I am currently involved in a breach of residential lease
case that involves what I am pretty confident is an illegal penalty clause. They have charged me liquidated damages of almost $900 on $300 worth of actual damages. I lost in JP court where they have sued over 800 people in the last 5 years and won every case with the same JP, who in the state of Texas does not have to be a lawyer.
To appeal the case, I was required to post an appeal bond in the amount of double the amount of the judgement, which was $1,189 meaning almost $2,400. That was back in February. I tried to file the bond with an inability to pay and again the judge rejected the inability to pay and made me come up with the $2,400. I a pretty sure she is in cahoots with them due to the way my trial went and several other trials of other tenants I have talked to. In the state of Texas JP hearing are not courts of record. It is so bad that when I asked for a Findings of Fact and Conclusions of law to help with the appeal, I was sent a one sentence reply. "This is not a court of record" So basically she had to give no explanation for how she came to the determination that I owed these people $1,189 and $2,750 in attorney fees at an interest rate of 18%. When we submitted the request, we were sanctioned $600 for even asking her how she came to that determination. She told us that she has handled 1000s of eviction cases. I wasn't even evicted!!
I came up with the appeal bond amount of almost $2,400 at great personal sacrifice to both myself and my family. Now they are trying to get the case tossed from County court for lack of jurisdiction on appeal because they are saying that the attorney fee's are supposed to be included in the amount and the appeal bond should have been almost $8,000! I know they are doing that because they do not ever want this case that they have filed suit on 100s of people to ever make it to a court of record with a actual judge.
I am responding to the motion and trying to get the bond amount decreased based on several legal arguments, can you please let me know if they are correct?
One the appeal bond amount was set excessively high based on Texas Civil practices and remedy code 52.006 because the amount is more than 50% of my net worth which is negative according to GAAP and the amount has caused substantial economic harm to my family. They said that that section did not apply and that it is based on TX Rules of Civil Procedure
571. I have several cases as precedent that I can cite were the rule 52.006 was established for exactly this reason of not limiting appeals to only people that could pay the amount of the bond.
The second argument is that the supreme court recently ruled on a writ of mandamus
deciding that attorney's fees are not to be included in the amount of the bond. see re in nalle plastics.
The third argument is that this would violate my due process right to appeal. It has been stated several times that the right to appeal is guaranteed and that courts need to safeguard it.
Can you please tell me if these arguments are correct based on the information I have provided and any other thoughts that you may have in regard to this dilemma. Thanks.