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Bruns v. Dallas Independent School District

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

May 4, 2017

ELIA BRUNS, Appellant
v.
DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, Appellee

         On Appeal from the 193rd Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. DC-14-08459.

          Before Justices Lang, Brown, and Whitehill

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BILL WHITEHILL JUSTICE

         After Elia Bruns sued Dallas Independent School District (DISD) for disability discrimination and retaliation, the trial court granted DISD's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and summary judgment motion. Bruns, appearing pro se, now asserts two general issues with approximately nine subparts, arguing that (i) her TCHRA[1] claims "should be upheld, " and (ii) her retaliation claims do not fail as a matter of law.

         We conclude that Bruns' issues are forfeited for non-compliance with the rules of appellate procedure. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1. Accordingly, we affirm the trial court's judgment.

         I. Background

         The facts are well known to the parties, so we focus only on those facts material to our disposition here.

         Bruns sued DISD alleging (i) disability discrimination for denial of a reasonable accommodation and (ii) retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, opposing unlawful disability discrimination, and requesting reasonable accommodation. DISD subsequently moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and for summary judgment, asserting both no-evidence and traditional grounds.

         Bruns requested and received three continuances to respond to the motions. During the hearing on the third request, the trial court ordered Bruns to file her response no later than Tuesday January 12, 2016, and to hand-deliver it to DISD's office by the close of business that day. Bruns did not comply.

         Instead, Bruns filed a three page response with eighty three pages of documents attached at 4:31 p.m. on January 13, 2016, and hand-delivered the document to DISD after 5:00 p.m.

         DISD objected to the response as untimely filed, objected to the attached evidence on various grounds, and requested that the response be stricken in its entirety. The trial court granted DISD's motion to strike, objections to the evidence, motion to dismiss, and motion for summary judgment. This appeal followed.

         After this appeal was filed, Bruns requested and was granted an opportunity to file an amended appendix. That appendix is the subject of an appellate motion to strike that we address in a separate order.

         II. Analysis

         Bruns' appellate points distill to two main issues concerning her TCHRA and retaliation claims. These issues and their various subparts, however, have not been briefed according to the ...


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