NO. 03-15-00319-CV (Tex. App. Apr. 28, 2016)

NO. 03-15-00319-CV


David Raetzsch, Appellant v. Barbara Lovings Horton, Appellee


David Raetzsch appeals the county court at law's final judgment. The cause before the county court involved a de novo appeal of two judgments rendered by the Justice Court, Precinct 5, of Travis County (JP court). In the JP court, Horton had sued Raetzsch for unpaid rent, and Raetzsch countersued for theft of property. After a de novo bench trial at which Raetzsch and Horton each appeared pro se, the county court rendered a final judgment awarding Horton $2,818.67, plus 5% per annum interest, in past-due rent. We will affirm the county court's final judgment.

Appellant complains of thirteen "errors" committed by the county court at law. We will not address most of his claimed errors, however, because they merely identify locations in the bench-trial transcript as constituting "error" but do not contain any accompanying cognizable arguments or authorities in support. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(i) (appellant's brief "must contain a clear and concise argument for the contentions made, with appropriate citations to authorities and to the record"). Bare assertions of error, without citations to authority, waive error. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co. v. Griesing, 150 S.W.3d 640, 648 (Tex. App.—Austin 2004, pet. dism'd w.o.j.); see Strange v. Continental Cas. Co., 126 S.W.3d 676, 678 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2004, pet. denied) (issue on appeal unsupported by argument or citation to any legal authority presents nothing for court to review); see also Fredonia State Bank v. General Am. Life Ins. Co., 881 S.W.2d 279, 284 (Tex. 1994) (appellate court has discretion to conclude that issues are waived due to inadequate briefing and is not required to allow appellant opportunity to amend inadequate brief). Although we are to construe the rules of appellate procedure liberally, see Republic Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Mex-Tex., Inc., 150 S.W.3d 423, 427 (Tex. 2004), in this case appellant's briefing is so inadequate that we would have to make his arguments for him, which we will not do. Robertson v. Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages, Inc., 190 S.W.3d 899, 903 (Tex. App.—Dallas 2006, no pet.); see Wheeler v. Green, 157 S.W.3d 439, 444 (Tex. 2005) (per curiam) (to prevent unfair advantage over litigants represented by counsel, pro se litigants are held to same standards as licensed attorneys and are required to comply with applicable laws and procedural rules).

Liberally construing Raetzsch's remaining errors, it appears that he complains that (1) the county court improperly considered Horton's "appeal" of a judgment issued by the JP court in cause number J5-CV-235831 for $400 in Raetzsch's favor because Horton did not, in fact, appeal that judgment (Raetzsch's "errors" numbers I and VI); and (2) the trial court improperly admitted into evidence, over his objection, a lease offered by Horton noting a rental amount of $560 per month, despite his testimony that he signed a "blank lease" without any rental amount listed (Raetzsch's "errors" numbers VIII and XII). With respect to the first complaint, the clerk's record contains a copy of Horton's "restricted appeal" filed with the county court at law, in which she complains of the JP court's judgment in cause number J5-CV-235831. Accordingly, Raetzsch's contention that Horton did not appeal that cause number is not supported by the record, and we overrule his errors relating to the first complaint. With respect to the second complaint, Raetzsch's contention that the trial court erred in admitting the lease because his testimony contradicted it is not a legal basis for excluding the evidence but, rather, goes to its weight. The trial court was the fact finder, and therefore the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses and weight to be given to the evidence. See Montgomery Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Davis, 34 S.W.3d 559, 567 (Tex. 2000); Young Chevrolet, Inc. v. Texas Motor Vehicle Bd., 974 S.W.2d 906, 914 (Tex. App.—Austin 1998, pet. denied) (it is not within province of appellate court to interfere with fact finder's resolution of conflicts in evidence). Based on the evidence in the record, we cannot conclude that the trial court erred in making its implied finding that Raetzsch agreed to pay Horton $560 per month in rent. We overrule Raetzsch's errors relating to the trial court's admission of the lease into evidence and implied reliance thereon.


For the above-mentioned reasons, we affirm the county court at law's final judgment.


David Puryear, Justice Before Justices Puryear, Goodwin, and Field Affirmed Filed: April 28, 2016