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FILED

DALLAS COUNTY
6/17/2016 7:08:44 PM
FELICIA PITRE
DISTRICT CLERK

1 CT-E-SERVE

DC-16-07364
CAUSE NO. ________

ROYCE B. WEST,
Plaintiff,
v.

DESMOND D. BRYANT,
Defendant.

Freeney Anita

IN THE DISTRICT COURT

E-101ST
___ JUDICIAL DISTRCT

DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION


Plaintiff Royce B. West (Plaintiff or Mr. West) files this Original Petition against
Defendant Desmond D. Bryant (Defendant or Mr. Bryant) as follows:
NATURE OF THE ACTION
1.

This action for breach of a lease agreement arises from Mr. Bryants refusal to

abide by his promises to Mr. West and accept accountability for his negligent and abusive
treatment of Mr. Wests property mistreatment so severe that the resulting damage has
necessitated over $60,000 in repair work to that property.
2.

From September 2013 through January 2016, Mr. Bryant resided at 1212 Regents

Park Court, a 6400 square foot, 6 bed, 7.5 bath home in the gated community of Regents Park,
DeSoto, Texas (the Property). The Property, owned by Mr. West, also boasts a tennis court,
swimming pool, and gourmet kitchen.
3.

Mr. Bryant rented the Property from Mr. West through a Residential Lease

Agreement (the Lease).1 Under the Lease, Mr. Bryant undertook to return the Property to Mr.
West in the same condition in which he received it, excepting normal wear and tear. When Mr.
1

Attached as Exhibit A.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

Page 1

Bryant returned the Property to Mr. West in February 2016, however, Mr. West found it in a state
of serious disrepair: littered with trash and feces, missing blinds and shutters, with cracked
windows and blackened carpeting. Mr. Bryant has been unwilling to accept responsibility for the
damage, forcing Mr. West to file this suit.
DISCOVERY CONTROL PLAN & RULE 47 DISCLOSURE
4.

Plaintiff intends to conduct discovery under TEX. R. CIV. P. 190.3 (Level 2).

Plaintiff further states that he seeks damages involving monetary relief of over $100,000 but not
more than $200,000, excluding costs, expenses, interest, and attorneys fees.
PARTIES
5.

Plaintiff Royce B. West is an individual residing in Dallas County, Texas.

6.

Defendant Desmond D. Bryant is an individual residing in Dallas County, Texas,

and may be served with process at his current known residence, 15950 Dallas Parkway, Suite
600, Dallas, Texas 75248, or wherever he may be found.
JURISDICTION & VENUE
7.

The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter, and the amount in

controversy meets the jurisdictional minimum of this Court.


8.

Venue is proper in Dallas County, Texas pursuant to TEX. CIV. PRAC. & REM.

CODE 15.002(1) & (2).


FACTUAL BACKGROUND
9.

Mr. Bryant and Mr. West entered into the Lease on August 31, 2013. Under the

Lease, Mr. Bryant agreed:

Unless the parties agree otherwise in writing, Tenant may not permit,
even temporarily any pet on the Property.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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Tenant, at Tenant's expense, must keep the Property clean and sanitary
and promptly dispose of all garbage in appropriate receptacles, and may
not [r]emove any part of the Property or any of Landlord's personal
property from the Property, among other things. Id. 17(A) & (D).

When this lease ends, Tenant will surrender the Property in the same
condition as when received, normal wear and tear excepted. Tenant will
leave the Property in a clean condition free of all trash, debris, and any
personal property. Id. 16(A).

Normal wear and tear is defined as deterioration that occurs without


negligence, carelessness, accident, or abuse. Id. 10(B).

Tenant will be liable for . . . repairs to the Property for use beyond normal
wear and tear. Id. 17 & 27.

10.

Mr. Bryant further agreed that, in the event of his failure to comply with these

provisions the Lease:

Remedies for violations of 9(A) include recoupment of the costs of (i)


exterminating fleas, (ii) cleaning and deodorizing carpets and drapes, and
(iii) repairing any other resulting damages. Id. 9(B).

