The Law Office of J. Patrick Sutton
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I handle real estate, HOA, and property-rights disputes at the trial and appellate levels in Texas and Washington State. I spearhead short-term rental litigation in Texas, against both cities and HOA's.

I never represent HOA's. The HOA system is fundamentally flawed as a method of privatized local government. Nevertheless, I work within the law and the legal system to protect and defend homeowners.

I handle appeals in state and federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Supreme Court, Texas intermediate appellate courts, and the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

My caseload is overwhelmingly property-rights oriented, particularly as regards leasing and short-term leasing, but also architectural and construction issues, particularly involving decisions by architectural control committees. I blog about these issues on this site.

Homeowner Win in Texas Supreme Court -- HOA Boards Cannot Adopt Rules Which Conflict with Restrictive Covenants

On April 22, 2022, my client Jerry Brice
prevailed in the Texas Supreme Court in affirming his right to rent for short terms under restrictive covenants which afforded him a "right to lease with no restrictions." The HOA first argued that "residential use" overrides such a right to lease, but then it switched gears and adopted new rules which banned leasing for short terms. The Texas Supreme Court held that the rules were invalid because they conflicted with the wide-open right to lease contained in the restrictive covenants.

Another Homeowner Win in Texas Supreme Court -- HOA Boards Cannot Force a Suiting Homeowner to Sue All Other Owners for the Board's Actions

On May 12, 2023, my clients Chris and Roxana Kappmeyer
prevailed in the Texas Supreme Court, reversing trial and appellate courts which, in a clear abuse of discretion, sided with an HOA.

The Kappmeyers sued their HOA because the HOA's board, without any vote by the homeowners generally, gave itself vast new powers. The Kappmeyers, when they bought their land, never signed up for an all-powerful HOA with assessment, rule-making, and foreclosure powers, so they sought to have the board's "amendment" to the deed restrictions declared unenforceable against them. However, the HOA, no doubtwishing to avoid having the merits of the dispute addressed, asked the trial court to require the Kappmeyers to sue
all 700 other homeowners before being allowed to proceed. That would cost in the range of $100,000 in administrative costs. Yet the trial court agreed with the HOA and ordered the Kappmeyers to sue 700 people or else have their case dismissed. The court of appeals did too.

The Texas Supreme Court reversed. It held that an HOA has to prove
which other homeowners actually claim an interest in a lawsuit before forcing a plaintiff to sue other owners. It also held that an order requiring that all homeowners be sued is an unfair financial burden on a homeowner seeking to have his or her own rights protected.


My clients who sued the City of Grapevine won a significant victory in the Fort Worth Court of Appeals on December 23, 2021, turning back a challenge by the City of Grapevine which would have undone a temporary injunction granted to my clients by the Tarrant County District Court and caused the lawsuit to be dismissed. The decision in
City of Grapevine v. Muns is HERE. The Fort Worth Court of Appeals, in a strongly-worded opinion, upheld every constitutional theory asserted by the homeowners who rent for short terms.

The City of Grapevine has asked the Texas Supreme Court to take up the case. The case is fully briefed on the merits. My clients' response is

The Law Office of J. Patrick Sutton