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CASES. TRIALS. RESULTS.

Real Estate and Title Cases

Cause No. 12-DCV-199126, Valdez v. Valdez and Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., In the 434th Judicial District Court of Fort Bend County, Texas. Represented Defendant, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (Wells Fargo), who held a mortgage lien against the property that was the subject of the lawsuit. Plaintiffs asserted claims of trespass to title and declaratory judgment, alleging that they had acquired title to the property and an easement on the road leading to the property via adverse possession under the Ten-Year Possession Statute. Jury verdict rendered in favor of Defendant, Wells Fargo, after a four-day trial.

Cause No. 2014-28165, Grein Enterprise, Inc. v. Corte, In the 215th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. Represented Defendant, Corte, the owner of a tract of land governed by an access agreement. Plaintiff, a neighboring owner, filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment that the access agreement restricted Defendant’s use of the road leading to his property. Plaintiff sought to enjoin Defendant’s use of the road leading to his property. Directed verdict rendered in favor of Defendant, Corte, in a bench trial.

Cause No. B-192404; Hinds Mortgage, Inc. v. Phelps, In the 60th Judicial District Court of Jefferson County, Texas. Represented Plaintiff, Hinds Mortgage, Inc., a purchaser of a tract of land that had previously been conveyed by the seller to a third party. The seller failed to disclose the prior conveyance to the purchaser. The Plaintiff asserted claims of statutory fraud, common law fraud, breach of warranty of title and implied covenant of seisin against the seller. Favorable settlement for Hinds Mortgage that involved clear title to the property.

Cause No. 2002-54445; Nguyen v. Sterling Capital Company, Inc. and Western United Life Assurance Company; In the 125th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. Represented defendant Western United Life Assurance Company (Western), a mortgagee, in a declaratory judgment action filed by the Plaintiffs, the Nguyens, that asserted that Western’s mortgage lien was invalid. Judgment rendered in favor of Western United Life Assurance Company after a two-day bench trial.

Case No. 958189; Morrell Masonry Supply, Inc. v. Golden Bank, N.A.; In the County Court at Law No. 2 of Harris County, Texas. Litigated enforcement and priority of Golden Bank’s deed of trust lien over subsequent mechanic’s liens filed against residential real estate in Harris County, Texas. Final summary judgment rendered in favor of Golden Bank.

Case 14-04-01065-CV; In re Michael Jay Kuper, Relator; In the Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District, Houston. Represented respondent, Stewart Title Guaranty Company (Stewart) in lawsuit filed by Relator, Kuper, who asserted that Stewart should defend his right to access his property and remove the gates allegedly impeding access under the title insurance policy issued by Stewart. Stewart denied that coverage existed under the title insurance policy and that Relator failed to first seek relief from the Grimes County Commissioners Court, since the road in which the gates were located was a public road. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Stewart and denied Plaintiff’s request for mandamus relief. Case subsequently settled favorably for Stewart.

Business Torts and Contract Cases

Case No. 01-02-00801; Stewart Title Guaranty Company v. Hadnot; In the Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston. Represented Appellant Stewart Title Guaranty Company (Stewart), seeking review of summary judgment on the Appellees’ breach of contract claim under the title insurance policy issued by Stewart. Appellees, the Hadnots, asserted that the mechanic’s liens against their property were covered by the title insurance policy issued by Stewart, and that Stewart wrongfully denied their claim under the policy. Stewart asserted that the Hadnots’ claims were barred by limitations and that no coverage existed under the title insurance policy. The trial court had granted the Hadnots’ motion for summary judgment on their breach of contract claim and had denied Stewart’s cross-motion for summary judgment on limitations. On appeal, the Court of Appeals agreed that the Hadnots’ lawsuit was barred by limitations. The Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in the Hadnots’ favor and rendered a take-nothing judgment in favor of Stewart.

Case No. 760664; Balli Klockner, Inc. v. Walford Nugent, In the County Court at Law No. 4 of Harris County, Texas. Represented Plaintiff, Balli Klockner, Inc., in case against a former employee, Defendant, Walford Nugent, for breach of contract, fraud, and conversion due to the embezzlement of company funds by Defendant. Jury verdict rendered in favor of Balli Klockner for losses sustained and for recovery of attorneys’ fees and costs. Successfully defended the counterclaim filed by the Defendant for the recovery of unpaid wages.

Insurance Cases

Case No. 06-20366; Williams v. AmerUs Life Ins. Company, In the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Represented Defendant, AmerUs Life Insurance Company (now known as Athene Annuity and Life Company) (AmerUs) in case filed by Plaintiff beneficiaries asserting the wrongful denial of life insurance proceeds. Claims asserted against AmerUs included breach of contract, conversion, and violations of the Texas Insurance Code and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. AmerUs sought a declaration that the life insurance policies were void ab initio on the grounds that the insured made material misrepresentations on the applications for the policies. Summary judgment rendered in favor of AmerUs. Court assessed $136,845.06 in attorneys’ fees and costs against the Plaintiffs for filing a groundless DTPA lawsuit in bad faith. The attorneys’ fees award was affirmed on appeal. AmerUs was awarded additional attorneys’ fees by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals due to the Plaintiffs’ prosecution of a frivolous appeal.

Case 4:03-cv-01365; Hannan v. Life Insurance Company of North America, In the District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. Represented Defendant underwriter and plan administrator, Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) in case filed by Plaintiff Hannan to recover long-term disability benefits under ERISA. LINA asserted that the denial of benefits was proper under the ERISA plan because the Plaintiff’s disability was pre-existing as defined by the ERISA plan. Summary judgment granted in favor of LINA on the grounds that LINA’s denial of long-term disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion because the evidence relied upon by LINA provided adequate support for the denial.

Case No. 4:03-cv-03423; Byal v. Life Insurance Company of North America, In the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston, Division. Represented Defendant underwriter and plan administrator, Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) in case filed by Plaintiff Byal to recover long-term disability benefits under ERISA. Summary judgment granted in favor of LINA on the grounds that LINA’s denial of long-term disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion because the evidence relied upon by LINA provided adequate support for the denial.

Case No. 04-20933; Albert v. Life Insurance Company of North America, In the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Represented Defendant underwriter and plan administrator, Life Insurance Company of North America (LINA) in case filed by Plaintiff Albert to recover long-term disability benefits and equitable relief under ERISA. Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of LINA on the grounds that LINA’s denial of long-term disability benefits was not an abuse of discretion because the evidence relied upon by LINA provided adequate support for the denial.

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Matsushima Garner PLLC is a Texas professional limited liability company based in Houston, Texas and owned by attorneys Ms. Alicia M. Matsushima and Mr. Famose T. Garner. The firm handles cases in Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria,  and Waller Counties and throughout Texas.  Se habla español.

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