Tenant must reimburse Landlord all Landlords reasonable costs . . . for


packing, removing, storing, and selling . . . personal property left in the
Property. Id. 16(C)(2).

Landlord may . . . perform whatever action Tenant is obligated to perform


and Tenant must immediately reimburse Landlord the reasonable
expenses that Landlord incurs. Id. 17(E).

Tenant will be liable for (a) any lost rent; (b) Landlords cost of reletting
the Property including . . . utility charges []; (c) repairs to the Property
for use beyond normal wear and tear; [and (d)] all Landlords costs
associated with collection of amounts due under this lease. Id. 27(B)(4).

Landlord may deduct reasonable charges from the security deposit for . . .
damages to the Property, excluding normal wear and tear, including, but
not limited to, the costs of (i) cleaning, deodorizing, exterminating, and
maintaining the Property; (ii) replacing security devices; (iii) packing,
removing, and storing abandoned property; (iv) restoring walls, flooring,
landscaping, or any alterations to the Property not previously approved in
writing; and (v) removing odors caused by smoking on the Property. Id.
10(D)

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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If deductions exceed[] the security deposit, Tenant will pay to the


Landlord the excess within 10 days after Landlord makes written
demand. Id.

Tenant will pay a security deposit to Landlord in the amount of


$4,750.50. Id. 10(A). Mr. Bryants rent was $4,720 per month. Id. 5.

11.

The terms of the Lease remained in effect throughout Mr. Bryants tenancy of the

Property. See id. 4. Mr. Bryant requested that his tenancy be terminated in January 2016.
12.

At Mr. Bryants request, Mr. West provided Mr. Bryant and Mr. Bryants

representative with a written notice of termination of the tenancy.2 The notice also stated Mr.
Wests request that the parties schedule a walk-through of the Property post-termination.
13.

Upon Mr. Bryants return of the Property to Mr. West, Mr. West invited

representatives of Mr. Bryant to perform a walk-through of the residence with him. No


representative appeared on the date scheduled for the walk-through, which Mr. West then
performed.

The walk-through revealed irreparable damage to carpeting, flooring,

windows, shutters, and blinds; the presence of animal feces, trash, debris, and personal
property inside the residence; and distinct and pervasive odors throughout. Mr. West
documented some of this damage by photograph.3 The photographs present only a
fraction of the overall damage caused by Mr. Bryant, which necessitated:

2
3

Removal of trash and furniture from the interior and trash from the
exterior of the residence;

Repainting of the entire residence;

Cleaning or removal and replacement of all flooring and carpeting inside


the residence;

Replacement of the lighting and ceiling fans;

Replacement of a number of windows and window screens;

Attached as Exhibit B.
Attached as Exhibits C-1 through C-11.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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Replacement of the home security system;

Replacement of the doors, garage locks, and the gate;

Repair or replacement of the shutters;

Repair to landscaping; and

Extensive interior and exterior cleaning of the residence, required in part


to clear the residence of the distinct odors.

14.

Mr. West came to learn that the repairs would cost him $61,546.77.

15.

In April 2016, Mr. West contacted Mr. Bryant and his representative regarding the

damage and costs of repair, providing photographs of the damage and itemized documentation4
of the costs (including invoices and receipts) and requesting reimbursement of the costs. Mr.
Bryant and his representative did not respond.
16.

In May, Mr. West again contacted Mr. Bryants representative to request

reimbursement of the costs, which Mr. Bryant had promised to provide under the Lease.
17.

Two days later, Mr. West received a letter from separate counsel on behalf of Mr.

Bryant. That letter implied that Mr. Bryant would seek to file a separate and unrelated lawsuit
against Mr. West should Mr. West pursue collection of the costs of repair any further. The
allegations made in the letter were vague, unfounded, and clearly intended as retaliatory.
18.

In response, in late May, Mr. West made one more request that Mr. Bryant abide

by his obligations under the Lease and provide reimbursement for repairs of damage that he
caused.5
19.

