Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 7 Collin County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 007-02709-2016
Justices Lang, Brown, and Whitehill
George Morris appeals the trial court's dismissal of his
lawsuit for want of prosecution. In four issues, he claims
the trial court erred in denying his motion for continuance,
dismissing his case while discovery was pending, improperly
awarding attorney's fees to appellee Southern Journeys of
Texas, and failing to reinstate his case and reverse the
attorney's fees award. We affirm the trial court's
order of dismissal.
a pro se litigant, sued Southern Journeys in justice court
seeking damages for violations of the Telephone Consumer
Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227 (2015), arising from
four telemarking calls he received in June 2015. Following a
bench trial, the justice court ruled in favor of Southern
Journeys and ordered that Morris take nothing.
appealed to the county court at law, which notified the
parties by letter dated November 28, 2016 that the case was
set for trial on February 2, 2017. On January 24, 2017,
Morris filed a Request for Rescheduling due to an
out-of-state work-related scheduling conflict with the trial
date. He also filed a Motion for Discovery, seeking leave to
serve interrogatories and requests for production and
admission. Morris did not request a hearing on either motion.
On January 25, 2017, Southern Journeys filed a response
requesting the trial court to deny the Request for
Rescheduling because Morris failed to plead the necessary
averments and counsel for Southern Journeys already made
arrangements to travel from Georgia to Texas to defend the
case. Southern Journeys further requested its travel expenses
and $2000 in attorney's fees incurred in defending the
February 2, 2017, the trial court entered an order denying
Morris's Request for Rescheduling and awarding Southern
Journeys $2000 in attorney's fees. On February 8,
2017, the trial court entered an order of dismissal in which
the court granted an oral motion to dismiss made by Southern
Journeys in open court and, finding that Morris failed to
appear after being duly noticed of trial, dismissed the case
for want of prosecution. On February 21, 2017, Morris filed a
Request for New Trial, which the trial court denied by order
dated February 23, 2017.
se litigant is held to the same standards as licensed
attorneys and must comply with applicable laws and rules of
procedure. Strange v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 126
S.W.3d 676, 677-78 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2004, pet. denied). And,
as at trial, a pro se appellant must properly present his
case on appeal. Id. at 678. The rules of appellate
procedure require an appellant's brief 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). An issue on appeal unsupported by
argument or citation to legal authority or the record
presents nothing for us to review. Strange, 126
S.W.3d at 678. We have neither a right nor an obligation to
search a record for facts or research relevant law to support
an appellant's position; to do so would "improperly
transform the court from neutral adjudicator to
advocate." Lau v. Reeder, No. 05-14-01459-CV,
2016 WL 4371813, at *2 (Tex. App.-Dallas Aug. 16, 2016, pet.
denied) (mem. op.); Bolling v. Farmers Branch Indep. Sch.
Dist., 315 S.W.3d 893, 895 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no
filed a brief that was not in compliance with the rules of
appellate procedure. By letter, we notified him the brief was
deficient and instructed him to file, within ten days, an
amended brief correcting the noted deficiencies. Morris filed
an amended brief, but it failed to correct several of the
noted deficiencies. The amended brief lacks citations to
legal authority and the record in support of Morris's
argument, and the argument is little more than a statement of
his issues. Because Morris's issues are unsupported by
argument or appropriate citation to legal authority and the
record, he has preserved nothing for our review.
Strange, 126 S.W.3d at 678. Nevertheless, we will
consider his issues individually to the extent possible.
first issue, Morris argues the trial court erred in denying
his Request for Rescheduling. Texas Rule of Civil Procedure
251 governs motions for continuance and provides that a
motion shall not be granted except for sufficient cause
supported by affidavit, consent of the parties, or by
operation of law. Tex.R.Civ.P. 251; see In re A.M.,
418 S.W.3d 830, 838 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2013, no pet.);
Strong v. Strong, 350 S.W.3d 759, 762 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2011, pet. denied). Morris's Request for
Rescheduling was not supported by affidavit, Southern
Journeys did not consent to a continuance, and Morris has not
explained how a continuance was required by operation of law.