Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
Appeal from the 72nd District Court Lubbock County, Texas
Trial Court No. 2012-500, 295, Honorable Ruben Gonzales
QUINN, C.J., and CAMPBELL and PIRTLE, JJ.
T. Campbell Justice
Reidie Jackson, a Texas prison inmate appearing pro se,
brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against appellees
Captain Robert Vaughn a/k/a Vaughan, Lieutenant Nicky Emsoff,
Peter Honesto, James Nall, and David Guzman. At all times
relevant, appellees were employed by the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice at the Montford Unit in Lubbock, Texas.
Jackson challenges the trial court's judgment dismissing
his suit with prejudice as to each appellee. We will
Nall, and Guzman were members of a Montford Unit "use of
force team" that in March 2011 forcibly removed Jackson
from his cell when he would not vacate it. Officer Cindy
Mayne operated a camera recording the
use-of-force event. Jackson alleged Vaughn, Emsoff, and team
members violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from
cruel and unusual punishments. According to Jackson, the male
team members struck him in the ribs and face and
"kneed" him in the face, all while he was
restrained, and Vaughn and Emsoff stood by and watched the
events with deliberate indifference to Jackson's safety.
Jackson filed suit, Vaughn and Emsoff brought a motion to
dismiss under Civil Practice & Remedies Code Chapter 14
which the trial court granted. It signed a final judgment in
January 2013 and Jackson appealed. Finding Jackson
sufficiently alleged section 1983 excessive force and
bystander claims, we reversed and remanded the
case. Back in the trial court Honesto, Nall, and
Guzman filed answers and a motion to declare Jackson a
vexatious litigant and for security. The trial court found
Jackson to be a vexatious litigant and ordered he provide
security in the amount of $500. When Jackson failed to post
the required security, the court dismissed his claims against
Honesto, Nall, and Guzman.
and Emsoff then moved for summary judgment. The motion was
granted and the trial court rendered a final judgment
disposing of all claims and all parties to the litigation.
Litigant claim of Nall, Honesto, and Guzman
first issue Jackson asserts the trial court abused its
discretion by granting the motion Honesto, Nall, and Guzman
filed to declare him a vexatious litigant under Civil
Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 11.
Jackson's briefing reveals a misunderstanding of the
nature of our review of the trial court's order declaring
him a vexatious litigant. In his brief, Jackson points to our
2014 holding that his pleadings sufficiently alleged a
section 1983 excessive force claim and a bystander claim.
See 2014 Tex.App. LEXIS 13354, at *14. We held the
trial court abused its discretion by dismissing his suit
under Chapter 14 because, we found, his pleadings did not
allege claims lacking a basis in law. Tex. Civ. Prac. &
Rem. Code Ann. § 14.003(b)(2) (West 2017). Jackson's
present briefing argues the standard we applied in his
previous appeal and the standard we apply to review of the
trial court's vexatious-litigant determination under
Chapter 11 are "essentially the same and to jump one
hurdle is to jump the other." The argument is misguided.
Our 2014 review considered only Jackson's pleadings. We
took as true the allegations of his petition, and reviewed it
only to determine whether, as a matter of law, it stated a
cause of action authorizing relief. We sought to determine
whether Jackson had plead an indisputably meritless legal
theory. 2014 Tex.App. LEXIS 13354, at *9. Our review did not
consider at all whether any evidence supported the claims his
task this time around is different. A vexatious litigant
determination requires the defendant to demonstrate there is
not a reasonable probability the plaintiff will prevail in
the litigation against the defendant and the plaintiff, in
the preceding seven-year period, commenced, prosecuted, or
maintained as a pro se litigant at least five litigations,
other than in small claims court, that were finally
determined adversely to the plaintiff. Tex. Civ. Prac. &
Rem. Code Ann. § 11.054; Leonard v. Abbott, 171
S.W.3d 451, 457 (Tex. App.- Austin 2005, pet. denied). It is
the defendant's burden to prove both requirements of
section 11.054. Amir-Sharif v. Quick Trip Corp., 416
S.W.3d 914, 919 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2013, no pet.) (noting also
that a defendant who fails to offer any evidence showing why
the plaintiff could not prevail on his suit has failed to
meet its burden); Drake v. Andrews, 294 S.W.3d 370,
375 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2009, pet. denied).
apply an abuse of discretion standard when reviewing a trial
court's determinations under Chapter 11. Devoll v.
State,155 S.W.3d 498, 502 (Tex. App.-San Antonio 2004,
no pet.). The test for an abuse of discretion is whether the
court acted arbitrarily or unreasonably and without reference
to any guiding rules and principles. Downer v. Aquamarine
Operators, Inc.,701 S.W.2d 238, 241-42 (Tex. 1985).
Unlike our 2014 ...