law-prisoner-suits and inmate appeals | in forma pauperis IFP | also find pro se litigants suits and appeals |
INMATE LITIGATION | PRISONER LAWSUITS AND APPEALS |
Chapter 14 governs district, county, justice of the peace, or small claims court lawsuits filed by an inmate who
claims indigence by filing an affidavit or unsworn declaration of an inability to pay costs. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem.
Code Ann. § 14.002(a) (West 2002). The trial court may dismiss a claim, either before or after service of process,
on any number of grounds. Id. at § 14.003(a). The court of appeals reviews a dismissal under Chapter 14 for an
abuse of discretion. Gross v. Carroll, 339 S.W.3d 718, 723 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2011, no pet.); see
Clark v. J.W. Estelle Unit, 23 S.W.3d 420, 421 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2000, pet. denied). A trial court
abuses its discretion if it acts without reference to guiding rules or principles. Gross, 339 S.W.3d at 23.
RECENT TEXAS SUPREME COURT OPINIONS
Higgings v. Randall County Sheriff's Office (Higgins II), No. 06-0917 (Tex. May 16, 2008)
(Opinion by Harriet O'Neill) (prisoner suit, defective affidavit of indigence, right to appeal)
Justice Green delivered a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Wainwright and Justice Willett joined.
(Justice Johnson not sitting)
Houser v. McElveen, No. 06-0504 (Tex. Jan. 11, 2008)(per curiam)
(appellate procedure, timeliness of notice of appeal, prisoner suit)
Springer v. Springer, No. 06-0382, 240 SW3d 871 (Tex. Nov. 2, 2007)(per curiam)
(timelines for appeal, affidavit of indigence)
Sprowl v. Payne, No. 06-0533 (Tex. Nov. 2, 2007)(per curiam)(appellate procedure, payment for record, indigence)
Ramos v. Richardson, No. 06-0336, 228 SW3d 671 (Tex. Jun. 29, 2007)(per curiam)
(prisoner suit, timeliness of notice of appeal)
PETITIONS DENIED BY THE TEXAS SUPREME COURT IN PRISONER APPEALS
MICHAEL LOU GARRETT v. LARRY E. BERGER, ET AL.; from Wichita County; 2nd district
(02-08-00030-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 06-19-08)(pro se prisoner suit, inmate litigation, temporary injunction appeal)
KIRK WAYNE MC BRIDE, SR. v. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE-CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS
DIVISION, ET AL.; from Bee County; 13th district (13-05-00391-CV & 13-05-00392-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 02-28-08,
pet. denied Aug. 2008)(prisoner suit, DTPA consumer law)
Pro se appellant, Kirk Wayne McBride, Sr., sued appellees, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for
violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA); Thomas J. Prasifka, Denise Menchaca, and William
Stephens for (1) the common law tort of conversion, (2) deprivation of personal property under the Fourteenth
Amendment, and (3) assumpsit; and K. M. Weseman for denial of adequate medical treatment under the Eighth
Amendment. The trial court dismissed McBride's claims against the TDCJ and entered an instructed verdict in favor
of Weseman. The jury ruled in favor of appellees Prasifka, Menchaca, and Stephens. (1) By seven issues, McBride
complains that the evidence was legally and factually insufficient to support the jury's verdict and that the trial court
erred by entering an instructed verdict in favor of Weseman, not submitting an instruction on assumpsit, dismissing
appellant's DTPA claim against TDCJ, overruling appellant's motion for new trial, and denying appellant a judgment
nihil dicit (2) against Stephens. (3) We affirm.
While incarcerated at the McConnell Unit of the TDCJ, McBride purchased a word processor from a vendor outside
the prison. The mail room provided McBride with a returned package form explaining that a package had not been
approved and had been returned to the sender. Later, McBride was notified on a TDCJ
correspondence/contraband denial form that his package was denied because, among other things, it was not
"approved per offender property policy/warden." After appealing this denial with the Director's Review Committee,
McBride sued appellees. The trial court dismissed McBride's claim against the TDCJ under Chapter 14 of the Civil
Practices and Remedies Code, and a jury trial began on his claims against the remaining defendants. See Tex. Civ.
Prac. & Rem. Code Ann § 14.003(a)(2) (Vernon 2002). The trial court entered an instructed verdict in favor of
Weseman, and the jury ruled in favor of Prasifka, Menchaca, and Stephens.
WOODROW WILSON WILLIAMS v. WARDEN J. MOONEYHAM, OSCAR E. PAUL, STANLEY MCMILLER, SEAN
PALMER; from Wichita County; 2nd district (02-06-00348-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 01-31-08, pet. denied Jun 2008)
(inmate suit dismissed with prejudice)
MICHAEL E. GEIGER v. BETTY WILLIAMS, ET AL.; from Houston County; 12th district
(12-07-00198-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 12-12-07, pet. denied Jun 2008)(pro se suit, inmate litigation, prisoner suit
dismissed, due process, equal protection arguments)
Michael E. Geiger appeals the dismissal of his civil suit against five employees of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice and six employees of the Medical Branch of the University of Texas. In four issues, Geiger argues that the
trial court did not apply the correct legal standards or principles when it dismissed his lawsuit and that his due
process and equal protection rights were violated. Appellees did not file a brief. We affirm the trial court’s order of
dismissal. Geiger is an inmate in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). On February 25, 2007,
Geiger,proceeding pro se, filed this lawsuit against Appellees.
BRUCE WAYNE HOUSER v. PAULA S. FOY, ET AL.; from Jefferson County; 9th district
(09-06-00257-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 05-24-07, pet. denied March 2008) (pro se litigants, prisoner suits)
Bruce Wayne Houser, a pro se inmate proceeding in forma pauperis, appeals an order dismissing his lawsuit for
failure to comply with Chapter 14 of theTexas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code
Ann. §§ 14.001-.014 (Vernon 2002). Asserting claims of denial of access to the courts, interference with his mail,
and violations of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's mail policy, Houser sued sixteen defendants. (1)
Appellees filed a motion to dismiss asserting that Houser's suit was not in compliance with the requirements of
Chapter 14. We review dismissal of Chapter 14 suits under an abuse of discretion standard. Moore v. Zeller, 153 S.
W.3d 262, 263 (Tex. App.--Beaumont 2004, pet. denied).
CHARLES K. SALLIE v. JOHN DOE, ET AL.; from Wichita County; 2nd district (02-06-00370-CV, ___ SW3d ___, 08-
09-07, pet. denied Jan 2008) (motion for appointment of counsel alternatively, for renewal or reconsideration
denied (prisoner suit, medication treatment, dismissal for want of prosecution, appointment of counsel denied)
Having overruled Appellant's first, third, and fourth issues, and not reaching his second and fifth issues, we affirm
the trial court's order of dismissal for want of prosecution. We deny Appellant's Motion for Reconsideration of
Appointment of Counsel, Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, Motion for Leave to
File and Amended Complaint Adding Some More Parties, Pursuant to Rules of Civ. Pro., Motion for Leave to File a
Supplemental Complaint, and Motion Requesting Appointment of Expert Witness.
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