Limited Appeal of County Court Eviction Judgment

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Limited Appeal of County Court Eviction Judgment

Most eviction litigants know that Justice Court Judgments may be appealed to the County Court.  These appeals are de novo (i.e. new; as if the Justice Court had not rendered a decision). See Texas Rule of Civil Procedure 509.8(e).

Fewer people know that some eviction judgments entered by County Courts can be appealed to courts of appeal.  However, those appeals are limited by Texas Property Code Section 24.007.

Sec. 24.007 (entitled “APPEAL”) states in relevant part:

A final judgment of a county court in an eviction suit may not be appealed on the issue of possession unless the premises in question are being used for residential purposes only.

This means that in cases concerning right to possession of non-residential premises (i.e. commercial leases), the County Court is the court of last resort. Accordingly, the county court’s final judgment determining possession of non-residential premises is not subject to review or reversal.

Appealing a county court’s judgment is more difficult than exercising a right to de novo appeal from a Justice Court Judgment.

First, the County Court’s Judgment is given effect unless the appealing party  posts a supersedeas bond. This bond must be posted  within 10 days after entry of judgment:

A judgment of a county court may not under any circumstances be stayed pending appeal unless, within 10 days of the signing of the judgment, the appellant files a supersedeas bond in an amount set by the county court.

Second, appealing a county court’s judgment requires submission of the Clerk’s Record and Reporter’s Record. These must be obtained from the County Clerk and official court reporter. There is usually a moderate cost associated with the preparation of these records.  The records are critical to the appeal because consideration of the County Court’s determination is not de novo. Rather, the appellant (the appealing party) is required to show that the County Court committed reversible error.  Arguing that reversible error exists requires citations to the Reporter’s and Clerk’s Records.

Third, the supersedes bond can be substantial.

In setting the supersedeas bond the county court shall provide protection for the appellee to the same extent as in any other appeal, taking into consideration the value of rents likely to accrue during appeal, damages which may occur as a result of the stay during appeal, and other damages or amounts as the court may deem appropriate.