JUSTIN D. PERRYMAN AND KENNETH R. KOEPKE, Appellants
CITIZENS NATIONAL BANK AT BROWNWOOD, Appellee
Appeal from the 35th District Court Brown County, Texas Trial
Court Cause No. CV1611446
consists of: Bailey, C.J., Stretcher, J., and Wright, S.C.J.
pro se, Appellants filed notices of appeal from a judgment
entered against them after a jury trial. Pursuant to the
jury's verdict, the trial court awarded Appellee a
judgment against Appellants in excess of $2, 000, 000. The
trial court's judgment further provided that Appellants
are jointly and severally liable for all damages awarded,
except for attorney's fees in the event of an appeal. As
set forth herein, we abate the appeal.
Justin D. Perryman has filed a second motion to
this appeal. He states in the motion that he is a member of
the Texas Army National Guard that has recently been
mobilized for active duty service. Perryman asks this court
to stay his appeal pursuant to 50 U.S.C. § 3932(b) of
the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. See 50 U.S.C.
§ 3932(b). The Act provides that a servicemember is
entitled to a mandatory stay of civil judicial proceedings
for a period of not less than ninety days when his or her
application for stay meets certain conditions. Id.
§ 3932(b)(1). These conditions include:
(A)A letter or other communication setting forth facts
stating the manner in which current military duty
requirements materially affect the servicemember's
ability to appear and stating a date when the servicemember
will be available to appear.
(B)A letter or other communication from the
servicemember's commanding officer stating that the
servicemember's current military duty prevents appearance
and that military leave is not authorized for the
servicemember at the time of the letter.
Id. § 3932(b)(2)(A)-(B).
first note that Section 3932 does not readily appear to be
applicable to this appeal because the stay that it provides
applies "[a]t any stage before final
judgment." Id. § 3932(b)(1) (emphasis
added). This appeal is a stage after a final
judgment. However, one of our sister courts has granted a
stay pursuant to Section 3932 to a pro se party for a case
pending on appeal. See Alexander v. Alexander, No.
03-12-00688-CV, 2013 WL 363605, at *1 (Tex. App.-Austin Jan.
25, 2013, no pet.) (mem. op.). The Austin Court of Appeals
granted a stay until a certain date, and its order included a
filing deadline for the filing of the pro se
servicemember's brief that was approximately thirty days
after the date the case was to be reinstated. Id.;
see Tex. R. App. P. 38.6(a). The circumstances of
this appeal are synonymous with the situation in
Alexander because Perryman is appearing pro se and
his brief is currently due. See Alexander, 2013 WL
363605, at *1.
motion filed by Perryman appears to meet the conditions of
Section 3932(b)(2)(A)-(B). He has attached to his motion a
letter that he has signed indicating that his current
military duty requirements materially affect his ability to
"appear" in this proceeding in the form of
preparing his brief. Perryman additionally asserts: "I
am requesting a stay . . . until off orders on September 30,
2019 plus 30 days." Perryman has also attached a letter
from a commanding officer indicating that Perryman's
current military duty prevents his ability to attend to
nonmilitary legal affairs and that military leave is not
authorized for him.
purpose of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act "is to
suspend enforcement of civil liabilities of persons in the
military service of the United States in order to enable such
persons to devote their entire energy to the defense needs of
the Nation." Engstrom v. First Nat'l Bank of
Eagle Lake, 47 F.3d 1459, 1462 (5th Cir. 1995). The Act
is to be "liberally construed" and applied in a
"broad spirit of gratitude towards service
personnel." Clauer v. Heritage Lakes Homeowners
Ass'n, Inc., No. 4:09-CV-560, 2010 WL 2465363, at *3
(E.D. Tex). In light of Perryman's status as a pro se
litigant and his contention that his current military service
precludes his ability to prepare his brief, we grant
Perryman's motion for a stay of this appeal by abating
the appeal until October 30, 2019 (thirty days after
September 30, 2019, as specified in Perryman's supporting
Appellant Kenneth R. Koepke is not entitled to a stay under
Section 3932, the fact that he is jointly and severally
liable with Perryman indicates that Appellee's claims
against Koepke may be intertwined with Appellee's claims
against Perryman, thereby requiring that the entire appeal be
stayed. See Garcia v. Grimm, No. 06CV225 WQH (PCL),
2008 WL 4629928, at *3 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 17, 2008). This appeal
will be reinstated on October 30, 2019. Furthermore, we
extend the deadline for Perryman and Koepke to file their
respective briefs until December 2, 2019.
appeal is abated.
Willson, J., ...