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Martinez v. Kanga Park, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Texas, First District

September 24, 2019

ISAIAS IVAN GARCIA MARTINEZ, Appellant
v.
KANGA PARK, INC., Appellee

          On Appeal from the County Civil Court at Law No. 4 Harris County, Texas Trial Court Case No. 1122104.

          Panel consists of Lloyd, Goodman, and Landau, Justices.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Gordon Goodman, Justice.

         The county court entered an order denying Isaias Ivan Garcia Martinez's appeal from a judgment of eviction on the basis that he did not timely perfect his appeal and the court therefore lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal. Because we agree that Martinez did not timely perfect his appeal from the underlying judgment of eviction, we do not have jurisdiction to hear this appeal and therefore dismiss it.

         BACKGROUND

         Kanga Park, Inc. filed an eviction suit in justice court against its tenant, Martinez, alleging that he failed to pay his rent and refused to vacate the premises. After a trial, the justice court rendered a judgment in Kanga Park's favor. The justice court set Martinez's appeal bond at $7, 862.

         Martinez appealed from the adverse judgment to the county court. In lieu of an appeal bond or cash deposit, he filed in the justice court a statement of his inability to afford an appeal bond or to make a cash deposit.

         Kanga Park contested Martinez's statement of inability. After a hearing, the justice court sustained Kanga Park's contest and ordered Martinez to file an appeal bond or make a cash deposit in lieu of bond within 5 days. Martinez appealed from this ruling to the county court. The county court likewise sustained Kanga Park's contest but reduced the amount of Martinez's appeal bond to $1, 000.

         Kanga Park objected to the reduction in the bond amount and scheduled an emergency hearing on the matter. But Kanga Park ultimately decided not to pursue this objection and passed the hearing. The county court never ruled on Kanga Park's objection.

          Two days after the county court issued its order reducing the bond amount and one day after the emergency hearing had been scheduled to take place, Martinez deposited $1, 000 into the registry of the justice court, which sent the case file to the county court to hear Martinez's appeal from the adverse judgment rendered in the eviction suit. After a hearing, however, the county court denied Martinez's appeal on the basis that he had not timely perfected his appeal and the county court therefore lacked jurisdiction to hear it.

         Martinez now appeals from the county court's order denying his appeal.

         DISCUSSION

         Standard of Review

         The county court ruled that it lacked jurisdiction to hear Martinez's appeal because he did not timely perfect it. The existence of jurisdiction to hear an appeal is a legal question, which we review de novo. Pichini v. Fed. Nat'l Mortg. ...


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