Hoping to reverse a $4 million summary judgment order, Jordan Maswoswe, part owner of the Southeast Texas Mavericks (formerly the Mustangs), filed an appeal last October.
A year later, Texas justices seated on the Ninth Court of appeals reversed the order on Thursday, Dec. 2, remanding the case back to Judge Milton Shuffield's 136th District Court.
Plaintiffs Gerald Nelson Jr. and Jason Apodaca filed a breach of contract claim against Maswoswe on Feb. 3, 2009, asserting Maswoswe refused to sell them his remaining interest in the basketball team, court records show.
The plaintiffs also sought an injunction to stop Maswoswe from meddling in the team's business.
Court records show that in December 2008, Nelson and Apodaca obtained an ownership interest in the Mustangs, with Nelson netting a 25 percent interest in the team and Apodaca obtaining a 5 percent interest.
In March 2009, Maswoswe's counsel filed a motion to withdraw as attorney of record, which Judge Shuffield granted on May 4, 2009, court papers say.
On May 11, 2009, the plaintiffs served Maswoswe requests for admissions, but Maswoswe was not represented by counsel at the time and did not respond. Nelson and Apodaca then filed a motion for summary judgment based solely on deemed admissions.
In his appeals brief, Maswoswe argued Judge Shuffield improperly granted summary judgment on unpled causes of action, and the summary judgment evidence was insufficient to support the judgment.
"The requests for admissions in this case do not address any issues of fact relevant to the claims for breach of partnership agreement or fraud, nor do they apply the law to any relevant issues of fact," states the Ninth Court's opinion, authored by Justice Charles Kreger.
"Therefore, they are not competent as summary judgment evidence, and Nelson and Apodaca have failed to conclusively prove all essential elements of their claims as a matter of law. We reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand this case for further proceedings in accordance with this opinion."
Maswoswe is represented in part by Beaumont attorney Joe Dodson.
Nelson and Apodaca are represented by Christopher Portner of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.
Case No. D183-195