Almeron v. T-Mobile West Corp. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Feb. 19, 2009)(Yates)
(appeal from JP court)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by Justice Brock Yates
Before Justices Brock Yates, Seymore and Boyce
14-07-00524-CV Carlos Salmeron v. T-Mobile West Corporation
Appeal from County Civil Court at Law No 1 of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: R. Jack Cagle
CARLOS SALMERON, Appellant,
T-MOBILE WEST CORPORATION, Appellee.
Court of Appeals of Texas, Fourteenth District, Houston.
Memorandum Opinion filed February 19, 2009.
Panel consists of Justices YATES, SEYMORE, and BOYCE.
LESLIE B. YATES, Justice.
Appellant Carlos Salmeron challenges a county court at law's order dismissing his appeal of a justice of
the peace court judgment in favor of appellee, T-Mobile West Corporation ("T-Mobile"). In his sole issue,
appellant contends that we should excuse his failure to timely file an appeal bond because the county
court failed to appoint an interpreter for him. We affirm.
Salmeron filed suit against T-Mobile in justice court seeking to recover damages for breach of contract.
After a bench trial, the justice court signed its April 2, 2007 judgment, which ordered that appellant take
nothing and awarded appellee $1,731, plus court costs and interest. On April 16, 2007, appellant filed an
appeal bond in the county court, seeking to appeal that judgment. On April 25, 2007, appellee moved to
dismiss the appeal because appellant failed to file his appeal bond within ten days from the date that the
justice court judgment was signed, as required by Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 571. The county court
granted the motion and dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
On appeal, Salmeron admits that his appeal bond was not timely filed. He argues instead that the county
court's failure to appoint him an interpreter violated Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 183, which states that a
court may appoint an interpreter of its own selection. Salmeron does not contend that he ever requested
an interpreter, and seems to argue on appeal that the county court had a duty to appoint one. He claims
that the county court's failure to appoint an interpreter not only violated Rule 183, but deprived the county
court of jurisdiction to dismiss the appeal. We disagree for two reasons.
First, Salmeron waived this argument by failing to make it to the county court. Although Salmeron
characterizes his argument on appeal as a jurisdictional one (which could not be waived), he provides no
authority to support this argument. On the contrary, Rule 183 is permissive, merely providing that "[t]he
court may appoint an interpreter of its own selection . . . ." Appellant's complaint that the county court
erred by failing to provide an interpreter under Rule 183 is properly addressed as a due process
challenge, rather than a jurisdictional one. Salmeron v. T-Mobile West Corp., No. 01-07-00532-CV, 2008
WL 1828616, at *1 n.3 (Tex. App.-Houston [1st Dist.] Apr. 24, 2008, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for
publication) (characterizing identical argument to one presented here as a due process challenge); see
also Martinez v. Cherry Ave. Mobile Home Park, 134 S.W.3d 246, 249-50 (Tex. App.-Amarillo 2003, no
pet.) (addressing failure to provide interpreter under Rule 183 as a due process challenge). As such, to
preserve this complaint for review, appellant was required to make a timely request, objection, or motion
specifying the action the county court was requested to take, and obtain an adverse ruling, or the issue is
waived. See TEX. R. APP. P. 33.1(a); Martinez, 134 S.W.3d at 249-50. We note that appellant's pro se
status does not relieve him from the preservation-of-error requirements applicable to a licensed attorney.
See Nabelek v. Bradford, 228 S.W.3d 715, 717 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2006, pet. denied).
Appellant points us to no evidence showing that he preserved his complaint regarding the county court's
failure to appoint an interpreter through a timely request, objection, or motion.
Second, the county court had no duty to sua sponte appoint an interpreter in this case.See Martinez, 134
S.W.3d at 249. Salmeron never requested an interpreter, see id., and there is no evidence in the record
suggesting appellant needed one. To the contrary, appellant's sworn complaint in the justice court was
handwritten in legible English. Also, appellant submitted a pro se brief to this court in legible English and
demonstrated his ability to understand and comply with the rules of appellate procedure.
In conclusion, we hold that appellant has waived his contention that the county court erred by failing to
provide him with an interpreter. See TEX. R. APP. P. 33.1(a). Further, because appellant's appeal bond
was untimely filed, we hold that the county court did not err in dismissing his appeal for lack of jurisdiction.
We overrule Salmeron's sole issue and affirm the county court's judgment.