HOUSTON – The Texas Court of Appeals 14th District has reversed a trial's court decision granting summary judgment to a furniture store in a customer's dispute over an order.
Justice Meagan Hassan ordered in an April 2 ruling to reverse the decision of the Harris County Civil Court at Law and to remand the case for further proceedings. Customer Jimmy Vitela had appealed the trial court's ruling.
On July 12, 2017, the trial court granted summary judgment to Gallery Model Homes, doing business as Gallery Furniture, in a lawsuit filed by Vitela. The ruling states in 2013, Vitela ordered a leather sectional and ottoman and a salesperson said he would have the furniture delivered to his home in 10 days from the purchase or it would be free, the ruling noted.
Vitela said that he received a set of furniture 14 days later and the order was deficient. The ottoman allegedly was missing and the delivered sectional was not large enough to accommodate the ottoman.
According to the ruling, when Vitela made a complaint, staff members from United Leather USA came to his home to remove a center section from the sectional to expand it. He alleges when the center piece was removed, it left protruding metal pieces that damaged his floor, clothes and scratched his family. He said the ottoman was never delivered and the center section was delivered and later removed.
"Gallery Furniture asserted in its summary judgment motion that Vitela refused to accept delivery of the furniture," the ruling sates. "Responding to this claim, Vitela introduced evidence tending to prove Gallery Furniture has not attempted to deliver the ottoman and the leather sectional’s center section. Vitela’s evidence, therefore, raised an issue of fact on the challenged element of his contract claim, i.e., Gallery Furniture’s alleged failure to deliver the remainder of Vitela’s furniture purchase. The trial court therefore erred in granting summary judgment on Vitela’s breach of contract claim."
The Court of Appeals also ruled that the lower court erred in granting a no-evidence summary judgment on Vitela's claims of conversion.