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Reule v. Sherwood Valley 1 Counsel of Homeowners, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

November 21, 2017

CHRISTINE E. REULE, Appellant
v.
SHERWOOD VALLEY 1 COUNSEL OF HOMEOWNERS, INC., GEORGE HENRY RAMSEY, III, TERRY A. FRAZEE, AND DANIEL GOLDBERG, Appellees

         On Appeal from the 80th District Court Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 2016-37895

          Panel consists of Justices Keyes, Brown, and Lloyd

          MEMORANDUM ORDER

          EVELYN V. KEYES, JUDGE

         Appellant, Christine E. Reule, timely filed a pro se notice of appeal on July 25, 2017, from the trial court's final judgment, signed on April 27, 2017, in this quiet title case, after filing a motion for new trial. See Tex. R. App. P. 26.1(a)(1). With her notice of appeal, Reule also filed a Declaration of Indigence on July 25, 2017, in the trial court. Then Reule filed a premature "Notice of Appeal of the Trial Court's Reversal of Her Indigency Status" in this Court on August 9, 2017. We construe Reule's notice of appeal as a motion to review the trial court's order sustaining its own challenge to Reule's declaration of indigence, under Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 145(f)(4) and (g)(1), grant it, and reverse the order.

         Background

         Reule claimed that, although defendant Daniel Goldberg had not filed a motion to contest her indigency in the trial court, he still had sent a notice of hearing challenging her pauper's oath on August 1, 2017, setting it for an August 4, 2017 hearing. At the end of that indigency hearing, Reule claimed that the trial court orally overruled her objections, including that she had not received the required ten days' notice to prepare for the hearing, and declared her not indigent for appellate costs purposes. After the Clerk of this Court requested an indigent clerk's record, it was filed on September 11, 2017, including the trial court's order, signed on August 24, 2017, denying Reule's declaration of indigence.

         On August 24, 2017, the original clerk's record was filed in this Court. Then on September 25, 2017, the reporter's record of the August 4, 2017 pauper's oath challenge hearing was filed. At the August 4, 2017 hearing, defendant Goldberg's counsel confirmed that she did not file a contest, but that she had been informed by the trial court to file the notice of hearing for the court to hear Reule's declaration of indigence.

         We construe Reule's premature August 9, 2017 notice of appeal as a motion to review the trial court's August 24, 2017 order denying her indigence claim, and deem it timely filed on August 24, 2017. See Tex. R. Civ. P. 145(g)(1), (2); Tex.R.App.P. 27.2. Because the trial court's order contained no findings of fact, this Court abated this appeal on October 3, 2017, and requested the preparation of detailed findings as required by Rule 145(f)(6). A supplemental clerk's record was filed on October 26, 2017, containing the following trial court's findings of fact:

1. Reule filed the Lawsuit on June 6, 2016.
2. All Defendants were served and appeared before this Court.
3. On March 13, 2017, the Lawsuit was called to trial.
4. Reule and Defendants appeared and answered ready for trial.
5. Prior to a jury being impaneled, Reule and [Daniel J.] Goldberg entered into an Agreed Judgment, dated March 13, 2017.
6. The Agreed Judgment between Reule and Goldberg, dated March 13, 2017, disposed of all of Reule's ...

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