Bad Day for the Belts

By February 22, 2008March 8th, 2019Interlocutory Appeals, Jurisdiction

Appellants surnamed Belt had a rough day in the Third Court of Appeals.

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.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Bobby Sugars says:

    The Belts are not attorneys. They represent themselves Pro Se. Read their briefs. The County is required by law to send a notice of excess funds to the former owners of the tax foreclosed property. By the time the County sent these notices, they had already conducted a hearing, gave the money away to a POA, and the 30 day appeals process was 3 days from expiring. Basically the County gave the Belts money away to a POA before the Belts were even told that the money existed. When confronted on this matter, the Assistant County Attorney in charge of the Tax Division said that it was perfectly alright to give peoples money away before telling them that it even exists and that they may make a claim on it. This is an obvious deprivation of due process and the Belts are entitled to some type of relief but they got caught up in all of the red tape associated with the procedure of doing something about it. The Belts had a right to make a claim on that money and refute the claim of that POA, but they were never given that chance. All they wanted was their day in court. They were denied every step of the way.