KAMETRA LOUD v. JUANITA SWAFFORD

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Court of Appeals of Texas, Dallas.

KAMETRA LOUD, Appellant v. JUANITA SWAFFORD, Appellee

No. 05-17-00739-CV

Decided: August 25, 2017

Before Justices Francis, Brown, and Schenck

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Kametra Loud appeals a county court at law's June 23, 2017 final judgment from a justice court appeal. Upon review of the clerk's record, it appeared that appellant untimely filed her appeal bond with the justice court. By letter dated August 4, 2017, we notified the parties that we questioned our jurisdiction over the appeal and requested jurisdictional briefing from the parties. On August 8, 2017, appellant filed her response, stating she complied with “the rules from the court.” Specifically, she stated that she was informed by the justice court that she had six days from the date of judgment in which to file an appeal bond, and that she filed her appeal bond on the sixth day. She attached a printed form to document her claims.

The justice court signed its final judgment on March 23, 2017, awarding appellee a writ of possession. Appellant filed an appeal bond on March 29, 2017. A party may appeal a judgment in an eviction case by filing a bond, making a cash deposit, or filing a sworn statement of inability to pay with the justice court within five days after the judgment is signed. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.9(a). An appeal of a justice court's ruling is perfected when a bond, cash deposit, or statement of inability to pay is filed in accordance with this rule. TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.9(f). Because five days after the justice court's March 23, 2017 final judgment is March 28, 2017, appellant failed to timely file her bond when she filed her appeal bond on March 29, 2017. Because appellant did not file her bond in accordance with rule 510.9(a) of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, she did not perfect her appeal to the county court and, as result, the county court at law had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal. See Williams v. Schneiber, 148 S.W.3d 581, 583 (Tex. App.–Fort Worth 2004, no pet.).

In reaching this conclusion, we recognize that appellant attached a printed form entitled “Eviction Appeal Within Six Days of Judgment” that purports to give information on how to appeal a judgment of eviction. Nothing indicates how appellant obtained the form nor does the form give any indication of where it was published. Although appellant followed the instructions on the form, the fact remains that the rules of civil procedure do not allow six days in which to file an appeal bond; rule 510.9 clearly states “a party may appeal a judgment in an eviction case by filing a bond ․ with the justice court within 5 days after the judgment is signed.” TEX. R. CIV. P. 510.9(a).

When the trial court does not have jurisdiction to render a judgment, the proper practice is for the reviewing court to set the judgment aside and dismiss the cause. Dallas County Appraisal Dist. v. Funds Recovery, Inc., 887 S.W.2d 465, 468 (Tex. App.–Dallas 1994, writ denied). Because the appeal from the justice court judgment was not timely perfected and the county court never acquired jurisdiction, we vacate the judgment of County Court at Law No. 3. Cf. Villalon v. Bank One, 176 S.W.3d 66, 69–70 (Tex. App.–Houston [1st Dist.] 2004, pet. denied) (“[I]t is well-settled that perfection of an appeal to county court from a justice court for trial de novo vacates and annuls the judgment of the justice court.”).

We dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction. See TEX. R. APP. P. 43.2(e).

ADA BROWN JUSTICE