Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
DARLENE C. AMRHEIN, Appellant
ATTORNEY LENNIE F. BOLLINGER, AND WORMINTON & BOLLINGER LAW FIRM, Appellees
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 6 Collin County,
Texas Trial Court Cause No. 006-02654-2017
Justices Bridges, Molberg, and Partida-Kipness.
Amrhein, appearing pro se, appeals the trial court's
order declaring her a vexatious litigant, pursuant to which
the trial court subsequently dismissed with prejudice her
claims against Attorney Lennie F. Bollinger, and Worminton
& Bollinger Law Firm for failing to post the required
security. We affirm the trial court's order.
case has a long and complicated history. We recount that
history only as necessary to resolve the single discernable
issue on appeal, namely, whether the trial court erred in
declaring Amrhein a vexatious litigant.
filed suit against appellees on October 26, 2017, and she
filed an amended petition on November 27, 2017, asserting a
legal malpractice claim and other claims. On December 22,
2017, appellees filed a Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 91a
motion to dismiss all of Amrhein's claims except for the
legal malpractice claim. On January 30, 2018, the trial court
granted appellees' Rule 91a motion to
dismiss. The trial court's order required
Amrhein to file an amended petition removing the dismissed
causes of action within twenty days. The order stated that
failure to do so could result in dismissal of the lawsuit.
February 9, 2018, appellees filed a motion for an order
determining Amrhein to be a vexatious litigant and requiring
security pursuant to section 11.051 of the Texas Civil
Practice and Remedies Code. After conducting a hearing on
April 5, 2018, the trial court signed an order declaring
Amrhein a vexatious litigant and requiring her to provide
security by obtaining a bond in the amount of $160, 000 by
May 5, 2018, at 5 p.m. The trial court's order stated
that if Amrhein failed to post the security as ordered, the
lawsuit would be dismissed. Amrhein failed to post security,
and on May 14, 2018, the trial court dismissed the
filed a notice of appeal on May 15, 2018, and she filed a pro
se brief in this Court on October 30, 2018. On November 6,
2018, we ordered Amrhein to file an amended brief complying
with Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 38.1 no later than
November 26, 2018. By subsequent order, we granted Amrhein an
extension of time to file an amended brief. Amrhein's
amended brief was filed in this Court on February 6, 2019.
BRIEF FAILS TO COMPLY WITH TEXAS RULE OF APPELLATE PROCEDURE
we recognize that Amrhein is acting pro se on appeal, and we
must construe her brief liberally. Sterner v. Marathon
Oil Co., 767 S.W.2d 686, 690 (Tex. 1989). However, our
rules of appellate procedure have specific requirements for
briefing, see Tex. R. App. P. 38.1, and the law is
well-settled that a party proceeding pro se must comply with
all applicable rules. Harris v. Showcase Chevrolet,
231 S.W.3d 559, 561 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2007, no pet.). We may
not apply different standards for litigants appearing without
advice of counsel. Bolling v. Farmers Branch Indep. Sch.
Dist., 315 S.W.3d 893, 895 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no
pet.); see also Morris v. Am. Home Mortg. Servicing,
Inc., 360 S.W.3d 32, 36 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.]
2011, no pet.). Otherwise, pro se litigants would be afforded
an unfair advantage over those represented by counsel.
See Sprowl v. Stiles, No. 05-18-01058-CV, 2019 WL
3543581, at *4 (Tex. App.-Dallas Aug. 4, 2019, no pet.) (mem.
op.). Therefore, on appeal, Amrhein must properly present her
case according to the rules of appellate procedure.
of Texas Rule of Appellate Procedure 38.1
right to appellate review in Texas extends only to complaints
made in accordance with our rules of appellate procedure,
which require an appellant to clearly articulate the issues
we will be asked to decide, to make cogent and specific
arguments in support of its position, to cite authorities,
and to specify the pages in the record where each alleged
error can be found. Tex.R.App.P. 38.1; Lee v.
Abbott, No. 05-18-01185-CV, 2019 WL 1970521, at *1 (Tex.
App.-Dallas May 3, 2019, no pet.) (mem. op.);
Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 895 (rules require appellants
to "state concisely the complaint they may have, provide
understandable, succinct and clear argument for why their
complaint has merit in fact and in law, and cite and apply
law that is applicable to the complaint being made along with
record references that are appropriate").
not look outside an appellate brief for arguments in support
of an issue when doing so would circumvent the rules of
appellate procedure. See Lee, 2019 WL 1970521, at
*1. Nor are we responsible for searching the record for facts
or for conducting legal research that may be favorable to a
party's position. Id.; Bolling, 315
S.W.3d at 895. If we did so, we would be ...