Prisoner's 'frivolous' appeal denied by justices

David Yates Nov. 12, 2007, 10:00am

An inmate's appeal to reinstate a "frivolous" lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was denied by justices on the Ninth Court of Appeals on Thursday, Nov. 8. Prisoner Cedric Nickerson claims 34 TDCJ employees were bullying him and other inmates.

Nickerson filed suit in 2006 with the Jefferson County District Court, claiming TDCJ negligently failed to properly hire, train and supervise its employees.

In his petition, Nickerson alleged that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, and that TDCJ officers denied him "life maintaining medication" and other accusations.

Citing the Tort Claims Act, the defendants named in Nickerson's suit asserted his claims were frivolous because they had no arguable basis in law or in fact

During an April 13, 2006, hearing, the 58th District Court dismissed Nickerson's allegations with prejudice and stamped them as frivolous.

"We find no abuse of discretion by the trial court requiring reversal, but because the dismissal should be without prejudice in this case, we modify the judgment to reflect a dismissal without prejudice," wrote Justice David Gaultney, in the courts memorandum opinion. "We affirm the judgment as modified."

Nickerson's appeal contended that the trial court erred in denying or failing to rule on his motion for continuance, and in dismissing the case with prejudice.

"Nickerson's petition does not allege a factual basis for the causes of action that implicate any defendants' intentional acts, and without a record of the hearing or more specific allegations against individual defendants, we cannot say the trial court abused its discretion in dismissing Nickerson's causes of action against the thirty-four defendants in their individual capacities."

Trial Case No. A-174172
Appeal NO. 09-06-197 CV

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