Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the 304th Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. JD-98-00657
Justices Bridges, Lang-Miers, and Evans
ELIZABETH LANG-MIERS, JUSTICE
appearing pro se, appeals from the trial court's order
dismissing her motion to modify the parent-child
relationship. Because L.S. has failed to file a brief that
complies with the briefing requirements of our appellate
rules, we dismiss the appeal. See Tex. Rs. App. P.
38.1, 42.3; Bolling v. Farmers Branch Indep. Sch.
Dist., 315 S.W.3d 893, 895 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no
October 7, 2015, the trial court signed a judgment
terminating L.S.'s parental rights to G.B. The record
does not reflect that L.S. appealed that judgment. However,
in August 2016, she filed a motion to modify the parent-child
relationship, seeking to be named sole managing conservator
of G.B. The trial court dismissed the motion for lack of
standing, noting L.S.'s rights had previously been
timely appealed and filed her brief. The brief did not
reference the dismissal order, state the facts as reflected
in the record, or identify and analyze any error in the trial
court's dismissal order. Instead, it claimed that L.S.
should be given "a chance to be a mother again" and
described L.S.'s difficult past and the steps she had
taken to improve her situation.
the brief did not comply with the rules of appellate
procedure, we notified L.S. the brief was deficient and
instructed her to file an amended brief correcting
deficiencies we identified. See Tex. R. App. P.
38.1. In our notice, we cautioned L.S. that failure to comply
could result in dismissal of the appeal without further
notice. See id. 38.8(a)(1), 42.3(b), (c). L.S. filed
an amended brief, again claiming she should be given "a
chance" with G.B. but failing to correct the
deficiencies in her original brief.
purpose of a brief is to acquaint the reviewing court with
the facts and issues of the case and provide the court with
supporting argument and authority so that it may decide the
merits of the case. See id. 38.1(f)-(i); Butler
v. Hide-a-Way Lake Club, Inc., 730 S.W.2d 405, 409 (Tex.
App.-Eastland 1987, writ ref'd n.r.e.) (quoting former
Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 74(p), the predecessor to
Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 38). To ensure a brief
accomplishes its purpose, the rules of appellate procedure
list specific requirements a brief must contain. See
Tex. R. App. P. 38. Among the requirements for an
appellant's brief are a concise statement of the
pertinent facts, a statement of the complaints presented for
review, and a succinct and clear argument for the contentions
made with appropriate citations to the record and
authorities. See id. 38.1(f)-(i).
a reviewing court construes the briefing rules liberally, a
brief fails if it does not describe the judgment or order
being appealed, does not state why the trial court erred in
rendering the judgment or order, does not contain appropriate
citations to the record of facts that may be favorable to the
appellant's position, or does not cite or analyze legal
authorities in support of the contentions raised. See
id. 38.9; Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 895;
Santillan v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co., 166
S.W.3d 823, 824 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2005, no pet.). This is
true even if the appellant is pro se and untrained in law.
See Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 895 (a party to civil
litigation has the right to represent himself, or appear pro
se, at trial or appeal, but that right "carries with it
the responsibility to adhere to our rules of evidence and
procedure"). If a brief fails to comply with the
appellate rules, we are authorized to dismiss the appeal.
See id. at 895-96 (citing Tex.R.App.P. 42.3).
stated, L.S.'s claim on appeal is that she should be
given "a chance" with G.B. She does not mention in
the amended brief the dismissal order, state why the trial
court erred in dismissing the motion to modify, cite to the
record, or provide citations to or analysis of legal
authorities that would show the court erred in dismissing the
motion. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(f)-(i);
Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 896; Santillan, 166
S.W.3d at 824. A brief that does not attack the merits of the
appealed judgment or cite and analyze legal authorities
supporting the alleged error is deficient. See
Canton-Carter v. Baylor Coll. of Med., 271 S.W.3d 928,
931 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2008, no pet.)
(concluding brief failed to meet briefing requirements where
issues did "not point out any error allegedly committed
by the trial court or even attack the merits of the trial
court's . . . judgment" and did ...