St. Mary's Law Journal


Fatal procedural errors can prevent appellees from preserving judgements and appellants from seeking review of court decisions on appeal. This article is a practical guide identifying critical concepts necessary to preserve the various rights of appeal. By examining the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure, the author identifies procedural pitfalls attorneys may face when attempting to preserve appeals to the Texas Supreme Court or the appellate courts of Texas. Although the Texas Supreme Court has endeavored to eliminate procedural traps from civil appeals, a significant number of requests for appeal fail because lawyers do not follow the requirements necessary to preserve error in the appellate court. Preserving error in civil appeals typically revolves around three interconnected concepts. First, properly perfecting the appeal is necessary in preserving a right of complaint against a trial court. Second, properly filing and requesting records identifying reversible error are necessary in preserving a right of error review of trial court judgement. Third, properly applying for writs of error as well as assigning motions for rehearing, and briefs are necessary in preserving error of appellate or trial courts. Procedures necessary to support appeals are complex. Correction is possible for many errors fatal to appeal if discovery and amendment are timely. However, uncorrected errors or missed deadlines may result in case decisions predicated on procedural basis rather than merits. It is necessary for a lawyer to know when and how to preserve an appeal. Even novice attorneys can avoid errors fatal to appeal by carefully following the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure.


St. Mary's University School of Law