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Appellate Law: Texas Appellate Law Blog
Bad Day for the Belts
By D. Todd Smith
In opinions written by Justice Jan Patterson (pictured), the Court dismissed for want of jurisdiction two restricted appeals brought by Robert Belt and one brought by Justin Belt. All three cases are styled Belt v. Point Venture Property Owners' Association, Inc., and all of them involved tax foreclosure sales.
In Robert's first case (No. 03-07-000567-CV), the Court concluded that the order at issue, which involved distribution of part but not all of the excess sale proceeds, was interlocutory and therefore not appealable. Although Section 34.04 of the Tax Code allows appeals from orders regarding excess proceeds, the Court concluded that "[n]o statute authorizes an interlocutory appeal from an order to distribute a portion of the excess proceeds from a tax sale."
In Justin's case (No. 03-07-000568-CV) and in Robert's second case (No. 03-07-000569-CV), the Court concluded that that both appellants could not establish three of the four prerequisites for a restricted appeal: (1) the notice of the restricted appeal was filed within six months after the judgment was signed; (2) by a party to the lawsuit; (3) who neither participated in the hearing nor filed a timely notice of appeal, post-judgment motion, or request for findings of fact or conclusions of law; and (4) the face of the record must disclose the claimed error. Both Justin and Robert timely filed their restricted appeals, but neither was a party to the underlying lawsuit, both timely perfected (but did not pursue) an ordinary appeal, and the records in both cases failed to demonstrate error.
Of general appellate interest, the Court noted in the latter two opinions that "a party can no longer abandon an ordinary appeal and then seek a restricted appeal" (citing TRAP 30 and Salvaggio v. Brazos County Water Control & Improvement Dist., 598 S.W.2d 277 (Tex. 1980)).
The Belts have three other matters against the same opponent pending on the Third Court's docket.
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