Opinions, October 27, 2015: Extension & Dissension

This is interesting. In In re Bowers, No. 14-15-00021-CV, Clinton Bowers filed his pro se appellate brief challenging the division of property in his divorce, after his brief deadline had been twice extended. The Court of Appeals issued an order finding his brief did not substantially comply with TRAP 38.1 and granting him 30 days to file a corrected brief. The day before the 30 days was up, Mr. Bowers filed a motion for extension which did not state a reason for the extension or the length of time requested.

The majority of the panel, Justices Jamison and Wise, denied the motion for extension and dismissed the appeal for want of prosecution. Justice McCally filed a dissent, arguing dismissing the appeal was an unwarranted death penalty sanction, Mr. Bowers was clearly trying to prosecute his appeal, and that the better course of action would be to set a date by which Mr. Bowers’ corrected brief was due. It just goes to show that failure to comply with what may seem like small procedural details can have very negative consequences, even for pro se litigants.

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