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Melton v. State

Court of Appeals of Texas, Third District, Austin

June 21, 2017

Rosser B. Melton, Jr., Appellant
v.
The State of Texas, Appellee

         FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF TRAVIS COUNTY, 201ST JUDICIAL DISTRICT NO. D-1-GN-16-002564, HONORABLE STEPHEN YELENOSKY, JUDGE PRESIDING.

          Before Chief Justice Rose, Justices Field and Bourland

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Scott K. Field, Justice.

         Rosser B. Melton, Jr. has filed a pro se appeal from the trial court's final summary judgment awarding the State of Texas $4, 259.09 in "administrative penalties and administrative investigative and court costs" and $16, 756 in attorney's fees. Melton's appellate brief does not describe the judgment being appealed or address why the trial court erred in rendering the judgment, other than making vague assertions that all lawyers and their bar associations violate the Sherman Antitrust Act. The brief does not include citations to the record; instead, it merely refers us to the clerk's record generally and asks us to visit two websites for more information. Moreover, the brief does not cite to legal authorities, other than the Sherman Antitrust Act, or explain how the law and the facts of this case entitle him to relief from the trial court's judgment.[1]

         Therefore, we conclude that any issues Melton may have are inadequately briefed and present nothing for our review. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i); Amir-Sharif v. Hawkins, 246 S.W.3d 267, 270 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2007, pet. dism'd w.o.j.) ("An issue on appeal unsupported by argument or citation to any legal authority presents nothing for this Court to review."). We will not comb through the record looking for legal errors Melton has not identified and explained. See Amir-Sharif, 246 S.W.3d at 270 ("This Court has no duty to perform an independent review of the record and applicable law to determine whether the error complained of occurred."). To do so would be placing ourselves in the role of Melton's advocate. See Valadez v. Avitia, 238 S.W.3d 843, 845 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2007, no pet.) ("An appellate court has no duty-or even right-to perform an independent review of the record and applicable law to determine whether there was error. Were we to do so, even on behalf of a pro se appellant, we would be abandoning our role as neutral adjudicators and become an advocate for that party.") (citation omitted); see also Holland v. Scroggie, No. 03-16-00601-CV, 2017 WL 1832491, at *1 (Tex. App.-Austin May 4, 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.).

         Because Melton has not adequately briefed any issue on appeal, we will affirm the trial court's final summary judgment.[2] However, in its brief, the State asks us "for an order in remittitur" reducing the trial court's attorney's fee award. The State asserts that the final summary judgment failed to reduce the attorney's fee award by the $2, 100 that Melton had already paid to the State. The record before us supports the State's assertion. Ordinarily, we would suggest a remittitur. See Tex. R. App. P. 46.3. However, because the State has conceded that the attorney's fee award was excessive and has asked us to reduce the amount, we construe this request as accepting the suggested remittitur. Accordingly, we will modify the trial court's judgment to reduce the attorney's fee award by $2, 100. See id. R. 46.5 ("If the remittitur is timely filed and the court of appeals determines that the voluntary remittitur cures the reversible error, then the court must accept the remittitur and reform and affirm the trial court judgment in accordance with the remittitur."); Maya Walnut, LLC v. Lopez-Rodriguez, No. 05-16-00750-CV, 2017 WL 1684679, at *7 (Tex. App.-Dallas May 3, 2017, no pet. h.) (mem. op.) (noting that appellee conceded that damages award was excessive and requested that the court of appeals reform the trial court's judgment and stating, "We construe this request as accepting the suggested remittitur. We, therefore, modify the trial court's judgment to reflect an award of $450 for past lost wages. As modified, we affirm the trial court's judgment."); Mesquite Elks Lodge No. 2404 v. Shaikh, No. 05-08-01372-CV, 2011 WL 989037, at *1 (Tex. App.-Dallas Mar. 22, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op. on reh'g) ("We conclude appellees' voluntary remittitur cures the reversible error, and we accept it. We . . . modify the trial court's judgment to reflect the remittitur . . . and affirm the trial court's judgment as modified.").[3]

         CONCLUSION

         We modify the trial court's final summary judgment to reduce the award of attorney's fees by $2, 100. We affirm the judgment as modified.

         Modified and, as Modified, Affirmed.

---------

Notes:

[1] The following verbatim excerpts show the major themes of Melton's brief:

Lawyer judges all must recuse themselves for evident institutional bias; Lawyers and judges, via their Bar Association/s are anticompetitive, criminal monopolies which violate the ...

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