Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: February 14, 2017
Appeal from the 48th District Court Tarrant County, Texas
Trial Court No. 048-284616-16
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
R. Morriss, III Chief Justice
The 48th Judicial District Court in Tarrant
County dismissed inmate Larry Joe Morgan's
civil action numbered 048-284616-16 that had been filed
against his former criminal appellate attorney, William S.
Harris. The trial court's subsequent findings
of facts and conclusions of law detailed that the action had
been dismissed on the bases (a) that Morgan failed to comply
with the affidavit requirements of Chapter 14 of the Texas
Civil Practice and Remedies Code, (b) that Morgan's
claims were frivolous because they were substantially similar
to at least two previous lawsuits Morgan had filed against
Harris, and (c) that they were frivolous because they had no
arguable basis in law and/or fact.
appeal, Morgan contends that the trial court erred (a) in
dismissing his suit without first allowing him an opportunity
to amend, (b) in denying his demand for a jury trial, and (c)
in denying his motion for disclosure and his requests for
production and inspection. We affirm the trial court's
order of dismissal because (1) Morgan has failed to challenge
on appeal two independent reasons for dismissal and (2)
Morgan was not entitled to a jury trial or
little background is in order.
Morgan had been convicted of aggravated assault with a deadly
weapon, he had fully exhausted his appeals from that
conviction, and his application for a writ of habeas corpus
had been denied,  he then began to seek satisfaction against
his appellate counsel Harris through civil actions.
January 2016, Morgan filed a civil lawsuit against Harris in
the 236th Judicial District Court of Tarrant County,
asserting claims for fraud, violations of the Texas Deceptive
Trade Practices Act, violations of the Texas Disciplinary
Rules of Professional Conduct, breach of fiduciary duty,
breach of contract, conversion, unjust enrichment, collusion,
and conspiracy, all stemming from Harris's
court-appointed legal representation of him on appeal of his
also filed a lawsuit against Harris in the United States
District Court for the Northern District of Texas, in a case
styled cause number 4:14-CV-537-A; Larry Joe Morgan v.
Tarrant County Fort Worth, et al., wherein Morgan
complained of the same alleged actions or failures by Harris
during his legal representation of Morgan, but couched them
as federal civil-rights claims, which the federal district
court dismissed with prejudice. See 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (West, Westlaw through P.L. 114-327).
March 2016, Morgan filed this lawsuit in the 48th Judicial
District Court of Tarrant County, and in this suit stated
essentially the same claims as were asserted in his prior
Tarrant County lawsuit. As stated above, the trial court
dismissed the lawsuit because: (a) Morgan's affidavit did
not meet the legal requirements, (b) Morgan's claims were
frivolous as duplicating prior claims, and (c) they were
frivolous as lacking a basis in law or fact.
Morgan Has Failed to Challenge on Appeal Two Independent
Reasons for Dismissal
the dismissal of this lawsuit, Morgan had attempted to cure
his Chapter 14 affidavit by filing an amended affidavit
with his first amended petition. Morgan argues that the trial
court erred in dismissing his lawsuit without first allowing
him an opportunity to amend his pleading.
problem with Morgan's argument is that he fails to
challenge two other ...