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SMALL CLAIMS COURT

Melawer v. Tipton (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 29, 2009)(Sullivan)
(attempted appeal arises from a
lawsuit originally filed in small claims court; dismissed for lack of appellate
jurisdiction under law in effect prior to recent enactment permitting appeal)
DISMISSED-WANT OF JURISDICTION: Opinion by
Justice Sullivan     
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Seymore and Sullivan   
14-08-00721-CV  Abraham Melawer v. Robert S. Tipton    
Appeal from County Court of Shelby County
Trial Court Judge: Judge Shelby County  
[1]  We note that some of the documents filed by Melawer contain the caption, “IN THE JUSTICE COURT OF
SHELBY COUNTY, TEXAS.”  See Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. §§ 28.002–.003 (Vernon 2004 & Supp. 2009) (providing
for concurrent jurisdiction between small claims court and justice court, and specifying that a justice of the peace
also sits as the judge in small claims court).  However, the caption of the lawsuit petition filed by appellee, Robert
S. Tipton, reads “Small Claims – Statement of Claim” and is followed by the notation “TEX. GOV’T CODE ANN.
28.012.”  Section 28.012 provides the form for a small-claims petition, and Tipton’s Statement of Claim closely
tracks that requisite form.  See id. § 28.012(b) (Vernon 2004).  The citation also commanded Melawer to appear
“before the Small Claims Court” and was signed by the Shelby County Justice of the Peace in his capacity as
judge of the small claims court.  Further, the record does not indicate that the case was transferred from the
small claims court to the justice court.  Thus, notwithstanding Melawer’s suggestion to the contrary in his trial-
court pleadings, we conclude this case was filed in small claims court.  See Lister v. Walters, 247 S.W.3d 381,
383 (Tex. App.—Texarkana 2008, no pet.).
[2]  After this case was filed, the Texas Legislature amended the Government Code to confer jurisdiction on an
appellate court to review a county court’s judgment following a de novo appeal from small claims court.  See Act
of June 1, 2009, 81st Leg., R.S., ch. 1351, § 9, 2009 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. 4271, 4273 (Vernon) (to be codified
at Tex. Gov’t Code Ann. § 28.053(d)).  However, the Legislature expressly limited the scope of that amendment
to apply only to actions filed after September 1, 2009.  See id. §§ 14, 15, 2009 Tex. Sess. Law. Serv. at 4280–
81.  Therefore, this case, which was filed before the effective date of the amendment, is still governed by the
previous version of section 28.053(d) discussed in Sultan.  See id. § 14, 2009 Tex. Sess. Law Serv. at 4280.


In Re Rodriguez (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Oct. 13, 2009)(per curiam dismissal)
(
no mandamus jurisdiction to issue mandamus against judge of small claims court)
DISMISSED: Per Curiam  
Before Justices Brock Yates, Frost and Brown
14-09-00824-CV In Re Arcadio D. Rodgriguez
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 3 of Harris County
Trial Court
Judge: Linda Storey


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