Saturday, May 10, 2008

Real Estate Lit: Chappel Hill Bank vs Smith (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008)

Chappell Hill Bank appeals the trial court's summary judgment in favor of Lillian Smith as well as the court's denial of the bank's summary-judgment motion. The bank and Smith each own property facing Main Street in the same block in the town of Chappell Hill.

In the action below, the bank sought (1) a declaratory judgment stating that a certain strip of land running behind its, Smith's, and other owners' properties is a public alley; (2) a mandatory injunction ordering Smith to remove any and all obstructions from the alley; (3) a prohibitive injunction enjoining Smith from obstructing the alley in the future; and (4) recovery of its attorney's fees.

The Fourteenth Court of Appeals, in a published opinion by Justice Jeff Brown, affirm the trial court's judgment against the bank, including the attorney's fee award to Smith.

Chappel Hill Bank v. Lillian Smith (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] May 8, 2008)(Brown) (real estate law, easement by estoppel, attorneys fees)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Brown Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brown and Boyce
14-07-00099-CV Chappell Hill Bank v. Lillian Smith
Appeal from 335th District Court of Washington County
Trial Court Judge: Terry Flenniken


Undisputed evidence establishes as a matter of law that the bank is entitled to assert against Smith neither a private right of easement nor the public's right of use in the portion of the alley abutting her property in Block 1 of Chappell Hill, Texas. The trial court thus did not err in granting Smith's motion for summary judgment or denying the bank's motion. Because the objections the bank claims the trial court erroneously overruled do not involve the evidence on which the trial court's judgment is properly based, any such error did not result in the rendition of an improper judgment. Therefore, we do not address these rulings. Finally, the trial court's award of attorney's fees to Smith was not an abuse of discretion. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

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