Helping Trial Lawyers Navigate the Appellate System

Tips for Superseding Travis County District Court Judgments

Along with retiring Chief Deputy Clerk Michelle Brinkman, I spoke to the Austin Bar Civil Appellate Section today on “Tips for Superseding Travis County District Court Judgments.” New Travis County District Clerk Velva Price and incoming Chief Deputy Clerk Caroline Legette—both of whom are lawyers—attended the luncheon as Section guests. As a former Chair of the Section, I was pleased to be invited as a speaker.

I arrived early to make sure my MacBook would communicate with the venue’s projector and even had a backup plan, but alas, I could not get the projector to work. It may have been for the best. Supersedeas is a somewhat difficult topic, and not having slides forced me to try and engage the audience without visuals. Having Michelle present with me was a big plus, as she has more than a few war stories from her years in the trenches.

A big takeway from our discussion was to use the District Clerk’s bond calculation spreadsheet as a starting point for determining the amount needed to supersede a judgment pending appeal. The form has some rules emanating from case law and other sources built into it, and it is an extremely useful tool even if your case is not in Travis County.

We did not have the opportunity to mention some statistics Michelle pulled before our talk:

  • About 75% of the supersedeas bonds filed in District Court are accompanied by the calculation form.
  • The District Clerk prepared 343 abstracts of judgment in Fiscal Year 2014.
  • 186 writs of execution were issued in Fiscal Year 2014.
  • There are currently no supersedeas funds held in the registry.

The phantom slides from this presentation appear below, in case anyone is interested.

D. Todd Smith
About the Author

D. Todd Smith is an Austin-based civil appellate specialist who works with trial teams from the earliest stages of litigation. In trial courts, he takes the lead on strategic analysis and briefing, jury charges, and potentially dispositive motions, all with a focus on preserving error and positioning cases for appellate review.

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