Court of Appeals of Texas, Thirteenth District, Corpus Christi-Edinburg
MICHAEL MCCANN, TDCJ NO. 879919, Appellant,
TDCJ-CID, ET AL., Appellees.
appeal from the 343rd District Court of Bee County, Texas.
Chief Justice Contreras and Justices Longoria and Perkes
L. LONGORIA, JUSTICE.
Michael McCann is an inmate housed in the McConnell Unit of
the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional
Division (TDCJ-ID). McCann brought suit pro se and in
forma pauperis against appellees TDCJ-ID, and Laurie
Davis and Philip Sifuentes, employees of TDCJ-ID. The trial
court dismissed McCann's claims with prejudice pursuant
to Chapter 14 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
see Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann.
§§ 14.001-.014, and declared McCann a vexatious
litigant subject to a prefiling order requirement, see
id. § 11.101. McCann contends that the trial court
erred in dismissing his claims. We affirm.
filed his original complaint against appellees on November
14, 2018, alleging claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Specifically, he asserted that he was denied his right to
marry in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments and
that his right to marry was impermissibly burdened by
TDCJ-ID's marriage policy. In his complaint, McCann
alleged that he was denied marriage to Diane Miskell, a
female inmate in the custody of the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice at the Carol Young Medical Complex. He
claims that a prison official told him he could not marry
because he was still married with no divorce on record and
the decision to deny his marriage was made in retaliation
against McCann for his previous lawsuits. McCann argued that
he completed all of the necessary requirements to marry
January 9, 2019, appellees, through the Office of the
Attorney General (OAG), filed their original answer and on
January 11, 2019, they filed their motion to declare McCann a
vexatious litigant pursuant to Chapter 11 of the civil
practice and remedies code. See id. Appellees also
filed a motion for a prefiling order and a motion for
dismissal under Chapter 14 of the civil practice and remedies
code. See id. § 14.003. McCann filed his
response and a motion for sanctions against appellees. The
trial court held a telephonic hearing where both parties
appeared. The trial court declared McCann a vexatious
litigant subject to a prefiling order, prohibited him from
filing any new litigation in a court of this state without
first obtaining permission from a local administrative judge,
and dismissed McCann's claims with prejudice pursuant to
Chapter 14. See id. §§ 11.101, 14.003.
This appeal followed.
first issue, McCann argues that the trial court abused its
discretion by dismissing his claims under Chapter 14 because
his claim was cognizable by law.
Standard of Review and Applicable Law
reviewing a dismissal order under Chapter 14 of the civil
practice and remedies code, the standard of review on appeal
is for abuse of discretion. Hickson v. Moya, 926
S.W.2d 397, 398 (Tex. App.-Waco 1996, no writ). The trial
court abuses its discretion if it acts without reference to
any guiding legal principles. Id.
trial court has broad discretion to dismiss a lawsuit brought
under Chapter 14 as frivolous or malicious. Tex. Civ. Prac.
& Rem. Code Ann. § 14.003(a)(2); Jackson v.
Tex. Dep't of Crim. Justice-Institutional Div.,
28 S.W.3d 811, 813 (Tex. App.-Corpus Christi-Edinburg 2000,
pet. denied); Lentworth v. Trahan, 981 S.W.2d 720,
722 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1998, no pet). Chapter 14
provides in relevant part:
(a) A court may dismiss a claim, either before or after
service of process, if ...