Court of Appeals of Texas, Fifth District, Dallas
LINDA K. MCCRARY, Appellant
EUSTOLIA P. RIOS AND LEONARDO M. RIOS, Appellees
Appeal from the County Court at Law No. 1 Hunt County, Texas
Trial Court Cause No. CC1800388
Chief Justice Burns, Justice Richter , and Justice Rosenberg
BARBARA ROSENBERG, JUSTICE, ASSIGNED
Eustolia Rios and Leonardo Rios (the Rioses), brought a
successful eviction action against Appellant, Linda McCrary
(McCrary). In her sole point of error, McCrary appeals the
county court at law's adverse final judgment forfeiting
the appeal bond. Because McCrary's brief is deficient, we
dismiss her appeal.
2018, the Rioses purchased realty (the Property) in which
McCrary was living at the time. In August 2018, the Rioses
sued for eviction after twice notifying McCrary to vacate the
Property. After trial, the justice court entered judgment in
favor of the Rioses awarding them possession of the Property.
McCrary timely appealed to the county court at law and, as
ordered by the justice court, deposited a $500 cash appeal
bond. After trial de novo, the county court at law entered a
final judgment, findings of fact, and conclusion of law in
favor of the Rioses awarding them possession of the Property
and forfeiting the $500 bond to them. McCrary appeals the
county court at law's forfeiture of the appeal bond.
parties to civil litigation may represent themselves, pro se
litigants must adhere to our rules of evidence and procedure,
including the appellate rules of procedure. Bolling v.
Farmers Branch Indep. Sch. Dist., 315 S.W.3d 893, 895
(Tex. App.-Dallas 2010, no pet.). While we do not require
rigid adherence regarding the form of a brief, we examine
briefs closely for compliance with rules that govern the
content of appellate briefs. Tex.R.App.P. 38.1;
Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 895. Our appellate rules
require briefs to state concisely the nature, pertinent
facts, and argument of their complaint with appropriate
citations to legal authorities and the record. Tex.R.App.P.
38.1 (d), (g), and (i). A brief fails if it lacks
supportive citations to the record or to relevant, applicable
legal authority. Tex.R.App.P. 38.1(g), (i); Bolling,
315 S.W.3d at 896 (stating references to irrelevant or
sweeping legal authority do not comply with the rule). If a
brief complies, we submit the appeal for review and decision
on the merits; however, if it does not, we may dismiss the
appeal. Tex.R.App.P. 42.3; Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at
an appellant must show reversible error by presenting a
sufficient appellate record consisting of a clerk's
record and, if necessary, a reporter's record.
Tex.R.App.P. 34.1; Christiansen v. Prezelski, 782
S.W.2d 842, 843 (Tex. 1990). "When an appellant fails to
bring a reporter's record, an appellate court must
presume the evidence presented was sufficient to support the
trial court's order." Willms v. Americas Tire
Co., 190 S.W.3d 796, 803 (Tex. App.-Dallas 2006, pet.
denied). After providing notice and a reasonable opportunity
to cure the absence of a reporter's record, an appellate
court may consider and decide issues that do not require a
reporter's record. Tex.R.App.P. 37.3(c).
previously notified McCrary that her brief was deficient, in
that it lacked both record and legal citations, and ordered
her to file an amended brief that complied with Texas Rule of
Appellate Procedure 38.1. McCrary's amended brief is also
deficient because it is likewise wholly devoid of citations
to the record. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(g);
Bolling, 315 S.W.3d. at 896. Although it cites some
legal authority, the cited law is irrelevant to the
particular arguments McCrary raises on appeal. See
Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i); Bolling, 315 S.W.3d at 896.
Therefore, McCrary's brief fails to comply with our
substantive briefing requirements.
we were to consider the merits of her claim, we would find no
reversible error. We ordered this appeal submitted without a
reporter's record because, despite our directives,
McCrary failed to provide a reporter's record.
See Tex. R. App. P. 37.3(c). Thus, we presume the
evidence presented supports the county court at law's
judgment and we may consider and decide McCrary's sole
issue if possible without the record. See Tex. R.
App. P. 37.3(c); Willms, 190 S.W.3d at 803 (Tex.
App.-Dallas 2006, pet. denied).
sole point of error, McCrary contends the county court at law
erred by forfeiting the $500 bond to the Rioses. A party may
appeal a justice court's judgment in an eviction case by
filing an appeal bond, cash deposit, or pauper's
affidavit with the justice court. Tex.R.Civ.P. 510.9(a). The
bond provides an appellee security by guaranteeing the
appellant will pay the judgment and court costs if appellant
loses. Tex.R.Civ.P. 510.9(b). The county court at law may
award the prevailing party recovery up to the full amount of
the appeal bond to cover the judgment and costs. Tex.R.Civ.P.
510.9(b), 510.11; A.V.A. Servs. v. Parts Indus.
Corp., 949 S.W.2d 852, 854 (Tex. App.-Beaumont 1997, no
writ) (citing former Tex.R.Civ.P. 752, now Tex.R.Civ.P.
510.11). There is no error when the "judgment forfeits
the full amount of the appeal bond in the absence of a formal
award of damages since the trial court may afford such
damages in forcible entry and detainer cases through the
forfeiture of the bond." A.V.A. Servs., 949
S.W.2d at 853.
in connection with her appeal, McCrary complied with the
justice court's order by filing a $500 cash bond as
security for any costs and damages that might be adjudged
against her. McCrary insists the county court at law erred by
forfeiting the bond to the Rioses because their pleading
sought only possession of the Property. Generally, a party
must preserve an error for review by making, on the record, a
timely request, objection, or motion to the trial court.
Tex.R.App.P. 33.1(a)(1)(A). A claim that the judgment is not
supported by the pleadings may not be raised for the first
time on appeal. Longhurst v. Clark, No.
01-07-00226-CV, 2008 WL 3876175, at *29 n. 17 (Tex.
App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Aug. 21, 2008, no pet.) (mem.op.)
(finding appellant waived this claim because he failed to
raise it at trial). We find no error in the award of the full
amount of the bond to the Rioses because they were entitled
to it as prevailing parties. See Tex. R. Civ. P.
510.9 (b), 510.11; A.V.A. Servs., 949 S.W.2d at 854.
Moreover, we have no basis to conclude McCrary preserved this
error for review because we lack a reporter's record or
statements of facts; therefore, we presume the county court
at law was awarding the full amount of the bond as damages.
A.V.A. Servs., 949 S.W.2d at 853-54; see also
Bobbit v. Womble, 708 S.W.2d 558, 561 (Tex. App.-Houston
[1st Dist.] 1986, no writ) (affirming forfeiture of entire
bond in forcible entry and detainer appeal in the absence of
a reporter's record because court assumes "trial
court made all necessary findings to support its
conclude McCrary's brief failed to comply with the
requirements of our appellate rules, despite being given
notice and an opportunity to do so. Regardless, ...