Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The appellants, Melton and Deborah Harrell, appeal from a money judgment granted in favor of the appellee, Natverlal “Natu” Patel. Melton and Deborah Harrell were the owners of the Missile Inn Inc. After Missile Inn Inc. defaulted on a note, the holder of the note filed a lawsuit against the corporation and the appellants seeking enforcement and collection of the note, and the deed of trust and guaranties securing the note. Subsequently, Missile Inn Inc. filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in bankruptcy and the case was removed to bankruptcy court. The note-holder then obtained a summary judgment in the bankruptcy proceeding establishing the validity of the note and the corporation’s liability on the note in the amount of $1,735,755.53 plus interest. The holder then transferred and assigned to appellee Patel the judgment, the note, deed of trust and guaranties. At the trial court, the parties agreed that the primary factual dispute was whether the guaranties were for $500,000 or $200,000. The appellants allege that they only agreed to $200,000 and that at the time they signed the guaranties, the first two pages of a total of three were missing and that the amount was changed. Additionally, there was a dispute as to whether there was only one guaranty or two guaranties. HOLDING:Affirmed. In their first issue on appeal, the appellants challenge the legal sufficiency of the evidence presented at trial to show a liability or deficiency owed to the appellants on the guaranty. The appellee testified at trial that over the past 20 years, he had purchased about 170 commercial properties. He said that the deeds of those 170 properties did not contain the actual purchase price. He also stated that in his experience, the purchase price of a commercial real property would not be recorded in the deed. He also testified that his claim was for the deficiency between the bid amount and the owed amount. He testified that the entire indebtedness that was owed on the note and the judgment was not extinguished by his credit bid. Viewed in the light most favorable to the judgment, the court holds that the foregoing evidence supports the trial court’s implied finding that a liability on the guaranty existed. The court therefore overrules the appellants’ first issue. In their second issue, the appellants challenge the factual sufficiency of the evidence supporting the trial court’s finding that there were two guaranties made individually by the appellants. The record indicated that there was an “Agreement of the Parties Concerning the Trial of This Cause and Evidence to Be Presented to the Court at the Trial of this Cause.” The agreement stipulated that the only factual issues were the amount and number of the guaranty or guaranties. The court considers the agreement and the depositions of appellants, the escrow officer handling the Missile Inn Inc. transactions, and the special asset manager at the bank when the transactions in question took place. After reviewing the evidence, the court concludes that the trial court’s finding that two guaranties were executed by the appellants is not against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be manifestly unjust. Therefore, the court overrules appellants’ second issue. In their third issue, the appellants challenge the admission of testimony they allege to be hearsay. After a careful review of the record, the court finds that the appellants have failed to preserve this issue for review. In issue four, appellants challenge the exclusion of evidence on the foreclosed property’s value. The appellants argue that the order in limine should not have excluded evidence of the foreclosed property’s value. Appellee argues that there was no abuse of discretion because the trial court was not faced with making such an evidentiary ruling. In issue five, the appellants contend that the trial court abused its discretion in permitting testimony which contained leading questions, which suggested the right answers to the questions with regard to whether the guaranty amount was $500,000 or $200,000. The court finds that the appellants do not provide a record cite where there was an attempt to introduce evidence regarding the fair market value of the property. Therefore, the appellants have failed to properly show the trial court’s abuse of discretion. Likewise, in issue five, the appellants have not provided any record cites which reflect the exclusion of such evidence or the objection to such evidence being introduced. The court holds that the appellants have simply failed to show any abuse of discretion on the trial court’s part. Therefore, the court also overrules issues four and five. OPINION:David Wellington Chew, J.; Barajas, C.J., McClure, and Chew, JJ.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 1 article* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.