indicating that the stock purchase agreement was effective only against Ronald’s community interest in the shares showed, at most, Ragland’s and Raley’s “misunderstanding of the community property law.” OPINION:O’Neill, J.; Moseley, O’Neill and Richter, JJ.

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