Plaintiff didn’t brief forfeiture argument so trial court judgment affirmed says 13th Court of Appeals

Wolf v City of Mission, No. 13-12-00737-CV (Tex. App. – Corpus Christi, August 29, 2013).

This is a plea to the jurisdiction case arising out of a forfeiture proceeding. Unless you deal with court ordered forfeitures, you may find this boring. Heck, I deal with forfeitures sometimes and I still found it boring. But it has helpful information for appellate purposes.

The Hidalgo County DA’s office filed a notice of seizure for seven parcels of real property. In the 2007 forfeiture proceeding the trial court entered an order for 4 of the 7 to be forfeited and 3 to be returned to the owner. Wolf filed a plea in intervention in 2011 asserting he had judgment liens against the properties and seeking to void the 2007 judgment. The City filed a plea to the jurisdiction asserting a lack of standing, the City has immunity and the court lost plenary power 30 days after judgment. The trial court granted the plea and Wolf appealed.

Wolf countered the plea at the trial court level and appeal arguing the trial court did not lose plenary power 30 days after the judgment because his dispute deals with the enforcement of  a judgment over which a court always has power. However, the plenary power argument is only 1 of 3 challenges to jurisdiction raised by the County. Without hardly any explanation at all, the court held that “ if an independent ground fully supports the complained-of ruling or judgment, but the appellant assigns no error to that independent ground, then … we must accept the validity of that unchallenged independent ground…”  In other words, since Wolf didn’t address 2 of the reasons for the plea, the court does not have to analyze whether any of the reasons are correct, it must just accept those 2 reasons as valid; Wolf waived any challenge to them.

If you would like to read this opinion click here.