Since February 2016, Mr. West has been unable to relet the Property because of

the continuing repair work resulting from Mr. Bryants damage to the Property.

4
5

Attached as Exhibit D.
Attached as Exhibit E.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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20.

Because of Mr. Bryants ongoing disregard for the promises he made and the

responsibilities he assumed under the Lease, and Mr. Wests resulting losses, Mr. West now seeks
resolution of the parties dispute through this suit.
CAUSES OF ACTION
COUNT 1: BREACH OF CONTRACT
21.

Mr. West incorporates the above paragraphs by reference.

22.

Mr. West and Mr. Bryant entered into a valid and enforceable contract (the Lease)

under which Mr. Bryant agreed to maintain the Property in a certain condition and return it to
Mr. West in the condition in which he received it, excepting normal wear and tear. Mr. Bryant
further agreed that, in the event the Property was returned with damage beyond normal wear and
tear, he would reimburse Mr. West for the costs of repairs.
23.

Mr. West fully performed under the contract, or his performance has otherwise

been excused.
24.

As alleged herein, Mr. Bryant breached the express promises stated in the Lease

by bringing the Property to a state of disrepair, returning the Property to Mr. West in such a state,
and refusing to reimburse Mr. West for the costs to repair the physical damages that he caused.
25.

As a proximate result, Mr. West has suffered actual and consequential damages in

an amount to be determined at trial or other final disposition of this case on the merits.
26.

Mr. West also requests attorneys fees pursuant to Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil

Practice and Remedies Code and under the Lease.


COUNT 2: PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL (IN THE ALTERNATIVE)
27.

Mr. West incorporates the above paragraphs by reference.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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28.

Mr. Bryant made promises to Mr. West relating to his occupancy and treatment of

the Property and the payment of any repairs resulting from damage that he caused.
29.

Mr. West reasonably and substantially relied on those promises to his detriment as

described above. Mr. Wests reliance was foreseeable by Mr. Bryant.


30.

Injustice can only be avoided by enforcing Mr. Bryants promises.


REMEDIES REQUESTED

DIRECT & CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES


31.

Mr. West incorporates the above paragraphs by reference.

32.

As a result of the negligent and abusive conduct of Mr. Bryant as alleged herein,

Mr. West has suffered and will continue to suffer direct and consequential damages.
33.

Specifically, and with a reservation of right to supplement, Mr. West seeks:


(a) costs that Mr. West has incurred and will incur in repairing the
damage to the Property caused by Mr. Bryant, and
(b) any rent or profits foregone or costs (such as utilities) incurred
by Mr. West as a result of the loss of his ability to relet the
Property while repairs are being completed.

ATTORNEYS FEES & COSTS


34.

Mr. West incorporates the above paragraphs by reference.

35.

Mr. West is entitled to and hereby seeks recovery of his reasonable and necessary

attorneys fees and costs under Chapter 38 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as
well as 27 & 29 of the Lease.
CONDITIONS PRECEDENT
36.

All conditions precedent to the bringing of the causes of action stated herein have

been performed or have occurred.

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

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REQUEST FOR DISCLOSURE


37.

Under TEX. R. CIV. P. 194, Defendant is requested to disclose, within 50 days of

service of this request, the information and material described in TEX. R. CIV. P. 194.2.
PRAYER
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Royce B. West requests that Defendant Desmond D.
Bryant be cited to appear and that, upon final judgment, the Court grant the following relief:
(a)

Direct and consequential damages as alleged herein;

(b)

Attorneys fees and costs;

(c)

Pre- and post-judgment interest at the highest rate allowed by law; and

(d)

All such other and further relief to which Plaintiff may be found justly entitled.

