Lemon v. Spann

Decision Date09 March 1982
Docket NumberNo. 8993,8993
Citation633 S.W.2d 568
PartiesGeorge LEMON, Jr., Appellant, v. Harlin SPANN and Benny Blundell, Appellees.
CourtTexas Court of Appeals

Robert Rolston, Russell & Rolston Law Offices, Mount Pleasant, for appellant.

Roger Sanders, Sherman, for appellees.

BLEIL, Justice.

George Lemon, Jr. appeals from a judgment imposing a constructive trust in favor of Harlin Spann and Benny Blundell on a 120 acre tract of land he acquired in 1976. We reverse the trial court's judgment on the basis of the doctrine of res judicata.

In January, 1978, Benny Blundell sued George Lemon, Sr. That suit arose out of the fact that Lemon was a real estate agent who had obtained a listing with the owners of a certain 120 acre tract of land. In September, 1976, Benny Blundell signed a contract to buy this property and gave Lemon a $1,000.00 check from himself and one from Harlin Spann. These checks were tendered as the $2,000.00 earnest money but were never negotiated. The contract was never presented to the owners. In October Blundell was informed by George Lemon, Sr. that the owners had sold the land to a purchaser who had made an offer before Lemon presented Blundell's. It developed that Lemon had actually arranged for George Lemon, Jr. to buy the land. The 1978 suit sought to impose an equitable lien or to enforce specific performance of the contract. Alternatively it sought damages based on the fraudulent conduct of George Lemon, Sr.

Lemon filed a motion for summary judgment and the trial court granted it in part, declaring that Blundell take nothing by virtue of his claim for specific performance and for an equitable lien against the property. Lemon then filed a motion to sever the cause insofar as it asserted an interest in the land. The basis of the motion was that George Lemon, Jr. had bought the property and that severance was necessary to remove the cloud on his title so that he could freely deal with the property. The court entered its order severing the matters covered by the partial summary judgment from the remaining issues of fraud.

An appeal was perfected and we affirmed. Blundell v. Lemon, 596 S.W.2d 239 (Tex.Civ.App.-Texarkana 1980, no writ). On that appeal Blundell insisted that a material fact issue existed as to whether the relationship between himself as prospective purchaser, and Lemon as a realtor, constituted a fiduciary relationship which would impose a constructive trust on the property in his favor to prevent Lemon's unjust enrichment. We held that since Blundell did not raise that fact issue in opposition to the motion for summary judgment, he could not do so on appeal.

This proceeding was filed March, 1979, by Harlin Spann and Benny Blundell against George Lemon, Jr. The estate of George Lemon, Sr., who had died, was brought in as an additional defendant. Essentially the same facts were alleged as were alleged in the first suit. Alleged was fraud on the part of both Lemons; a breached confidential relationship between Blundell and George Lemon, Sr.; and authorization or ratification by George Lemon, Jr. of George Lemon, Sr.'s acts. Spann and Blundell sought the imposition of a constructive trust on the land, damages and punitive damages. The case proceeded to trial with George Lemon, Jr. as the only defendant. Based on a jury's verdict the court imposed a constructive trust on the property.

When, as in this case, a cause of action is once finally determined the doctrine of res judicata bars litigation by new proceedings. The judgment in the first suit precludes a second action by parties and their privies not only on matters actually litigated but also on causes of action or defenses which arise out of the same subject matter and which might have been litigated in the first suit. Texas Water Rights Commission v. Crow Iron Works, 582 S.W.2d 768 (Tex.1979); Griffin v. Holiday Inns of America, 496 S.W.2d 535 (Tex.1973). All requisites to establish res judicata have been shown in this cause.

Appellees contend that there are different parties in this suit. They say that Harlin Spann is a new plaintiff and that George Lemon, Jr. is a new defendant; therefore res judicata does not apply. Swilley v. McCain, 374...

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11 cases
  • Knowlton v. U.S. Brass Corp.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • August 19, 1993
    ...See Swilley v. McCain, 374 S.W.2d 871, 874-75 (Tex.1964); Cain v. Balcom, 109 S.W.2d 1044, 1046 (1937); Lemon v. Spann, 633 S.W.2d 568, 571 (Tex.App.--Texarkana 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Morrison v. Cloud, 13 S.W.2d 735, 737 (Tex.Civ.App.--Waco 1929, no writ); Home Trading Co. v. Hicks, 296......
  • Bifano v. Young
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    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • December 29, 1983
    ...exclusion of the proffered testimony caused or probably caused the rendition of an improper judgment. Tex.R.Civ.P., R. 434; Lemon v. Spann, 633 S.W.2d 568, 571 (Tex.App.--Texarkana 1982, no writ); Vega v. Royal Crown Bottling Company, 526 S.W.2d 729, 732 (Tex.Civ.App.--Corpus Christi 1975, ......
  • Ayre v. J.D. Bucky Allshouse, P.C., 14-95-00748-CV
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    • Texas Court of Appeals
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    ...1988, no writ); Gillis v. Wilbur, 700 S.W.2d 734, 736 (Tex.App.--Dallas 1985, no writ); Lemon v. Spann, 633 S.W.2d 568, 570 (Tex.Civ.App.--Texarkana 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.); Mullinax, Wells, Mauzy & Collins v. Dawson, 478 S.W.2d 121, 123 (Tex.Civ.App.--Dallas 1972, writ ref'd n.r.e.). None......
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    ...preclusive against plaintiffs because plaintiffs derived their claims from party to prior suit); Lemon v. Spann, 633 S.W.2d 568, 570-71 (Tex.App.-Texarkana 1982, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (holding that plaintiff's suit was barred because his claims depended on establishing liability against party ......
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