Court of Appeals of Texas, Sixth District, Texarkana
Submitted: April 5, 2017
Appeal from the 414th District Court McLennan County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2015-4756-5
Morriss, C.J., Moseley and Burgess, JJ.
C. Moseley Justice
Ruthen James Weems, III, was arrested at a motel in
by law enforcement officers, he filed this suit against Motel
6 Operating LP (Motel 6), The City of Waco (the City), and
McLennan County (the County), asserting claims for, inter
alia, invasion of privacy, assault, and false arrest.
Motel 6 filed motions for traditional and no-evidence summary
judgment, and the City and the County both filed pleas to the
jurisdiction, all of which were granted by the trial
court. On appeal, Weems complains that the trial
court erred in granting the City's and the County's
pleas to the jurisdiction because (1) his claims fall within
the waiver of sovereign immunity provided in Section 101.021
of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code, (2) whether
the officers' actions were intentional is a fact question
for the jury,  and (3) the failure of the City and the
County to respond to his discovery requests precluded the
granting of the pleas to the jurisdiction. Weems also
complains that the trial court erred in granting summary
judgment in favor of Motel 6 because (4) the failure of Motel
6 to answer his discovery requests precluded summary judgment
in its favor, (5) Motel 6 did not conclusively establish its
defense as a matter of law, and (6) he produced evidence of
all the elements of his invasion of privacy claim. We find
that Weems' claims do not fall within the provisions of
Section 101.021 and that Weems has waived his remaining
points of error. Therefore, we will affirm the judgment of
the trial court.
Waived Points of Error
Motel 6 argues that Weems has waived all of his points of
error by filing a non-compliant brief. As to most of
Weems' points of error, we agree. We note that Weems has
not provided any citations to the record in support of any of
his points of error. In addition, as to some of his points of
error, Weems fails to cite appropriate legal authority or to
make a concise argument. An appellant's brief is required
to "contain a clear and concise argument for the
contentions made, with appropriate citations to authorities
and to the record." Tex.R.App.P. 38.1(i). This
requirement cannot be satisfied by conclusory statements,
unsupported by citation to appropriate legal authority.
Betts v. Cty. of Freestone, No. 10-09-00220-CV, 2011
WL 2480007, at *2 (Tex. App.-Waco June 22, 2011, no pet.)
(mem. op.) (citing Taylor v. Meador, 326 S.W.3d 682,
684 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2010, no pet.)).
issue not supported by references to the record is
waived." Nguyen v. Kosnoski, 93 S.W.3d 186, 188
(Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.); see also
Giraldo v. Sw. Adventist Univ., No. 10-16-00145-CV, 2017
WL 1573143, at *1 (Tex. App.-Waco Apr. 26, 2017, no pet.)
(mem. op.) (issues waived when no citations to the record
provided). Further, "[f]ailure to cite legal authority
or provide substantive analysis of an issue waives the
complaint." Betts, 2011 WL 2480007, at *2
(quoting Taylor, 326 S.W.3d at 684). "An
appellate court has no duty to perform an independent review
of the record and applicable law to determine whether the
error complained of occurred." Id. at *1
(citing Karen Corp. v. The Burlington N. & Santa Fe
Ry. Co., 107 S.W.3d 118, 125 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth 2003,
pet. denied); Harkins v. Dever Nursing Home, 999
S.W.2d 571, 573 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, no
pet.)). If we did so, we would abandon our role as a neutral
adjudicator and become an advocate for the appellant. In
re Estate of Taylor, 305 S.W.3d 829, 837 (Tex.
App.-Texarkana 2010, no pet.) (citing Plummer v.
Reeves, 93 S.W.3d 930, 931 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2003,
pet. denied) (per curiam)). For the same reason, "we
cannot speculate as to the substance of the specific issues
appellant claims we must address." Betts, 2011
WL 2480007, at *1 (citing Plummer, 93 S.W.3d at
931). "[P]ro-se litigants are held to the same standards
as licensed attorneys with regard to compliance with
applicable laws and rules of procedure."
Giraldo, 2017 WL 1573143, at *1 (quoting Warren
v. McLennan Cty. Judiciary, No. 10-13-00009-CV, 2013 WL
3344166, at *1 n.2 (Tex. App.-Waco June 27, 2013, no pet.)
(mem. op.) (citing Mansfield State Bank v. Cohn, 573
S.W.2d 181, 184-85 (Tex. 1978); In re N.E.B., 251
S.W.3d 211, 211-12 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.)).
second point of error, we believe that Weems may be
complaining that (in an effort to circumvent the claims of
governmental immunity) whether the conduct of the officers
was intentional is a matter to be determined by the jury.
Weems makes no citations to the record or to appropriate
legal authority in support of this issue. Further, one must
engage in substantial speculation to determine that this is
truly the gist of Weems' complaint. Since he failed to
comply with Rule 38.1(i), Weems has waived this point of
error. See id.; Betts, 2011 WL 2480007, at
third and fourth points of error, Weems complains that the
City, the County, and Motel 6 failed to comply with his
discovery requests and that if they had complied, the trial
court would not have granted the pleas to the jurisdiction
and the motion for summary judgment. Weems makes no citations
to the record to enable us to determine whether these issues
have merit or whether they have been preserved for our
review. Since he failed to comply with Rule 38.1(i), Weems
has waived these points of error. See Giraldo, 2017
WL 1573143, at *3.
fifth point of error, Weems makes the conclusory statement
that Motel 6 has failed to establish all of the elements of
its defense, then he argues that the trial court erred in
granting summary judgment without requiring all of the
appellees to comply with his discovery requests. Again Weems
makes no citations to the record. In addition, since his
argument addresses a different point of error, we would be
required to speculate as what point of error he is asserting.
Weems has waived this point of error. See id.;
Betts, 2011 WL 2480007, at *1.
sixth point of error, Weems complains the trial court erred
in granting summary judgment to Motel 6 because he produced
evidence of all the elements of his invasion of privacy
claim. However, Weems makes no citations to the record where
he produced such evidence. In addition, he does not make any
argument supporting his claim that Motel 6, assuming it
supplied a passkey to the officers, should be held liable for
the alleged invasion of privacy. Assertions made in pleadings
are not competent summary judgment evidence. Hidalgo v.
Surety Savs. & Loan Assoc., 462 S.W.2d 540, 543-44
(Tex. 1971). Weems has waived this point of
error. See Giraldo, 2017 WL 1573143, at
*3; Betts, 2011 WL 2480007, at *1.
Weems has waived all of his points of error attacking the
summary judgment in favor of Motel 6, we will affirm the
trial court's judgment in favor of Motel 6.
II.The Trial Court Did Not Err in Granting the Pleas to