Ronald Dwayne Whitfield v. R. Burkette, et al.--Appeal from 52nd District Court of Coryell CountyAnnotate this Case
TENTH COURT OF APPEALS
RONALD DWAYNE WHITFIELD, ET AL.,
R. BURKETTE, ET AL.,
From the 52nd District Court
Coryell County, Texas
Trial Court # 29,942
O P I N I O N
On April 10, 1996, Ronald Dwayne Whitfield and McArthur Coleman, prison inmates, filed a pro se in forma pauperis petition in the 52nd District Court alleging that R. Burkette, the mailroom supervisor at the jail where they are imprisoned, wrongfully deprived them of access to the courts by denying them sufficient quantities of the materials they allegedly need to draft and file various pleadings in various courts. Appellants sought a declaration of their rights to the requested materials, injunctive relief for prison officials not to harass them, approximately $10,000 in actual damages, and $400 in attorney's fees. The trial court dismissed appellants' petition on two grounds: (1) failure to comply with Chapter 14 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. 14.004-.014 (Vernon Supp. 1996), and (2) failure to state a cause of action.
Initially, we note that appellants assert in their brief that the trial court sent them a letter prior to the date of the dismissal order notifying them that all of their pending claims filed with the court had been consolidated. The letter is not in the record, and appellants do not indicate with any specificity what other claims were allegedly disposed of by the trial court when it entered the order of dismissal that is now before this court on appeal. The only petition in the record is for cause number 29,942, and it concerns only appellants' complaint against R. Burkette for allegedly not providing them their requested materials. Assuming that the trial court did consolidate appellants' other petitions into cause number 29,942, they cannot complain about any other petition that was allegedly dismissed other than the original 29,942 because appellants did not include in the record any evidence of what these other petitions may have been. Tex. R. App. P. 50(d), 51(a,b). Therefore, we conclude that the only petition before us on appeal is original cause number 29,942.
Section 14.004 of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code requires inmates who bring lawsuits in forma pauperis to file along with their affidavit or declaration of inability to pay costs a separate affidavit or declaration identifying each prior suit brought by the inmate, specifying the operative facts, case names, cause numbers, the courts in which they were brought, and the names of the parties, and stating the results of the suits. Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. 14.004(a). If the inmate fails to do so, the trial court may within its discretion dismiss the inmate's lawsuit under Chapter 14. Id.; Hickson v. Moya, No. 10-96-010-CV, slip op. at 5 (Tex. App. Waco, July 10, 1996, no writ).
Neither Whitfield nor Coleman filed the required affidavit or declaration when they filed their petition. Therefore, the trial court acted within its discretion in dismissing their complaint under Chapter 14. The judgment is affirmed.
BOBBY L. CUMMINGS
Before Chief Justice Davis,
Justice Cummings, and
Opinion delivered and filed August 30, 1996
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