Daniza S. VILLARREAL, Appellant,
ART INSTITUTE OF HOUSTON, INC., Appellee.
Court of Appeals of Texas,
May 11, 2000.
On appeal from the 270th District Court of Harris County, Texas.
Before Chief Justice SEERDEN and Justices DORSEY and YAÑEZ.
Daniza Villarreal enrolled in the photography program at the Art Institute of Houston, Inc.
("The Art Institute").
The Art Institute is a technical college which offers various degree programs, but does not offer transferrable college
Villarreal contends that its representatives made numerous false representations to her regarding the
program, the school, and the costs.
She took out guaranteed student loans in order to pay for the program.
She did not
complete the program, and did not repay the loans as required.
She sued The Art Institute of Houston, Inc. for fraud and
breach of contract.
Her case was tried to a jury.
After the close of Villarreal's case, the trial court directed verdict for The Art
Institute on the breach of contract claim.
The jury found for The Art Institute on the fraud claims, and a take nothing
judgment was entered against Villarreal.
She appeals this judgment, contending that the trial court erred in directing
verdict against her on the contract claims, and that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury's
finding on the fraud claims.
BREACH OF CONTRACT
We hold the trial court did not err in directing verdict against Villarreal on her breach of contract claims.
Villarreal contends that her contract with The Art Institute was partly written and partly oral, and alleges that The Art
Institute breached the contract in three ways:
(1) failing to provide her with unlimited use of its photography department facilities and equipment;
(2) failing to provide her with college credits that could be transferred to another college or university; and
(3) failing to provide her with an associate's degree.
Conversely, The Art Institute contends that its contract with Villarreal--in its entirety--was embodied in one
document, the Enrollment Agreement.
The Art Institute argues that it did not breach the express terms of that contract,
and that parol evidence is not admissible to alter its terms.
It appears the trial court granted directed verdict on that basis.
Standard of Review for Directed Verdict
A directed verdict is appropriate when reasonable minds can draw only one conclusion from the evidence.
Collora v. Navarro, 574 S .W.2d 65, 68 (Tex.1978); > Villegas v. Griffin Industries, 975 S.W .2d 745, 748-49
(Tex.App.--Corpus Christi 1998, no writ).
Where the plaintiff fails to present evidence in support of a fact essential to
her right to recover or where a defense against the plaintiff's cause of action is conclusively proved or admitted, a directed
verdict for the defendant is proper.
> Villegas, 975 S.W.2d at 749.
On review, we examine the evidence in the light most
favorable to the party against whom the verdict was rendered and disregard all contrary evidence and inferences.