De Llano v. Moran

Decision Date24 February 1960
Docket NumberNo. A-7347,A-7347
Citation160 Tex. 490,333 S.W.2d 359
PartiesManuel DE LLANO et ux., Petitioners, v. Alfredo A. MORAN, Respondent.
CourtTexas Supreme Court

Hall & Hall, Laredo, Bobbitt, Brite & Bobbitt, San Antonio, for petitioners.

Arthur Mitchell, Austin, Richard G. Morales, Laredo, for respondent.

WALKER, Justice.

This is a suit for permanent custody of Sandra Judith Moran, a girl two years of age. Her mother, Inez A. De Llano Moran, was killed in an automobile and freight train collision in the early hours of January 1, 1958. Alfredo A. Moran, the husband of Inez and the father of Sandra, was driving the automobile at the time and was seriously injured in the collision. About six weeks later petitioners, who are Sandra's maternal grandparents, instituted this suit against the father and the paternal grandparents of the minor, seeking a writ of habeas corpus and praying that permanent custody be awarded to petitioners. The father will be referred to herein as respondent. After a hearing the trial court awarded permanent care, custody and control of the child to petitioners. The Court of Civil Appeals reversed and rendered, holding that the findings of fact concerning respondent's fitness do not support the judgment entered and that the trial court abused its discretion in taking the child from the father and awarding its custody to petitioners. 323 S.W.2d 184.

The trial court's conclusions with reference to the father which are denominated findings of fact are largely evidentiary in nature. These are set out in the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals and will not be repeated here. The so-called conclusions of law are, however, prefaced by the following statement: 'The court having found as a fact that the father of Sandra Judith Moran is at this time not qualified to have the custody and control of Sandra Judith Moran * * *.' This recital, dealing as it does with one of the ultimate and determinative fact questions in the case, is not to be disregarded simply because it appears in the conclusions of law. See McAshan v. Cavitt, 149 Tex. 147, 229 S.W.2d 1016. In our opinion it is not merely an attempt by the trial judge to state the legal effect of his other findings. Where findings of fact are subject to more than one reasonable construction, they should be given that meaning which will support the action of the court as expressed in the judgment rendered thereon. See Elder, Dempster & Co. v. Weld-Neville Cotton Co., Tex.Com.App., 231 S.W. 102. In the judgment which had previously been entered in this case, the court expressly found that respondent is not a fit person to have the care, custody and control of his child. The above mentioned recital evidently has reference to this finding and in effect confirms and reiterates the same. It must be construed, therefore, as an independent finding that respondent is unfit to have custody of the child, and when so interpreted is clearly sufficient to support the judgment in so far as that question is concerned.

There is no contention that the findings of the trial court are deficient in any other respect, or that petitioners are not suitable persons to care for and rear the child, or that the trial court abused its discretion in not awarding custody to the paternal grandparents. The only remaining question then is whether the conclusion that the respondent is not a suitable person has reasonable support in the evidence. As indicated by the findings of fact quoted in the opinion of the Court of Civil Appeals, respondent was...

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28 cases
  • Interest of Davis
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • October 12, 2000
    ...meaning refers to the ultimate and determinative fact questions rather than evidentiary fact findings. See De Llano v. Moran, 160 Tex. 490, 333 S.W.2d 359, 360 (1960); Montgomery Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Davis, 994 S.W.2d 435, 438 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1999, pet. granted); Posner v. Dallas County......
  • Raj Partners, Ltd. v. Darco Const. Corp.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • December 8, 2006
    ...the action of the court as expressed in the judgment. Rodriguez v. Rodriguez, 860 S.W.2d 414, 418 (Tex.1993); De Llano v. Moran, 160 Tex. 490, 333 S.W.2d 359, 360 (1960); see also Gulf Liquid Fertilizer Co. v. Titus, 163 Tex. 260, 354 S.W.2d 378, 385 (1962) (if findings are susceptible of d......
  • C. C. v. Tex. Dep't of Family & Protective Servs.
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • April 15, 2022
    ... ... same or a similar situation." May , 829 S.W.2d ... at 377 (citing De Llano v. Moran , 333 S.W.2d 359, ... 361 (Tex. 1960)) ...          Mother ... asserts that she was denied custody of Son only ... ...
  • May v. May
    • United States
    • Texas Court of Appeals
    • April 16, 1992
    ...well be measured by his recent deliberate past conduct as it may be related to the same or a similar situation. De Llano v. Moran, 160 Tex. 490, 333 S.W.2d 359, 361 (1960). Indeed, under the present test enunciated in Lewelling and the Family Code, the requirement of specific harmful action......
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