Judge Rodriguez Grants Leave to Correct Errors and Add Claims Because It Isn’t Prejudicial and There Is Still Six Weeks of Discovery Left

Cathey v. Hi-Line Moving Services, Inc., No. SA-13-CV-669-XR (W.D. Tex. January 31, 2014)(Rodriguez, X.)

In litigation involving an automobile accident, the Court granted plaintiff’s motion for leave to file an amended complaint.  Order at p. 1. Plaintiff sought leave to amend his Original Complaint to correct a typographical error regarding the date of the accident, to add additional statutes and citations regarding his negligence per se claim, and to voluntarily dismiss a business entity defendant that was no longer in existence.  Id. at 2-3.

Judge Rodriguez Finds Jurisdiction and Venue Are Proper Because of Choice of Law Provision, Forum Related Contacts, and Venue Clause

WBCMT 2007-C33 Blanco Retail, LLC v. Salfiti, No. SA-13-CV-716-XR (W.D. Tex. January 29, 2014)(Rodriguez, X.)

Plaintiff Blanco filed suit against defendant Salfiti, seeking to hold Salfiti liable, as guarantor, on a defaulted commercial mortgage. Order at p. 1. Salfiti then moved to dismiss the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, lack of personal jurisdiction, improper venue, and failure to join a necessary party. Id. at 2.

The Court held that subject-matter jurisdiction was proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a) because Salfiti was a citizen of California and plaintiff, as a limited liability company with U.S. Bank as its sole member, was a citizen of Ohio. Id. at 3.

Applying the Fifth Circuit’s three-step analysis set forth in McFadin v. Gerber, 587 F.3d 753, 759 (5th Cir. 2009) to determine whether the Court has specific personal jurisdiction over the defendant, the court held first that the forum-selection clause contained within the guaranty is prima facie valid, and establishes Salfiti’s minimum contacts with Texas. Id. at 4-6. The Court also noted that the guaranty contained a choice-of-Texas-law provision, references to specific Texas statutes and rules of court and also guaranteed a loan for a Texas corporation. Id. The Court further found that the plaintiff’s cause of action arises out of Salfiti’s forum-related contacts, and the exercise of personal jurisdiction over Salfiti is fair and reasonable. Id. at 8. Thus, the Court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over Salfiti.

The Court also rejected Salfiti’s argument regarding improper venue, concluding that through the guaranty’s forum-selection clause, Salfiti agreed to venue in the Western District of Texas. Id. at 8-9.

Finally, the Court rejected Salfiti’s contention that Almanara, the entity that originally entered into the defaulted mortgage, was a necessary party. Id. at 9. Defendant failed to demonstrate that the Court cannot accord complete relief between the parties without joinder of Almanara, or that Almanara claims an interest relating to the subject of the action. Id. at 9-10.

Judge Rodriquez Grants Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

Garcia v. Recontrust Company, N.A., No. SA-13-CV-393-XR (W.D. Tex. January 28, 2014)(Rodriguez, X.)

Plaintiff brought suit seeking to enjoin the foreclosure of her home that was encumbered by a mortgage held and serviced by defendants. Order at pp. 2-3. Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that plaintiff failed to assert a valid cause of action. Id. at 3. The Court held that even accepting the allegations in plaintiff’s petition as true, the court was unable to construe a valid claim for relief. Id. at 4. Plaintiff’s sole allegation that “[d]efendants are jointly and severally liable to Plaintiff for failure to provide accurate notice, failing to adhere to their own documents, and materially inaccurate or false information to Plaintiff concerning the pending foreclosure of the Property” does not constitute a valid cause of action. Id. at 4-5.