law-pro-se-appeal | common errors in appeals | preservation of error for appellate review | inadequate briefing
failure to cite case law authority | failure to cite to the appellate record |
PRO-SE IN THE COURT OF APPEALS - CASELAW SNIPPETS
We note that appellant's pro se status does not relieve him from the preservation-of-error requirements
applicable to a licensed attorney. See Nabelek v. Bradford, 228 S.W.3d 715, 717 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th
Dist.] 2006, pet. denied). Appellant points us to no evidence showing that he preserved his complaint
regarding the county court's failure to appoint an interpreter through a timely request, objection, or motion.
Though Smith is a pro se litigant, she is held to the same standards as licensed attorneys and must comply
with applicable substantive laws and rules of procedure. See Mansfield State Bank v. Cohn, 573 S.W.2d
181, 184 (Tex. 1978); LaGoye v. Victoria Wood Condominium Ass'n, 112 S.W.3d 777, 787 (Tex. App.-
Houston [14th Dist.] 2003, no pet.). Any other rule would give the pro se litigant an unfair advantage over a
litigant who is represented by trial counsel. See Mansfield State Bank, 573 S.W.2d at 184; LaGoye, 112 S.W.
3d at 787.
Smith v. Hartford Underwriters Ins. Co. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 6, 2009)(Frost)
(workers compensation appeal by both sides, compensable injury)
 Although we construe Smith's second issue as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, to the
extent that Smith has presented other issues in her appellate brief, Smith has failed to provide analysis or
citations to the record or legal authorities. As a result of the inadequate briefing, Smith's remaining issues
are waived. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(h); San Saba Energy, L.P. v. Crawford, 171 S.W.3d 323, 338 (Tex.
App.- Houston [14 Dist.] 2005, no pet.) (holding that, even though courts interpret briefing requirements
reasonably and liberally, parties asserting error on appeal still must put forth some specific argument and
analysis citing the record and authorities in support of the arguments).
 Although Smith presents this argument as part of her fifth issue in her appellate brief, she has waived this
argument because she has failed to adequately brief the issue and has provided no argument, citations to
the record, or any legal authority to support her contention. See Tex. R. App. P. 38.1(h); San Saba Energy,
L.P., 171 S.W.3d at 338
Pro Se Representation
Matt represented himself in the trial court, and he also appears before this Court pro se. Although we
liberally construe pro se pleadings and briefs, we nonetheless require pro se litigants to comply with
applicable laws and rules of procedure. See Wheeler v. Green, 157 S.W.3d 439, 444 (Tex. 2005) (“pro se
litigants are not exempt from the rules of procedure”); Mansfield State Bank v. Cohn, 573 S.W.2d 181, 184–
85 (Tex. 1978). “Having two sets of rules—a strict set for attorneys and a lenient set for pro se parties—
might encourage litigants to discard their valuable right to the advice and assistance of counsel.” Wheeler,
157 S.W.3d at 444. “Litigants who represent themselves must comply with the applicable procedural rules, or
else they would be given an unfair advantage over litigants represented by counsel.” Mansfield State Bank,
573 S.W.2d at 185; see also Stein v. Lewisville Indep. Sch. Dist., 481 S.W.2d 436, 439 (Tex. Civ. App.—Fort
Worth 1972, writ ref’d n.r.e.) (holding that pro se defendants in tax foreclosure are bound by rules of
procedure). Construing his briefing liberally, the issues Matt presents lack substantive merit.
Gilbert v. HISD (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Sep. 24, 2009)(Massengale)
(pro se appeal, suing or defending suit as next friend of incompetent person, standing to bring appeal,
tax lien foreclosure)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT: Opinion by Justice Massengale
Before Chief Justice Radack, Justices Bland and Massengale
01-06-00159-CV Matt Gilbert v. Houston Independent School District
Appeal from 270th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Brent Gamble
The trial court's dismissal order was based on Rules 13 and 215 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.
However, in Cantu's two issues, he contends (1) “the evidence does not support dismissal for 'Res Judicata'
or any other reason," and (2) he should “not be sanctioned by TRCP 215, since he did not engage in
discovery abuse." Cantu fails to acknowledge or base his argument on the correct standard of review.
Cantu's multiple pro se briefs contain his description of events precipitating this suit, assertions that he
complied with discovery rules, and argument relative to alleged tortuous conduct of Maher and Tollette. His
citations to authority pertain solely to disqualification of counsel.
FAILURE TO CITE CASE LAW AUTHORITY
An appellant's brief must contain a clear and concise argument with appropriate citations to authority. Tex.
R. App. P. 38.1(i). Although we must interpret this requirement liberally, an issue not supported by authority
is waived. Republic Underwriters Ins. Co. v. Mex-Tex, Inc., 150 S.W.3d 423, 427 (Tex. 2004); Nguyen v.
Kosnoski, 93 S.W.3d 186, 188 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2002, no pet.).
TREATMENT OF PRO SEE PARTIES ON APPEAL
Further, it is well established that pro se litigants are held to the same standards as licensed attorneys and
must comply with all applicable rules of procedure. Valdez v. Avitia, 238 S.W.3d 843, 845 (Tex. App.-El Paso
2007, no pet.). Accordingly, we hold Cantu waived his issues on appeal by failing to supply this court with a
clear and concise argument and citations to authority.
The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
Cantu v. Maher (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Aug. 25, 2009)(Seymore) (finding of discovery abuse, case
groundless and brought in bad faith and for the purpose of harassment)(motion for Frivolous and
Groundless Appeal and Motion To Dismiss and Motion for Sanctions are overruled)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Charles Seymore
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Anderson and Seymore
14-07-00584-CV Tony Cantu v. John E. Maher, Thomas Tollett, and Tommy's Seafood Steakhouse
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 1 of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: R. Jack Cagle
HOUSTON APPELLATE COURT CASES | TEXAS CASE LAW |