law-appellate jurisdiction | sua sponte | interlocutory appeals

JURISDICTION IN THE COURT OF APPEAL

Before reaching the merits of this particular issue and other issues raised by the parties, we must inquire into
our own jurisdiction.  We conduct this inquiry sua sponte because jurisdiction is fundamental in nature and
may not be ignored.  K&S Interests, Inc. v. Tex. Am. Bank/Dallas, 749 S.W.2d 887, 890 (Tex. App.- Dallas
1988, writ denied).  If the present case is an appeal over which we have no jurisdiction, the appeal must be
dismissed.  See id.  Our appellate jurisdiction is generally confined to appeals of final judgments, unless
otherwise authorized by statute.  See Lehmann v. Har-Con Corp., 39 S.W.3d 191, 195 (Tex. 2001) (stating
that “the general rule, with a few mostly statutory exceptions, is that an appeal may be taken only from a final
judgment").
Royal I.S.D. v. Ragsdale, Jr. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Nov. 25, 2008)(Hedges)
(
tax suit, excess proceeds form foreclosure sale, limitations)
DISMISSED: Opinion by Chief
Justice Hedges  
(Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Brown and Boyce)
14-07-00181-CV  
After signing the Consent Order, the operative appealable order, Royal ISD was required to perfect an
appeal to invoke our appellate jurisdiction.  The time limits for perfecting an appeal on the Consent Order
began to run from the date the order was signed.  See Tex. R. Civ. P. 306(a); see also Tex. R. App. P. 26.1.  
Royal ISD was required to file a notice of appeal challenging the Consent Order within thirty days of that
date, on or before March 19, 2006.  See Tex. R. App. P. 25.1(b), (d)(2); Erlewine v. Erlewine, No. 03-06-
00308-CV, 2007 WL 2462042, at *1 (Tex. App.- Austin 2007, no pet.) (mem. op.) (reasoning that a party
seeking to perfect an appeal on an appealable order must do so within 30 days in accordance with rule
26.1).  Neither of the two notices of appeal filed by Royal ISD challenges the Consent Order.  Because the
record reflects that Royal ISD did not perfect an appeal from the operative order, and the time limit for doing
so has long since expired, Royal ISD has not invoked our jurisdiction under section 34.04.[5]  See Tex. R.
App. P. 25.1(b), (d)(2); Erlewine, 2007 WL 2462042, at *1.  Royal ISD  has waived its challenge on the
Consent Order.[6]  See Tex. R. App. P. 33.1(a).

Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 51.014(a)(8)

Royal ISD contends that the Dismissal Order is appealable to this Court pursuant to section 51.014 of the
Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §51.014(a)(8) (permitting an appeal
from an interlocutory order of a district court that denies a plea to the jurisdiction by a governmental unit).  
Although section 51.014 authorizes an accelerated appeal from an interlocutory order, the Dismissal Order,
a post-final-judgment order, is not an interlocutory order as contemplated under section 51.014.  See Martin
v. Tex. Dept. Of Family and Protective Servs., 176 S.W.3d 390, 393-94 (Tex. App.- Houston [1st Dist.] 2004,
no pet.) (concluding that an order granting a plea to the jurisdiction was not appealable on an interlocutory
basis because the order was issued after the final judgment and after the trial court lost its plenary power).  
Royal ISD cites to no authority that permits us to characterize the Dismissal Order, a post-final-judgment
order signed well after the final judgment and the Consent Order, as an interlocutory order.  We are not
authorized by section 51.014(a)(8) of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code to review the Dismissal Order, a
post-final-judgment order, on an interlocutory basis.

b.  Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 51.012

Royal ISD also argues that Release Order 2 and the Objection Order are appealable under section 51.012
of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code.  We disagree.  Section 51.012 authorizes an appeal from the final
judgment.  See Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code  § 51.012.  Neither Release Order 2 nor the Objection Order is
the final judgment in this case.  As mentioned above, the final judgment was signed in 2001 in the underlying
tax suit.  Release Order 2 and the Objection Order are orders signed by the trial court in the post-final-
judgment proceedings initiated by Ragsdale under section 34.04 of the Tax Code.  Because Release Order
2 and the Objection Order are not final judgments, we are not authorized by section 51.012 of the Civil
Practice and Remedies Code to review the orders.






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