X

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 appellant, Robert J. Killeen Jr., a resident of Harris County, and the appellee, Lighthouse Electrical Contractors LP (Lighthouse), the principal place of business of which is in Travis County, entered into a contract for electrical work to be performed at Killeen’s Travis County residence. A dispute regarding workmanship and costs ensued. After Killeen refused demands by Lighthouse for payment, the parties exchanged correspondence, which Lighthouse interpreted as a settlement agreement. Lighthouse subsequently sued Killeen in Bexar County for breach of settlement agreement. On appeal, Killeen challenges both the trial court’s denial of the motion to transfer venue and the granting of summary judgment. HOLDING:Affirmed in part; reversed and remanded in part. Lighthouse asserts that venue is proper under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code �15.035(a). Lighthouse argues the written agreement between Killeen and Lighthouse required Killeen to make payment of $1,500 to Lighthouse’s counsel located in Bexar County. Section 15.035(a) provides for two locations where venue may be proper in a contract suit requiring performance of an obligation in a particular county: 1. expressly naming the county or a definite place in that county by that writing, suit on or by reason of the obligation may be brought against him either in that county; or 2. in the county in which the defendant has his domicile. Because Bexar County is not the county in which Killeen is domiciled, Lighthouse argues the settlement agreement expressly provides for payment to be sent to Bexar County. Section 15.035(a) applies only when the place of performance is expressly named and the defendant agreed “at the time he executed the instrument to perform his obligation in a particular place other than his place of residence.” Contrary to Lighthouse’s argument, a Feb. 2, 2006, letter leaves open “the logistics for receiving settlement” and does not expressly require that obligation be performed in Bexar County. Venue is, therefore, not proper in Bexar County under �15.035(a). The Feb. 2, 2006, letter did not require payment or execution of the settlement documents in Bexar County. Therefore, this contact cannot support venue in Bexar County. The record does, however, support the contention that Lighthouse’s demand for payment was forwarded from Bexar County and Killeen responded by letter, allegedly accepting the offer, and phone calls were made to Lighthouse’s attorney in Bexar County. Thus, there is some probative evidence to support the trial court’s determination that a substantial part of the events occurred in Bexar County. Lighthouse’s pleadings set forth a cause of action for breach of the settlement agreement. For purposes of venue, Killeen cannot challenge the existence of the contract. The court is unable, as a matter of law, to give a certain or definite legal meaning or interpretation to the letter. In one paragraph the letter provides that “Mr. Killeen will make no further offers to Lighthouse.” In the next paragraph the letter provides that Killeen is willing to make an offer. The alleged settlement agreement is susceptible to more than one meaning and is therefore ambiguous. Because a fact issue exists concerning whether there was an offer made, the trial court erred in granting summary judgment. OPINION:Simmons, J.; L�pez, CJ, Stone and Simmons, JJ.

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

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* 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 © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.