Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
IN THE MATTER OF GABRIELLE RENEE COLEMAN AND KORWIN JEANEL WILBURN
Appeal from the 292nd Judicial District Court Dallas County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. CV15-00661V
Justices Francis, Fillmore, and Whitehill.
M. FILLMORE JUSTICE.
Jeanel Wilburn appeals from a protective order entered in
favor of his ex-girlfriend, Gabrielle Renee Coleman.
See Tex. Fam. Code Ann. §§ 71.001-87.004
(West 2014 & Supp. 2017). In his pro se brief, Wilburn
complains in four issues that the trial court erred by
holding a hearing on Coleman's application for protective
order when Wilburn was not represented by counsel. We affirm
the trial court's order.
filed his initial brief on September 15, 2017. On October 6,
2017, we sent notice to Wilburn that his brief did not
satisfy requirements of Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure
38.1 because, among other deficiencies, the argument in the
brief was not supported by citations to authorities and to
the record. Wilburn filed an amended brief on October 30,
2017. We entered an order on November 16, 2017, advising
Wilburn the amended brief failed to correct the deficiencies
noted in the October 6th letter. We ordered Wilburn to file,
by November 27, 2017, a second corrected brief and cautioned
him that failure to do so would result in the appeal being
submitted based on the October 30, 2017 brief. Wilburn did
not file a second amended brief by November 27, 2017. Coleman
filed an appellate brief on December 12, 2017, arguing
Wilburn's appeal should be dismissed because the October
30, 2017 brief failed to comply with the rules of appellate
procedure and presented nothing for this Court to review.
Wilburn filed a reply brief on December 22, 2017, asserting
"[p]ro se litigants are not expected to be a [sic]
versed in briefing as a seasoned appellant attorney and
should not be treated as one when an attorney can be
appointed to help them." The appeal was submitted to the
Court based on Wilburn's October 30, 2017 amended brief.
October 30, 2017 amended brief, Wilburn complains in four
issues that (1) the trial court erred by "excluding lack
of representation presented at trial" and "not
setting another trial date," (2) he was expecting his
lawyer to be present at trial,  and (3) when his lawyer failed to
appear, he "should have been allowed to receive the
appropriate representation and a new trial date should have
been set." Wilburn's argument on all four issues
consists only of:
Equal and Proper representation should be given to all
representative of any trial. Having one side with legal
representation and the other side with no representation is
an affair [sic] disadvantage of any one's human rights
under the United States law.
This trial should have been postponed and rescheduled to
allow for equal representation of both parties.
Appellee Gabrielle Coleman had legal representation.
Appellant Korwin Wilburn did not have legal representation,
but wanted representation. Appellant Korwin Wilburn was at a
construe the rules of appellate procedure reasonably, yet
liberally, so that the right of appeal is not lost by
imposing requirements not absolutely necessary to effect the
purpose of the rules. Republic Underwriters Ins. Co. v.
Mex-Tex, Inc., 150 S.W.3d 423, 427 (Tex. 2004); Pak
v. AD Villarai, LLC, No. 05-14-01312-CV, 2018 WL
2077602, at *3 (Tex. App.-Dallas May 4, 2018, no pet. h.)
(mem. op.). This includes how those rules apply to the
pleadings and briefs of a pro se litigant. Pak, 2018
WL 2077602, at *3; see also In re N.E.B., 251 S.W.3d
211, 211 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2008, no pet.). However, we also
hold pro se litigants to the same standards as licensed
attorneys and require them to comply with applicable laws and
rules of procedure. Washington v. Bank of N.Y., 362
S.W.3d 853, 854 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2012, no pet.). To do
otherwise would give a pro se litigant an unfair advantage
over a litigant who is represented by counsel. Pak,
2018 WL 2077602, at *3; In re N.E.B., 251 S.W.3d at
Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure control the required
contents and organization of an appellant's brief.
See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1; ERI Consulting
Eng'rs, Inc. v. Swinnea, 318 S.W.3d 867, 880 (Tex.
2010). Under those rules, to present an issue to this Court,
an appellant's brief must, among other things, concisely
state all issues or points presented for review and
"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(f), (i); see
also Pak, 2018 WL 2077602, at *3 ("Rule 38 requires
a party to provide us with such discussion of the facts and
authorities relied upon as may be necessary to present the
issue."). Bare assertions of error, without argument or
authority, waive any error. In re S.V., No.
05-16-00519-CV, 2017 WL 3725981, at *10 (Tex. App.-Dallas
Aug. 30, 2017, pet. denied); see also Fredonia State Bank
v. Gen. Am. Life Ins. Co., 881 S.W.2d 279, 284 (Tex.
1994) (observing error may be waived by inadequate briefing).
"When a party, despite notice and an opportunity to
cure, fails to adequately brief a complaint, he waives the
issue on appeal." Nixon v. Attorney Gen. of
Tex., No. 05-17-00582-CV, 2018 WL 3062349, at *2 (Tex.
App.-Dallas June 21, 2018, no pet. h.) (mem. op.).
a respondent in a civil protective order proceeding does not
have an automatic right to appointed counsel, Turner v.
Roberson, No. 05-11-01272-CV, 2013 WL 2152636, at *4
(Tex. App.-Dallas May 17, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.);
Gardner v. Reindollar, No. 10-13-00249-CV, 2014 WL
1271776, at *1 (Tex. App.-Waco Mar. 27, 2014, no pet.) (mem.
op.), Wilburn is apparently asserting the trial court erred
by not appointing counsel to represent him and by not
continuing the hearing until Wilburn had counsel.
Wilburn's initial brief, however, contained no authority
to support his argument he was entitled to appointed counsel
at the hearing on the application for protective order or
that he properly requested, and was entitled to, a
continuance because he did not have counsel. After this Court
notified Wilburn that his brief was deficient because, among
other things, it contained no authority to support his
argument, Wilburn filed an amended brief. The amended brief
also contained no authority to support Wilburn's
arguments that he was entitled to either appointed counsel at
the hearing on the application for the protective order or a
continuance because he did not have representation. This
Court informed Wilburn that his amended brief failed to
correct the deficiencies, ordered him to file a second
corrected brief, and cautioned him that his failure to file a
second corrected brief would result in the appeal being
submitted on the deficient amended brief. Wilburn failed to
file a second corrected brief addressing the deficiencies
noted by the Court.
amended brief contains "bare assertions of error"
without any supporting authority. Accordingly, he has waived
any complaint of error by the trial court. See Fredonia
State Bank, 881 S.W.2d at 284; Nixon, 2018 WL
3062349, at *2. We resolve ...