Jayton I. School Dist. v. Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Co., (No. 2343.)

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas
Citation259 S.W. 631
Docket Number(No. 2343.)
Decision Date20 February 1924

Appeal from District Court, Kent County; W. R. Chapman, Judge.

Suit by the Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Company against the Jayton Independent School District and others. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendants appeal. Affirmed.

W. D. Wilson, of Spur, and J. L. Sullivan, of Jayton, for appellants.

Thomas & Pope, of Anson, for appellee.


This is an appeal from a temporary injunction granted the appellee, Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Company, restraining the Jayton independent school district, its board of trustees and tax assessor and collector from enforcing the collection of certain taxes against the plaintiff and its property, pending the further order of the court.

The plaintiff brought the suit against the defendants named, alleging that it owned certain real estate, with improvements thereon, located within the boundaries of the said independent school district, and rendered the same for taxation for the year 1923, at a valuation of $40,000, which was the fair cash market value of such property; that the taxes on such valuation would be the sum of $400; that the defendants thereafter raised the valuation of said property to $95,000, and claimed the right to collect taxes on such valuation; that other property in the vicinity of plaintiff's property was assessed at a valuation of 30 or 40 per cent. of its market value, and that the action of the defendants in raising plaintiff's assessment was arbitrary and discriminatory, and "done for the purpose of taxing plaintiff's property far above its market value," and that such act was therefore "void and of no force and effect"; that plaintiff had tendered to the tax collector the sum of $400, and the petition alleged its continued readiness to pay such sum; "that unless the defendants are restrained by a temporary injunction * * * they will proceed after January 31, 1924 [the petition being filed in December, 1923] to assess various penalties and costs against this plaintiff should he fail to pay the unlawful and unjust taxes assessed against him, as above set forth; that plaintiff can have no adequate remedy in court until after said date and the defendants will proceed to enforce the collection of said unjust taxes against this plaintiff." The prayer was for injunction against the assessment of penalties and costs and any attempt to enforce the collection of the taxes until final adjudication; that the tax collector be required to accept the said sum of $400 in payment of plaintiff's taxes and for general relief, etc.

A preliminary hearing was had, and, on proof being offered in support of the allegations of the petition, a temporary injunction was granted, from which this appeal is taken.

It is urged that the petition and proof are insufficient to sustain an injunction because it does not appear that plaintiff will otherwise sustain some irreparable injury to his property. While the petition is not as specific and definite as it might be, it is, we think, sufficient to invoke the action of a court of equity in plaintiff's behalf to free his property of the unlawful claim that was being asserted against it. While there was no specific prayer for the setting aside of the action of the board in raising plaintiff's assessment, and no specific prayer for the removal of the cloud cast upon plaintiff's title by the unlawful assessment, all of the facts necessary to furnish relief in such matters appear in the petition, and the general prayer would authorize whatever relief was appropriate under the circumstances. The suit necessarily involves an attack on the action of the board in placing an excessive valuation on plaintiff's property. The allegation of fraud in that action is the basis of this attack, and relief from fraud is one of the functions of a court of equity. This alleged fraud has created a lien, apparently valid and enforceable, against plaintiff's property, and cast a cloud upon his title thereto. 5 R. C. L. p. 658, § 29; Texas Land & Mortgage Co. v. Worsham, 5 Tex. Civ. App. 245, 23 S. W. 938; Degetau v. Mayer (Tex. Civ. App.) 145 S. W. 1054. A court of equity has power to remove cloud from title and by injunction to "prevent cloud upon title when the evidence on which the right depends is not of record or shown in the papers on which the right depends." Mann v. Wallis, 75 Tex. 611, 12 S. W. 1124; Texas Land & Mortgage Co. v. Worsham, supra; Day Land & Cattle Co. v. State, 68 Tex. 526, 4 S. W. 869. That such facts as are alleged in this case will afford ground for equitable relief by injunction and other appropriate orders in connection therewith has been recognized in a number of cases involving an attack on the assessment of taxes. Johnson v. Holland, 17 Tex. Civ. App. 210, 43 S. W. 71 (writ of error denied); Lively v. M. K. & T. Ry. Co., 102 Tex. 545, 120 S. W. 852; City of Sweetwater v. Biard Development Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 203 S. W. 801; Bolton v. Gilleran, 105 Cal. 244, 38 Pac. 881, 45 Am. St. Rep. 33; City of Birmingham v. Coffman, 173 Ala. 213, 55 South. 500, Ann. Cas. 1914A, 888, and notes; Union Pacific Ry. Co. v. Ryan, 113 U. S. 516, 525, 5 Sup. Ct. 601, 28 L. Ed. 1098, 1102; Lyon v. Alley, 130 U. S. 177, 9 Sup. Ct. 480, 32 L. Ed. 903. In addition to the foregoing authorities, which are more or less directly in point, we cite the following additional authorities as showing the liberality of our courts in extending relief by injunction against the enforcement of unlawful taxes and as being more or less in point here: Porter v. Langley (Tex. Civ. App.) 155 S. W. 1042; Brown v. First National Bank (Tex. Civ. App.) 175 S. W. 1122; City of Houston v. Baker (Tex. Civ. App.) 178 S. W. 820.

