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Russell v. Dallas County

Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas

October 31, 2019

SAMUEL T. RUSSELL, Appellant
v.
DALLAS COUNTY, CITY OF DALLAS, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, DALLAS COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT, PARKLAND HOSPITAL DISTRICT, AND DALLAS COUNTY SCHOOL EQUALIZATION FUND, Appellees

          On Appeal from the 160th Judicial District Court Dallas County, Texas Trial Court Cause No. TX-17-00880

          Before Justices Whitehill, Schenck, and Richter [1]

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          BILL WHITEHILL, JUSTICE.

         Appellees sued appellant Samuel T. Russell for unpaid property taxes. The trial court rendered judgment against Russell after a bench trial. He appeals pro se and complains principally about the trial judge's failure to recuse himself. Because Russell didn't preserve his recusal argument in the trial court and raises no other meritorious issue, we affirm the trial court's judgment in this memorandum opinion.

         I. Background

         Appellees sued Russell and two other defendants for unpaid property taxes relating to real property in Dallas.

         Russell, acting pro se, answered and filed a document called "Defendant's Countersuit" in which he complained that appellees had obtained a continuance without giving him notice and without informing the court that appellees and Russell had reached a "pre-arranged payment agreement." The countersuit appears to request judgment on the parties' alleged agreement, so we construe it as a counterclaim.

         Six days before trial, Russell filed a summary judgment motion.

         The trial court held a one-day bench trial and signed a judgment in appellees' favor that same day. The judgment awarded appellees a total of about $20, 300.

         Russell timely appealed.

         II. Issues Presented

         Russell presents three issues, but he repeats some of his arguments under more than one issue. Thus, we opt to divide our analysis according to the errors Russell attempts to demonstrate:

1. The trial judge erred by not recusing himself.
2. The trial judge erred by not ruling on Russell's counterclaim or ...

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