Dated: June 17, 2016

Respectfully submitted,
GRUBER ELROD JOHANSEN HAIL SHANK LLP

By: /s/ G. Michael Gruber


G. Michael Gruber
State Bar No. 08555400
mgruber@getrial.com
Trey H. Crawford
State Bar No. 24059623
tcrawford@getrial.com
Priya A. Bhaskar
State Bar No. 24082690
pbhaskar@getrial.com

1445 Ross Avenue, Suite 2500


Dallas, Texas 75202
(T) (214) 855-6800
(F) (214) 855-6808
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF ROYCE B. WEST

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL PETITION

Page 8

EXHIBIT A

- (b) Landlord's cost of rel etting the Property including but not limited to leasing fees, advertising fees, utility
charges, and other fees reasonably necessary to relet the Property;
(c) repa irs to the Property for use beyond nonnal W1~ar and tear;
(d}all Landlord's costs associated with eviction of'ren ant, including but not limited to attorney's fees, cowt
costs, costs of service, witness fees, and prej ud gm~ nt interest;
(e) all Landlord's costs associated with collection of amounts due under this lease, including but not limited to
collection fees, late charges, and returned check charges; and
(f-) any other recovery to which Landlord may be entitled by law.
C. . Notice to vacate under Paragraph 218(1) may be by any means permitted by 24.005, Property Code.
D.

Landlord will attempt to mitigate any damage or loss caused by Tenant's breach by attempting to relet the Property to
acceptable tenants and reducing 'Tenant's liability accordingly.

28. EARLY -TERMINATION: This lease begins on the Commencement Date and ends on the Expiration date unless: (i)
renewed under Paragraph 4; (ii) extended by written agreement of the parties; or (iii) terminated earlier under
Paragraph 27, by ag reement of the parties, applicable law, or this Paragaph 28.
A. Special Statutory f3iahts Tenants may have special statutory rights t.o i:P.rminai:e the lease early in certain situations
involving family violence, military deployment or transfer, or certain sex offenses.

ill Military: If Tenant is or becomes a service member: or a dependent of a service member, Tenant may terminate

this lease by delivering to Landlord a written notice of termination and a copy of an appropriate government
document providing evidence of: (a) entrance into military service; (b) military orders for a permanent change of
station (PCS}; or (c) military orders to deploy with a military unit for not less than 90 days. Termination is
effective on the 30th day after the first date ori which the next rental payment is due after the date on which the
notice is delivered. 92.017, Property Code governs the rights and obligations of the parties under this
paragraph.
!f.} Family Violence: Tenant may terminate tl]is lease if Tenant provides Landlord with a copy of a court order
described under 92.016, Property Code protecting Tenant or an occupant from family violence committed by a
cotenant or occupant of the Property. 92.016, Property Code governs the rights and obligations of the parties
under this paragraph. If the family violence is committed by someone other than a cotenant or co-occupant of
the Property, Tenant must give written notice of termination 30 days prior to the effective date ofthe notice.

ill Sex OJfenses:

Tenant may have special statutory rights to terminate this lease in certain situations involving
sexual assault or sexual abuse. For more information about the types of abuse and assault covered by this
provision, Tenant is advised to review 92.0161, Property Code.

B. Assignment, Subletting and Replacement Tenants:


(1) Tenant may not assign this lease or sublet the Property without Landlord's written consent.
(2) If Tenant requests an early termination of this lease under this Paragraph 288, Tenant may attempt to find a
replacement tenant and may request Landlord to do the same. Landlord may, but is not obligated to, attempt to
find a replacement tenant under this paragraph.
(3) Any assignee, subtenant, or replacement tenant must, in Landlord's discretion, be acceptable as a tenant
and must sign: (a) a new lease with terms not less favorable to Landlord than this lease or otheJWise acceptable
to Landlord; (b) a sublease with terms approved by Landlord; or (c) an assignment of this lease in a form
approved by Landlord.

(4) Unless expressly stated otheJWise in an assignment or sublease, Tenant will not be released from Tenant's
obligations under this lease because of an assignment or sublease. An assignment of this lease or a sublease
of this lease without Landlorc!'s written consent is voidable by Landlord.

Tenants: ___

-~-- ____, ____, & Landlord or Landlord's Representative: ~

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EXHIBIT B

EXHIBIT C

EXHIBIT D

EXHIBIT E