The appellant cites three cases, Stephens v. Railway Co., 100 Tex. 177, 97 S. W. 309, Marion County v. Perkins Bros. Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 171 S. W. 789, and Davis v. Santa Rosa Infirmary (Tex. Civ. App.) 220 S. W. 125, to sustain his contention. In the first case the decision of the Supreme Court was based on the fact that the assessment of the taxes created no lien on the railway company's property; that "no cloud upon the title could be created by an assessment of taxes which constituted no incumbrance upon the property"; that the only way in which the taxes could be enforced was by suit for collection, and plaintiff therefore had an adequate remedy by defending such suit and suffered no harm pending its institution. This statement shows the distinction between that case and this. It does not appear from the statement in the case of Marion County v. Perkins Bros., supra, whether the taxes were a lien on any of plaintiff's property so as to constitute a cloud on its title. It was also held that the petition did not show that the case was within the jurisdiction of the court. The value of the case as authority here cannot, therefore, be determined. It must be conceded that the case of Davis v. Santa Rosa Infirmary tends to sustain the appellant. The court in that case reasoned to the conclusion that, as the real estate on which the tax assessment was an apparent lien could only be...

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6 cases
  • Early v. City of Waco, (No. 589.)
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 2 d4 Fevereiro d4 1928
    ...was excessive — so such excessive valuation was accepted as evidence of fraud. In the case of Jayton Independent School District et al. v. Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 631, the plaintiff had rendered its property at $40,000 and the board raised such rendition to $95......
  • City of West University Place v. Home Mortg. Co., 10145.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 9 d3 Maio d3 1934
    ...App.) 175 S. W. 1122; Garza Land & Cattle Co. v. Redwine Ind. School District (Tex. Civ. App.) 282 S. W. 905; Jayton Ind. S. D. v. Rule-Jayton C. Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 631; Union Ind. School District v. Sawyer (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 637. In such circumstances the invoked R. S. ......
  • Garza Land & Cattle Co. v. Redwine Independent S. Dist.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 3 d3 Março d3 1926
    ...in any form must be overruled." For additional authorities in harmony with this holding, see Jayton Independent School District v. Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 631; Union Independent School District v. Sawyer (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 637; City of Sweetwater et al.......
  • Randals v. State
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas
    • 16 d6 Março d6 1929
    ...App.) 280 S. W. 169; Brown et al. v. First Nat. Bank of Corsicana (Tex. Civ. App.) 175 S. W. 1122; Jayton Ind. School District v. Rule-Jayton Cotton Oil Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 259 S. W. 631; City of Sweetwater v. Biard Development Co. (Tex. Civ. App.) 203 S. W. 801; City of Houston v. Baker (......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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