Appeal from the 308th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Case No. 2009-58679
consists of Chief Justice Radack and Justices Massengale and
RADACK CHIEF JUSTICE
Anthony Amudo, challenges the trial court's order denying
his motion to modify child support. In six issues, Anthony
contends that the trial court erred in excluding evidence as
a discovery sanction, not granting a continuance, and not
filing findings of fact and conclusions of law.
2011, the trial court signed a final decree, granting Anthony
and his wife, Christiana Amudo, a divorce and awarding
Christiana primary conservatorship of their three children.
In the decree, the trial court ordered that Anthony pay
monthly child support of $2, 250.00 and that he provide the
children with health insurance.
December 31, 2015, Anthony filed a "Petition to Modify
[the] Parent-Child Relationship, " requesting that the
trial court decrease his monthly child-support and
health-insurance obligations because his circumstances had
materially and substantially changed since the date of the
decree. Christiana filed an answer, generally denying the
March 2016, the Office of the Attorney General for the State
of Texas ("OAG") intervened in the suit and served
Anthony with a request for production of several documents,
including his federal tax returns for the preceding two
years, documentation of income, accounts, and available
2016, Anthony sent discovery requests to Christiana, who was
pro se. When the parties appeared for trial on August 16,
2016, however, Christiana's newly retained counsel
requested a continuance. The trial court granted a
continuance, reset trial for October 10, 2016, ordered that
Anthony send to Christiana's new counsel a copy of his
outstanding discovery requests, and that Christiana respond
within 30 days.
August 30, 2016, Christiana filed a certificate of written
discovery, stating that she had served Anthony with a set of
interrogatories, requests for production, and requests for
about September 29, 2016, Anthony responded to each of
Christiana's discovery requests with an objection that
the request was untimely because it had been served on him
too close to the October 10, 2016 trial.
October 10, 2016, trial was reset to January 24, 2017. Trial
was later held on March 24, 2017.
beginning of trial, Christiana moved for a directed verdict
and asked the trial court to dismiss the case, asserting
that, although Anthony had, on September 29, 2016, served her
with a response to her discovery requests, his "only
answer" to all of her questions and requests was a
"blanket objection" as follows: "Objection is
made to this interrogatory because it was served on
Petitioner less than 30 days before the end of the discovery
period, Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 197.1."
Christiana complained that, after the October 10, 2016 trial
[Anthony] never amended [his] responses except to send a-on
the 14th of February  . . . what purports to be a 2016
tax return. [He] did not respond to any of the bank
statements. This is a gentleman who claims to be
self-employed. No bank statements were provided. Those were
specifically requested. None of the information about
accounts, none of the information about who he works for,
absolutely nothing. And I do have a copy of . . . [his]
original responses as well as [his] supplemental responses if
the Court needs to see those.
Additionally, the local rules require that ten days prior to
any trial involving child support, a party must file and
serve upon the other side a financial information statement,
which would contain the last two years' tax returns as
well as the most ...