U.S. Bank National Association v. Hall, Jr.
ORDER GRANTING 11 Motion for Summary Judgment and Application for Permanent Injunction. Signed by Judge Sam Sparks. (kkc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
U.S. BANK, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION, AS
TRUSTEE, ON BEHALF OF THE HOLDERS OF
THE ASSET BACKED PASS-THROUGH
CERTIFICATES, SERIES NC 2005-HE4,
Case No. A-13-CA-431-SS
WALTER LEE HALL, JR.,
BE IT REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the above-styled cause, and
specifically Plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Application for Permanent Injunction [#1
Having reviewed the documents, the relevant law, and
the file as a whole, the Court now enters the following opinion and orders.
As the complaint appropriately states: "This lawsuit seeks to put an end to years of trespass,
abuse of the courts, and fraudulent filings in the real property recordsall relating to one residential
property." Compl. [#1], at 2. Plaintiff is U.S. Bank National Association, as Trustee, on Behalf of
the Holders of the Asset Backed Pass-Through Certificates, Series NC 2005-HE4 (the Trust). At all
times on and after June 5, 2007 the Trust was, and is, the sole owner in fee simple of a parcel of real
property located in Travis County, Texas (the Property), which is more specifically described as
LOT 1, BLOCK "F", IN FALCON POINTE SECTION ONE, A SUBDIVISION IN
TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS, ACCORDING TO THE MAP OR PLAT OF
RECORD IN DOCUMENT NUMBER 200100273 OF THE OFFICIAL PUBLIC
RECORDS OF TRAVIS COUNTY, TEXAS.
The address of the Property is 19702 Mallard Pond Trail, Pflugerville, Texas 78660, and is also
known as 19701 Spotted Owl Lane, Plugerville, Texas 78660.
On or about February 16, 2005, Defendant Walter Lee Hall, Jr., purchased the Property and
thereby obtained title to the Property. In connection with the purchase, Hall executed a Deed of
Trust to secure payment of a mortgage note in the amount of $232,000.00. The original lender was
New Century Mortgage Corporation. Hall also signed a Purchase Money Deed of Trust securing
payment of a second note in the amount of $58,000.00.
Hall subsequently defaulted on his mortgage, and on May 1, 2006, Hall filed for bankruptcy
in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District
of Texas in Cause No. 06-10657-
FRM. After being dismissed for failing to file the appropriate schedules, Hall filed a second
bankruptcy on August 15,2006 in Cause No. 06-11 248-FRM. This case was also dismissed on April
23, 2007. During the pendency of this second bankruptcy, Hall recorded in the Travis County
Official Public Records four purported deeds attempting to convey interests in the Property to
various entities he had organized and owned.
On May 11, 2007, after the dismissal of the second bankruptcy, the Trust appointed a
substitute trustee under the Deed of Trust, and on June 5, 2007, the substitute trustee sold the
Property to the Trust at a foreclosure sale for $231,275.00. On June 6,2007, the substitute trustee
executed a Substitute Trustee's Deed, and at all times on or after June 5, 2007, the Trust was entitled
to possession of the Property. The Trust filed a complaint for forcible entry and detainer with the
Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2, Place 1, in Travis County, on June 25, 2007, under Cause No.
048875. After a trial on the merits, the Justice Court awarded possession to the Trust.
During May and June 2007, however, Hall recorded multiple documents in the Travis County
Official Public Records pertaining to the Property and his mortgage. These documents included
fraudulent attempts to release the Deed of Trust and Purchase Money Deed of Trust and to convey
the Property to Hall, entities he owned, his minor children, and various bankrupt individuals. In
September 2007, the Trust filed a lawsuit in Travis County state district court in order to invalidate
Hall's fraudulent recorded documents. On January 31, 2008, the Trust obtained a judgment
declaring the Deed of Trust and the Substitute Trustee's Deed were not void, Hall's purported
releases of lien were without effect, and the purported conveyances executed by Hall were
Nevertheless, Hall has continued to engage in fraudulent activity with respect to the Property,
including multiple recordings of documents in the Travis County Official Public Records falsely
claiming ownership ofthe Property in Hall. Hall's fraudulent activity additionally includes multiple
recordings of notices of us pendens, despite those lawsuits having no legal effect on the Property.
Hall has not had these lawsuits cancelled or removed despite those lawsuits resolving in favor of the
Trust. On July 16, 2012, Hall unlawfully entered upon the Property and changed the locks. Since
2006, Hall has recorded at least thirty documents in the real property records seeking to interfere
with the Trust's rights to the Property. Since 2006, Hall has initiated at least thirty cause numbers
combined in justice court, county court, district court, court of appeals, and supreme court, all of
which relate to his alleged ownership of the Property, and none of which have been resolved in his
The Trust filed a complaint in this Court against Hall on May 24, 2013, alleging the
following causes of action: (1) trespass to try title, (2) trespass to real property, and (3) suit to quiet
title and for declaratory judgment.
