Appeal from the 334th District Court Harris County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. 2018-60432.
consists of Chief Justice Frost and Justices Wise and Hassan.
an attempted appeal from an order signed by the trial court
on February 25, 2019, regarding the motion to reinstate filed
by plaintiffs/appellants Daryl Barnes and Demeatrice Goff
("Order Regarding Reinstatement").
initiated the underlying suit on September 6, 2018 by filing
an original petition seeking to enjoin defendant Renters
Warehouse Professional Landlords of Houston from evicting
them. They also filed an affidavit of inability to pay costs.
The trial court granted a temporary restraining order the
following day and scheduled a hearing for September 21, 2018.
Because defendant had not been served by September 21, 2018,
plaintiffs passed that hearing. Service was made on October
trial court signed a second temporary restraining order on
October 18, 2018 and scheduled a hearing for October 26,
2018. On the day of the hearing, defendant answered and moved
to dissolve the temporary restraining order. Following an
October 30, 2018 hearing on defendant's motion, the trial
court signed an order dissolving the temporary restraining
November 14, 2018, plaintiffs set a hearing for their
"Application for Court of Inquiry," which they had
filed on October 3, 2018. The hearing was scheduled for
November 16, 2018. Plaintiffs failed to appear for that
hearing. The trial court signed an order that day dismissing
the case for want of prosecution ("Order of
Dismissal"). The Order of Dismissal states in its
entirety: "The above referenced case is hereby Dismissed
for Want of Prosecution for Plaintiffs['] failure to
attend the hearings scheduled for November 16, 2018 in this
filed a motion to reinstate on January 10, 2019, and they
filed another one on January 25, 2019. They set the latter
motion motions to be heard on February 25, 2019. The motion
was not heard, but it is unclear if plaintiffs passed the
hearing or the trial court cancelled it in light of signing
the Order Regarding Reinstatement. In the Order Regarding
Reinstatement, the trial court concludes:
Plaintiffs' Motion [to Reinstate] had to be filed within
30 days of the [November 16, 2018] dismissal and is
accordingly untimely filed. For that reason, the Court's
power to grant plaintiffs the relief they seek has expired
and thus can not be granted.
appeared the Order of Dismissal was the appealable order,
even though plaintiffs appealed from the Order Regarding
Reinstatement. However, the Order Regarding Dismissal lacks
decretal language. We abated the appeal on June 11, 2019, to
permit clarification by the trial court as to whether the
Order of Dismissal was intended to be final. See
Tex. R. App. P. 27.2; Lehmann v. Har-Con Corp., 39
S.W.3d 191, 206 (Tex. 2001).
trial court signed an order on July 15, 2019 ("the Order
Regarding Finality"). The Order Regarding Finality
indicates a hearing was scheduled to occur on June 28, 2019,
in response to our abatement order, but plaintiffs did not
appear. After recounting the procedural history of the case,
the trial court concludes in the Order Regarding Finality:
"To the extent, the Court of Appeals remains uncertain
of this Court's intent, the Court opines that [the Order
of Dismissal] was final."
judgment is final if it disposes of all parties and claims.
Lehmann, 39 S.W.3d at 195. Because a final judgment
need not be in any particular form, whether a judicial decree
is a final judgment must be ...