The opinion in Gonzalez v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, reminds me of the philosophical riddle asking whether a tree that falls in the forest when nobody is there to hear it makes a sound.
In this appeal of a forcible detainer action, the appellant argued that Wells Fargo Bank had not controverted any of his evidence showing that he had a superior right to immediate possession of the property in dispute. The Dallas Court of Appeals construed the appellant’s complaint as a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court’s judgment. The problem? There was no reporter’s record. The court reporter advised the court of appeals that there was no hearing on the record. The court of appeals concludes that without a reporter’s record to show what the evidence was (or wasn’t) there’s nothing for the court to review. This opinion underscores how essential it is to have a court reporter’s record if you want to complain about the evidence or a ruling of the trial court. Even when there’s a reporter’s record, the reporter’s record should show the matter complained of. Without a record at all, an appellant cannot possibly make the showing necessary to prevail. The court’s opinion may be found here.