Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fellow Justices Judge Jeff Brown

Fourteenth Court of Appeals panel does not recuse itself from case, or request transfer to another court of appeals; affirms new Justice Brown's judgment entered as trial court judge of the 55th District Court. Judge Jeffrey Brown was promoted to the Fourteenth Court of Appeals at the end of 2007 by gubernatorial appointment and faces the voters this year.

Norra v. Harris County, Texas No. 14-05-01211-CV (Tex.App. - Houston [14th Dist.] Mar. 4, 2008)(Guzman) (civil penalty for environmental violations affirmed, failure to preserve legal challenge for appellate review)
Opinion by Justice Guzman
Before Justices Leslie Brock Yates, Wanda Fowler and Eva M. Guzman
Carol Ann Norra v. Harris County, Texas; Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; and Texas Department of Health
Trial court: 55th District Court (
Judge now Justice Jeff Brown)
Disposition: Civil Penalties Affirmed

This is an appeal from the trial court's award of civil penalties, injunctive relief and attorney's fees in a civil enforcement proceeding filed by the State of Texas and Harris County against the owner of two mobile home parks in Harris County. In two issues, appellant, Carol Ann Norra, argues that the civil penalties assessed against her for numerous and repeated violations of the State's public health laws are exemplary damages subject to Chapter 41 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code. She further argues that her United States constitutional right to due process was violated by the imposition of these penalties. She frames these arguments as legal sufficiency challenges to the evidence. But we conclude that these complaints are not challenges to the legal sufficiency of the evidence and are instead legal arguments that were not presented to the trial court. As such, she has failed to preserve error on these challenges, and we therefore affirm the judgment of the trial court.

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