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Johnson v. Brown

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District

July 18, 2017

KRISEAN JOHNSON, Appellant
v.
MARSHA BROWN, Appellee

         On Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 2 Galveston County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. CV-0076978

          Ken Wise Judge

          MEMORANDUM OPI NION

          Panel consists of Justices Christopher, Brown, and Wise.

         This is an appeal from a final judgment of eviction. In six issues, pro se appellant Krisean Johnson contends that the county court erred by granting a judgment in favor of appellee Marsha Brown and by refusing to consider his counterclaim for nuisance and to recover the cost of improvements allegedly made to the property. Because we have no record of the county court proceedings and counterclaims are not permitted in eviction cases, we affirm.

         Background

         In August 2016, Marsha Brown filed a petition in justice court to evict Krisean Johnson from the premises at 2511 Avenue P ½ in Galveston, Texas, 77550 (the property). Johnson, appearing pro se, filed an answer and counterclaim in which he denied Brown's allegations and claimed that Brown had "failed to comply with her statutory duties and abandon[ed] the property for more than 10 years."

         In a separately filed counterclaim, Johnson alleged that Brown's abandonment of the property caused it to become a nuisance to his grandmother's home next door and to the neighborhood generally. Johnson sought money damages for materials and labor he claimed were necessary to secure and improve the property, a lien against the property for the amount owed, and the right to occupy the property until he was paid in full.

         On August 11, 2016, Brown was awarded possession of the property. Johnson was ordered to pay monthly rent of $700.00 during the pendency of the appeal, court costs, and interest.

         Johnson appealed the judgment to the county court. On September 12, 2016, the county court signed a final judgment affirming the justice court's judgment. The county court's judgment did not mention or include a ruling on Johnson's counterclaims.

         Johnson filed a motion to reconsider in which he alleged that his counterclaim concerning the abandonment of the property was never addressed. Johnson also claimed that he had taken possession of the property by adverse possession because it became a nuisance to the surrounding properties. The trial court did not rule on the motion. This appeal followed.

         Analysis

         I. The Judgment

         In his first issue, Johnson contends that the trial court erred by directing Brown's lawyer as to what motion to file to have the case dismissed. In his fourth, fifth, and sixth issues, Johnson appears to challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting certain facts.[1] We cannot address these issues, however, because Johnson has not provided a record of the proceedings in the county court.

         "The burden is on the complaining party to present a sufficient record to the appellate court to show error requiring reversal." Melendez v. Exxon Corp., 998 S.W.2d 266, 278 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1999, no pet.). A reporter's record is usually essential to a successful appeal. See King's River Trail Ass'n, Inc. v. Pinehurst Trail Holdings, L.L.C., 447 S.W.3d 439, 449-51 (Tex. App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2014, pet. denied). While there are circumstances that obviate the need for a complete record, ...


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