Hall filed a motion to dismiss based onforuin non conveniens and, in the alternative, a
motion to transfer, which the Court denied in its Order of October 18, 2013 [#9]. On December 3,
2013, the Trust filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and Application for Permanent Injunction
[#11], to which Hall has not filed a response. The Court now considers the motion.
As an initial matter, the Court notes Hall has not filed a response to the Trust's motion for
summary judgment, a motion filed on December 3, 2013. Indeed, Hall has not filed anything in this
case since August 20, 2013, when he filed his motion to dismiss or, alternatively, transfer, a motion
ultimately denied October 18, 2013. Because Hall has not filed a response, the Court grants the
motion as unopposed. See Local Rule CV-7(e)(2). The Court nevertheless briefly addresses the
merits of the motion below, and agrees with the Trust's position.
Summary judgment shall be rendered when the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure
materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
R. Civ. P. 56(a); Celotex
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986); Washburn v. Harvey, 504 F.3d 505, 508 (5th Cir.
2007). A dispute regarding a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 248 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is required to view all
inferences drawn from the factual record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Washburn, 504 F.3d at 508.
Further, a court "may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence" in ruling on a
motion for summary judgment. Reeves
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150
(2000); Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254-55.
Once the moving party has made an initial showing that there is no evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case, the party opposing the motion must come forward with competent summary
judgment evidence of the existence of a genuine fact issue. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Mere
conclusory allegations are not competent summary judgment evidence, and thus are insufficient to
defeat a motion for sumniaryjudgment. Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343
(5th Cir. 2007). Unsubstantiated assertions, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are
not competent summary judgment evidence. Id. The party opposing summary judgment is required
to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate the precise manner in which that evidence
supports his claim. Adams v. Travelers Indem. Co. of Conn., 465 F.3d 156, 164 (5th Cir. 2006).
Rule 56 does not impose a duty on the court to "sift through the record in search of evidence" to
support the nonmovant's opposition to the motion for summaryjudgment. Id. "Only disputes over
facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing laws will properly preclude the
entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Disputed fact issues that are "irrelevant
and unnecessary" will not be considered by a court in ruling on a summary judgment motion. Id.
If the nonmoving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to its case and on which it will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment must
be granted. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23.
Trespass to Try Title
The summary judgment evidence clearly shows the Trust has title to the Property. In
connection with the purchase of the Property in February 2006, Hall executed a Deed of Trust
securing payment on his mortgage note with the Property.
On June 5, 2007, the Trust was assigned the Deed of Trust.
Mot. Summ. J. [#1 1-1], Ex. 3.
Ex. 6. Also on June 5, 2007,
the Trust purchased the Property at a foreclosure sale by Substitute Trustee's Deed pursuant to the
Deed of Trust.
Ex. 21. This chain of recorded instruments demonstrates the Trust is entitled
to judgment on its claim of trespass to try title.
Bank of Hous., 736 S.W.2d 927,
929-30 (Tex. App.Beaumont 1987, writ ref'd n.r.e.). Indeed, the Trust obtained a final judgment
from a Texas state district court, declaring neither the Deed of Trust nor the Substitute Trustee's
Deed were void, without consideration, or illegal.
Mot. Summ. J. [#11-2], Ex. 29.
Hall's fraudulent tactics and purported prior conveyances of the Property do not impair the
Trust's title to the Property. The Trust details Hall's various attempts to convey the property in its
motion for summary judgment and effectively demonstrates why none of them impair the Trust's
valid title to the Property.
Mot. Summ. J. [#1 1], at 3-5.
The Court GRANTS summary judgment in favor of the Trust with respect to its cause of
action for trespass to title.
Quiet Title Claim, Declaration the Notices of Lis Pendens Recorded by Hall are
Cancelled, and Declaration All Other Documents Relating to the Property and
Recorded by Hall on or after May
A suit to quiet title is an equitable action in which the plaintiff seeks to recover possession
of property wrongfully withheld. Porretto v. Patterson, 251 S.W.3d 701, 708 (Tex. App.Houston
[1st Dist.] 2007, no pet.). "The principal issue in a suit to quiet title is the existence of a cloud that
equity will remove." Ballard
Allen, No. 12-03-00370-CV, 2005 WL 1037514, at *3 (Tex.
App.Tyler May 4, 2005, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication).
To quiet title in his
favor, the plaintiff "must allege right, title, or ownership in himself or herself with sufficient
certainty to enable the court to see he or she has a right of ownership that will warrant judicial
interference." Wright v. Matthews, 26 S.W.3d 575, 578 (Tex. App.Beaumont 2000, pet. denied).
