Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourth District, San Antonio
the County Court at Law No. 3, Bexar County, Texas Trial
Court No. 2017CV01615 Honorable David J. Rodriguez, Judge
Sitting: Patricia O. Alvarez, Justice, Luz Elena D. Chapa,
Justice Irene Rios, Justice.
Kenneth Thomas appeals the trial court's judgment in
favor of Appellee The Park at Sutton Oaks granting Appellee
possession of an apartment occupied by Thomas and ordering
Thomas to pay back rent, attorney's fees, and court
costs. Because Thomas did not file a brief in compliance with
the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, we affirm the
judgment of the trial court.
brought a forcible detainer action against Thomas to evict
Thomas from one of Appellee's apartments. On April 17,
2017, the trial court entered a judgment granting Appellee
possession of the premises and ordering Thomas to pay back
rent in the amount of $100, attorney's fees in the amount
of $1, 500, and court costs in the amount of $116. Thomas
30, 2017, Thomas, acting pro se, filed his original
brief. We ordered Thomas's original brief stricken for
failure to comply with Rules 9.4, 9.5, and 38.1 of the Texas
Rules of Appellate Procedure and further ordered Thomas to
file an amended brief. See Tex. R. App. P. 9.4(g),
9.5(a), (d), 38.1(a)-(k). In the order, we stated that if
Thomas failed to file an amended brief complying with the
rules, we "may strike the brief, prohibit [Thomas] from
filing another, and proceed as if [he] had failed to file a
brief." See id. at 38.9(a).
September 27, 2017, Thomas filed an amended brief that was
also deemed defective. On October 9, 2017, we notified Thomas
by letter that the amended brief "still fails to include
a statement of facts with record references and the argument
portion of the brief does not contain any actual legal
argument and is also unsupported by record references."
See id. at 38.1(g), (i) (requiring briefs to contain
a statement of facts with record references and "a clear
and concise argument for the contentions made, with
appropriate citations to authorities and to the
record"). We advised Thomas that we may consider his
appellate complaints waived due to inadequate briefing if he
failed to correct the noted deficiencies. Thomas did not file
a second amended brief.
pro se appellant's brief should be construed
liberally. Sterner v. Marathon Oil Co., 767 S.W.2d
686, 690 (Tex. 1989). However, a pro se party must
comply with all applicable procedural rules and on appeal
must properly present its case. Valadez v. Avitia,
238 S.W.3d 843, 845 (Tex. App.-El Paso 2007, no pet.). It is
the appellant's burden to discuss his assertions of
error. Id. 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.
Id. 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.
amended brief contains merely a list of phrases and
statements, sometimes with citation to legal authority. Most
of the purported issues listed by Thomas appear to pertain to
acts or omissions allegedly committed by Appellee. Moreover,
most of the phrases and statements listed by Thomas are
indiscernible as issues presented for appellate review (e.g.,
"Landlord's unclean hands and equity, "
"Discriminatory in violation of the Fair Housing Act,
" "Retaliatory Eviction"). At no point in his
amended brief does Thomas explain how or why the trial court
erred or provide citations to the record.
closest Thomas comes to presenting a discernible issue for
our review is the statement, "Improper Role by Judge as
an Advocate for one Party." See Rymer v. Lewis,
206 S.W.3d 732, 736 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, no pet.) ("A
judge should not act as an advocate for any party.").
However, Thomas does not cite to anything in the record to
support his apparent contention that the trial court erred by
acting as an advocate for one of the parties. Nor does Thomas
explain how the trial court acted improperly as an advocate.
We will not perform an independent review of the record to
determine whether the trial court erred. See
Valadez, 238 S.W.3d at 845.
Thomas's amended brief fails to include any citations to
the record, any actual legal analysis, or any explanation as
to why the trial court erred, we conclude Thomas has waived
his appellate complaints by failing to comply with the
briefing rules set forth in Rule 38.1 of the Texas Rules of
Appellate Procedure. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i);
Castro v. Castro, No. 04-14-00785-CV, 2015 WL
8984139, at *2 (Tex. App.-San Antonio, Dec. 16, 2015, pet.
reasons stated above, we affirm the judgment ...