Appeal from the 245th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2013-08718
consists of Justices Christopher, Jewell, and Hassan.
an attempted appeal filed by Viola Perfecto Clark from a
divorce decree signed on April 25, 2014, following a
conventional trial on the merits. We dismiss the appeal for
want of jurisdiction.
record does not reflect that Viola timely filed a motion for
new trial; thus her notice of appeal was due May 26, 2014.
See Tex. R. App. P. 26.1 (with exceptions
inapplicable here, a notice of appeal must be filed within
thirty day after a judgment is signed, or if certain
post-judgment motions are timely filed, thirty days after the
last such motion is overruled by signed order or by operation
of law). Viola filed her notice of appeal on November 3,
2017, more than three years after the trial court signed the
judgment. Appellee Cornel T. Clark contends this court has no
jurisdiction because the notice of appeal was filed untimely.
See, e.g., Butler v. Amegy Bank, N.A., No.
14-15-00410-CV, 2016 WL 3574685, at *6 (Tex. App.-Houston
[14th Dist.] June 30, 2016, no pet.) (mem. op.) ("A
timely filed notice of appeal invokes this court's
decree, which was signed following a trial on the merits,
recites in pertinent part: "IT IS ORDERED AND DECREED
that all relief requested in this case and not expressly
granted is denied. This is a final judgment, for which let
execution and all writs and processes necessary to enforce
this judgment issue. This judgment finally disposes of all
claims and all parties and is appealable."
claims her appeal is timely because the decree, despite its
language of finality, was interlocutory. She argues that the
Office of the Attorney General ("OAG") had a
pending "intervention" that went unaddressed and
unresolved in the judgment, and thus the decree was not
final. Viola urges that, because the OAG did not
nonsuit its "claim" until August 2017, her time
period to appeal did not begin to run until the OAG's
nonsuit. We disagree that this divorce decree was
interlocutory when the court signed it on April 25, 2014.
the Aldridge presumption, any judgment following a
conventional trial on the merits creates a presumption that
the judgment is final for purposes of appeal. See Ne.
Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Aldridge, 400 S.W.2d 893, 897-98
(Tex. 1966). A judgment following a conventional trial on the
merits need not actually dispose of every party and claim for
the Aldridge presumption of finality to apply.
See id. at 895, 897-98.
does not dispute that the decree followed a trial on the
merits. Instead, she asserts that, when doubts exist about a
judgment's finality, we must determine the court's
intention by looking at the language of the decree and the
record as a whole. See Vaughn v. Drennon, 324 S.W.3d
560, 563 (Tex. 2010). But, as shown above, the present
judgment contains express language of finality; thus, there
can be no doubt about the court's intention to finally
dispose of the case. See id.; see also Moritz v.
Preiss, 121 S.W.3d 715, 718-19 (Tex. 2003) (applying
Aldridge presumption of finality because there was
"nothing to indicate that the trial court did not intend
to finally dispose of the entire case"); John v.
Marshall Health Servs., Inc., 58 S.W.3d 738, 740 (Tex.
2001) (concluding that Aldridge presumption of
finality was "entirely appropriate," even though
judgment did not dispose of all parties); In re
M.A.B., No. 01-15-00388-CV, 2015 WL 6081937, at *4-5
(Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Oct. 15, 2015, pet. denied)
(mem. op.) (explaining that similar express language of
finality contained in decree supported presumption of
conclude the judgment in this case was final for purposes of
appeal on April 25, 2014. Thus, Viola's November 3, 2017
notice of appeal is untimely. When the notice of appeal is
untimely, we lack jurisdiction and must dismiss the case.
See Charlotte v. Fitzgerald, 213 S.W.3d 505, 509
(Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2006, no pet.).
dismiss Viola's appeal. See Tex. R. App. P.
 No children were involved in this