In other words, the plaintiff must recover on the strength
of his own title, not the weakness of his
adversary's title. Fricks v. Hancock, 45 S.W.3d 322,327 (Tex. App.Corpus Christi 2001, no pet.).
Hall has recorded in the Travis County Public Records at least fourteen notices oflispendens
regarding the Property. The Trust is requesting the Court quiet title to the Property in the Trust and
declare each notice of lispendens recorded by Hall to be of no force and effect. The Trust wants
these notices declared cancelled because they all relate to underlying cases which have been disposed
of against Hall and in favor of the Trust. The Trust also contends Hall was disingenuous to record
the notices in the first place since the underlying lawsuits could not have impacted the Trust's title
to the Property. The Court agrees with the Trust. The Trust details the fourteen notices of lis
pendens in its motion for summaryjudgment. See Mot. Summ. J. [#1 1], at 6-11. The Court declares
these recorded instruments are of no force or effect, should be removed from the property records,
and are cancelled.
Hall has also recorded in the Travis County Official Public Records at least fourteen
instruments in an attempt to misrepresent himself as the record title holder of the Property. The
Trust is requesting the Court declare each instrument to be invalid and of no force or effect. The
Trust contends half of the instruments are purported releases and conveyances which have already
been declared fraudulent by a Travis County state district court, and the other half set forth claims
of title to the Property which are factually and legally incorrect, invalid, and ineffective. The Trust
complains these instruments, despite their invalidity, cloud the Trust's title to the Property. The
Court agrees with the Trust. The Trust details these fourteen recorded instruments in its motion for
Mot. Summ. J. [#11], at 12-18. The Court declares these recorded
instruments are invalid and of no force or effect, and should be removed from the property records.
The Court also GRANTS summary judgment in favor of the Trust on its quiet title action.
Permanent Injunction against Hall's Fraudulent Activities Relating to the Property
The Trust finally requests a permanentjunction because ofthe substantial likelihood Hall will
continue his wrongful behavior with respect to the Property. Specifically, the Trust argues it is
entitled to a permanent injunction against:
Hall's filing any pleading, motion, or other document in court (other than in
a direct appeal of this suit) disparaging the Trust's title by alleging the Trust
does not own or rightfully possess the Property, the Deed of Trust or
Substitute Trustee's Deed is invalid or ineffective, or Hall (or his family
members or any entity he owns or operates) is an owner of the Property or
entitled to possess or control the Property;
Hall's creating, executing, or signingor filing or recording in the Travis
County Official Public Recordsany document disparaging the Trust's title
by alleging the Trust does not own or rightfully possess the Property, the
Deed of Trust or Substitute Trustee's Deed is invalid or ineffective, or Hall
(or his family members or any entity he owns or operates) is an owner of the
Property or entitled to possess or control the Property;
Hall's reentering or remaining on the Property, or otherwise exercising
possession or control of the Property;
Hall's interfering or threatening to interfere with the Trust's ownership of or
title to the Property and the Trust's possession, use, or maintenance of the
Mot. Summ. J. [#11], at 18-20.
A party requesting an injunction, in addition to prevailing on the merits, must establish there
is a substantial threat
of irreparable injury, the threatened injury outweighs the potential injury to the
opposing party, and the injunction will not disserve the public interest. See Tex. Democratic Parly
Benkiser, 459 F.3d 582, 594 (5th Cir. 2006).
Hall has a long "history of frivolous, vexatious litigation" with this Court. See In re Sanchez,
No. 13-C V-00019-SS, (W.D. Tex. Mar 15, 2013) (Contempt Order [#15]) (documenting just some
of Hall's track record in a section titled Hall's "History of Frivolous, Vexatious Litigation"). In this
case alone, Hall's fraudulent pattern of behavior has denied the Trust its right to the Property,
clouded its title, and denied the Trust exclusive access to the Property for approximately seven years.
Given Hall's background and his specific abuses in this matter, the Court GRANTS the Trust's
requested permanent injunction. The injunction is limited to Hall's actions concerning the Property
at issue in this case. If he violates the terms of this injunction as it relates to the Property, Hall can
expect both monetary sanctions and confinement.
IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association's Motion for
Summary Judgment and Application for Permanent Injunction [#11] is GRANTED;
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association's
requested declaratory relief is GRANTED, as set forth in the accompanying judgment to this
IT IS FINALLY ORDERED that Plaintiff U.S. Bank National Association's
Application for Permanent Injunction [#1
is GRANTED, as described in this opinion.
SIGNED this the c2S
day of January 2014.
UNITED STATES IIWSTRICT JUDGE
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