Court of Appeals of Texas, Seventh District, Amarillo
C.E. HODDE, APPELLANT
CITY OF BRYAN, APPELLEE
Appeal from the 272nd District Court Brazos County, Texas
Trial Court No. 18-002165-CV-272; Honorable Travis B. Bryan
QUINN, C.J., and PIRTLE and PARKER, JJ.
ORDER OF DISMISSAL
C.E. Hodde, appearing pro se, seeks to appeal the trial
court's summary judgment in favor of Appellee, the City
of Bryan. Pending before the court is
Appellant's Motion for Extension of Time to File
Notice of Appeal. We deny the motion and dismiss the
appeal for want of jurisdiction.
trial court signed the summary judgment order on August 19,
2019. Because Hodde did not file any post-judgment motions,
notice of appeal was due thirty days after the judgment was
signed, by September 18, 2019. Tex.R.App.P. 26.1(a). Hodde
did not file a notice of appeal until September 27, 2019. He
subsequently filed the pending motion for extension. In the
motion, Hodde states that an "extension of time is
necessary because appellant was unable to hire an attorney to
assist him with said appeal by the deadline." The City
of Bryan opposes the motion.
to Rule of Appellate Procedure 26.3, an appellate court may
extend the time to file a notice of appeal if, within fifteen
days after the deadline, the appellant files a notice of
appeal and a motion seeking an extension of time. The motion
must reasonably explain the need for the extension.
Tex.R.App.P. 26.3, 10.5(b). A reasonable explanation is any
plausible statement of circumstances indicating that the
failure to file the notice within the required time period
was not deliberate or intentional, but was the result of
inadvertence, mistake, or mischance. Garcia v. Kastner
Farms, Inc., 774 S.W.2d 668, 669 (Tex. 1989). Any
conduct short of deliberate or intentional noncompliance
qualifies as inadvertence, mistake, or mischance.
Id. at 670.
explanation does not indicate that he was unaware of or
miscalculated the notice of appeal deadline. Instead, his
motion simply states that he filed the notice untimely
because he could not find an attorney to represent him before
the deadline. An explanation that shows a conscious or
strategic decision to wait to file a notice of appeal- such
as searching for counsel instead of timely filing a pro se
notice of appeal-is not a reasonable explanation under
appellate rule 26.3. See Golden v. Energy &
Exploration Partners, LLC., No. 02-12-00493-CV, 2013
Tex.App. LEXIS 449, *2-3 (Tex. App.-Fort Worth Jan. 17, 2013,
no pet.) (mem. op.) (per curiam) (unable to pay
attorney's retainer by the deadline); Hykonnen v.
Baker Hughes Bus. Support Servs., 93 S.W.3d 562, 563-64
(Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.) (did not have
funds to hire counsel by the time the notice was due).
has not demonstrated that his late notice of appeal was the
result of inadvertence, mistake, or mischance.
Garcia, 774 S.W.2d at 670. We, therefore, find that
he has not reasonably explained the need for an extension and
deny his motion to extend the time to file a notice of
appeal. Tex.R.App.P. 26.3. Because a timely notice of appeal
is essential to invoking this court's jurisdiction, we
have no discretion to permit Hodde's untimely filed
notice of appeal to confer jurisdiction over the appeal.
See Tex. R. App. P. 25.1(b), 26.1; Verburgt v.
Dorner, 959 S.W.2d 615, 616 (Tex. 1997).
we dismiss the purported appeal for want of jurisdiction.
 Originally appealed to the Tenth Court
of Appeals, this appeal was transferred to this court by the
Texas Supreme Court pursuant to its docket equalization
efforts. Tex. Gov't Code Ann. § 73.001 (West
 Hodde filed a document titled
"Notice of Appeal and Motion for New Trial" with
the trial court clerk on September 27, 2019. The document
states that Hodde "is appealing the summary judgment
decision," but does not request that the trial court set
aside the judgment or grant a new trial. As a result, we find
that the document is only a notice of appeal in substance.
Finley v. J.C. Pace Ltd., 4 S.W.3d 319, 320 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] 1999, order) (per curiam) (the
substance of a motion is not determined by its title but
gleaned from the body of the motion and prayer for relief).
Further, even if construed as a motion for new trial, the