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In re I.D.C.

Court of Appeals of Texas, Tenth District

May 2, 2018

IN THE INTEREST OF I.D.C., A CHILD

          From the 66th District Court Hill County, Texas Trial Court No. CV315-17

          Before Chief Justice Gray, Justice Davis, and Justice Scoggins

          ABATEMENT ORDER

          PER CURIAM

         The relevant background in this private termination suit is as follows:

         • On February 27, 2018, the trial court signed an order of termination, terminating the parental rights of Appellant, I.D.C.'s father.

         • On March 5, 2018, Appellant filed with the trial court clerk his pro se notice of appeal from the February 27, 2018 order of termination.

         • On March 29, 2018, Appellant filed in this Court a "Motion, " raising several requests/issues. The Motion contains a "Preliminary Matters" section and a "Preliminary Statement" section. Included with the Motion are also several reference documents that Appellant describes as "Included Documents."

         • On April 6, 2018, Appellant filed in this Court his docketing statement and a motion for extension of time to file his brief.

         We have reviewed the documents filed and the status of this appeal and issue the following orders:

         Service and Number of Copies of Documents

         None of the documents that Appellant has filed in this appeal contains proper proof of service. Appellant failed to sign the certificate of service in his docketing statement. Instead, he wrote, "Unable to serve due to indigency and inability to make copies." Appellant's March 29, 2018 Motion and April 6, 2018 motion for extension of time to file brief both contain a signed certificate of service, but the certificate of service states that a true and correct copy of the document was served only on the "Clerk of the 66th Judicial District Court." The certificate of service then requests that the Clerk serve the document electronically on the appellee's attorney of record, which is improper.

         A filing party is required to serve a copy of all documents presented to the Court on all parties to the appeal. Tex.R.App.P. 9.5(a). Service on a party represented by counsel must be made on that party's lead counsel. Id. The documents must contain proof of service. Id. at 9.5(d). Proof of service may be in the form of either an acknowledgement of service by the person served or a certificate of service. Id. A certificate of service must be signed by the person who made the service, and must state (1) the date and manner of service, (2) the name and address of each person served, and (3) if the person served is a party's attorney, the name of the party represented by that attorney. Id. at 9.5(e).

         To expedite this matter, we implement Rule of Appellate Procedure 2 to suspend Rule of Appellate Procedure 9.5's proof-of-service requirement for Appellant's March 29, 2018 Motion, his docketing statement, and his April 6, 2018 motion for extension of time to file brief. See id. at 2. The Clerk of this Court is ordered to immediately forward a copy of each of these documents to the appellee's lead counsel. We decline, however, to implement Rule 2 to suspend Rule 9.5's service requirements for Appellant's future filings in this appeal.

         In the Preliminary Matters section of his March 29, 2018 Motion, Appellant requests that we implement Rule 2 to suspend Rule 9.5's service requirements for all of his filings in this appeal. Appellant contends that he is unable to serve the documents because he is indigent and unable to make or obtain copies. But Rule 9.5 does not require Appellant to serve photocopies; rather, Appellant may satisfy Rule 9.5's requirement that he serve a "copy" of a document presented to the Court on all parties to the appeal by serving a handwritten, verbatim reproduction of a document presented to the Court on all parties to the appeal. See id. at 9.5(a); cf. Garrett v. Borden, 283 S.W.3d 852, 853-54 (Tex. 2009) (per curiam) (holding that Civil Practice and Remedies Code section 14.005's requirement that an inmate, who files grievance claim subject ...


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